The 2010 Round-Up: The Top 10 (2010 Dec 30)

Let me be clear about this: this is my personal Top 10. It does not represent an attempt to provide a "greatest" list nor is there any pretense of objectivity. This is as subjective as it gets. I'll leave it to someone else to determine the relative ...

The 2010 Round-Up: Twelve Performances (2010 Dec 28)

Time to look at the dozen performances (six men, six women) that have impacted me the most forcefully while watching 2010 movies. The difference between good acting and great acting is often subtle but unmistakable. Good acting allows the viewer to ...

The 2010 Autopsy (2010 Dec 26)

The word "autopsy" conjures up unpleasant images, but its usage seems appropriate when gazing back through the mists at the cinematic year of 2010. No matter how one chooses to spin things, the results aren't pretty. I'm fortunate that Michael was ...

The Great 2010 Turkey Hunt (2010 Nov 24)

I'm not calling this my "Worst Movies of 2010" list. There are two reasons for that. First, the term "worst" implies a level of objectivity of which I'm not capable. I equally avoid the term "greatest" unless discussing Mohammed Ali. Also, ...

e-life (2010 Nov 21)

Recently, circumstances caused me to muse how much the advances in technology have impacted every aspect of my life over the course of the last three decades. When you think about it, it's amazing how things have changed, and all in the most subtle ...

Michael at Six (Months) (2010 Nov 12)

It has been six months since I returned from a screening of Ridley Scott's Robin Hood to be greeted by the news that my wife had gone into labor. ("I think I'm having contractions," she calmly announced.) This was something of a surprise since she ...

The True Day of Horror (2010 Oct 31)

I don't think I was aware of the existence of Halloween until I was three or four years old. All I can remember about that first night was dressing up in a costume and being escorted into the night by my father. It was all rather bewildering and I ...

Winning through Losing (2010 Oct 18)

Hopefully, this entire column won't be about sports (or, rather, one sport in particular). There is a larger message in here somewhere; I only hope I'm able to bring it out.I started watching baseball on television in 1973 during the summer between ...

Just a Little Crush (2010 Oct 15)

Time to have a little fun...One of the defining characteristics of young romance is the crush. I'd venture to say that 99.9% of those reading this have experienced at least one crush and, if you're like me, the number is much higher. My view of a ...

Life Is Not PG-13 (2010 Oct 03)

Life is full of rich ironies you can't make up. Recently, I attended an evening showing of a PG-13 movie. The auditorium wasn't very full. Sitting a few rows in front of me was a group of five teenage girls. After the film started, they were ...

The Sum and Substance of a Movie (2010 Sep 20)

Why do we watch movies? Seems like a simple question, right? But is it really? And have the reasons for viewing motion pictures changed over the years? Does a 13-year old kid in 2010 go to a theater with the same expectations as his father 25 ...

The Least Wonderful Time of the Year (2010 Sep 11)

This year, without the blissful oblivion of the Toronto Film Festival to shield me from the reality of life, I have come to a realization: I dislike September. I'm probably in the minority making such a declaration and, since I was born during this ...

A Void in September (2010 Aug 17)

For all the benefits fatherhood brings, there are sacrifices as well. This September, for the first time in fourteen years, I will not be traveling north of the border the week after Labor Day. Since 1997, my summers have ended with a ritual that ...

Twas the Night Before (2010 Aug 09)

The concept of seeing movies in the wee hours of the morning is nothing new. The James Bond film Goldfinger was such a hot ticket during its initial run that theaters had to stay open 24/7 for about three weeks to keep up with demand. (Of course, ...

You've Got Mail (2010 Jul 18)

It was early September 1985 - the day after Labor Day, to be precise - when I looked down at the little piece of paper and tried to intuit what it meant: "Username: jamesber@seas.upenn.edu; Password (temporary): classof1989." Several days later, ...

The 2010 Halftime Top 10 (2010 Jul 10)

Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only critic who does this. By "this," I mean that around the mid-point of the year, I take a look back at the first six months' of releases and highlight the ones that have impressed me the most. This "halftime" Top 10...

Fandamonium (2010 Jun 28)

The concept of "fandom" is not new, but the idea of attaching it to an aspect of pop culture is. The idea of being a "fan" of something entered the public awareness via sports, and stretches back a couple of centuries. The further back in human ...