Diederik van Hoogstraten

Diederik van Hoogstraten is a writer in Los Angeles, covering Hollywood.

A Muslim Guy Who Just Wants to Get the Girl

 

In the excellent “The Big Sick” Kumail Nanjiani tells an immigrant’s love story. His faith stays where it belongs: in the personal, not the public space.

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A Furious Mother Picks Up a Gun

 

This has been a good spring for films about brilliant children and ill children. Not that I’m complaining. Gifted was moving and well done, as was Everything, Everything. Now we have an odd film that combines elements of both: The Book of Henry by director Colin Trevorrow, his first effort after the wildly successful reboot […]

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The Fight Before the Greatest World War II Battle

 

We never see war in Churchill. World War II is the dark heart of this film about the 96 hours before D-Day, and the prospect of violence and death is in every frame. But we see no fighting, no clashes between Allied forces and Nazis, no blood and dead bodies except in Churchill’s imagination. Instead, […]

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Hyping Stories With No Discernible Story

 

Quick, what is Twin Peaks about? Not the original from the early nineties. For that you just need memory or Wikipedia. But the new Twin Peaks, airing Sundays on Showtime. I saw the first two episodes at the premiere, with director David Lynch present. Baffled by the contrast between the towering expectations and my experience […]

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Falling in Love With the World

 

Illness can make life feel small. I remember how friends disappeared when I got really sick at age sixteen. No more school, parties, soccer, and bike trips. Girls? Forget it. A sense of immovable isolation came over me for many months, a heavy blanket blocking the joy of being young and alive. All of this […]

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Fear and Courage in Iraq, Mostly Fear

 

American Sniper, a movie I loved, tried to do everything. It explored the hell of war and the essence of brotherhood. It followed the book by the Texas super sniper Chris Kyle, told a love story, and drew attention to the veterans we are neglecting. It succeeded. Some critics had trouble appreciating the film — […]

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Gere’s Like a Fine Cheese: The Older the Better

 

Richard Gere is like a good cheese. As he gets older, he keeps getting better. With every new role, his work becomes more interesting, just like the taste of a high-end Gruyere or Gouda allowed to age in peace. Gere, now silver-haired and bespectacled, stars in Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a […]

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Homeland’s Disappointing Season 6

 

“You lack faith,” the young leader of a terrorist cell says to a fellow Muslim fighter, who appears to be ever so slightly less radical in his beliefs. “A man without faith is dangerous.” Then he shoots the guy in the head as his crew prepares for a major attack in the United States. Welcome […]

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Loving the Natives Even When They Want to Eat You

 

A rugged outsider disappears into the jungle. Angry natives, wild animals, violence, and hunger close in with every step in the mud. Lonely and obsessed, the outsider wanders into the wilderness around him. It symbolizes, of course, the wilderness within. Does that sound like the exploratory films of the German adventurer/filmmaker Werner Herzog, like Joseph […]

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‘Gifted’: Chris Evans Shines as a Man Fighting the System for His Daughter

 

Be wary of small-minded people with a modest amount of power. I’m paraphrasing, but that line from Gifted stayed with me. Maybe I had a visceral response to this casual warning about a school principal because it seemed relevant to current politics, or any politics. Maybe it was just because it was another well-written thought […]

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