Category archives for Films & Video Games

“A Few Good Men” (1992): No One Handled the Truth

In A Few Good Men, adversarial parties to a court martial prove themselves capable of confronting part of the truth, but never all of it. My childhood owes a lot to this film. No, I’m not one of those kids who watched it in the ’90s and then decided from that moment onward that my […]

“Tenet” (2020): Nolan’s Palindrome (Review)

★★★ Entropic inversion and square symmetry. I promised to keep this review short, since Tenet did all the talking and far too much of it. So you may not need more from me than just a concept-illustrating phrase. While the Sator Square is referenced throughout, do not confuse it as the theme of the film. […]

“Dragged Across Concrete” (2019): Within the Inhumane

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published on the Cinematic Katzenjammer in March, 2019. ★★★★ You know what movies could benefit from more of these days? Violence. Not the kind where human beings are made of water balloons and discharge blood like fire hoses – the kind that’s disturbing, unnerving, difficult to witness and decidedly […]

“Saving Private Ryan” (1998): “Terrible Arithmetic”

“Dear Madam, I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement . . . that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the […]

“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. If for no other reason than because I will begin my celebration of Steven Spielberg by first talking about a […]

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 […]

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 […]

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” – The Six Hour Problem

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published on the Cinematic Katzenjammer in December, 2018. Sometimes obsessing over the issue of time will destroy your movie faster than time being a plot hole. Star Wars: The Last Jedi has this problem. Movies do funny things to our brains, specifically with our conception of time. One of […]

The Academy Awards (2018): Oscars So Trite

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published on the Cinematic Katzenjammer in January, 2019. “The Oscars are coming!” That used to be exciting. Now it sounds like something a new Paul Revere should be saying while out of breath and on his way to a dumb rally. Yes, the Sun has once again made its […]

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” – Anthropomorphizing a Galaxy Far, Far Away

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published on the Cinematic Katzenjammer in January, 2016. Dr. Manhattan: “Don’t you see the futility of asking me to save a world that I no longer have any stake in?.” Silk Spectre II: “Jon, don’t be ridiculous! Earth’s too important to hinge on one relationship!” Dr. Manhattan: “Not to […]

“Star Wars” vs. “Rogue One” – Canons of Construction

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published on the Cinematic Katzenjammer in December, 2016. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story contradicts the Original Star Wars. Not the trilogy; just the original 1977 movie. This article is a nerdy litigator’s exercise in construction, but stick with it. This ain’t CinemaSins. It’s fun. I assume two things: […]

The “Star Wars” Prequels: The Most Interesting Bad Movies Ever Made

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published on the Cinematic Katzenjammer in December, 2015 shortly before the theatrical release of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. The individual discussed, whom I refer to as “Karol” is my friend Paul Vollmer, whose opinions and statements I have shared on this blog before, albeit on […]

V’s Top 5 Movie Pairs in 2019

2019 was a busy year. As a result, I’m behind on just about everything unrelated to work. Still – I went to the movies and saw a lot of them. So here’s a ranked list of movies I liked, would watch again, and highly recommend if they’re of interest to you. However, as is usually […]

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” (2014): Time in a Bottle (Review)

What does it mean to be in the future of your race? We know plenty of stories about people with special abilities struggling with the responsibility of being heroes, but few of them, perhaps with the ironic exception of Planet of the Apes have ever dealt with the political and emotional fallout of humankind being […]

“Million Dollar Arm” (2014): I Hate Cricket Too (Review)

Million Dollar Arm is an okay movie that suffers from a lack of cohesion and structure in its narrative. None of the problems break the film, but midway through, I couldn’t help but think that the director had fallen asleep at the wheel. And I feel bad that I’m going to spend most of this […]

Vivek’s 2014 Academy Awards Predictions

Tonight’s Academy Award celebration is going to be the most important ceremony since 2004 when The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King swept the Oscars and tied Titanic and Ben Hur for the most awards ever. I know people say that every year, but it’s especially poignant for Movie Season 2013 because by most objective criteria, […]

The Mid-Credits Teaser in THOR: THE DARK WORLD

I’m not going to spoil anything major in Thor: The Dark World in this. But if you literally don’t want to know anything, stop reading now and go see the movie (and the credits teases…both of them). Here’s what you saw. Sif and Volstagg took the Aether (the mcguffin from the movie) and gave it […]