Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Ugly Truth


Why is it that Meg Ryan faking an orgasm in a restaurant—an unlikely situation, I think we could all agree—is hilarious, a classic that no one will ever forget, while Katherine Heigl having an involuntary orgasm in a restaurant as a result of forgetting to take off her vibrating knickers just lies there, flat, dead on arrival? I sure don’t know, but that’s the case. Nothing in this movie ... Read more »



I was expecting a poor-woman’s Aeon Flux, and was surprised. It was better than AF, at least at first. After a while it got tedious, as it only had one thing to do, which was put Ultraviolet (Milla Jovovich) up against thousands and thousands of bad guys at once, and have her kill them all, very fetchingly. The basic tactic of the bad ... Read more »

Umberto D.


If I had to pick an Italian director as the “best,” it would not be Fellini, but Vittorio de Sica, even though I’ve seen only a small fraction of De Sica’s films and I’ve seen almost all of Fellini’s. Federico was all about fantasy, even in his most realistic films. His metaphors were the church and the world of the theater. De Sica (at his best; I admit ... Read more »

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

(Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, France, 1964)

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg) (France, 1964) It’s all in French, and it’s all sung, every word of dialogue. I first saw this in 1966 and it had a profound effect on my life. I had just gone through a shattering emotional break-up, and was floundering around at Michigan State, not quite sure what to do with myself.

Then here comes this simple story of two ... Read more »

Un Chien Andalou

(The Andalusian Dog, France, 1928)

Written and directed by Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali. Roger Ebert has this to say in his excellent review: “In collaborating on the scenario, their method was to toss shocking images or events at one another. Both had to agree before a shot was included in the film. ‘No idea or image that might lend itself to a rational explanation of any kind would be accepted,’ Bunuel remembered. ... Read more »



The real Louis Zamperini died a few months before this was released. I don’t know if he ever saw a preview. I hope so. It is a remarkable life story. After finishing eighth in the 5000-meters at Hitler’s Olympics in 1936, he became a bombardier in a B-24 in the Pacific. His first plane was shot up, and the second one was in terrible shape, so bad that it basically came apart in the air ... Read more »

Unconditional Love


Excellent little gem starring Kathy Bates, who is never bad, and Rupert Everett. When her husband leaves her she takes off on a wild adventure, attending the funeral of a gay singer she worshiped. She gets involved with his lover … and the movie gets a little wild here, but it kept me going. A great performance by one Meredith Eaton (4’ 3″), as a kick-ass midget.

Under Capricorn


Alfred Hitchcock was just coming off his experiment with Rope, where he tried to make the whole film in real time with as few camera cuts as possible. He was limited by how many minutes a camera of that time could film, which was about ten minutes. He later called that a stunt. But he was still interested in the idea of long, long takes. And there are a lot of them here. Such long takes ... Read more »

Under Seige


Most action movies are so bad that I become grateful for one that makes at least a nod toward believability. The whole premise is preposterous, naturally, but that needn’t stop me enjoying it, if the hero uses his head instead of just his muscles. Unexpectedly, this one does okay in that regard. Some seriously screwy people hijack the USS Missouri on its way to ... Read more »

Under the Dome


I wasn’t greatly impressed by the book by Stephen King. I’m a big fan, but I didn’t think it was his best. The idea is very simple: One day without any warning, an invisible dome appears over a small town, shutting it off from the outside world. Anything that straddled the line where the dome appeared is cut into two pieces. (To show how movies almost always make things bigger than the ... Read more »