I love biopics. I completely believe them when I'm watching, then spend the next few days scouring the web for how much nonsense I accepted as fact. After hearing that The Founder was on Netflix, last night I watched Michael Keaton portray Ray Kroc as he pried McDonald's away from the brothers who founded the original restaurant and invented its fast food techniques. The film portrays Kroc as a villain and the brothers as heroes. Judging strictly by the film itself, and not the actual facts, I question the idea ... read more

I'm a huge fan of Noah Hawley's Fargo TV series, which just completed its third season on FX. This post contains spoilers, so bail out now if you're avoiding them. I enjoyed the season but thought it didn't live up to the greatness of the earlier ones. For most of the season, the villain V. M. Varga lacked a protagonist formidable enough to be a credible challenge. It wasn't until the final third when the bridge-playing parolee Nikki Swango brought up her game to put his evil scheme in genuine doubt. Now that ... read more

Christopher Tolkien, the son of J.R.R. Tolkien, gave his first interview to the media last year after being his father's literary executor for four decades. Speaking to the French newspaper Le Monde, the 87-year-old expressed great unhappiness with the Peter Jackson movies even though they helped sell 25 million copies of the books in three years, a 1,000 percent increase: Invited to meet Peter Jackson, the Tolkien family preferred not to. Why? "They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young ... read more

I just finished reading Kiss of the Spider Woman, the 1976 Manuel Puig novel that became a terrific 1985 film. William Hurt won an Oscar playing Molina, a gay window dresser sharing a prison cell with Valentin, a straight Marxist revolutionary played by Raul Julia. To pass the time, Molina retells his favorite movies to Valentin. The book held my interest but was difficult to read because of the experimental fiction techniques used by Puig. Most of the book is told through dialogue between the two men but the ... read more

I saw the film The Social Network for the first time last night after letting it sit in a Netflix envelope on a dresser for 10 months. I'm losing the will to watch physical copies of movies. Too much work, like calling somebody on a rotary phone whose number has a lot of eights and nines. The movie's great, but there's an interesting omission: None of the main characters is shown using Facebook to improve their social lives in any meaningful way. Facebook founder Eduardo Saverin is depicted as not knowing how ... read more

My son Max has volunteered to help athletes at his high school edit video of their game highlights to send to colleges. The athletic department devotes an Apple iMac to this purpose and also has some Windows 7 laptops. Since my sons all have an interest in filmmaking, thanks to YouTube, we're going to buy an iMac that will be devoted to editing video and find classes to help them nurture their inner Akira Kurosawa. As a Windows and Linux guy, I'm not sure what we need to purchase. I have a few questions for Mac ... read more

As a comic book fan I've been meaning to see Kevin Smith's films for years. I finally got started over the weekend with Chasing Amy, his 1997 romantic comedy starring Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams and Jason Lee. The movie's entertaining, but I couldn't buy the premise at all. Affleck plays Holden, a whitebread comic book artist who falls in love with another artist named Alyssa (Adams), despite the fact that she's a lesbian. Though Holden's best friend Banky (Lee) explains to him the utter futility of hoping ... read more