Missive 354,003 from the Cat Lady Annals

With the holidays around the corner, the air conditioners have finally been taken down in my apartment. (Physically strenuous tasks tend to get postponed until the last minute in La Casa Rosmanica.) Suffice it to say Permakitten Gracie is officially bereft that the evil, evil pigeon who perches on the bedroom window AC–you know, her arch frenemy—won’t return again until summer. Not even a bird-festooned Christmas tree can lift my little friend’s gloom. And, no: I’m not projecting. (Mostly.)

Top 10 Films of 2014

I’ll write more on the topic once the holidaze clears but for now here’s my ballot for Indiewire’s year-end poll. Boyhood really was the best film of 2014–a stunning achievement–though I felt a greater resonance with Tracks; the timeless and timely Selma (review to come); and that bastion of second-wave feminism, The Babadook. Who knew I could fall in love with an Aussie horror film? Also on the list: Ida, Love Is Strange, Interstellar, Inherent Vice, Force Majeure, and Snowpiercer.Read More

The Absurdist Spacecraft of ‘Inherent Vice’

If “The Big Lebowski” is the ultimate movie about stoners, “Inherent Vice” is the ultimate stoned movie. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to watch this surprisingly faithful adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 novel without feeling high ourselves. But dig it, man: Resistance to the film’s addled charms is futile. This is director P.T. Anderson’s most lavishly light-footed work since 1997′s “Boogie Nights.”

Joaquin Phoenix is Doc Sportello, a private eye with a heart of Hawaiian Gold, and it’s a role he was born to play (though Joaquin seems born to play every one of his roles, doesn’t he?). Decked out in John Lennon shades and muttonchops to make the Founding Fathers weep, waddling in a pelvis-first slouch with feet splayed in Huaraches, mumbling in a drug-fueled burr, scribbling inanities like NOT hallucinating in his reporter’s notebook, and forever “rooting through the city dump that is his memory,” Doc is the love child of Doctor Teeth and 1960s-era Elliott Gould whom we didn’t know we were seeking.… Read More