Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Jackass Number Two


This is the only way we could ever have seen a Jackass movie, as a second feature with something we really wanted to see. I warn you, America, there will be more of these. Getting our Subway sandwiches before going to the theater, the girl behind the counter asked us what movies we were seeing. Lee said The Depahted (actually, she said ... Read more »



For people of my generation, it is impossible to see that bloody pink dress with bits of JFK’s brains still on it without choking up. This is a fairly good telling of the assassination, death, and then the following four days of national mourning when Jackie was a rock, an iron lady, orchestrating every last detail of the state funeral, giving the nation something to remember as we dealt ... Read more »

Jackie Brown


Quentin Tarantino made this after his success with Pulp Fiction, from the novel Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard. The story is that he was very worried that Dutch Leonard would hate what he did with the screenplay, so he gave it to him with much trepidation. Not only did Leonard like it, he said it was the best adaptation of any of the ... Read more »

Jamaica Inn


1820, George IV, Cornwall, crashing seas, piracy. It seems to me that there ought to be a different terms for these Cornish pirates (and maybe there is, and if you know what it is, I’d like to hear it). I think of a “pirate” as somebody who attacks a ship at sea, from his own pirate boat. Here, the dastards take down beacons during storms at night, confusing the helmsmen and causing them ... Read more »

James’ Journey to Jerusalem

(Massa'ot James Be'eretz Hakodesh, Israel, 2003)

I enjoyed this film, which is presented as a modern-day fable concerning a young African on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but I have to say I don’t know what the moral was unless it is Never Trust a Jew. Since this was made by an Israeli, that’s probably not it. But everyone James meets in Israel, without exception, is a thief and a cheat, interested only in shafting everybody in sight. ... Read more »

The Jane Austen Book Club


Here’s one of those acting bonanza movies with a cast of some of the best actresses working today, and a script from a popular novel. Maria Bello, Emily Blunt, Kathy Baker (who I persist in mistaking for Kathy Bates when I see the name), Amy Brenneman, some new young ladies, plus Jimmy Smits and Hugh Dancy. The idea is a good one. Five women and one man gather once a month to discuss a ... Read more »

Jane Eyre

(UK/USA, 2011)

This story by Charlotte Brontë has been filmed no less than twenty-two times, all the way back to 1914. Somehow, I was able to avoid every one of them until now, so I won’t be comparing it to past performances. This is a beautiful production, great photography, great acting, great adaptation. But it’s still a gothic romance, and I’m afraid that’s a genre that holds few attractions for me, ... Read more »

Japanese Story

(Australia, 2003)

Toni Collette is wonderful. I can’t say much about the story because it contains one of the most surprising twists in the middle since Psycho, but it isn’t a thriller at all. It simply doesn’t go where you expect it to go. Recommended.


(Mexico, 2002)

We hereby bestow the coveted “Gerry” Award for Cinematic Pointlessness to Mexican director Carlos Reygadas. This is a new award, nominated and voted on solely by Lee and myself, for the most egregious example of pretension, sloppiness, artsy-fartsyness, and most of all being the boooooriiiingest movie of the year (or month, week, depending on how often we decide to give it out). Named in ... Read more »

Jason Bourne

(USA, UK, China, 2016)

It was too much to hope for that this fourth installment of the Bourne franchise (fifth, if you count The Bourne Legacy, a Bourne without Jason Bourne) (which I liked better than most of the critics) would be as good as the first three. My biggest hope was that it wouldn’t be awful, and it’s not. It has most of the same pulse-pounding tension of the others, maybe ... Read more »