Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan



I haven’t seen this movie in a long, long time. I remember I liked it, but I’m including it here because I don’t have any movies beginning with the letter Z. I promise I’ll look at it again one of these days, and review it.


(Algeria, France, 1969)

Z (1969) (Algeria, France) Z was a letter written on walls in Greece as the country was descending into a right-wing hell. It stood for “He Lives!” to the liberals of the time. And “he” was Grigoris Lambrakis, a Greek politician who was assassinated. His funeral was attended by 500,000 angry people. But the murder investigation was hindered by a fascistic and fanatical right-wing military ... Read more »

Zack and Miri Make a Porno


This movie managed to do something very odd to me, and I’m groping for words to describe it. I can’t say it offended me. I believe I’m impossible to offend with obscenity or profanity; the only words I find offensive are racist terms, and those only when used in a certain way. A black character here says “nigger” a lot, for instance, and it doesn’t offend me at all. I can’t say it grossed ... Read more »



Based on an illustrated children’s book by Chris van Allsburg, author of Jumanji, which was only a so-so fantasy film, and The Polar Express, which was a damn good one. I’ve never seen any of these books, so I don’t know how faithful the movie versions are. I didn’t realize it, but this is a sequel to Jumanji.

There is a ... Read more »


(Czech, 2003)

… is a very small rural town in Czechoslovakia in 1943. A city woman, a nurse who used to be a medical student before the Nazis arrived, is involved in the Resistance and has to flee the Gestapo and hide out with a man whose life she saved by giving blood when he was injured at a sawmill. She hates it at first, but learns to adjust. This is familiar territory, we know she will fall ... Read more »



It’s incredible to realize just how famous Leonard Zelig was in the 1920’s and ‘30s, and how almost totally forgotten he is today. They held a ticker-tape parade for him down Wall Street. They wrote dozens of songs about the Human Chameleon, and made up dances. There was the huge bigamy scandal, when it turned out that several of his personalities had married and fathered children. And of ... Read more »

Zero Dark Thirty


Here we have a movie that went from favorite to also-ran at the Oscars in the space of about a month. Which is sad, because I regard the winner, Argo, as nothing more than a pretty good movie, while this is a masterpiece. And it was all over politics. Specifically, over two questions. The questions are, did this movie glorify torture and/or assert that it’s a ... Read more »

The Zero Theorem

(UK, Romania, France, USA, 2013)

I didn’t know how a Terry Gilliam film could have come and gone without me even being even aware of it. Then I went to Box Office Mojo, and the answer became apparent. Domestic gross: $257,706. Foreign gross: $513,000. Total earnings: $770,706! The total profits from popcorn in a Star Wars movie would be a lot more than that. I couldn’t ... Read more »

Zhou Yu’s Train

(Zhou Yu de huo che, China, 2002)

We see a great many foreign films. I get the impression that, taken as a whole, films from other countries are more thoughtful, better written, more likely to be out of the box than films from the US. Hollywood makes some great movies, no question, and we are the masters of the big budget extravaganza … which is often just awful.

But something else is at work here. Only the ... Read more »

Ziegfeld Follies


Flo Ziegfeld is in heaven reminiscing about the great shows he put on. This thin plot device is not really needed to string together a series of outstanding dance routines and vaudeville-type comic sketches, many of them by people who never worked for Ziegfeld. I got lazy and used some information from Wikipedia here.