Diederik van Hoogstraten

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

A Brutal Western With a Heart

 

Good actors show up in terrible films. This year’s The Leisure Seeker is an example: the great Helen Mirren works with a sublimely bad script and the resulting Very Ill Senior Citizen comedy is utterly unwatchable. Bad actors sometimes show up in good films. It’s rare. But think of the appealing yet modestly talented Vin […]

Continue Reading

Beauty and the Beast for Adults

 

The voice of Sally Hawkins is appealingly clear. Just last year she hummed and muttered her way through the overlooked indy Maude. So seeing this English actress shine in a film without saying a word is, to say the least, odd. It is true, though: The British actress doesn’t speak in The Shape of Water, […]

Continue Reading

Rejecting Victimhood

 

The waves of the Pacific Ocean can be mesmerizing, providing solace and peace and, for surfers, excitement — a welcome counterpoint to the noise of Southern California’s daily grind. The Mason family seems to be looking for this sort peace when they move from Michigan to Palos Verdes, a wealthy enclave along the rocky coast […]

Continue Reading

Redemption Is Possible, for Countries and Kids

 

Films about race and racism can be important. They’re also difficult to make. Witness Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation, which failed last year to convince moviegoers and award voters. Now, 2017 has been a better year for the genre. The dark and brilliant satire/suspense/horror/social commentary Get Out — it is not easy to categorize […]

Continue Reading

A Need for Vengeance

 

Frances McDormand is a force. It’s something in the actress’s voice, her eyes, her sense of humor and her quiet charisma. Look at her, engage with her character, and you are off on a trip. That’s certainly true for her role in Three Billboards Outside Edding, Missouri, a weird, wild, very good movie written and […]

Continue Reading

The Pain of Fathers and Daughters

 

Steve Carell has often said the way to deal with hardship is through humor. The man we know from The Office certainly knows how to make you laugh, but those projects were hardly serious or painful, setting aside the famous chest wax in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. As the title suggests, Last Flag Flying is no […]

Continue Reading

Some of the Young Embrace God and Country

 

Growing up with a Protestant minister for a father, I learned very little about Catholicism. I knew Christianity — the Dutch-reformed kind. Catholics? We didn’t like them and, supposedly, we weren’t like them. Now some of my best friends are Catholics. But as I write about a deeply Catholic film I know that I know […]

Continue Reading

‘Only the Brave’ — Running Into the Danger

 

The towers burned, the city was in a panic. Most of us fled as smoke and fear filled the air. Still, a small group of men and women moved toward the danger. It was September 11, 2001, when new generations, raised without war or imminent threats, became acutely aware what heroes do: the opposite of […]

Continue Reading

How to Look at Important Historical Men

 

Before I talk about the drama Marshall, a moment to catch up on a film that has been in theaters for a week. Loving Vincent tells a crime story of sorts about the death of my Dutch compatriot, the painter Vincent van Gogh, in a small French village in 1890. It is not the most […]

Continue Reading

Stuck With Each Other and a Dog

 

We are a nation of dog lovers. America houses 78 million canines, almost half of all households have a dog. As the companion of an insanely energetic, loving Vizsla named Charlie I’m partial to them, so to me this love of dogs confirms we inhabit the greatest country on the planet. The new survival drama/outdoor […]

Continue Reading





Send this to a friend