Benjamin Strong

  • Blogs

    December 19, 2008

    Tom Cruise in Valkyrie: George W. Bush With An Eyepatch

    Nazism continues to be shorthand in our popular culture for evil incarnate, but in recent years our received moral assumptions about World War II have been challenged by two landmark movies--Paul Verhoeven's Black Book and Jean-Pierre Melville's Army of Shadows. While acknowledging the bravery of th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 21, 2008

    Frost/Nixon's Secret Weapon: Kevin Bacon

    When Ron Howard's big screen adaptation of the Peter Morgan play, Frost/Nixon, opens two weeks from today, a round of hosannas will greet the film's leads, Frank Langella (who plays the 37th POTUS in exile) and Michael Sheen (who plays talk show host David Frost). But here's hoping that some of the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 20, 2008

    Shocker: Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn Not Totally Maybe Getting Along

    Reese Witherspoon has denied rumors that she and Vince Vaughn didn't hit it off on the set of Four Christmases, an upcoming movie in which the two actors play a married couple who plan to spend the holiday with all four of their divorced parents. If Witherspoon wants us to believe these denials, how ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 18, 2008

    Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey May Not Actually Be The Future of Storytelling

    It is understandable that Zadie Smith, in the current New York Review of Books, would proclaim the death of the traditional nineteenth-century novel (or the novel of "lyrical Realism," as she calls it). Smith, as a practitioner of the form herself, sees quite clearly that the avant-garde, anti-narra ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 17, 2008

    Quantum of Solace: Most Successful Bond Ever?

    Kingsley Amis once wrote that those readers who disapprove of James Bond make Ian Fleming's super spy "sound like a systematic onslaught on everything decent and sensible in modern life." Amis, a Bond enthusiast who authored his own 007 novel under the pseudonym Robert Markham, rejected the idea tha ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 14, 2008

    Bond Villain Comes Home For A Christmas Tale, Recieves No Solace

    What is probably the biggest film the French actor Mathieu Amalric has ever been in opens today in theaters across the country. That film is Quantum of Solace, and it may be that hereafter American audiences will finally start to recognize the actor's wet-eyed, puppy-dog mug. Amalric, an icon in con ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 10, 2008

    Diane Lane Is Better Than the Oxygen Network

    Diane Lane needs to extricate herself from the Oxygen ghetto. This was my first thought—followed by John Cusack needs to extricate himself from the Oxygen ghetto—while watching the "Live Out Loud" network's broadcast last night of Must Love Dogs (2005), a rote romcom about two divorcees who are ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 7, 2008

    "Hot Hate Sex" and Elton John's Revenge in 27 Dresses

    Is Elton John actually considered cool these days? And if so, is Almost Famous to blame? In Cameron Crowe's self-mythologizing 2000 picture about fictional rock band Stillwater, the music of Bernie Taupin's mouthpiece figures in a key scene. Riding in the Stillwater tour bus the morning after some b ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 5, 2008

    The Conspiracy Begins This December?

    With Barack Obama's victory last night, what some view as an eight-year long national nightmare will finally come to a close in January. So it was somewhat ominous that, during its election coverage last night, CNN repeatedly ran an ad for an upcoming movie insisting that "The conspiracy begins this ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 3, 2008

    Getting into Football Season with North Dallas Forty

    Writing about the Giants's victory over Dallas yesterday, the New York Times's Joe Lapointe makes knowing reference to North Dallas Forty, the former Cowboys quarterback Peter Gent's autobiographical 1973 novel. Sound of the City has never read that book, but we much admire the 1979 film adaptation ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 30, 2008

    John Carpenter's Halloween Movies: Still Mostly Great

    "Happy, Happy Halloween—Halloween—Halloween. . ." Sung to the tune of "London Bridges," that's the insinuating jingle accompanying the TV ads for Silver Shamrock masks, and once you've seen Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (1982) you'll never get that blasted melody out of your head. John Carpe ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 29, 2008

    Halloween Special: Billy Wilder's Sunset Blvd.

