Friday, February 26, 2010

more Shutter Island

Richard Brody is apparently trying to make it up to me for all the lousy movie reviews TNY has ever published. Since Kael, he's been the New Yorker film reviewer with whom I've been most simpatico. So, of course, I've only ever written about him once. But check it out. He defends Shutter Island! My favorite line, from a recent blog post, is this: "A critic invoking reality is like a politician invoking God—if insincere, it’s demagogy; if sincere, it’s dogmatism."

Oh. Wait, no. It's this: "A movie isn’t a mere reflection of reality but, more important, an expansion of it, and that’s what lots of viewers are seeking and getting from this one."

Actually, screw it. You have to read the whole thing, and his post on The Prophet as well. Again: "The possibilities of movie-making are more or less boundless; a movie isn’t only what it shows but also what it omits."

All of this sounds like a dismissal of my least favorite masculinist sub-genre: the false-consciousness film. Shutter Island is tricky, but it isn't a false-consciousness film. It doesn't treat its audience like dupes. It makes them skeptics. Along the way, Brody opens up my favorite can of worms (he calls it the, um, "r-bomb"). He also mentions the packed theater, a significant part of my own Shutter Island experience.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Anthony Lane (and others) on Shutter Island

I think the New Yorker film reviews may just get on my nerves until the end of my days.

I loved Shutter Island. Loved it. The horror of watching a moral universe in which we can know and do wrong and right replaced - by force - with a remote island of personal, individual trauma? Noir for now.

But, apparently, no one else likes this movie, and I'm OK with that. What I'm not OK with is one more of those awful, awful references to Adorno. Anthony Lane, you should be ashamed!

A.O. Scott and Lane seem to agree that the film isn't serious enough to address the horrors of WWII. But it is. Plus Scott writes, "the plot [...] does not so much thicken as clog and coagulate." Just what I want. Actually, to be honest, Scott's who review had me grinning . . . we just didn't agree.

Also good: Gawker and its commentators, on "precious, twee hacks" and a great Thomas Mann/Marty and Leo analogy.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

why, in the end, i kind of love the new yorker

The brilliant Hendrik Herzberg is a senior editor. After all.

And they would never call themselves a "family" publication of any kind. With a straight face. (Jeffrey Toobin is a regular contributor.)

I was just looking at the most recent TOC and I read only very short pieces by Hilton Als, Joan Acocella and Schjeldahl. I must be busy. Or shallow.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The sociology of drinking:

The sociology of drinking:

New Haven, Bolivia, Italian-Americans, diaries. Gladwell.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

when poetry goes thud

I was a little put-off by the translation of the Césaire poem, in the Jan 25 issue, but I didn't know quite what to say about it. I'm not sure that nomad and poet Pierre Joris does either, but he brings up some interesting points. One of his commentators puts it this way, "The complexities of communist or any political temblors in the Caribbean require exactitudes of expression from both poet and tranlator."

On the New Yorker's poetry in general, Joris' own elaborate prose made me smile: "the editors must have decided that the traditional light fare of its poetry department, which has usually been intellectually somewhat less demanding than its cartoons, needed to be upgraded for the occasion." Well, you get the idea. And it's funny.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

corny c.1986

I liked Seabrook's tribute to Salinger, but it was the only one I read.

Benj wants to see more cats represented in the New Yorker's artwork.