‘Eva’: Love Can Be Skin-Deep (Justifiably)

Kike Maíllo’s Eva makes for an interesting contribution to the ever-growing–in recent times–genre of robotics and artificial intelligence movies. That is because its central concern–the emulation of humanity by robots–which is not particularly novel in itself, is portrayed in familiar and yet distinctive, form. The most common objection to the personhood of the ‘artificially sentient,’Continue reading “‘Eva’: Love Can Be Skin-Deep (Justifiably)”

‘The Hunt’: A Life All Too Easily Ruined

It might seem an odd thing to say about a movie that generates, very quickly, an atmosphere of claustrophobic tragedy, that it could have been darker, but I think that assessment is apt for Thomas Vinterberg‘s The Hunt (2012). This frightening tale of an otherwise sympathetic man whose life is almost destroyed by an untruthfulContinue reading “‘The Hunt’: A Life All Too Easily Ruined”

Vincent Simmons: ‘The Innocent Burn When Falsely Accused’

A few decades ago, while watching a Bollywood potboiler at home with my parents, I saw a central character react sharply to a concocted accusation–perhaps of theft–by the movie’s villain, out to frame him and send him to jail so as to clear the way for his other nefarious plots. As our hero responded toContinue reading “Vincent Simmons: ‘The Innocent Burn When Falsely Accused’”

Gideon’s Army: Fighting A Just War

The first time I saw Gideon’s Army, Dawn Porter‘s documentary about three public defenders fighting a lonely battle in the American South, I watched impassively, even as anger and sadness swirled within me. The second time I did so–yesterday, in a classroom with the students in my Philosophy of Law class–I blinked back tears. (MoreContinue reading “Gideon’s Army: Fighting A Just War”

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, And Ours

There are many ways of coming to realize you are turning into a sentimental fool in your old age. One of them is to find tears in your eyes when you listen to a ‘sappy song’ on a cinematic quasi-bildungsroman‘s soundtrack. Which was indeed my experience last night as I finally watched Richard Linklater‘s twelve-years-in-the-makingContinue reading “Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, And Ours”

Mad Max: Furiosa Road

It’s entirely appropriate that Mad Max: Fury Road end with Max bidding a quiet farewell to Imperator Furiosa and slinking away into the crowd that has gathered for what appears to be her coronation. For as you sit through the extended closing credits, listening to a pounding reprise of the movie’s epic score at fullContinue reading “Mad Max: Furiosa Road”

Melting Glaciers And The End Of Civilization

These are the days of grim warnings about climate change, about an overheated, crowded, polluted planet, slowly cooking in a noxious stew of greenhouse gases, its rivers and oceans clogged with plastic and crude oil, its animals dying, its cities drowning, as floods and famine and hurricane and arctic freezes deliver blow after blow toContinue reading “Melting Glaciers And The End Of Civilization”

Force Majeure: Sauve Qui Peut, All The Way

The problem with Tomas, the now-disgraced husband and father who ran away from approaching danger and abandoned his family in Ruben Östlund‘s Force Majeure, is not that he was scared. Everyone was scared; his wife, Ebba, his children, Vera and Harry, were all scared. They were panic-stricken and terrified; they all reacted in instinctive, unthinking ways. EveryoneContinue reading “Force Majeure: Sauve Qui Peut, All The Way”

The Fall Of Norman (And Norma) Bates

We know the story of Norman Bates: Norman had been excessively dominated by his mother since childhood, and when she took a lover, he became insanely jealous that she had “replaced” him, then murdered his mother and her lover. Later, he developed a split personality to erase the crime of matricide from his memory andContinue reading “The Fall Of Norman (And Norma) Bates”

‘Don’t Call Me A Philosopher’

I cringe, I wince, when I hear someone refer to me as a ‘philosopher.’ I never use that description for myself. Instead, I prefer locutions like, “I teach philosophy at the City University of New York”, or “I am a professor of philosophy.” This is especially the case if someone asks me, “Are you aContinue reading “‘Don’t Call Me A Philosopher’”