The Believer

The Varieties of Cinematic Experience, March/April 2009 (co-written with Andrea Janes)

Attending a double bill these days is an act of devotion, a genuflection before an eye-patched auteur or blood-spattered genre. These two-barreled day-wasters are now the preserve of repertory houses, but at one time they were everywhere, when the weekly dose of B-movie pulp, newsreel, and high-toned prestige pic was the studio-mandated regulation.

Opera Jawa: The Discover of a Secret Indonesian Musical Masterpiece, March/April 2008

At first I only had a photo of Opera Jawa, a high-res production still of a bejeweled female dancer imprisoned in a cone of billowing gold lace. Ignoring the floral-patterned glitz of the praying statue beside her, she points her fine-tuned eyebrows downward, resigned to the fate that resides just outside of the frame. Agitating my degenerate cinephilia, the uncanny beauty of the image spurred me to mount a shimmering masterpiece in my mind, the brief festival raves crystallizing my obsession with this cinematic coquette, too shy to unspool in New York City theaters.

Review of David Marusek’s Getting To Know You, September 2007

Ensconced in his cabin in Fairbanks, Alaska, David Marusek sweats out the details of the next century. He has published ten of his “everyday science fiction” stories in thirteen years, most of them an elaboration of the world that would make up his sole novel, Counting Heads (2005). It took him a year to deliver “The Wedding Album”(1999), an investigation into the future of memory and the opening salvo of Getting to Know You, a wonderful collection of his short SF work since 1993.

Review of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, October 2006

In The Road, the title is the story: an unnamed father and son travel south on a state road years after nuclear explosions have ended life as we know it. Pulp material, but ground down to its essence: the search for food. It is Cormac McCarthy’s most lucid novel since Child of God in 1974. Like its darkly comic predecessor, The Road is structured around a series of vignettes, the drama tightly compressed. They walk until they see a house, watch it for signs of life, and enter to search for anything edible. This, with few variations, is the entirety of the book.

 

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