Mystery and Message

Photographer and teacher Michael Demkowicz on "What We Talk About When We Talk About Art."

0 Comments15 Minutes

The Quotable Renshaw

One of this film critics' favorite quotable quotes comes from Roger Ebert: "A movie is not about what it is about. It is about how it is about it." But now I'll carry another knockout definition of criticism in my back pocket to help clarify matters...

1 Comment1 Minutes

The Awful Truth: "Portlandia" and How to Succeed in "Journalism"

"Don't waste my time" — that's the prevailing attitude for most readers on the Internet. But here's the thing: If you don't take time to read, re-read, discuss, and reflect on what you're reading, then you are wasting your time. I know because I'm guilty of this. I can spend hours perusing the Internet, and the next day I won't think about any of it. At all. That was time wasted.

1 Comment8 Minutes

In Honor of Sister Rose Pacatte

I'm delighted to see people taking notice of Sister Rose Pacatte, who goes about her work with a spirit of curiosity, fearlessness, discernment, and humility. She doesn't write with a sanctimonious, presumptuous, or condescending tone. She writes and speaks, rather, as a friend on the journey, sharing insights and impressions without any heavy-handed piety, without ranting.

2 Comments3 Minutes

A Pledge of Allegiance: In Search of Beauty at Good Letters

Here is an index of all of the Good Letters posts I turned in. Some of the time I offered reluctantly at the deadline, as I still wasn't quite satisfied after half a dozen drafts. Others I wrote in one swift draft and was completely satisfied. But overall, when I look back at two decades of film reviews, this is the body of work that best fulfills the goals I've set for myself as a reviewer.

0 Comments4 Minutes

A (Temporary) Farewell to Film Review Work

Writing, I find, is a joy and an adventure. But it's not much of a job. In fact, you need another job in able to afford to do it.

19 Comments8 Minutes

Over the Moon: A Critic in Top Form

Sure, there are some critics out there who strive to seem superior to others. But most critics are just fans of movies... such big fans that they like to examine and talk about everything that's in a movie. Today, I came across a reminder of what a great critic can accomplish.

0 Comments4 Minutes

On "Difficult" Movies

As we're in a season busy with film festivals, I'm reading reviews of what sound like extremely challenging movies. Some of those reviews sound like the kind of comments that might provoke filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami to repeat what he said here...

4 Comments9 Minutes