“Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (1984): A Sung Masterpiece (Review)

This article was originally published on the Cinematic Katzenjammer in May 2019 for the 35th Anniversary of this film’s original release. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a masterpiece. It is a glorious fun-house roller coaster made by disturbed geniuses in perfect harmony with each other. Their goal – anything goes. That opening […]

“Patton” (1970): All Glory Is Fleeting

“For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of triumph, a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeters, musicians and strange animals from conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conqueror rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. […]

The Cinematic Constructions of Steven Spielberg: Disagreement with Film

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published on the Cinematic Katzenjammer in May, 2018. The following article is subjective, deeply personal, and politically charged in ways that are sure to upset at least one person. I hope you’ll consider it anyway. In 2016 I reviewed Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge and proudly proclaimed it as the […]

The Cinematic Constructions of Christopher Nolan: Part II – Mind Games

This article was originally published on the Cinematic Katzenjammer in March 2018, as the second of three parts. Part I can be found here. In Part I we talked big picture construction – heroic virtue established by resistance to nihilism, representations of fear, and the condition of the Joker. For Part II, we’re going small. […]

“Onward” (2020): Pixar’s Fake Gamer Moment (Review)

★★ Two years ago, I saw Ready Player One. My feelings for that film went beyond professional appreciation. It touched a nerve the way no movie had in probably at least a decade before it. What I liked most about it was how true it felt to the experience of having a deep personal connection […]

The Christmas Ethos of “Iron Man Three”

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published on the Cinematic Katzenjammer in June, 2016. Iron Man Three is my favorite film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yes – that one. It’s the rare threequel that’s better than both predecessors on merit, action, character, and closure all in one. It’s one of the best in the […]

“Frozen II” (2019): Letting Conflict Go

There are a total of eight songs in the narration of Frozen II. Exactly one of them actually tells a story. That’s the pithy version of why it pales in comparison to the first. Think about how many songs in the original Frozen told the story. “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” “Love is […]

The Cinematic Constructions of Christopher Nolan: Part I – Heroism

This article was originally published on the Cinematic Katzenjammer in March 2018, as the first of three parts. Part II can be found here. Welcome to a new feature called “Cinematic Constructions.” My aim with it is to explore shared or contrasted themes, patterns, and characters in an auteur’s filmography. We tend to notice the […]

The Human Struggle: The Emotional Brilliance of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published on the Cinematic Katzenjammer in November 2017. Spider-Man is a duality. From one radioactive spider bite, an awkward, gangly wallflower of a science geek teenager suddenly acquired bullet-time reflexes, herculean strength, acrobatic agility, and a sixth sense. All that, as opposed to, say, cancer. Do you remember how […]

The Academy Awards (2019): Oscars So Trite II

Welcome to the second annual “Oscars So Trite” feature. Another evening of sanctimony and cliché. How wonderful and extraordinary for the Academy to engage in the courageous act of patting itself on the back for another year of simply existing, making an occasional good movie or two. A red carpet ceremony with a who’s who […]