Film Review: LE WEEKEND Apr11

Film Review: LE WEEKEND

Directed by Roger Michell Written by Hanif Kureishi Starring: Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan, Jeff Goldblum Married thirty years, Nick and Meg go to Paris to celebrate their anniversary. The tension between them is palpable when few things go as planned. But, on the other hand, there is the closeness of a long-married couple to balance the scale. They know where a dagger can hurt the most and don’t always refrain from plunging it in. When Nick meets an old graduate school buddy (Goldblum), far more successful than he, the couple accepts his invitation to a party celebrating his new book. Things get out of hand. And then, get more out of...

Film Review: ENEMY Apr04

Film Review: ENEMY

ENEMY Directed by Denis Villeneuve Written by Javier Gullon based on the novel by Jose Saramago Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Sarah Gadon, Melanie Laurent, Isabella Rosselini After last year’s PRISONERS, Villeneuve and Gyllenhaal team up again for a film for those who find ambiguity thrilling rather than frustrating. Gyllenhaal plays a history professor, Adam, in Canada, bored and boring, finding little to like in either the classroom or in his barely furnished digs despite the presence there of his gorgeous lover, Mary (Sarah Gadon). When a colleague calls his attention to a movie, he rents it and finds his doppelganger playing a small part....

Film Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel Mar28

Film Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Written and Directed by Wes Anderson Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinson, Tony Revolori, Saoirse Ronan, Ed Norton, F. Murray Abraham, and on and on. I should state at the outset I am not a Wes Anderson fan. I liked MOONRISE KINGDOM quite a bit but despite seeing every one of his movies, I have seldom been enamored of them. They almost always seem airless, all the characters cut of the same relentlessly twee cloth, too much about auteur theory and not enough about a story, too anxious to be liked by a select group. Looking at the reviews, I am in the minority here. Most people buy into Anderson’s world. I wish I could. THE GRAND BUDAPEST...

Film Review: ABOUT LAST NIGHT Mar21

Film Review: ABOUT LAST NIGHT

Directed by Steve Pink Written by Leslye Headland, Tim Kazurinsky; based on the Mamet play SEXUAL PERVESITY IN CHICAGO Starring Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hill and Joy Bryant It was a cold and snow day, and it seemed like a movie would be a good idea. I had semi-fond memories of this film back in the 80s with Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, Jim Belushi and Elizabeth Perkins. I had an even better memory of the play, which was a fairly damning look at the mating practices of a group of friends in Chicago. Naturally Mamet gave the story a nervous, angry energy. This time the cast was African-American and the humor a little rawer than what we got...

Film Review: NON-STOP Mar14

Film Review: NON-STOP

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra Written by John W. Richardson, Christopher Roach, Ryan Engle Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianna Moore, Lupita Nyong’o Neeson has forged a second career of sorts by a series of late winter releases. THE GREY, ranks as the best of these. Not sure, which is the worst. Probably not NON-STOP but it has more than its share of moments of complete nonsensicalness. Neeson plays Bill Marks, an air marshall with a drinking problem and a serious depression. He’s not on this overseas flight more than a few minutes when he begins receiving texts saying someone will die every twenty minutes unless $150 million is placed in a...

Film Review: OMAR Mar07

Film Review: OMAR

Written and Directed by Hany Abu-Assad Starring: Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany, Eyad Hourani, Samer Bisharat,Waleed F. Zuaiter Omar (Bakri) is a baker in Palestine, conducting a clandestine but chaste romance with his friend’s (Bisharat) sister (Lubany). When he and his friends (Hourani) engage in some rather foolhardy but provoked violence, it is Omar who is caught and taken to an Israeli prison where he first tortured and then persuaded that it is better for both him (and his girlfriend) if he turns informer. His handler (Zuaiter) is far too skilled for the young man to outwit. Omar is now an outcast to his friends, who mistrust him. There...

Film Review: THE LEGO MOVIE Feb28

Film Review: THE LEGO MOVIE

Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller Written by Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller Starring the voices of Chris Pratt, Morgan Freeman, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell “Everything is Awesome” is the tune that runs through this terrific movie, and it is running through my head five days later. It’s not a particularly memorable tune, but it sticks for people who enjoy the particular level of hell called earwigs. But other than that, this was one fantastic film. It was so much better than it needed to be on every level. Emmet (Chris Pratt) is a resident of Bricksburg, a construction worker, in fact...

Film Review: GLORIA Feb21

Film Review: GLORIA

Directed by Sebastian Lelio Written by Lelio and Gonzalo Maza Starring Paulina Garcia, Sergio Hermandez GLORIA reminded me in some ways of THE GREAT BEAUTY from a few weeks ago. Here we have another film about a character past a certain age who is trying to construct a meaningful, full life—one that is not just concerned with the winter of our years. In GLORIA’s case, she is looking for a male companion, and not just a companion, a sexual partner that will leave her fulfilled. She loves her grown children but their interests lie elsewhere and she feels too alone. She meets a man who at first gives signs of being married. This is not the...

Film Review: AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY Feb14

Film Review: AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY

Directed by: John Wells Written By Tracy Letts (based on his play) Starring: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Margo Martindale, Julianne Nicholson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis Sometimes I wonder if an all-star cast like this one does more harm than good. If each actor brings so history with him, that is what we focus on. You can hear the audience murmur: “Oh Meryl doing a Oklahoma accent; Oh, that’s Sherlock Holmes; Oh that’s the doctor from MASTERS OF SEX; Oh, there’s Mags from JUSTIFIED. And on and on. There are no unfamiliar faces here and perhaps that is the primary problem. The distracting aspect of...

Film Review: THE GREAT BEAUTY Feb07

Film Review: THE GREAT BEAUTY

THE GREAT BEAUTY Written and Directed by Paolo Sorrentino Starring: Toni Servillo (and many Italian actors) Jep, the author of a successful novel many years ago, is turning 65 and the movie begins with a party equaling those in a Fellini movie, which is what this film is a tribute to in many ways. In the interim years, Jep has been a journalist (covering many shallow but glamorous stories) but mostly he’s been a dilettante or hedonist. He’s the toast of Rome but a disappointment to himself. He knows he is too old for the party scene and such a frivolous life, but is unable to come up with another novel, another life. An old friend comes to...