Ben Parker

Cracked Actor

Ben Parker on “Watch That Man: David Bowie, Movie Star”

August 2013

WHEN A NONACTOR appears in a movie role, it is as if a draft rushes in from some door left open backstage, rustling against the conventions of how movie people hold themselves, how professionals look at the camera or throw their voice. When… READ ON


Book Smart

Ben Parker on Wuthering Heights

October 2012

THERE IS A QUAINT DEVICE in old Hollywood adaptations of, say, the Brontë sisters, or Charles Dickens, or Walter Scott, where a leatherbound volume creaks open on-screen, and its pages flutter to the title page under their own power. The … READ ON


The Gods Will Have Blood

Ben Parker on “Spaghetti Westerns” at Film Forum

June 2012

THE HISTORY OF SPAGHETTI WESTERNS is a series of increasingly diluted copies and diminishing returns. The first movie in the genre, Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars (1964), is already doubly derivative. Not only an unofficial remake of … READ ON


Focus, Please!

Ben Parker on the “Focus Features: 10th Anniversary Salute” at MoMA

April 2012

TEN YEARS IS AN AWKWARD AGE in cultural memory: too recent to provoke nostalgia, but far enough away to be unfashionable. The preceding decade is what we have just grown tired of; not-yet-classics still sit side by side with their not-yet-forgotten… READ ON