Cinemadope

Cinemadope: Home Theater

Cinemadope: Home Theater

It might seem silly to have a local film column this week. As I write, public schools are shutting down for a three-week hiatus, restaurants are shifting strictly to takeout service, and we’re all avoiding crowds. The long-running Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival...
Cinemadope: Dog Days

Cinemadope: Dog Days

“All it takes is one bad day,” a famous cartoon villain once said, “to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy.” And while Kelly Reichardt’s 2008 film Wendy and Lucy is about as far as one can get from the world of the Dark Knight, it takes that “one bad day” idea and...
Cinemadope: Screen Time

Cinemadope: Screen Time

I still remember that day, bright with promise, just after the new year had dawned, when my children finally had to go to school again. Don’t get me wrong, I love the little scamps more than I’ve ever loved anything on this earth, but two weeks of holidays, sugar, and...
Cinemadope: Torch Song

Cinemadope: Torch Song

Waiting is hard. Some of us skip ahead in our books, others sneak a peek at a bride before the ceremony. Some of us roar past a minivan going a perfectly reasonable 70 mph on 91 South — I’m looking at you, white Honda Civic. There’s just something about getting an...
Cinemadope: The Short List

Cinemadope: The Short List

Ever since I was first introduced to the tiny hot dog, I have been an appetizer man. Those delectable little morsels — a bite or two at most — can contain a density of flavor that many full meals can only wish to attain. And while many are served ahead of an...
Cinemadope: Holly Daze

Cinemadope: Holly Daze

You may or may not have heard, but this thing called Christmas is happening on Wednesday. Turns out it’s kind of a big deal, and while a lot of the movie-going crowd will be busy elsewhere on the 25th, local cinemas are getting in the spirit in the days leading up to...
Cinemadope: Hit Parade

Cinemadope: Hit Parade

The mob movie is the shadowy reflection of the American Dream. Stories of success despite humble beginnings, of hardscrabble times and strong work ethics, of family bonds and the desire for a better life — all the usual tropes apply. What makes it work so well in the...
Cinemadope: Making the Scene

Cinemadope: Making the Scene

People in the Valley are a creative bunch. At my day job, one woman I work with is a talented seamstress who creates wonderful clothes and stuffed toys; another works with local potters to decorate clay vessels and cups. My old Advocate editor — a published poet —...
Cinemadope: Control/Shift

Cinemadope: Control/Shift

My two oldest children started kindergarten a few weeks back. New school, new friends (one hopes), new experiences. It’s been an adjustment — maybe more for me than for them, I sometimes think — and it has had me thinking a lot of how much has changed in the 40 years...
Cinemadope: Inside Man 

Cinemadope: Inside Man 

It is sometimes difficult to believe that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency — ICE — is only 16 years old. Created in 2003 under George W. Bush in the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks, the new agency merged the two previously separate...
Cinemadope: Reel to Wheel

Cinemadope: Reel to Wheel

Everyone has their own idea of what really makes it summer in New England. For some, it’s getting that first soft serve, melting in the after-dinner sun. Another might mark it with the first visit to a favorite swimming hole, when the water is still just a little too...
Cinemadope: Visionaries

Cinemadope: Visionaries

We often consider our visual artists in terms of their medium — a watercolorist, a sculptor, a portrait painter. But whatever their chosen tools, almost all artists share one thing that is so fundamental that we often overlook it: the gift of vision. And here I’m not...
Cinemadope: Lost and Found

Cinemadope: Lost and Found

Living in the age of Instagram has meant — for better or for worse — that everyone is a photographer, or thinks they are. Which in the end has been a great win, I think, and one that has opened the door to creativity for an untold number of people who otherwise might...
Cinemadope: Dear Genre

Cinemadope: Dear Genre

Genre films are a bit like the snack food of the cinematic universe. Something of a guilty pleasure, often consumed late at night, and each with its own diehard fans. These are the films that almost never seek to be all things to all people, but instead deliver an...
Cinemadope: Russian Icons

Cinemadope: Russian Icons

For many modern filmmakers, the shadow of Ingmar Bergman looms large. The great Swede, whose name has become a kind of shorthand here for foreign art-house film, was a revelatory experience for young filmmakers coming of age in a pre-digital era; seeing what he could...
Cinemadope: Off the Wall

Cinemadope: Off the Wall

Art lovers in the Valley are never far from a good gallery. Between the extensive collections of local colleges, dedicated museums, and the smaller neighborhood salons that pepper our local downtowns, we are lucky to live in an area with such a vibrant artistic...
Cinemadope: Superhero overload

Cinemadope: Superhero overload

In the last decade, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has cast a long shadow over the rest of the filmmaking world. Beginning with the surprisingly wide-reaching hit that was 2008’s Iron Man, the series of interconnected films — now up to twenty titles and about as...
Cinemadope: A city, one step at a time

Cinemadope: A city, one step at a time

One of the best things about The New Yorker magazine — other than the cartoons, of course — has always been the attention it pays to the oddball stories of the city. For this writer’s money, it will always be Joseph Mitchell who set the bar; have a look at his...
Cinemadope: Holmes Sweet Holmes

Cinemadope: Holmes Sweet Holmes

When it comes to our popular heroes, few if any can match the long and varied history of Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous “consulting detective” made his debut in the 1887 tale A Study in Scarlet, and from the get go Holmes changed the detective game...