Author: Gil Maurer

Gone Girl

“Gone Girl”, the book, had a brief rush a couple of years ago, hitting the best-seller lists. The plot was good, a wife staging her own murder to frame her cheating husband, but the writing was only so-so. I don’t …Read More

The Hundred-Foot Journey

  “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” while a little corny, is endearing and enjoyable. Helen Mirren is superb (she gets the accent and the peasant-cum-aristocrat attitude just right) as the snooty Michelin two-star French restaurateur directly across the road from a rowdy …Read More

Last Days in Vietnam

  Ann and I saw “Last Days of Vietnam” at Sundance in January and we agree completely with Ellen Roman’s assessment (see below). The film was spell-binding. I hardly moved or twitched for 90 minutes. The unseen (until now), nearly …Read More

Sundance Film Festival

From: Park City, Utah 2014 Sundance Film Festival, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, got under way last Thursday and will run through the 26th. Sundance is one of the early and enduring manifestations of what has become a worldwide …Read More

The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese is a fine director who morphed into auteur — small a — he’s entitled — and now with “The Wolf of Wall Street,” he has burst the chrysalis and emerged in all his glory as full-fledged Auteur — …Read More

American Hustle

High anticipation, but didn’t love it as much as I expected to. Somewhat over-hyped. Histrionic, often opaque — hard to tell the Good guys from the Bad guys — it’s a multifaceted mirror that keeps changing as the film unfolds. …Read More

The River Café, London

The River Café is always a special trip. Ann and I think it’s one of the best, maybe the best lunch spot in London. Started back in the late ’80s by Ruth Rogers as the employee cafeteria for Richard Rogers’ …Read More

Before Midnight

Even if you liked the first two outings in this trilogy, “Before Sunrise”/ “Before Sunset,” you realize with growing dread as the first ten minutes of this film roll, you’re in for a tedious slog. Talk, talk, talk. And then …Read More

The Bling Ring

The Bling Ring is an hour and thirtyish movie by Sophia Coppola adapted from Vanity Fair reportage about an L.A. high school burglary ring. Steeped in the values of Access Hollywood, and discovering that stars often fail to lock their …Read More

How to Win an Election (An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians)

By Quintus Tullius Cicero This is a great 100 page read. Plus ça change! Not long ago, pursuing an interest in the history of rhetoric, the trail inevitably led back to Marcus Cicero, the greatest orator Rome ever produced and …Read More

Letter from Paris

Taillevent may have seen its glory days, and few of us will forget them. But two years after the death of Le Patron, M. Vrinat, his daughter, Jean-Marie Ancher has assumed the direction with hopes of earning back their third …Read More

Kröller-Müller Museum

I’ll bet you’ve never seen the Kröller-Müller Museum and sculpture park near Otterloo in the Netherlands. Not many Americans have because it’s at least an hour’s drive from Amsterdam. But if you want an unexpected, very special aesthetic experience, it’s worth the drive. As an enticement, …Read More

The Great Gatsby

This is a hard movie to make. It’s hard to cast and hard to capture the nuanced aspects of a complex story. Baz Luhrmann will take some heat for his somewhat hip-hop interpretation, but overall should get high marks. His …Read More

Pecha Kucha

Several years ago a cartoon in The New Yorker showed a stern St. Peter at the Pearly Gates pronouncing thunderous judgment on a smarmy-looking supplicant with briefcase and portfolio, “..and I sentence you to one-thousand years of PowerPoint!” At last surcease is …Read More

Matilda (The Book)

“Matilda the Musical,” selling out 95% of the house every night in previews, looks pretty certain to be one of the big hits of this Broadway season. Roald Dahl was such a pro! He was a quirky guy, with an often …Read More

Sundance Film Festival

Park City, Utah, home of the Sundance Film Festival for two weeks every January is a charming mining town in a gorgeous snowy mountain setting updated for modern tourism. The films on offer, maybe 125-150 in all, culled from a …Read More

A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues

A couple of weeks ago, David Brooks cited in his column a short passage from a book he’d just read, “A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues,” by a contemporary French philosopher, André Comte-Sponville. The passage Brooks cited caught my …Read More

Django Unchained

 I enjoyed Django Unchained, despite shock/horror on all sides that a serious adult would entertain the notion of seeing a work that was so far over the top. But critics take Tarantino way too seriously, I think. He creates comic …Read More

Art Basel — Miami

This was my first time at Art Basel. What an experience! The Miami Convention Center has at least four huge halls, each with several hundred thousand square feet — a vast kaleidoscope choked with art and promoters of art, most all of it …Read More

Skyfall

Boring. Overly long. The best part was the chase behind the opening credits. If 007 (and his evil opponent(s), too, for that matter) had been better shots the film could have been at least a half hour shorter; the gang that couldn’t …Read More

Anna Karenina

Loved it.  Despite lukewarm critical reception, Tom Stoppard’s script for the current iteration of Anna K. is brilliant. The balletic conception of the production economically captures the grand sweep of Mother Russia and finds a level of eroticism that both …Read More