Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Ocean’s Eleven


I never saw the original, Rat Pack version of this, from 1960. This is the re-make by Steven Soderbergh, and a bit of a departure for him. It’s fairly smart, with snappy dialogue, even though you don’t believe it for a second. An amusing night at the movies.

Ocean’s Twelve


The first time they stole $160,000,000. This time they have to give it back. Has some of the attractions of Eleven, but tries too hard to top itself, too many times. By the end I didn’t quite know who had done what to who. Whom. I suspect there were gaping plot holes, but wasn’t interested enough to root them out.

Odd Man Out

(UK, 1947)

James Mason is a soldier for “the cause,” which is never specified to be the IRA or the Sinn Féin, but obviously is. He has been in prison, got out, and holed up for many months in a safe house. A robbery is planned, and he is leading it, but the others have doubts, feeling he is a little stir crazy. And he is. In the middle of it all he freezes up. There is a struggle for a pistol and he ... Read more »

Of Mice and Men


I guess we all have gaps in our experience, and even a guy who has seen as many movies as I have is bound to have missed a few classics. Somehow I had never seen the original, nor had I read the book. I had seen a few clips of George and Lennie talking about the rabbits, but I didn’t know how it ended. Thus I was stunned when George put a bullet through Lennie’s head. I mean, I Read more »

Off the Map


This is a special little film made by the actor Campbell Scott, who also made Big Night. He’s definitely an actor’s director. It’s hard to describe the delights of this movie without giving too much away, and a plain description doesn’t actually sound that appealing. It’s told from the viewpoint of a 12-year-old girl living deep in the New Mexico countryside with ... Read more »

The Office

(UK, 2001)

BBC sitcom. DVD. The Office only lasted two seasons, which is something the British do a lot more than Americans, preferring not to prolong a funny idea until it’s all used up, stale. This one is absolutely wonderful. No laugh track, no slapstick, no huge laugh lines that real people would never say. No gags. Just the worst boss you have ever seen, a real nightmare, who only wants to be ... Read more »

An Officer and a Gentleman


If you thought Marine boot camp in Full Metal Jacket was tough, take a look at Navy Aviation Officer Candidate School. There are two main differences. The D.I. is not permitted to actually strike you (you are a potential gentleman), and you also have to study your ass off in a lot of subjects that never came up at Parris Island. A lot of this was familiar to me ... Read more »

The Official Story

(La historia oficial, Argentina, 1985)

There’s no way I could get very deeply into the swamp that is Argentine politics. There was Juan Peron, who the Argentines apparently worshiped, then his wife Eva, who Andrew Lloyd Webber was interested in, and his second wife, Isabel, who was president from 1974-76. She was overthrown by a military junta, exiled, and is still alive today in Spain. She is 87, and if she returns to her ... Read more »


(Iran, 2006)

In Iran women can’t attend men’s sporting events. Some girls who are also soccer fanatics try to get into the stadium for the big game with Bahrain. The acting is poor, the writing is boring. The Iranian regime are barbarians. Militant Islamists are barbarians. I don’t even like peaceful Muslims very much. And soccer is a stupid game. So what’s to like? Nothing.


(Norway, 2007)

There is a genre of film that has no real plot, and enchants merely from the small and usually odd details of life. Americans are not usually very good at this sort of thing, they are usually from somewhere else. One of our favorites of this type of movie is Kitchen Stories, by the same man who directed this one. This one isn’t as funny as that one, and frankly, ... Read more »