The Thumb of Tom Tykwer

tykwerTom Tykwer swears he doesn’t “just walk around reading books in hopes of finding new material.” Given the director’s screenwriting chops (“Run Lola Run,” “3”), it seems a legitimate claim, and yet he does possess a knack for literary adaptations. In his takes on everything from David Mitchell’s millennium-spawning meta-novel “Cloud Atlas” to Patrick Süskind’s period-film explosion “Perfume,” Tykwer has managed to adapt what has largely been considered unfit for screen. (No less than Stanley Kubrick declared “Perfume” unadaptable.) Most recently he has tackled A Hologram for the King, Dave Eggers’s post-financial crisis novel about an American businessman adrift in a Mideast desert. As fish-out-of-water as tales ever go, it’s a surprisingly pleasurable effort that suggests Tykwer may be cinema’s new adaptation king – though he still lurks relatively under the radar. Continue Reading →

Mary Quite Contrary

sideways meI am in an existentialist funk. I almost modified that to “a bit of an existentialist funk” but you’re either in an existentialist funk or you’re not. I’m in one.

Part of this stems from an overarching, extremely icky feeling that more things are ending than beginning. In fact, that’s all of it, though that feeling has many, many subsets. One of those subsets concerns this very blog. I try not to get too meta here, and in general am a big believer that if you can’t say anything nice, keeping mum is best. But lately that’s meant that I’m always keeping mum so I’m going to write through my ennui if only as a (wan) way to wave hello. Perhaps as a plus I’ll sort something out. Continue Reading →

‘Maggie’s Plan’ Does Not Go Astray

maggie's man“Maggie’s Plan” is that rarest of ensemble films about attractive, overly educated New Yorkers (and that is a cinema genre unto itself): It doesn’t seem like a poor man’s Woody Allen. This may be because writer, director, novelist and painter Rebecca Miller knows something about emerging from a long shadow– her father is Arthur Miller and her husband is Daniel Day Lewis. I prefer to think, though, that it’s because she has a genuine fondness for humans in all their folly, which is a far cry from the latent misanthropy lurking in the works of such ostensible crowd-pleasers as Noah Baumbach, Nora Ephron, Nicole Holofcener, and, yes, Mr. Allen. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy