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Film

Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.

Recent
Film

The Threat of Violence in George Marshall's Western Comedy, 'Destry Rides Again'

George Marshall's western spoof, Destry Rides Again, has a serious central premise; can society function without the threat of violence?

Film

Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Film

Buster Keaton's Last Silent Masterpieces: 'The Cameraman' and 'Spite Marriage'

Buster Keaton was aware that the camera can be a catalyst of violence, especially stereotypical violence, for audience consumption -- and that it could also evoke the shared joy of cathartic laughter.

Film

Honest Deception in Preston Sturges' 'The Lady Eve'

Preston Sturges' The Lady Eve demonstrates that somewhere within the convolution of deception (self-deception included) lies a truth that persists all the same.

Film

"The Personal History of David" Puts a Playful Spin on Dickens' Social-Climbing Epic

Armando Iannucci veers sharply from pitch-black satire to a more upbeat comedy with The Personal History of David Copperfield, starring Dev Patel as a hero who would have been eaten alive in Veep.

Film

"Just Don't Believe Truth" in John Cassavetes' 'Husbands'

The pugnacious characters in Cassavetes' Husbands couch their inauthenticity in bullying. For them, anger is more authentic than placidity, rage more authentic than sadness, cruelty more authentic than kindness.

Film

In Amy Seimetz's 'She Dies Tomorrow', Death Is Neither Delusion Nor Denial

Amy Seimetz's She Dies Tomorrow makes one wonder, is it possible for cinema to authentically convey a dream, or like death, is it something beyond our control?

Film

Performing Race in James Whale's 'Show Boat'

There's a song performed in James Whale's musical, Show Boat, wherein race is revealed as a set of variegated and contradictory performances, signals to others, a manner of being seen and a manner of remaining hidden, and it isn't "Old Man River".

Film

Paranoia Goes Viral in 'She Dies Tomorrow'

Amy Seimetz's thriller, She Dies Tomorrow, is visually dazzling and pulsating with menace -- until the color fades.

Film

Robin Williams' 10 Greatest Film Performances

From a career filled with amazing highs and several cinematic lows, the late Robin Williams will always be the benchmark between stand-up skill and dramatic depth.

Film

Laurel & Hardy's Genius of Everyday Chaos

The opposite of the idealized embodiments of masculinity seen in male cinema heroes Hapless Man-children Laurel & Hardy are creatures of the id.

Television

Seinfeld Was Wrong About Keith Hernandez's Spit-Shot, Possibly

It seems the entire Phillies team were just the patsies in Seinfeld's Magic Loogie episode. Let me demonstrate.

Books

Trixie Mattel on Horror Movie Gin, Writing a Book, and How Not to Photograph a Drag Queen

Drag superstar Trixie Mattel spills the beans on her new book and so much more. "It's a wonderful book. I'm ready to have my roller coaster at Universal Studios based on this book."

Film

On Infinity in Miranda July's 'Me and You and Everyone We Know'

In a strange kind of way, Miranda July's Me and You and Everyone We Know is about two competing notions of "forever" in relation to love.

Film

Nazis, Nostalgia, and Critique in Taika Waititi's 'Jojo Rabbit'

Arriving amidst the exhaustion of the past (21st century cultural stagnation), Waititi locates a new potential object for the nostalgic gaze with Jojo Rabbit: unpleasant and traumatic events themselves.

Film

Buster Keaton's 'The Cameraman' Casts Light on MGM's Tyranny

The Cameraman is Keaton's last great film, a jubilant, chaotic, and overactive silent romantic comedy that, intentional or not, doubles as a vision of the precarity of celebrity, independence, and artistry in the brutal Hollywood system.

Film

The Bizarre 'Deerskin' Makes Black Comedy Out of a Familiar Masculine Crisis

Led by a misanthropic yet oddly charming performance from Jean Dujardin, Quentin Dupieux's take on the midlife crisis, Deerskin, gains power from the absurd and the enigmatic.