    With Halloween arriving on Friday, cable channels are as thick as theaters with apt seasonal programming, meaning you can catch Saw V at your local multiplex or Saws I through IV at home. Which is why we were so impressed with TCM’s inspired broadcast last night of Billy Wilder’s 1950 noir, Suns ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 28, 2008

    Saw V and High School Musical 3: Two Heads of the Same Ugly Beast

    Three years ago I was assigned the task of reviewing Saw II for the Voice, and called it a "cursory dud, rushed to theaters exactly a year after its amusing predecessor." In the years since, I haven't kept up with the franchise's annual October sequels, but if the reviews for Saw V are evidence, Jig ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 24, 2008

    These DirecTV Blue Screen Commercials Need To End Now

    I was aware of, but before last night had never seen, the DirecTV commercials in which actors hawking the satellite service are superimposed via blue screen technology into scenes from their old films. In the spot I watched, Christie Brinkley, treading water naked in a motel pool, tempts Chevy Chase ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 23, 2008

    Hulk Smash, or Smashing The Incredible Hulk

    Louis Leterrier's summer dud, The Incredible Hulk, is out this week on DVD, and is available in full screen, widescreen, Blu-Ray, and—most incredibly—a three-disc special edition (no action figure included). The release affords another opportunity not to blast Leterrier's take on the Marvel supe ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 21, 2008

    Jennifer Montgomery's Deliverance Parody Opens BAMcinematek's Migrating Forms

    Deliverance, John Boorman's muscular 1972 classic about a weekend of male bonding gone all wrong, is a film that seems to inspire ridicule, pastiche and parody—easy-to-chew fodder for The Simpsons or South Park. Perhaps that's because its four suburban male protagonists aren't so much characters a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 17, 2008

    Not So Happy-Go-Lucky: Back in Time with Mike Leigh's Naked

    Mike Leigh's latest (in Manhattan theaters now) is Happy-Go-Lucky, an apt title for a film about London's most optimistic kindergarten teacher (Sally Hawkins). Leigh will be on hand for a screening of Happy-Go-Lucky at Scandinavia House this Sunday, as one of the Museum of the Moving Image's Pinewo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 16, 2008

    Oliver Stone's W.: Condoleeza Rice Bobblehead Edition

    In his review this week of W., the Voice's own J. Hoberman dissects the shortcomings of Oliver Stone's latest POTUS opus, noting that it is "a film full of cartoon characterizations"—as if a movie about George W. Bush's first term could be anything else. By the standards of domestic psychodrama, W ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 13, 2008

    Sign of the Apocalypse: Beverly Hills Chihuahua Is #1

    Disney's Beverly Hills Chihuahua was number one at the domestic box office this past weekend, and so you should probably steel yourself for a few more articles like this one (from yesterday's New York Times) attempting to predict the future of the movie industry based on one lousy hit. Times reporte ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 10, 2008

    Rocknrolla's Gerard Butler Was Once A Sexy Bloodsucker in Wes Craven Presents Dracula 2000

    Not to get all Andy Rooney on our readers, but have you ever seen a movie so forgettable that you literally forgot you'd seen it? It was only after several minutes of watching MyTV Network's broadcast last night of Wes Craven Presents Dracula 2000 that I realized I'd actually seen the film during it ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 9, 2008

    Angelina Jolie Is Terrible in Clint Eastwood's Changeling

    To paraphrase H.L. Mencken, nobody ever went broke underestimating the tastes of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. And so it's possible that the "buzz" about Clint Eastwood's latest, Changeling, is true and that lead actress Angelina Jolie is destined for an Oscar nomination. But sinc ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 7, 2008

    Steven Soderbergh's Che: Might As Well Buy the T-Shirt

    If you've seen the T-shirt, you can probably skip the movie. Plenty of folks will be seeking scalped tickets to the New York Film Festival's sold-out screening of Che tonight at the Ziegfeld Theater, but Sound of the City can't recommend you join them. It's not as if you won't get your chance to see ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 6, 2008

    Sex and the City: Full-Frontal Self-Parody

    If it strikes you as churlish or belated to complain about Sex and the City: The Movie, now out on DVD, consider that the much-needed backlash for another odious summer hit, The Dark Knight, has only recently begun. Sex and the City: The Movie is episodic television brought wholesale to the big scre ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 3, 2008

    Antonio Campos's Afterschool: Gossip Girl For Those Who Don't Know Better

    Like the squawking teachers in a Peanuts holiday special, the boarding school instructors in Antonio Campos's debut, Afterschool, are slyly kept out of the frame (or else made blurry to us) for most of the picture's first half. Then, when Campos finally brings these adults into focus—after two pop ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 1, 2008

    Hong Sang-Soo's Night and Day at the New York Film Festival

    Jean Eustache's The Mother and the Whore has cast a long shadow over our movies since its 1973 release, but because it screens infrequently and because it remains unavailable on DVD (second-hand VHS copies start at $47.95 on Amazon) many young filmgoers know of it solely from a poster belonging to J ... More >>

  • News

    October 1, 2008
  • Blogs

    September 25, 2008

    Andre Techine's The Witnesses: Just Plain Good With People

    The Witnesses: erotic, not lurid The 46th annual New York Film Festival opens tomorrow, and as the Voice's own J. Hoberman, one of the festival's five programmers, puts it, "Cannes, as usual, was the prospector's mother lode." Which means, among other things, that the Frenchies are coming. NYFF 200 ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 24, 2008
  • Blogs

    September 23, 2008

    New Free Michael Moore Film: Is This the Kerryization of Obama?

