MEET JOE BLACK (R) Director: Martin Brest. With Anthony Hopkins, Brad Pitt, Claire Forlani, Jake Weber, Marcia Gay Harden. (174 min.) ++ "Touched by an Angel" meets "Wall Street" in this long, sometimes labored fantasy depicting Death as a handsome young man who takes a vacation to explore the everyday world and romance the daughter of a wealthy executive. Brest deserves credit for letting the story unfold at a thoughtful pace, but the drama falls apart in the last half-hour. +++ Romantic, beautiful, not insidious.
Another extreme, but older, example is REMO WILLIAMS: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS, a fascist fantasy wherein mystical, humanistic violence is used to defend the Big Brother State from unscrupulous free enterprise capitalists. The savior is an ancient Korean marshal arts master who can walk on water. Regrettably, this savior is dedicated to serving Big Brother and death. Many people become infected by the virus of the corrupt mystic statism in such movies, so we need to be aware of these deceptions and be prepared to rebuke them.
Afterglow: A Last Conversation With Pauline Kael by Francis Davis In her last long interview, the late, great movie critic talks about everything from "Deep Throat" to Stephen Spielberg and "American Beauty." Plus, Kael's final Q&A -- with 10-year-old Maggie Barra. Reviewed by Allen Barra [11/20/02]
A lot of people put down graphic novels as just comic books and many are little more than that. But there are a few that transcend this genre. My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Vol. 1 is such an example. This debut novel by Emil Ferris tells the story of 10-year-old Karen Reyes, a girl growing up during the turbulent 1960s in Chicago. Reyes is an aspiring artist and her story is told in her perspective with detailed drawings filled with B-movie horror monsters from her beloved matinees, all sketched by a very talented schoolgirl with a Bic pen in her spiral notebook. Her neighborhood is a scary place and so is dealing with her mother's late-stage cancer and her older brother's drug-dealing and pimping. It's why Karen wishes she was a monster -- to be safe from those she sees in real life. As just a family drama, this novel delivers. Then this beautifully illustrated work of art reminiscent of Robert Crumb and Otto Dix, becomes so much more. The ever-curious Karen decides to solve the murder of her enigmatic upstairs neighbor, a Holocaust survivor. That sudden plot twist turns this work into an historical epic, a detective story and a psychological thriller that garnered numerous industry accolades and award nominations worldwide. Vol. 1 is currently available through PPLD while Vol. 2, the conclusion of the story, is scheduled to be published in September 2021.AWARDS: 2018 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album-New, Best Writer/Artist and Best Coloring; 30th Annual Lambda Literary Award for Best LGBTQ Graphic Novel. 2b1af7f3a8