I have scratched together a living, in one way or another, as a writer for more than 50 years now. I was a free-lance writer during the early stages of the Vietnam War. I was the Southwest Division Overnight News Editor for United Press International back when UPI was a legitimate news gathering organization. Following that, I went to the Dallas Morning News where I became the first person to write about rock 'n' roll on a daily basis for a Texas metropolitan newspaper. I later became the News' entertainment editor. Following some stints with a couple of prominent PR firms, I had the extraordinary good fortune to team with two communications legends, Ken Fairchild and Lisa LeMaster, as part of one kick-ass media consulting/crisis communications team. That was followed by short stays with the City of Dallas, as its public information officer; the Dallas Northeast Chamber of Commerce where I had the good fortune to meet and work alongside some of this city's business and political titans; and editorial director for QuestCorp Media until that company went out of business. Now officially retired, concentrating on this blog.
X-Men: Days of Future Past ***½ Directed by Bryan Singer. Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbinder, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Nicholas Hoult, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart. The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in an effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants. Spanning across several continents, and obviously decades, Days Of Future Past feels vast and epic in scope. But as large as the movie is, it never loses sight of character and themes (at least the ones that matter).
Venus in Fur *** Directed by Roman Polanski. Emmanuelle Seigner, Mathieu Amalric. An actress attempts to convince a director how she’s perfect for a role in his upcoming production. Polanski’s direction is masterful — a pleasure in and of itself — but Seigner is the star attraction here, giving one of the best performances of her distinguished career.
Chinese Puzzle *** Directed by Cédric Klapisch. Romain Duris, Audrey Tautou. A 40-year-old father’s life is complicated when the mother of his two children moves to New York. Since he can’t bear them growing up far away from him, he decides to move there as well. Klapisch’s film is meandering and cutesy, but his characters are endearing and every so often he comes up with a deft insight, such as how New York City’s streets are like a flayed zombie.
Mr. Peabody and Sherman **½ Directed by Rob Minkoff. Ty Burell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Patrick Warburton, Stanley Tucci, Allison Janney, Mel Brooks, Lake Bell. The time-travelling adventures of an advanced canine and his adopted son, as they endeavor to fix a time rift they created. The film plays with some funny ideas about time travel, and like any good time travel movie, it flirts with paradox and what happens when you violate the rules of time and space. It doesn’t really go far enough with those ideas, though, and the end result is too often timid instead of brash and silly.