    In calling Senator Barack Obama a "dusky Dukakis," Slate's Christopher Hitchens may have been a tad premature (not to mention rhetorically careless), but there's no doubt that the Democratic candidate has been running a cautious campaign. And so now that Michael Moore is offering his help, I have to ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 22, 2008

    Max Ophuls, Still Way Ahead of Clint Eastwood and the Rest of Hollywood

    After a screening on Friday of a restored print of Max Ophuls' Lola Montes (1955)—which will play at the Ziegfield Theater on October 4, as part of the 46th New York Film Festival—I came home to an AMC broadcast of Midway (1976), the kitschy WWII sausagefest starring Charleton Heston. Not to com ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 17, 2008

    David Foster Wallace: Saluting a Writer Who Constantly Looked Outward, Past His Own Demons

    Benjamin Strong contributes a David Foster Wallace remembrance in this week's Voice: Suffering, in hindsight, was Wallace's one true subject, his constant star. "There's something particularly sad about [America]," Wallace told Salon's Laura Miller in 1996, "something that doesn't have very much to ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 12, 2008

    His Girl Friday is No What Happens in Vegas

    When the philosopher Stanley Cavell coined the term "comedy of remarriage" to name those classic screwball films in which a bickering couple must divorce before they can discover that they're actually made for each other, he didn't have in mind Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher. What Happens in Vegas ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 11, 2008

    George Clooney Endorses Sex Toy

    With Burn After Reading, the new film by 2008 Oscar Best Picture winners Joel and Ethan Coen, opening in theaters tomorrow, it's time to ask an important question about one of the movie's stars. Does George Clooney have an endorsement deal with The Liberator Ramp? (So NSFW!) I ask because last Octo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 10, 2008

    Pierce Brosnan, Resurgent in Ira Sachs' Married Life

    Two years ago, when Daniel Craig assumed the 007 mantle (and in the process made the weather-beaten face a sex symbol again) his fired predecessor, Pierce Brosnan, was at last liberated from a role that never suited him. No one was crazy about Brosnan's tenure as Bond, least of all Brosnan's fans, w ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 9, 2008

    Gulp More Orange Juice, Anna Faris!

    Since calling out The House Bunny yesterday for its subliminal skateploitation, I've been feeling remiss that I didn't also acknowledge the movie's saving grace, Anna Faris. (Even worse, I spelled the actress's last name wrong). The consistent theme among House Bunny's reviewers is that the movie is ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 8, 2008

    Anna Faris, Inadvertent Skateploitator?

    Located at 9457 San Fernando Road in Sun Valley, California, The Pink Motel is an iconic site, used 50 to 60 times a year in films and television (e.g. Season Seven, Episode Two of MacGyver) according to owner Monty Thomulka. So there isn't anything particularly odd about the motel appearing in The ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 4, 2008

    Farewell to Don LaFontaine, Voiceover Master

    Can any New Yorker still remember a time before Regal Cinemas' Twenty (now called First Look), the infomercial assault that the theater chain euphemistically refers to as pre-feature advertising? It has been decades since theatergoers could purchase a movie ticket and then sit peacefully in the thea ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 3, 2008

    Biggest Celebrities at the Republican National Convention? Gary Sinise? Fred Thompson? Reagan?

    Ronald Reagan, our 43rd president, was the biggest movie star on Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota—even if, like President George W. Bush, he was there via remote transmission. Reagan, of course, has been dead for four years, and his most recent film was in ... More >>

  • Specials

    September 6, 2005
  • Film

    June 28, 2005
  • Books

    May 31, 2005


    Getting hot and bothered on the 'pork chop' of Manhattan and beyond

  • Books

    May 31, 2005
  • Film

    May 3, 2005
  • Film

    April 26, 2005
  • Film

    April 12, 2005
  • Film

    March 22, 2005
  • Film

    March 8, 2005
  • Books

    June 22, 2004

    Hot Type

    VLS Beach Reads: Detectives, drugs, denim, and an unusually high number of birds

  • Film

    May 18, 2004

    Next to Godliness

    The second coming of Bergmania: Six takes on a Swedish master's spiritual investigations

  • Specials

    March 16, 2004
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