James D. McCallister

author of the Edgewater County series

Review (Theatrical): MR. TURNER (2014)


Review (VOD): BLOODLINE (2015)

“There’s clearly some things going on with our family.” So says Sally, matriarch of the Rayburn clan (Sissy Spacek) in the penultimate episode of the new Netflix drama series Bloodline. Coming at the arguable peak of the dysfunctional family dynamic on display in this mostly compelling new offering from the on-demand service, this plays as quite the amusing understatement. Set […]

A Taper’s Section Night to Remember…Grateful Dead in Chapel Hill 3/24/93

The Grateful Dead’s Spring Tour 1993 proved to be a time of renewal—the previous December, Jerry Garcia had returned from a canceled fall tour and a(nother) health crisis looking spry, trim (by his standards) and energetic. A happy time to be a Deadhead! March winds were gonna blow all our troubles away. On the 22nd anniversary of […]

Archival Phish Review: Raleigh ’99

In honor of today’s LivePhish archival release of the band’s show from Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, NC on December 16, 1999, here’s a partially tongue-in-cheek review I submitted to the original Phish reviews page, maintained in those days by my good friend and former University of South Carolina Newsfilm Library colleague Dan Schar.

REVIEW (Theatrical): GONE GIRL (2014)

David Fincher’s most accomplished and entertaining film since Zodiac, this adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s hit novel Gone Girl emerges as one of the more trenchant and often hilarious satires in recent cinematic memory. A work of art that’s equally at home skewering male-female marital relationships, popular news media, celebrity worship, American spending and eating habits, or even suspense […]

Review (Live Music): PHISH, Fresh in Portsmouth 2014

Amidst a series of higher profile weekend gigs like Randall’s Island and MPP, Phish dropped back into what has become the East Coast’s coolest outdoor shed with a pair of solid mid-week shows stuffed to the gills with tour debuts, a couple of which can be termed definite bustout material, and a number of satisfying jams. […]

Review (Theatrical): BOYHOOD (2014)

Ambitious, moving, and profound, Richard Linklater’s BOYHOOD is hands-down the most artistically successful American movie since THERE WILL BE BLOOD. Period.

Review (Live Music): PHISH Returns to Charlotte

The snooze-you-lose show: no mere mythical creature, Phish has often dropped mind-quakingly offbeat or unique shows at undersold venues, at tour stops off the beaten track, perhaps most famously epitomized by the storied 11-2-98 Utah stopover in the wake of the huge Vegas Halloween run; the four thousand phans in the cavernous basketball arena that […]

Review (Live Music): PHISH Halloween at Boardwalk Hall

Better late than never, and in acknowledgement of the new Phish album due next month, here’s a never-posted review of last year’s epic Halloween concert. — For the second time in four years, Phish, Vermont’s perpetually popular group of prog rock virtuosi, returned to Atlantic City for their typically-legendary Halloween run. Anticipation, through the roof; […]

Review (Theatrical): NEBRASKA (2013)

From its initial silvery, widescreen, black & white frames, Alexander Payne’s Nebraska unfolds at an unhurried pace, much like the shuffling steps of its principal character, the taciturn, boozy, elderly Woody Grant (Bruce Dern, in a career-best performance). When we first meet him, Woody trudges along a freeway ramp up and out of Billings MT, but it’s […]