Archive | Reviews

Birds of America

I take great solace in artists who don’t just improvise upon accepted conventions but flat-out improve them; such creatives are holy alchemists. In this vein, as in many others, the painter Kerry James Marshall is a true bright light. Today he released a new series. A wily subversion of the works of John James Audubon, these paintings explore the deeply problematic “one-drop” rule through the markings of birds—all of the ones pictured here are deemed “black” by Marshall and are indubitably beautiful. (Cue the old 60s saw.) Arguably our country’s greatest living painter, Marshall embodies Jean Houston’s words: “Wounding becomes sacred when we are willing to release our old stories and become the vehicles through which the new story may emerge into time.” To serve as such vehicles, we must model Marshall’s magic in whatever is our true calling.

(To chart this calling, book an intuition session here.)

So Much ‘Hunger’

I’m so obsessed with The Hunger (1983) right now, streaming on the Criterion Channel, which is the best $10 monthly investment you can make in your cinematic education. Directed by Tony Scott (Top Gun!), this blue-blue valentine stars Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve as a lady doctor and lady vampire respectively who embark upon lady carnal love. Oh, and you know who’s the spurned lover in this scenario? Mr David Bowie, that’s who. Really it’s so futile to resist this movie that I don’t see why you’d try. The plot may be as flimsy as GOP logic but its cerulean desire—not to mention fear and horror of physical intimacy—is just so of the moment. Dig if you will this picture.

‘Sorry We Missed You’ Makes Its Mark

What follows is a review adapted from a lecture I gave to the delightful Westchester film club, now relocated to the Emelin Theater. Perhaps it is of note that I dressed as Emma Goldman to deliver this. Perhaps instead I should have gone full hog and climbed a table bearing a UNION sign. Either way, I now petition you to see this in theaters when you can; it opens in New York today at Film Forum.

For 50 years, director Ken Loach has made films championing the British working-class. They’ve always been acutely observed but as he’s aged they’ve become brilliant. Sadly, that’s partly because they’re driven by a greater urgency–they connect almost too well to the social drama of these fraught times.

His last project, I Daniel Blake, brilliantly confronted the benefit and welfare systems. Now, at 82, he’s indicting the gig economy with this film about a Newcastle family whose delivery driver dad, home aide mom, and two kids live precariously check-to-check. This is the kind of movie that is as worthy as it is wrenching–not just for the social messages it delivers, pardon the pun, but for the portrait it paints of familial love in the face of larger pressures. Continue Reading →

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