The films of Robert Altman breathed a certain kind of freedom. Not the American type of “Freedom”, though his movies were always very American. It was an artistic freedom, on one hand- to say, do and tell what he wished- and, on the other, an ability to extend that liberty to the actors on screen. […]
Here is a film that really disturbed me. It’s called Hungry Hearts, made by the Italian director Saverio Costanzo who clearly enjoys Roman Polanski’s Apartment Trilogy but has less positive feelings about the difficulties of raising a child. But, as what often makes Polanski’s movies so effective, inspired technique can work horrifying, if (in this […]
What a feat it requires to cinematically tell the story of Brian Wilson, the eccentric American musician and chief songwriter (among other things) of The Beach Boys who came up with the ultimate oddity of concept albums, Pet Sounds, in 1966. There and after, Wilson battled with crippling bouts of depression and substance abuse. He […]
I haven’t felt this much anxiety watching a crime movie since Scott Cooper’s underrated Out of the Furnace. The Drop is a riveting crime drama about two men, Bob (Tom Hardy) and Marv (James Gandolfini), whose Brooklyn bar, a “drop bar” for local Chechen mafia, is put in jeopardy when robbed by two masked men. […]
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya tells an exceedingly important story, wrapped in the realm of Japanese folk tale, of femininity and a woman’s ability – and right – to make her own decisions. Studio Ghibli’s Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies) takes these elements and actually feels them through the tender graces of heart […]
The Theory of Everything is certainly earnest, but we require more from a biopic on the great English physicist Stephen Hawking, the best-selling writer of A Brief History of Time (1988) and whose IQ is estimated at 160? We require intellectual conviction and probing questions, like what the man had himself.
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 […]