James Bowman

James Bowman, our movie and culture critic, is a resident scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He is the author of Honor: A History and Media Madness: The Corruption of Our Political Culture, both published by Encounter Books.

About Another Nick Hornby Boy

 

In the annals of movie titling, Juliet, Naked must deserve a special place, since there is no one in it who is named Juliet and no one in it who is naked, though we do get a glimpse of Ethan Hawke’s underpants, if that doesn’t add insult to injury. Juliet is the title of the one album made long […]

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The Tragedy of Mr. Rogers

 

It isn’t telling you anything you don’t already know to say that hatred and anger are the master emotions in our public life today. Even when the media lavishes love and praise and admiration on somebody, as they have on the late Senator John McCain, the subtext of their effusiveness is often one of hatred […]

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Lady Bird of Sacramento

 

Set in Sacramento in 2002-2003, Greta Gerwig’s female coming-of-age story Lady Bird provides two main points of perspective on the otherwise claustrophobic representation of that city — “the Midwest of California” — which its eponymous heroine (Saoirse Ronan) is so eager to escape, along with her Catholic high school and the mother (Laurie Metcalf) with whom […]

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Ebbing, Missouri Week

 

It’s best to think of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as a sort of cinematic parable about forgiveness — both of others and of ourselves. But I’m sorry to say that many viewers who hope for a spiritual experience will be put off by the mannerisms of its Anglo-Irish writer-director, Martin McDonagh, already on display in his earlier film, […]

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‘Darkest Hour’ in a New Light

 

It is now impossible for us to watch a movie like Darkest Hour, or to contemplate the colossal historic presence of Winston Churchill, without the benefit of hindsight. He was right when almost everyone else was wrong. He led his country through great suffering to victory and so is remembered as a great man. But he was […]

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Pathologies at Play in the ‘The Florida Project’

 

The heavy-handedness of the irony in Sean Baker’s new movie, The Florida Project, begins with the opening titles, over which we hear Kool & the Gang singing “Ce-le-brate good times, come on!” while the camera introduces us to the sun-drenched exteriors of the Florida welfare-motel where the film is set and the punning “project” of […]

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Does Ben Stiller Do Satire?

 

Brad Sloan (Ben Stiller), the hero of Mike White’s Brad’s Status, is a prig of the first water, which should be apparent to anyone not already a part, as he is, of the cozy little world of the media, “non-profits” (and especially the non-profit media), academe and Hollywood. But like many if not most prigs, […]

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Divisions Over Dunkirk

 

Rather as they are by President Trump, conservatives are divided by Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. To Kyle Smith of National Review the film is “brilliantly realized” and “magnificently well crafted” if a little short on Spielbergian sentiment. Churchill’s great “We shall defend our Island…” speech, he thinks, is actually “more effective” when delivered not by the great man himself […]

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Make Plans to See ‘The Wedding Plan’

 

Others have pointed to the fairy-tale quality of Rama Burshtein’s Hebrew-language movie (with subtitles) The Wedding Plan, but the comparison with folk art can bear a little elaboration, I think. For there is something of the fairy tale, not only in the movie’s high-concept subject matter — which is a young woman’s seemingly insane confidence that […]

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Open Season on Marriage

 

Once a long time ago it was thought that the only thing more shaming to a man than being a cuckold was being a wittol or wittold, which was a cuckold who knew he was a cuckold and didn’t do anything about it. Now the word is all but gone out of the language — […]

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