Category Archives: books/film

One Big Monkey: “Kong: Skull Island” Is

So my daughter and I are fans of the original, classic King Kong (1933), and have seen the other remakes, with the most recent Peter Jackson version being the least favorite, while the Jessica Lange/Jeff Bridges version of 1976 being … Continue reading

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On the Film Version of Kobo Abe’s novel “Woman in the Dunes” & the Passing of Robert Osborne

So I’m sorry to say I just heard the news that the great emcee of Turner Classic Movies, Robert Osborne, has passed away at the age of eighty-four. He was like the Walter Cronkite of Old Hollywood classics. He always … Continue reading

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“Captain Fantastic”: Matt Ross’s Ode to Life Off the Grid

So I caught the indie-hit Captain Fantastic (2016) recently, and after my post not long ago about adventure stories gone wrong, this is a paean to adventure as a lifestyle choice. It’s also something of a genre mixer: adventure tale … Continue reading

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“The Sailor’s Gift”: Short Essay in the Dallas Morning News

So as I noted in my previous post (The Goodwill Genius: On Discovering Vladimir Nabokov’s Bend Sinister) I actually wrote the “wrong” essay for my editor at the Dallas Morning News, remembering it only to be about a book that … Continue reading

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On the National Embarrassment of President Trump: “The Manchurian Candidate” Meets “The Bad Seed”

So waking up to the nightmare of a Trump presidency (who really wants to look at this guy for four more years?), I’m reminded of two great classic films: the original Manchurian Candidate (1962) and a quirky predecessor, The Bad Seed … Continue reading

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On HBO’s Westworld: Where Humans Go for Fun, Known to the Hosts as Hell

So out of pity for my poor blog that never gets attention, I’ll download myself out of the iCloud in which I reside to report that I’m jazzed about the new HBO series Westworld. For one thing it takes me … Continue reading

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On Ian McGuire’s “The North Water”: a Revisionist “Moby Dick,” With Echoes of “Blood Meridian” and “The Revenant”

So last week I had the gripping-if-ghastly reading experience of zooming through Ian McGuire’s new novel, The North Water. I’ll try to be circumspect in my comments here so as not to spoil the reading “fun” for others, as I … Continue reading

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On T.J. Stiles’s “Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America”: a Pulitzer That Deserves It

So I’ve been a fan of both (the celebrated myth of) George Armstrong Custer and the excellent historian/biographer T.J. Stiles for many years, and when these two worlds collided, it’s not surprising that I read Custer’s Trials: A Life on … Continue reading

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On Sonia Shah’s “Pandemic” and Antarctica’s Looming Meltdown: Drowning in a Sea Full of Germs

So a few years back I often wrote about Climate Change and its slo-mo catastrophe, especially when it seemed that we had the chance to alter our Titanic-like course toward that (melting) iceberg, but of late I’ve been more reticent, … Continue reading

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Monsters Within & Without the Bunker: On “10 Cloverfield Lane,” Which High-Fives “The Revenant,” With a Nod to the Original “Cloverfield”

So I was amused by the original Cloverfield (2008), with its cool poster of the Statue of Liberty and tagline: Some Thing Has Found Us. It’s no great film or anything—kind of a Heineken ad spliced with (the film version … Continue reading

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