Daily Archives: February 13, 2021

Chicago Reader Blog post and some responses about OPERA JAWA and its review in the New York Times (January 16-21, 2008)

The following blog post provoked 68 comments, 16 of which I’ve elected to retain here. Sad to say, Jeannette Catsoulis continues to make more wrong calls than any of the Times‘ other movie reviewers –sliming Chuck Workman’s excellent 2014 Magician, the most accurate and conscientious of all the documentaries about Orson Welles for reasons as derisively foolish and as arbitrary as her xenophobic takedown of this remarkable Indonesian feature Maybe it’s just art that makes her nervous. — J.R.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008
The New York Times returns to its philistine roots
Posted by Jonathan Rosenbaum on Wed, Jan 16, 2008 at 4:11 PM

I’ve been reflecting lately that the film coverage these days in the New York Times — thanks to the lively prose of Manohla Dargis, the literary intelligence (if not the film background) of A.O. Scott, and the critical and scholarly chops of Dave Kehr — may be better than it’s ever been before. But then I read the ugly, xenophobic, tossed-off review of Opera Jawa by Jeannette Catsoulis in today’s paper, and I realize that in some ways we might as well be back in the 60s, when a barbarian like Bosley Crowther was smugly ruling the roost. Read more


Seeing Neil Burger’s ironically titled third feature at the Toronto Film Festival a few days ago, I gradually come to realize that Burger can be classified as an auteur insofar as his three vastly different features to date can all be related to the same theme: the means by which powerless people assume power. (For a consideration of his first two features — the 2002 Interview with the Assassin and the 2006 The Illusionist — one can read my Chicago Reader review of the later film here.)

Three wounded U.S. soldiers in The Lucky Ones (a film scheduled to open in the U.S. later this month), all traveling “home” from Iraq, played by Michael Peña, Rachel McAdams, and Tim Robbins (see above), have almost nothing in common with one another except for their war service, yet they wind up getting entangled with one another for practical as well as existential reasons, sharing a rented car. What we gradually come to realize is that the reason why they went to Iraq in the first place is subtly tied to the fact that they have nowhere to go now — which is why they wind up forming a temporary and makeshift family with one another. Read more