Thomas Hibbs
Thomas Hibbs
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Articles

review of The Gambler

December 24, 2014  •  National Review Online

The Gambler, starring Mark Wahlberg as Jim Bennett and directed by Ryan Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), is a remake of a minor classic from the early 1970s starring James Caan. Both films capture rather nicely the way in which high-stakes gambling is not just a bad habit but a consuming way of life organized around the pursuit of moments of tantalizing excess. (James Toback's script for the original, on which the new film remains loosely based, was semi-autobiographical.) As an English professor by day and gambler by night, Wahlberg brings an infectious energy to the role of the quick-witted, ironic, and pugnacious gambler. His devotion to risk at all costs, to proving himself against the highest odds, means that each scene is latent with both self-destructive and darkly comic possibilities. Wahlberg's performance, combined with a well-paced plot, makes this an entertaining film.

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Don Draper's Inferno

May 26, 2014  •  National Review Online

With the conclusion of the first half of season seven on Sunday, May 25, Matthew Weiner's acclaimed AMC series Mad Men has only seven episodes left (which we won't get to see until next spring).

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review of Locke

May 22, 2014  •  National Review Online

Steven Knight's Locke begins with its eponymous character, a British skyscraper-construction foreman named Ivan Locke, getting in his well-appointed BMW to drive to London to resolve a pressing personal problem. With the action of the film transpiring in real time, less than 90 minutes later it ends with Locke still in his car; the camera never reaches beyond the interior and the immediate exterior of the BMW. The minimalist plot, technique, and setting of the film allow for maximal exploration of the personal and interior life of the main character, who is facing a moral crisis that threatens to undo his work, his family, and his sense of his own integrity. As Ivan Locke, Tom Hardy, from Inception and The Dark Knight Rises, gives a mesmerizing and inspiring performance; struggling desperately to regain his bearings and to reassure others who now have reason to doubt him, he is the picture of a soul hoping against hope that he can set things right.

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review of Her

January 11, 2014  •  National Review Online

Spike Jonze's new film, Her, is a love story about a man, Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), and his futuristic Operating System, the self-named Samantha (voice by Scarlett Johansson). In a film that is more romantic comedy than science fiction, Jonze presents what might once have seemed an absurdly comic premise as a potentially natural outgrowth of current cultural conditions: the development of technology that serves our every need along with our increasing disconnection from one another. The result is a decent film, even at times a gently moving film, with fine performances by Phoenix and Johansson. But because its emotional range is narrow and its fascination more with the expansive capacities of technology than with the complexity of human nature, it fails to exploit the dramatic possibilities of its unusual plotline.

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review of The Wolf of Wall Street

December 27, 2013  •  National Review Online

In an early scene in Martin Scorsese's repulsive, if energetic, The Wolf of Wall Street, the film's main character, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), finds himself working amid Wall Street traders who make enthusiastic and pervasive use of expletives. Belfort finds that and so much more to his liking. For the viewer of this film, which clocks in at just under three hours, the endless repetition of frat-boy machismo dialogue becomes annoying while the relentlessly explicit sexuality is just cloying.

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Books by Thomas Hibbs

Cover of Rouault-Fujimura: Soliloquies Cover of Arts of Darkness Cover of Aquinas, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion Cover of Virtue's Splendor Cover of Shows About Nothing Cover of Dialectic Narrative In Aquinas


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