Adam Driver

Ninth installment sticks to the script

A rebel X-Wing doesn't know when to call it a day

A rebel X-Wing doesn’t know when to call it a day.

“Every once in awhile I have what I think of as an out-of-the-body experience at a movie,” wrote a rapturous Roger Ebert in the summer of 1977 of Star Wars. Later that year a more skeptical Pauline Kael, writing about the same film, said, “the loudness, the smash-and-grab editing, the relentless pacing drive every idea from your head.” Never could the duality of responses to the Star Wars series of films be better predicted. They are either the greatest experiences in a movie theater since L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat, or the biggest waste of time since Birdemic: Shock and Terror. [read the whole post]


Film Review: Paterson

by Carrie Kahn on January 6, 2017

So much depends / upon / a lovely motion / picture / directed with much / love / in the cinema / today

Bus driver/poet Paterson (Adam Driver) writes poems before his shift.

Jim Jarmusch is one of those divisive filmmakers about whom everyone seems to have an opinion; people seem to either love his meditative, slow, literary style, or they find themselves frustrated by it, with very little middle ground. If you’re in the latter camp, you probably won’t like Paterson, his newest picture, which, like so many of Jarmusch’s best films (Dead Man, Ghost Dog, Coffee and Cigarettes) is similarly laconic, thoughtful, and slow-paced. But if you consider those qualities plusses in your cinematic experience, then you need to see this lovely, gentle, and introspective gem.
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Film Review: Silence

by Chad Liffmann on January 6, 2017

Scorsese has, at long last, delivered his faithful long-lasting delivery on faith

Bless me Andrew Garfield, for I have sinned.

I’m not opposed to a film with a 160+ minute running time. What I do mind is when that movie doesn’t utilize its extended running time properly. It’s hard to fault Martin Scorsese for ensuring that his new film, Silence, runs a simmering 160 minutes. After all, he had wanted to film this story for nearly thirty years. If you were to finally fulfill a 28 year journey to make a film, it’s likely you wouldn’t want to sacrifice one bit of your efforts onto the cutting room floor, either. There is an arguable purpose to Silence‘s slow pace and narrative repetition, which I’ll get to, but it’s ultimately not enough to warrant the length of the final cut. That being said, the film is more of a cinematic triumph than a failed attempt. Yes, it is a historical religious epic, fraught with troubling but effectively choreographed depictions of religious persecution, but Silence is also much more invested (to the point of fallible self-indulgence) in exploring our contentious personal connections to human nature, faith, and spirituality.

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The boy is Special, and so is the film

Roy (Michael Shannon, l.) will do anything to protect his very special son Alton (Jaeden Lieberher).

Writer/director Jeff Nichols (Mud, Take Shelter, Shotgun Stories) continues his collaboration with the terrific actor Michael Shannon to great effect in his utterly engaging new science fiction film Midnight Special. Unlike another film by a well known writer/director that opened today, Nichols’s film grips you from its opening minute and keeps you enraptured for its nearly two hour run time. A film that pays homage to others of its genre while still managing to be totally unique, Midnight Special is well worth your box office dollars. [read the whole post]


It’s Gen X versus the hipsters in Baumbach’s uneven new film

Cornelia (Naomi Watts) and Josh (Ben Stiller) have a late night discussion.

Writer/director Noah Baumbach, who is 45, and whose girlfriend and frequent muse Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha) is 31, obviously knows a thing or two about Gen X/millennial conflict, and it’s hard not to wonder how much his real life experiences shaped While We’re Young, his new picture exploring the generational divide. While intellectually clever and undeniably funny at times, Baumbach’s film is not without its problems.

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Film Review: Tracks

by Chad Liffmann on September 26, 2014

Life is a journey– make sure you have enough camels.

Mia Wasikowska and camels in John Curran's Tracks.

Mia Wasikowska and camels in John Curran’s Tracks.

Tracks is based on the true story and National Geographic article (and subsequent memoir) of Robyn Davidson, the Australian woman who made a nine month journey on foot across the Australian desert in 1977 — a distance of about 1700 miles.  Throughout her journey, accompanied only by four load-carrying camels and her dog, but occasionally visited by photographer Rick Smolan and aided by a few indigenous folks and country residents, Robyn wrestles with the pressure to remove herself from civilization while fighting to complete her epic journey.  The film is a fantastic re-enactment of Robyn’s story.  The acting, editing, stunning cinematography, music, and all other aspects of the film work harmoniously to deliver a remarkable tale of individual strength and determination, and about humankind’s companionship with nature.

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Film Review: This is Where I Leave You

September 19, 2014

This family puts the fun in ‘dysfunction’ Director Shawn Levy, whose previous efforts include the funny but lightweight Night at the Museum and the mediocre Google commercial (er, film) The Internship might not seem like an obvious choice to bring Jonathan Tropper’s more literary serio-comic novel This is Where I Leave You to the big […]

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