The theme of several personalities fighting for control of the body they share has a long history in imaginative fiction as well as in psychological theory. In October 1919, The Journal of Abnormal Psychology carried reports by Morton Prince and Charles Corey of cases of multiple personality. It is worth noting that Robert Louis Stevenson had published The Strange […]
A Review by Alvin G. Burstein Watching this film gave me a new perspective on the tragic explosion of the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico April 10th, 2010. At the time, the newspaper headlines made it clear that it was a major oil spill, that lives were lost, and that major ecological damage […]
by Alvin G. Burstein The winner of the 2016 Oscar for best film was Spotlight, an account of the Boston Globe’s 2002 exposé of child abuse by that city’s Catholic clergy and the attendant cover-up. The film is powerful. The power is rooted in its realistic feel and in the psychological phenomena it captures. The […]
by Alvin G. Burstein I have been addicted to oaters ever since Shane and High Noon. Being, in addition, a fan of actor Matt Damon and author Cormac McCarthy, I decided to take a belated look at All The Pretty Horses. The movie begins with striking scenes of a vanishing West and herds of wild […]
To say that this film is gripping is an understatement. It confronts us with realities that cry for denial. To what Freud called “the crushingly superior force of nature” the movie adds the human capacity for brutish betrayal and exploitation. And the story unfolds against a backdrop of classic beauty that highlights the gouts of blood and pain it frames.
by Alvin G. Burstein Like, apparently most of America, I was caught up in the hoopla that attended the announcement that they were back: Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, the whole Camelot assembly. And like, apparently most of America, I rushed to see the new movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. My reaction […]
by Alvin G. Burstein With Christmas approaching, I found myself wanting to re-view the 1946 film, It’s A Wonderful Life. It is said to be director Frank Capra’s favorite film, one that he screened for his family each Christmas season. Not just Capra’s favorite, it is listed as the most inspirational American film of all […]
by Alvin G. Burstein Holy Moley, a thriller without special effects, splattered gore or colliding cars! Much makes this Spielberg/Hanks movie both remarkable and memorable. It deftly recreates the 1950’s and 60’s, when Kruschev and Eisenhower were fumbling on the edge of open conflict and the Berlin wall was going up. Early in the film […]
by Alvin G. Burstein The biopic’s title prepares us for a consideration of moral perversion. Johnnie Depp’s chilling portrayal of James (Whitey) Bulger, the Boston mob boss, his bloody career, and his relationship with the FBI provide that opportunity, raising questions, some of which go unanswered. The film describes Bulger’s transition from a member of […]
by Alvin G. Burstein The movie takes an intriguing theme, evolution’s goal, adds glitzy special effects, a heady mix of exotic locations, and invokes three solid thespian performances, but manages, nevertheless, to disappoint me. Without turning a hair, Morgan Freeman, as Professor Norman, gives us a Nobel quality neuroscientist who is loveably warm and wise. […]
A review of Ant-Man by Alvin G. Burstein Dr. Pym is a scientist who has developed a secret particle that makes objects shrink by reducing inter-molecular space. Because, like atomic weaponry, the discovery will change the nature of warfare in frighteningly unpredictable ways, he guards the secret. A one-time protégé, Dr. Cross (double?), has ousted […]
As a fan of RoboCop flicks, I looked forward to this film. Ex Machina explores the same question as RoboCop: the difference between man and machine. That exploration puts it in an established genre, one occupied not only by its predecessor, but by Collodi’s Pinocchio, who hungers to be a real boy, and by Star Trek’s Lt. Commander Data, who struggles to feel emotion and to understand jokes.
by Alvin G. Burstein This 2015 movie, like the novel by Thomas Hardy with the same name, is titled with a quotation from Thomas Graves’ Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard: Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife, Their sober wishes never learned to stray, Along the cool sequester’d way of life They kept the […]
by Alvin G. Burstein [Editor’s note: The following review contains direct quotes from movie dialogue that could be offensive to some readers.] All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. – Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina The movie Gone Girl is about an unhappy marriage, one that is unhappy in […]
by Dr. Alvin Burstein Interstellar is a corker of a film. The Director, Christopher Nolan, has assembled proven ingredients—a spunky young girl, Murph, an echo of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird; a wise mentor, Professor Brand, reminiscent of Star Wars’ Obi Wan; a laconic (space) cowboy, Cooper, like his namesake in High Noon; and […]