Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Da Vinci Code

(2006)

One of the nice things about living in Los Angeles is that everything plays here. The most obscure art movie, the latest epic from East Timor … everything. We stumbled on this one at a little neighborhood theater in Los Feliz Village, bargain matinee $4.50, and thought, what the heck? Okay … it’s kind of long, and it’s mostly about people standing around ... Read more »

Dallas Buyers Club

(2013)

Dallas Buyers Club (2013) As I watched this story develop, I was struck with an odd thought. In some sad and ironic way, AIDS was the best thing that ever happened to Ron Woodroof.

Think about it. At the beginning of the story he is a pathetic, dissolute loser hanging around rodeos. AIDS was just the icing on the cake that someone left out in the rain too long. But almost from the ... Read more »

The Dam Busters

(1955)

I have a connection with this film, in that it was directed by Michael Anderson, the man who did his best to make a good film out of the remains of my script, Millennium. Michael directed the Best Picture Oscar-winning Around the World in 80 Days. He has some wonderfully wacky stories about Michael Todd, the certifiably insane producer. ... Read more »

Damn Yankees

(1958)

Directed by Stanley Donen and George Abbott. Starring Gwen Verdon and Ray Walston. Choreography by Bob Fosse. Do I really need to say more? Well, maybe just a little. This seems to be the only time Fosse and his wife of 27 years, Gwen Verdon, danced together on film, in the number “Who’s Got the Pain?” She was his muse and the first person to perform most of his signature moves, even after ... Read more »

The Dancer Upstairs

(2002)

The Dancer Upstairs (2002) Directed by John Malkovich, book and screenplay by Shakespeare. No, not Will. Nicolas Shakespeare.

The story is based on the Shining Path anarchist/communist/guerillas who terrorized Peru for many years, as depraved and murderous a group as anyone since Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. Malkovich has a good directorial eye and he avoids a lot of ... Read more »

A Dangerous Method

(2011)

Wow! A no-holds-barred, cage match smackdown between Siggy Freud and Carl “The Awful Archetype” Jung! Of course, the match is conducted by two men sitting together and chatting amiably or exchanging letters about psychoanalytic theory whilst analyzing themselves and each other … but the insights! The breakthroughs! For a while I thought the referee, Sabina Spielrein, was going to have to ... Read more »

The Danish Girl

(UK, USA, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, 2015)

Before there was Christine Jorgensen, there was Lili Elbe … and that’s just about as far as the historical accuracy of this “Based on a True Story” movie goes. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but what the movie was based on is a novel, that was “inspired” by the true story of Lili. Go to Wiki and the list of inaccuracies is quite long. (I was going to make a joke here about penises, ... Read more »

Danny Collins

(2015)

When I see a new Al Pacino movie I always wonder which Al I’ll be getting. Will it be the icy restraint and menace of Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Part II? Or will it be the wildly over-the-top screaming of Tony Montana in Scarface? I’m happy to say that this time it’s the more subdued Pacino, who can be very, very good when he ... Read more »

Danny Deckchair

(2003)

Danny Deckchair (2003) I don’t know how you pronounce “Capra” in Australian, but that’s the word here. Some people can’t take Frank Capra’s corny populism and eternal optimism. To me, it’s a tough trick to turn, but if you can do it, I like it. I’m not saying I believe it; I just like to think for the length of a movie that the world might be that way, every once in a while. This story was ... Read more »

Dante’s Inferno

(1935)

We think we have epic films today, with all the CGI and other special effects to flesh out sets that barely exist in real life. I am still sometimes surprised to see just how gigantic scenes could be in the old days, when there was nothing available but some double exposure to combine several scenes of the same extras into one shot. This film is famous for its ten-minute creation of Hell, ... Read more »