Kevin Shalvey

The Apartment Theater 003: “Stardust Memories”

Credit: United Artists
Charlotte Rampling in "Stardust Memories."

Sure, you’ve seen Fellini’s “8 1/2.” You might have even liked it. Or maybe said you liked it to impress your friends or some snobby film professor. But was that flick truly accessible?

Well, maybe. But probably not, right?

What you should have done, probably, was just to watch “Stardust Memories,” Woody’s soft-stabbing send-up. Every bit as masterful as “8 1/2,” with half the mercurial headache, the un-needed falutin. I know, I made that word up. But making up a word is only half as pretentious as you, if you’re a big “8 1/2″ fan.

“Stardust Memories” sputters, and isn’t all it could be. It’s the story of a filmmaker recalling his past loves, and some scenes are beautiful in their simplicity. Of course it doesn’t hurt that the young Charlotte Rampling is stunning.

Design Wizards Zap Shocker Cover

You used Photoshop once in college? You’re qualified to critique professionals!

A big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is J. K. Rowling’s first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other.

Read More →

How I learned To Stop Worrying And Enjoy ‘The Avengers’

You can’t buy a first edition to a movie, can you?

What would happen if all made-up stories operated something like Marvel’s comic-book-cum-movie world, where all the characters start out with individual genesis stories that led into an all-encompassing blockbuster extravaganza, like, say, “The Avengers.”

Read More →

Will Ferrell y El Enorme Gato Blanco

Credit: Pantelion Films
¡Que estúpido!

Algún lugar en el centro de este nuevo pelicula, “Casa de Mi Padre,” con Will Ferrell, hay una escena que no es divertido o gracioso. Esta es la escena que otros cinéfilos serán insultando, que estará diciendo es tonto cuando todos estamos dejando al teatro.

Esta es la configuración: El carácter de Ferrell, un ranchero estúpido, dieron un tiro en el pecho. Sus asesinos lo han dejado por muerto. Y, cuando parece que va a morir, un enorme gato blanco viene y lo protege de los perros salvajes.

Read More →

The Unbearable Sadness of Youth in Murakami’s Tokyo

It’s all sadness and birch trees in Norwegian Wood.

If you’re anything like me, Midori Kobayashi is probably the only character in Haruki Murakami’s novel Norwegian Wood whom you’d want to meet.

Read More →

You Go To See “The Descendants”

Credit: jai Mansson
You will look at the beach and want to be there.

You go to see a film about a Hawaiian named Matt King, who is played by George Clooney.

This movie has been directed by Alexander Payne, a director whom you quite like, particularly his “14e Arrondissement,” so you don’t much mind that Clooney strikes you as anything but Hawaiian. And you like Clooney, who has been in — and even has directed — a few of your favorite films, including “Syriana” and “Good Night, and Good Luck.” And, anyways, it’s just a movie and someone has to star in it.

Read More →

The Rev., The Nurse and The Director

Northern coast of the island. Summer.

Late last summer, on the secluded tip of Conanicut Island, in Rhode Island, an Episcopal reverend and his wife, a nurse, were watching Wes Anderson shoot his new movie, Moonrise Kingdom.

The Rev. and the Nurse, who live just a few houses away, were drinking frozen daiquiris and had been corralled, along with the rest of the neighborhood folks, a little way up the road, so they didn’t disrupt the filming.

“You know, we talked to Wes for a while yesterday,” the Rev. said, hushing his tone, because someone already had called for quiet on the set. “And he’s very nice. Very, very nice.”

“Yes, a very, very nice young man,” the Nurse agreed.

Read More →

Foxy Knoxy Found Not Guilty, but The Mail Convicts Anyway

Credit: Mail Watch
Foxy Knoxy to stay locked up, according to The Daily Mail

Yesterday, as the media fervor over Foxy Knoxy’s Perugia, Italy, murder appeal reached its peak, everyone — everyone — geared up to break the news. While most on-the-scene reporters were getting ready to tweet and file copy — doing groundwork, gauging the crowd, etc. — at least one outlet had already written its story — the wrong one, coincidentally.

Nick Pisa, a reporter with London’s The Daily Mail, already had pre-written two stories: Amanda Knox was both guilty and not guilty. Then, at 9:50 Perugia time, as the verdict was read, the “guilty” story landed on MailOnline.

OK, you say, so what? Anyone who has ever been in a newsroom knows that hedging time constraints with prepped copy is standard fair. Both the stories were loaded into the paper’s CMS, but someone published the wrong one.

But what made Pisa’s story egregious wasn’t simply that it was pre-prepared. Instead, Pisa’s “guilty” story pretended to shine a light on what had happened in court as the verdict landed. Read More →

A Kelleriana for Bill Keller

Credit: Twitter
Keller’s wife posted this tweet, he said.

In 1928, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. published Menckeniana: A Schimpflexikon, a book compiling assaults, slurs and rants against H.L. Mencken.

Its pages insulted Mencken, the critic and reporter whose viewpoints were seldom secret, in every way.

Read More →


Our Holiday

A few weeks ago, while I was typing away in a newspaper office in South Africa, one of my co-workers stumbled out of the lunchroom with half a sheep’s head on a plate. The head had been boiled and cut lengthwise between the eyes. “It’s skobo,” she said, picking meat from between the bones. “It’s good. Want some?” And that’sRead More →