By Pamela Zoslov Beguiling is not quite the right word to describe The Beguiled, the new Civil War-set film directed by Sofia Coppola. Slender, diaphanous, insubstantial — those might be more descriptive of Coppola’s adaptation of a 1966 novel by Cleveland-based novelist Thomas Cullinan, a onetime writer for Cleveland’s Plain Dealer newspaper. Originally titled A […]Read more "The Beguiled: Damned Yankee"
By Pamela Zoslov The dinner party has long been a reliable setting for a comedy of manners or nightmarish descent into hell. Beatriz at Dinner falls somewhere in between, with Salma Hayek as the titular Beatriz, a massage therapist who is the accidental guest at an elite soirée hosted by her wealthy clients. The film […]Read more "Beatriz at Dinner: Party Politics"
By Pamela Zoslov “Alive with all the impassioned suspense, dramatic fervor and excitement of the best seller by Daphne du Maurier, author of Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel comes to the screen with the only star in the world who could play it, Olivia de Havilland!” So intones the trailer for the 1952 movie, which also […]Read more "Relatively Speaking: My Cousin Rachel"
By Pamela Zoslov Daniel Blake, a 59-year-old carpenter in Newcastle in northeast England, has had a major heart attack, and his doctor has advised him not to return to work. “I nearly fell off the scaffolding,” he tells the Jobcentre worker performing an assessment of his “work capability.” Daniel’s nightmare descent into Kafkaesque government bureaucracy […]Read more "Labour Pains: I, Daniel Blake"
By Pamela Zoslov The Lovers, a romantic comedy featuring the return to the screen of the elusive Debra Winger, reminds me of the adultery-themed farces that were prevalent in the 1960s, like A Guide for the Married Man (1967), in which practiced philanderer Robert Morse coached Walter Matthau on the best techniques for cheating on […]Read more "Terms of Estrangement: The Lovers"
By Pamela Zoslov A recent celebrity quote I liked is from Richard Gere, the actor whose outspoken political views — protesting China’s occupation of Tibet on the Oscars red carpet, angering China and jeopardizing the overseas movie market — have sidelined him from the majors and led him to take roles in independent films. “I’m […]Read more "Norman’s Conquests"
By Pamela Zoslov The best news about The Wall, from Amazon Studios, is that it is not about President Trump’s pet barrier against “bad hombres” from Mexico. It also has nothing whatever to do with Pink Floyd. It is instead a one-set thriller about an American army sharpshooter trapped behind a wall, threatened and taunted […]Read more "Iraq and a Hard Place: The Wall"
By Pamela Zoslov Dan Clowes’ Wilson is the kind of character that has long excited the imaginations of novelists, indie filmmakers and cartoonists like Clowes: a misanthropic loser who nonetheless feels superior to everyone else, and who spouts his cynical existential philosophy everywhere he goes. The type appeared in examples as diverse as John Kennedy […]Read more "Wilson: Drawn That Way"
By Pamela Zoslov Old people — what is to be done about them? In Washington, House Speaker Paul Ryan and company want to throw them off the public dole (“entitlements,” in the ruthless Republican argot). In Hollywood, seniors are either ignored or cast in formulaic comedies. In these vehicles, the old stars play problem people: […]Read more "The Last Word: Twilight Saga"
By Pamela Zoslov The British film director Amma Asante, a former child actress, has a special interest in issues of race in Great Britain. Her 2013 Belle told the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the mixed-race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral in 18th-century England. Her new film, A United Kingdom, tells another based-on-truth racial […]Read more "Out of Africa: A United Kingdom"