Well, let's complete the "doing lately" trilogy with what we've been reading. Here we go: -The New Biographical Dictionary of Film (6th ed., David Thomson). I love this guy (I know many don't). He has some of the tastiest film writing out there, and his knack for getting to the core of an actor or director is eerie (and often hilarious). His insights into film are trenchant and revealing, built on decades of viewing and writing. He brings to his writing a wonderfully holistic quality: clearly he's read a lot (I even spotted an AJ Liebling reference in there somewhere) and he knows about art history too. He's also not afraid to slay sacred cows (if you're a John Ford fan, go ahead and skip that entry). In all, I respect him the most for prodding filmgoers to become more demanding viewers, to ask more of films. I can't think of higher praise for a critic than that. By the way: If you love film and want to get to know Thomson better, watch the youtube video below where he and longtime friend Michael Barker (of Sony Pictures Classics) shoot the breeze about how much they love films. It's a treat. Some choice bits: -About Burt Reynolds: "Burt without his mustache (but with his rug) could look grim and shifty." -On Woody Allen: "'Woody' was the most famous film director in America from the late 1970s onwards, and then a reluctant household name as his famed soul-searching took a banana-skin skid into public scandal. Can he be merely amusing when he has drawn so melodramatic a trail through the courts and the public prints? More important, can he develop as an artist? Has he ever shown that unmistakable promise? I am skeptical." -On Jennifer Lawrence: "Lawrence has great skin tone, the rather fleshy sheen of a teenager, still, and she has considerable screen presence -- whether she can act is another matter. But influence is everything." -On Stanley Kubrick: "The Shining, for me, is Kubrick's one great film, so rich and comic that it offsets his several large failures. Perhaps Jack Torrance is a monster, a dad run amok; perhaps family is the suffocation that anyone should dread. The film is very funny (especially as Nicholson goes over his edge), serenely frightening, and endlessly interesting."