Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Bang the Drum Slowly


Here’s an unusual thing: A baseball movie with very little baseball in it. And something else: A movie about a dying athlete that doesn’t try to wring tears from you in any way it can. What a relief after the bathetic The Pride of the Yankees, which we saw just before. We see action on the field, but it’s single plays, mostly just to establish that these are ... Read more »

The Bank Job


Here’s a pearl beyond price: An action/caper/heist movie without a single car chase, impossible 20-story fall onto a wet napkin, gun battle where 10,000 rounds manage to hit nobody, or chase through a burning warehouse that produces no deadly smoke. Not only that, it’s all true! … well, mostly. It’s based on the Baker Street robbery that happened in London in 1971. It’s not that well-known ... Read more »

The Bank Job (Second review)

(UK, 2007)

I think British people would know a lot more about this based-on-fact story than I did, going in. It’s about what came to be known as the Baker Street Robbery, which at the time was the largest amount of money stolen from anyone, ever. And it wasn’t pulled off by an Ocean’s Eleven type gang of genius specialists, but by ordinary working stiffs. That they got as ... Read more »

Bank Shot


There are no funnier books ever written than Donald E. Westlake’s stories of John Dortmunder and his hard-luck criminal gang. No less than seven of them have been filmed (including two I haven’t seen, one in Italy, starring Teo Teocoli, and a German one, with Herbert Knaup), and Dortmunder has been played by Robert Redford, George C. Scott, Paul Le Mat, Christopher Lambert, and Martin ... Read more »



That’s not a typo; this film has nothing to do with our new president. This is a movie of images, some beautiful, some profoundly disturbing. No dialogue at all. If you have seen Koyaanisqatsi and/or Powaqqatsi, you’ll know what I mean. This one is by Ron Fricke, who worked on Koyaanisqatsi and then made this ... Read more »

The Barbarian Invasions

(Les Invasions barbares, Canada, France, 2003)

Winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film, 2003. An excellent film that, at some moments, reminded me of Woody Allen at his best: intelligent people discussing ideas and remembering better days. (I don’t quite get what the title means, though it is mentioned a few times. It seems peripheral to the story.) A man is dying, and his estranged son has decided to ease father’s last ... Read more »



One of those weird little pictures that lives or dies by whether you identify with the odd characters in an out-of-the-way little place. This one works, and I’m glad it found an audience. But … Cedric the Entertainer? He’s a very talented guy, but the name just irritates me.

Barbershop 2


Not as good as the first one. But it contains a pretty ingenious plug. Next door to the barbershop is the beauty shop, run by Queen Latifah. And before the show there is a trailer for … guess what? Beauty Shop.

Barney’s Version

(Canada, 2010)

The author of the book, Mordecai Richler, wrote another book called The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, from which an excellent little movie was made. But sometimes a movie has a lot of interesting parts, and they just don’t all come together for an interesting story. I don’t demand linear storytelling, nor that there be a specific point the writer is trying to ... Read more »

Barry Lyndon


How does one describe Barry Lyndon? How does one describe every painting in a large museum of masterworks? There is no question that this is the most beautiful movie ever made. Not only that, but I can think of no other movie where every frame is perfectly composed. There are outdoor scenes where he must have waited hours for the ... Read more »