Film

'The King of Staten Island' Presides Over Self-Pity

Judd Apatow's latest arrested development comedy, The King of Staten Island, is short on laughs and long on running time.

Film

Alastair Sim: A Very English Character Actor Genius

Alastair Sim belongs to those character actors sometimes accused of "hamming it up" because they work at such a high level of internal and external technique that they can't help standing out.

Television

Fleabag's Hot Priest and Love as Longing

In season two of Fleabag, The Priest's inaccessibility turns him into a sort of god, powerful enough for Fleabag to suddenly find herself spending hours in church with no religious motivation.

Television

Don't Let Roseanne Barr Ruin Roseanne's Legacy

Watching the Roseanne family's hopes and dreams dashed over nine seasons made the show highly relatable then -- and now.

Film

The Obstacles in 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' Are Not Typical of MCU

Peyton Reed's "Disney-fied" Ant-Man and the Wasp is unchallenging in all the best ways.

Film

'The Grand Budapest Hotel' Gorgeously Conveys Our Need for Poise and Elegance

The sense of artifice in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel helped him create an alluring reverie of both color and meaning.

Film

The Highs Are Higher, the Lows Lower in 'Deadpool 2'

The first half of Deadpool 2, in which Vanessa is murdered and Wade becomes purposeless and suicidal, is a slog. The second half, where Wade commits to defending an angry teenage mutant, positively soars with fantastic action and some of the funniest superhero film moments in years.

Music

Drag Queen Trixie Mattel Tells All

How the joke-telling, cosmetic-slinging country music star Trixie Mattel sees the world.

Television

'Everything's Gonna Be Okay' Is  Better Than Okay

The first season of Freeform's Everything's Gonna Be Okay is a funny, big-hearted love letter to family.

Film

'Thor: Ragnarok' Destroys and Discards the Thor Mythos

Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok takes a refreshingly iconoclastic approach to Thor, throwing out the old, bringing in the new, and packaging the story in a colourful, gorgeously trashy aesthetic that perfectly captures the spirit of the comics.

Film

A Fix of Fantasy: Reviving the Wondrous Films of Karel Zeman

The imaginative filmmaker Karel Zeman influenced many artists including Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton, fellow Czech Jan Švankmajer, the Brothers Quay, and animator Lawrence Jordan's recycling of classic 19th Century imagery.

Film

Nostalgia for the Downtown Slacker: Bertoglio's 'Downtown 81' and Linklater's 'Slacker'

Both Bertoglio's Downtown 81 and Linklater's Slacker showcase characters who are blissfully aimless, anarchic souls discretely or overtly spurning a predictable, soulless society.

Film

Great Scots: 'Whiskey Galore!' and 'The Maggie'

Two Scottish comedies from Alexander Mackendrick, Whiskey Galore! and The Maggie, were part of Ealing Studios movies meant for a depressed postwar England to "let off steam".

Lists

"Everything Is Everything": 25 Moments That Make 'Marriage Story' Fall Apart Masterfully

It's the little things that make and break marriages and movies. In the case of Baumbach's Marriage Story, it's 25 little things.

Film

Yasujiro Ozu on the Arts of Pachinko, Baseball, and Marriage

Yasujiro Ozu's films can often be described as movies in which nothing happens -- nothing except the revelation of a world, its inhabitants, and a deep understanding of their contradictions.

Film

Cue the Music: 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2'

James Gunn crafts a deeply flawed film, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which digs deep into daddy issues, is still entertaining, visually gorgeous, and likable.

Film

'The Douglas MacLean Collection' Pokes Fun at Our Love of Clam, Cabbage, and Kale*

The bamboozle is on in silent films One a Minute and Bell Boy 13, starring comic actor Douglas MacLean.

Film

In 'Downhill', Getting Dark Just Means Getting Harsh

Nat Faxon and Jim Rash's comedy, Downhill, paints in broad strokes and peaks early, never matching the clever satire of its source material, Force Majeure.


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