Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

In the Heart of the Sea

(USA, Spain, 2015)

It is hard to believe now, but during much of the eighteenth century and most of the nineteenth, the cities of the world were lit, inside and out, by lamps burning whale oil. I can hardly imagine just how much oil that took every year. I mean, whales are big, but how much oil can you get from one? It must mean that literally millions of whales were slaughtered during this time, and we know ... Read more »

8 1/2

(Italy, 1964)

At the beginning of his career Federico Fellini made 6 feature films and 3 shorts. Counting the shorts as ½ of a movie, that meant he had made 7½ films. So what should he call his next film? Well, how about 111.1? Oh, wait, that’s in base 2. So let’s try . Looks a lot better.

All those early features were in the school of what ... Read more »

I ♥ Huckabees


A total disaster by the director of the wonderful Three Kings. He also directed Flirting With Disaster, which we liked a lot. This time he flirted too much. It stars Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin as “existential detectives,” a promising idea, and the ubiquitous Jude Law, so I stuck it out to the end, hoping to strike a ♦, but ended up ... Read more »

I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang


I can’t imagine how I managed to go this long without seeing this film. Now that I have seen it, I can say that it is simply one of the most important films ever made, and one of the best.

Films of social protest were not common in 1932, and would not be common again for many years, as the terrible Hays Code would not have allowed most of this movie to be shown, particularly the ... Read more »

I Am Love

(Io sono l'amore, Italy, 2009)

Tilda Swinton learned to speak Russian-accented Italian to do this film, which is impressive. It’s the story of a wealthy clan that begins with the old man appointing his successors at a family dinner. It is well-acted and looks gorgeous, and didn’t really involve me. It was interesting to me because it was the first time I’d seen Marisa Berenson in a long time, though I see she has worked ... Read more »

I Capture the Castle

(UK, 2003)

One of those quirky British movies I find irresistible. Movies like this are seldom made by the Hollywood sausage machine. If you want something a bit different, this is a good one.

I Confess


The plot of this film involves three of the Top Four Idiotic Practices of the Catholic Church: confession, celibacy, and absolution. (The fourth, actually Number One: Papal infallibility.) Montgomery Clift hears a confession of murder from the janitor of his church. Monty tells him he must go to the police, but the bastard doesn’t, and through several plot twists and turns the priest is ... Read more »

I Could Go On Singing

(UK/USA, 1963)

I Could Go on Singing (UK/USA, 1963) I yield to no one in my admiration of the late, great, John D. MacDonald. I know several people who love his writing as much as I do, but none more. And I’ve never heard of another writer who doesn’t admire him. I have read every book he ever wrote … except two. One is Weep For Me, his second book, that until recently had ... Read more »

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore


I’m sometimes amazed that anyone is still making quirky little movies like this. Ruth, played by Melanie Lynskey, comes home to find that she has been burgled. They took her laptop, and her grandmother’s silverware. The cops make it clear that they aren’t going to do much about such a penny-ante crime, and she is so incensed that she starts her own hunt. This leads her to Tony (Elijah ... Read more »

“I Know Where I’m Going!”

(UK, 1945)

Here’s a good example of how a good but fairly standard romance can be elevated to greatness by good cinematic technique. The script is good, if predictable, the acting is competent and in the case of Wendy Hiller, even excellent. But I think the movie would have been forgettable if not for the cinematic touches by The Archers, the brilliant long-time team of Michael Powell and Emeric ... Read more »