Chris Barsanti is an habitual scrivener on books and film for the lucky readers of PopMatters, Film Journal International, Film Racket, and Publishers Weekly, and has also been published in The Chicago Tribune, The Millions, The Barnes and Noble Review, and The Virginia Quarterly Review. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and New York Film Critics Online. His books include Filmology: A Movie-a-Day Guide to the Movies You Need to Know, the Eyes Wide Open annual film guide series, and The Sci-Fi Movie Guide: The Universe of Film from ‘Alien’ to ‘Zardoz’. His writings can be found here.
Sunday, January 13 2013
The only movie of 2012 that makes a strong case for America being a cohesive social body with moral purpose binding it together is Lincoln. For those keeping track, that film is set 147 years ago.
Wednesday, August 22 2012
Tony Scott’s take on this violently funny genre mishmash gave his career new life, and also transmitted Quentin Tarantino’s vision more credibly than the screenwriter and then-novice director could have done himself.
Sunday, January 15 2012
While comic-book apocalypses ripped across US multiplexes, some smaller films of 2011 envisioned an icier, more disruptive darkness at the heart of the American family.
Wednesday, January 5 2011
Now that the first decade of the new millennium is done with, despite what the snarking class might say, the state of film is very healthy indeed -- even considering atrocities like Sex and the City 2.
Monday, August 10 2009
When faced with catastrophe, from wars to natural disasters, the nonfiction novel is sometimes the only medium that can do justice to the chaos.
Sunday, March 9 2014
Berryman, Carver, Cheever, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Williams; none could tend the flame of their talent with anything but liquor and devastation.
Thursday, January 16 2014
The year 2013 saw a rash of big new books published, from the likes of Stephen King, Malcolm Gladwell, and David Sedaris; none of whom made this list.
Tuesday, February 19 2013
Lawrence Wright’s devastating, impeccably researched history of Scientology’s “Prison of Belief” vividly illustrates the ability of this “Church” to successfully prey upon nearly every dark strain in the modern American psyche, from celebrity-worship to ego-mania and the lust for power and money.
Wednesday, October 10 2012
Salon editor Joan Walsh’s half-brilliant and half-confused memoir / manifesto posits that many white Americans have historically taken out their frustration over declining opportunities on minorities … and Democrats.
Wednesday, November 3 2010
Two new books on the Obama presidency make clear that the dream, such as it was, is over -- though not necessarily in the way you'd think. Whether or not something has actually died, the obituary has already been written for Barack Obama's promise of progressive reform
Sunday, April 20 2014
Nickolas Butler’s golden-toned Bon Iver-inspired novel about four friends in a small Wisconsin town has gorgeous intent, but too little purpose.
Thursday, March 27 2014
Russell Crowe’s embodiment of Noah’s tempestuous righteousness nearly carries Darren Aronofsky’s muddled Biblical parable of man-made catastrophe.
Monday, March 24 2014
Jason Bateman’s directorial debut about a misanthropic adult who disrupts a school spelling championship benefits from his clockwork comic timing, but it mistakes a potty mouth for subversive humor.
Thursday, March 20 2014
After fighting so long as a Cassandra of the coming ecological catastrophe, Elizabeth Kolbert's latest, The Sixth Extinction, embraces the long view of disaster.
Wednesday, February 26 2014
Wong Kar Wai’s overkill kung fu epic about Bruce Lee’s teacher doesn’t cohere even as well as his more esoteric work, but its assembled shards make for a brooding, sumptuous experience.
Tuesday, February 11 2014
Theoretically an adventure film about saving the culture of the Western World from rampaging Nazi philistines, George Clooney's first serious misstep as a director is somehow both painfully serious and trite.
Wednesday, November 27 2013
If there’s anybody who’s untroubled by the invasion of Iraq, it’s Donald Rumsfeld. Just ask him.
Friday, October 4 2013
By taking the simple leap between a character’s personal isolation and the equally terrifying physical isolation of space, Alfonso Cuaron creates a vertiginous masterpiece.
Friday, August 23 2013
One of the year’s worst films, Luhrmann’s trashy, overhyped, faux- Jazz Age spectacle is so shallow as to be creatively nonexistent.
Friday, August 2 2013
This is beautifully designed but derivative science fiction that suffers more than it benefits from Tom Cruise’s turbo-charged energy.