Tag Archives: Tim Blake Nelson

Ballad of Buster Scruggs: The Wild, Wild West

HOW THE WEST WAS WON (MORE OR LESS). It was going to be the Coen brothers’ first collaboration with Netflix, a project that started out as a TV series. In the end, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs turned into a feature, their first digitally shot Western. I had no idea what to expect. It had … Continue reading Ballad of Buster Scruggs: The Wild, Wild West

Donnie Brasco: A Made(Up) Man

IN 1978, THE U.S. GOVERNMENT WAGED A WAR AGAINST ORGANIZED CRIME. ONE MAN WAS LEFT BEHIND THE LINES.  I was just listening to a political debate about Islamic terrorism. One of the participants talked about how intelligence agencies need to do more than just tap phones; they need to put ”boots on the ground” by … Continue reading Donnie Brasco: A Made(Up) Man

The Homesman

In the 19th century Nebraska Territory, spinster Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) volunteers to transport three women who have lost their minds back east, and enlists the help of a man (Tommy Lee Jones) she saves from being hanged. A genre-bending Western from Jones who succeeds in combining immense pain in the story with a sense … Continue reading The Homesman

The Big Year

EVERYONE IS SEARCHING FOR SOMETHING. Three birders (Steve Martin, Jack Black, Owen Wilson) keep bumping into each other in remote places; initially reluctant to come clean, they are all secretly doing a Big Year. While Mark Obmascik’s book follows real-life birders who compete against each other, trying to spot as many species as possible all … Continue reading The Big Year

Lincoln: Calamity in Congress

On a visit to Washington D.C. last October, I made the obligatory visit to the Lincoln Memorial and found the experience of first taking in the huge marble statue of the 16th President and then reading the words from his second Inaugural Address and the Gettysburg Address that are engraved onto the walls of the … Continue reading Lincoln: Calamity in Congress

Thin Red Line: Days of Hell

EVERY MAN FIGHTS HIS OWN WAR. “I didn’t think he was capable of betrayal of this magnitude.” That quote is lifted from an Entertainment Weekly interview with one of the producers of this film, Robert Michael Geisler. He was referring to director Terrence Malick and those words illustrate to what degree the relationship between these … Continue reading Thin Red Line: Days of Hell

The Incredible Hulk

YOU’LL LIKE HIM WHEN HE’S ANGRY. Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) hides from the authorities while looking for an antidote for his condition; eventually he’s exposed and the Hulk faces a new, terrifying enemy. The sequel to Hulk (2003) is more of a straightforward action picture; different from the original but on the same level. The parts have been … Continue reading The Incredible Hulk


THE ’80S – UNPLUGGED. THE MURDERS – UNVEILED. THE LEGEND – UNZIPPED.  The year is 1981; former porn star John Holmes (Val Kilmer) is heavily into drugs and manages to get himself involved in the murder of four people. Director James Cox figured he could make a fast-paced, violent and complex look at what Holmes’s … Continue reading Wonderland

Minority Report

EVERYBODY RUNS. This exciting, futuristic thriller is clearly a homage to Alfred Hitchcock. There’s a man on the lam, falsely accused of murder, several elaborately staged action scenes, a dose of humor and the murderer is finally revealed in a clever way. Tom Cruise is engaging as the cop who realizes that even a system … Continue reading Minority Report

The Good Girl

IT’S HER LAST BEST CHANCE… IS SHE GOING TO TAKE IT? Discount store clerk Justine Last (Jennifer Aniston) is in a rut; she’s married to pot-smoking painter Phil (John C. Reilly), but is attracted to a depressed colleague of hers (Jake Gyllenhaal). A low-budget look at working-class people, Aniston’s character in particular, and the attempts … Continue reading The Good Girl

Syriana: What Goes Around, Comes Around

EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED. This is a complex film and yet the tagline manages to sum it all up. Everything is connected. Yes it is, and this film shows how conscious acts and circumstances all work together to shape the world. We may think that we can control everything, but it is those small details that … Continue reading Syriana: What Goes Around, Comes Around