Archive | Reviews

Little Women, Inner Children

Yesterday we taped the first episode of Talking Pictures since my back went kablooey (and yes that’s the official medical diagnosis). To celebrate I got it into my head to decorate my head, and so into my triple-braided bun wove pine cones and branches, baby’s breath, and tiny birds, an effect that raised more than a few eyebrows among the normally unflappable population of NYC. Chalk it up to the fact that I was reviewing the most recent iteration of Little Women, which I had approached with great trepidation and from which I had floated with great elation.

There have many, many film, television, and stage adaptations of Louisa May Alcott’s Civil War-set saga about four Massachusetts sisters who are rich in love and poor in cash–it’s a YA novel with which I’m plainly obsessed–but this is the most ravishing and the first that does not betray the intense feminism of its author. Directed by mumblemouth millennial Greta Gerwig (cue my trepidation), it boasts an intensely good cast including Soirse Ronan as stalwart Jo, Meryl Streep putting her mugging to good use for a change as drolly disapproving Aunt March, Timotheeee Chalomet very right (if too slight) as Laurie, and Florence Pugh, channeling the authentically big emotions of her Midsommar character to animate Amy, the most bedazzled and entitled of the March girls. (Laura Dern is too Modern Millie for the Marnie of my dreams, but I’ve always been immune to her Lynchian charms.) Continue Reading →

Of Homographic Utopias and Dowager Chic (The Sound Inside, Terminator: Dark Fate)

Critic drag with co-panelist Jack Rico.

Yesterday was kind of brilliant. The boys and I taped an episode of Talking Pictures, and for the first time since the show migrated from Spectrum to PBS achieved the right balance of jocularity and specificity. Which is to say: I got my points across with some style and minimal manterruption, and we all laughed a lot.

Link to come shortly.

Afterward I had enough cash in my pocket to eat out properly, so I joined up with my friend Little Lisa. In generosity of spirit and strength of mind she is no way little, but as we share a first name and I grew up in an Italian-American neighborhood where people of the same name are distinguished by the prefix “Big” or “Little,” Little Lisa she is. To be fair, LL is 7 inches shorter than me and a good 16 years younger.

Big of heart, though, believe me.

Once upon a time we worked together at NY1–she was often the only other broad in the studio when I was on set–but these days she’s a fancy lady producer at a major network and I’m, well–that’s a good question. What am I right now? Continue Reading →

Taxi Driven at 3 Am

I went to bed so early last night that I was up at 3am watching Taxi Driver, quel meta. One of my first memories is of passing through that ratchet Times Square with my parents; the littlest me fell for its underbelly the way you get hung up on a bad smell. Scorcese captures its neon reds and blues, blurred and bolting–its cheap calories and cheaper sex–with Cadillac cars and a Cadillac score. And then there’s De Niro’s ex-marine outsider wandering and wondering, blood-shot with an ignoramus’s bravado. Which is to say: terror, especially when it comes to his unamused muse Cybill Shepherd and her very fine, DVF-clad ass. So loosely adapted from Dostovesky’s Notes from the Underground, this Scorcese-Schrader collab doesn’t endorse the basest attitudes about race, women, sexuality so much as inventory them as evidence of Our General Decline. It’s a portrait of a dangerously white male that could be stripped from today’s headlines except the macro-aggression isn’t just garish. It’s gorgeous.

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