Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Da Vinci Code


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


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


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


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 »

A Damsel in Distress


Written by P.G. Wodehouse, from his novel. Directed by George Stevens. Music by George Gershwin. Starring Fred Astaire, Joan Fontaine, George Burns and Gracie Allen, and a 1936 Cord 810 convertible coupe. Choreography by Astaire and Hermes Pan. How bad could it be? Well, if you discount the fact that the plot is pretty silly, not bad at all. And if you come to a 1930s Astaire film looking ... Read more »

The Dancer Upstairs


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


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 »

Dangerous Moves

(La Diagonale du fou, Switzerland, France, 1984)

This is a movie about a world’s championship Chess match. First, I will tell you that I am the world’s worst Chess player. I once was suckered into a fool’s mate, which I understand is the shortest possible chess game: F3, E5, G4??, Qh4#. If you understand the notation, try it yourself, and see what a total fool I was. I decided right then that I would never ... 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


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 »