The Cobbler is the Fading Gigolo of last year: it’s a quaint comedy about a neurotic Jewish schlub (there played by John Tuturro, here by Adam Sandler) who works in a tiny, old-fashioned shop in a very hasidic part of New York City. More importantly, both films are equally contrived and unfunny. Strange how so […]
Omit the “French” from the title and stick us in the country that officially speaks it and you have, sort of, Cédric Jimenez’s The Connection– an air-tight if familiar crime drama about the six-year attempt to dismantle the Marseilles’s notorious drug ring that inspired William Friedkin’s 1971 The French Connection.
Romantic comedies seem to bring out the inner cynic in all of us, since so few of them are able to convince us of the central romance at hand. When the characters come together at the end, we often don’t feel they’ve grown or deserve each other– and isn’t that frustrating? Next to hardboiled action […]
Leviathan takes place on the coast of the Barents Sea, but it could exist anywhere. It deals with human issues that are based in Russia, but affect families, governments, and institutions from around the world. I refer to our society’s struggle with the old and the new- tradition and modernity- and how the two realms […]
Blood, sweat, and tears are as much characters in Whiplash as the toiling musicians who shed them. The film, a darling at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, certainly meets its quota of such bodily liquids dripping and flying onto drumheads and music stands. But primarily, Whiplash focuses on the teacher-student relationship (rivalry?) between Andrew Neyman […]
The rabid zombies (Rabid), blood parasites (Shivers), and talking bug buttocks (Naked Lunch) of David Cronenberg’s earlier films- all grotesque iconography belonging to the body horror genre- manifest in the innards of the Hollywood-borne narcissists in Maps to the Stars, the director’s latest work. It’s no surprise that Cronenberg, a known Hollywood detractor who has […]
Foxcatcher is not only the year’s best movie, but director Bennett Miller’s finest achievement and possibly one of the best films I’ve seen in the last 5 years. Miller, who specializes in stripping away the romantic qualities of American pastime (modern literature in Capote to baseball in Moneyball), takes down the American Dream imparted to […]
A Most Wanted Man opens on the still waters of a canal coming to a roil as an undisclosed boat passes by in the waking dawn of the morning. The shot is held for an extended period of time, allowing the atmosphere and meaning to naturally reveal itself. It’s an effective metaphor for the imminent […]