Boyhood doesn’t do anything fancy. In fact, it’s the movie’s simplicity and understated nature that makes it so unique.
Guardians of the Galaxy
If the steady diet of superhero movies over the last dozen-or-so summers hasn’t given you indigestion, clear your plate for one more.Guardians is something else—a reminder of what summer blockbuster moviemaking used to be all about.
A Most Wanted Man
In February of this year, we lost, prematurely, one of the best actors of all time: Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman had a way of fully and convincingly embodying every character he played while often making his performances seem effortless. It’s such a gift and a relief, therefore, to see that his final leading role was worthy of his talent, and that his performance was nothing short of magnificent. Indeed, Hoffman carries A Most Wanted Man on his considerable shoulders.I recommend it highly to all who prefer intellectual engagement to action. It’s a well-made, well-told tale, and a perfect exit for […]
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Dystopian stories abound now in books, TV shows and movies. For example, back to back on TNTon Sunday evenings, we get Falling Skies, about humans fighting an alien race that is taking over the Earth, and The Last Ship, about a U.S. naval ship carrying a scientist working on a vaccine for a virus that has wiped out most of Earth’s population. Turn to FXand we get The Strain.While the film depicts much fighting, it judges the fighting as destructive, tragic and unnecessary. The heroes of the film are those working to bring healing and reconciliation.
here), I want to draw your attention to a gem you probably missed at the cinema this spring. Locke, a British indie film written and directed by Steven Knight, and starring Tom Hardy, will be released on DVDin August and I encourage you to check it out (though not at the end of a long day).
Clint Eastwood’s adaptation of the Broadway musical Jersey Boys into a movie broadens the story of the four friends from New Jersey who became the Four Seasons and rose to stardom in the early 1960s. While it includes many of their popular hits, it delves into their background and shows the conflicts that developed as their popularity grew.They go on the road, and after a while the troubles grow. Frankie’s marriage suffers from his being gone. Tommy gambles away all their earnings and lands them in a half-million dollars of debt.
As the director of Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and Cowboys and Aliens, Jon Favreau knows all about summer blockbusters. He also knows about being a critical darling and then finding mainstream success (see Iron Man),and losing some of his critical backing (see Iron Man 2 and Cowboys and Aliens). All of this is to say that Favreau is the perfect person to bring us Chef, a cinematic equivalent of the slow-food movement in a summer full of cinematic fast food franchises.It is a summer film in the respect that it takes place when school is out of session and […]
X-Men: Days of Future Past
In general, there is no film genre today that is more likely to assure box office success (usually blockbuster status) than superhero films. I believe there are many reasons why today’s filmgoers enjoy escaping into a world where evil villains (often super-villains) are defeated by superheroes (however flawed) who do not need to do things “by the book” (i.e., wait on the slow-moving wheels of a bureaucratic and sometimes corrupt justice system). This is not the place to review those reasons.Imagine my surprise, then, when I watch a popular superhero film that seems to challenge the myth of redemptive violence […]
Amid the superhero movies and raunchy comedies, the Cineplex occasionally sneaks in a quiet, “inspired by a true story” film. Such is Belle, which is based on the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mabatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of a Royal Navy admiral.Belle deals with the racism that existed then, and we view it with a self-righteous disdain for their backward ways. But it doesn’t confront us with our own racist structures today.
Director John Gray channels Russian novelist Dostoevsky’s ghost in his film The Immigrant. While the plot is relatively simple, the film is a portrayal of spiritual and psychological struggle.The story plays with clichés, like that of the innocent prostitute, but Cotillard’s performance and the screenplay mostly avoid this, so that the characters feel real.