The Grab Bag

OFCS members don’t just write film reviews. Here are several articles you might find interesting.

Best of Lists

The top 10 Batman movie moments

Simon Miraudo @ Quickflix


Alison Klayman on not Apologizing for “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry”

Stephen Saito @

Anne Emond Takes a Stand With the Erotic, Incendiary “Nuit #1”

Stephen Saito @

Christopher Nolan

Peter Canavese @

  • Excerpt: These are larger-than-life characters, and I very much enjoyed tapping into the sort of operatic sensibility of that…naturally from that you’re aiming for a sort of mythic status.

Elliot Gould

Peter Canavese @

  • Excerpt: Taking into consideration the ego and the vanity of this species of ours, I believe that a zucchini is also one-of-a-kind, and that there’s nothing more intelligent than vegetation because it simply is, and that’s all life is about: being.

Jade Pettyjohn of “McKenna Shoots for the Stars”

Nell Minow @ The Movie Mom

  • Excerpt: I absolutely loved the new American Girls movie, McKenna: Shoots For The Stars. Based on the stories about the American Girl of the Year doll for 2012, a young gymnast. So it was a treat to get to interview the girl who plays McKenna, Jade Pettyjohn. Her co-stars include Nia Vardelos of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” who plays her mother, and real-life gymnastics champion Cathy Rigby, who plays her coach. In the movie, McKenna’s challenges include an injury and a learning disability but her family and friends provide a lot of support. I especially appreciated the way that kids with disabilities are portrayed — in addition to McKenna’s learning issues, her tutor is in a wheelchair — it is frank and sympathetic but not at all condescending or marginalizing.

Judy Blume & Lawrence Blume

Peter Canavese @

  • Excerpt: Judy Blume: “My father did die suddenly when I was twenty-one…I really don’t think I was thinking of that when I wrote the book, but now that I see the movie, I know that it is so much of understanding of loss of a beloved parent…It’s so hard.”

Martin Donovan Meets His Match in His Sharp Directorial Debut “Collaborator”

Stephen Saito @

Setting the Scene: Paquin and Lonergan Discuss Margaret’s Inciting Incident

Stephen Saito @

Step Up Revolution stars Misha Gabriel and Chuck Maldonado

Tom Santilli @

Takashi Miike Finds a Little More Depth in the 3D “Hara-Kiri”

Stephen Saito @

Todd Solondz

Peter Canavese @

  • Excerpt: The high spirits that begin the movie are supposed to be, in some sense, a representation of youthful frivolity and joy. And this is a character who is clinging to his youth and suffers from its irretrievability—the hopes and dreams of his youth.

Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton of “Ruby Sparks”

Nell Minow @ The Movie Mom

  • Excerpt: Co-directors Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton are so smart, so dedicated, so creative, and so purely delightful that I found it hard to believe they are so good at showing us dysfunctional characters. Their new film, “Ruby Sparks,” written by and starring Zoe Kazan, also stars Paul Dano, who played the sworn-to-silence teenager in their first hit, “Little Miss Sunshine.” In this film, Dano plays a depressed author who has been unable to write following his very successful first book. Prompted by his therapist, he creates an effervescent female character so vivid that she literally comes to life. Faris and Dayton finish each other’s sentences, not interrupting each other, just a seamless flow of love, laughter, and ideas.

Zoe Kazan

Peter Canavese @

  • Excerpt: My first experiences of love relationships were experiences where I felt like I was walking into just a land mine of preconceived notions.

Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano of “Ruby Sparks”

Nell Minow @ The Movie Mom

  • Excerpt: The main thing that Jonathan and Valerie and I talked about in the writing and then in the playing of her was that we wanted her to feel very real, and we never wanted her to feel like a fantasy or like the idea of a person. It was sort of like doing my preparation, like, “who is Ruby?” and finding things out about her as I wrote. She’s a very forthright person, and she’s sort of a person in charge of her own desires, she knows what she wants and she’s more straightforward than I am as a person, and there was some surprise in that, especially when you started playing it in her rehearsal—where she lived, where her voice is where her energy is, she’s very front foot, very forward and I think a little more cat-like than dog-like.

Oscar Coverage

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jul. 20-22, 2012

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

  • Excerpt: Oscar previews of The Dark Knight Rises and The Well-Digger’s Daughter

Other Articles

6 Intense Images from “The Bourne Legacy”

Candice Frederick @ Reel Talk

  • Excerpt: Many of us are anticipating the debut of Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner in the role of Aaron Cross.

Armchair Vacation: 5 Films to Watch at Home This Weekend (July 27-29)

Joshua Brunsting @ CriterionCast

  • Excerpt: As Bullhead hits Netflix and Kino Lorber boards Hulu Plus, this may be one of the best weekends for home entertainment in quite some time.

Coming to a Theater Near You: Wholesale Paranoia

Glenn Lovell @

Criticwatch – The Dark Knight Rises and Film Criticism Falls

Erik Childress @ eFilmCritic

  • Excerpt: From the studio that values the junket whore system more than any other to the first embargo jumpers down to the jump-the-gun commenters who have brought further scrutiny to the most recognized system of reviewing since Siskel & Ebert. This week’s Criticwatch folks, is about more than just a few worthless quote whores.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Digital Projection

Marilyn Ferdinand @ Ferdy on Films

  • Excerpt: The future of film preservation, distribution, and projection looks bright, if we can let go of our love of celluloid and embrace the digital present and future. Dr. Caroline Frick, president of the Association for Film Archivists, spoke at Northwestern University about implications and inspirations for the 21st century of film preservation.

James Franco Gets Swept Away to the Land of “Oz: The Great and Powerful” [TRAILER]

Candice Frederick @ Reel Talk

  • Excerpt: The Oscar nominee plays a magician who gets swept away to the magical land of Oz, and meets an ominously kooky cast of characters.

Most Summer Movies Have Plot Holes

Mike McGranagan @ PennLive

Movies, murder and myths: Does film violence really inspire copycats?

Jennie Kermode @ Eye For Film

  • Excerpt: Yesterday a masked man strode into a Aurora, Colorado screening of The Dark Knight Rises and opened fire, killing 12 people and injuring 50 more. Already, commentators are starting to talk about copycat violence. There’s just one problem. This screening was a midnight special, the first of the film’s release. The projector had only been rolling for ten minutes. Suspect James Holmes wasn’t a member of the press. He couldn’t have seen the film.

The Night of the Hunter

Cole Smithey @

  • Excerpt: Charles Laughton, a consummate British actor of stage and film, directed only one film during his lifetime, but he made it count.

Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones Join Director Luc Besson’s “Malavita”

Candice Frederick @ Reel Talk

  • Excerpt: Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer will have to rely on their mobster film past as they step into their new roles in the upcoming action comedy, Malavita.

Robert Downey Jr.’s Luther Vandross-Inspired Dance to the “Iron Man 3” Panel at Comic-Con

Candice Frederick @ Reel Talk

  • Excerpt: And when he finally made it up to the podium, he flashed the coveted hand of Iron Man, which was met with a collective swoon from the audience.

Them’s Fightin’ Words

Mike McGranaghan @ The Aisle Seat

  • Excerpt: What The Dark Knight Rises and the Penn State scandal have in common.

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