Following “War Horse” and “Lincoln,” “Bridge of Spies” rounds out Steven Spielberg’s trilogy of histories in the 2010s, each film earning a Best Picture nomination for being a superb piece of craft — and having Spielberg’s name attached.
The stories of great people, particularly the great thinkers, have been source material for a number of acclaimed and awarded biopics, a sub-genre that has evolved a lot in the last decade. You can tell just by comparing two of 2014’s best, each focused on one of the greatest British minds of the 20th century. […]
Jazz music and psychology create a furious cinematic swell in Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash,” a striking breakthrough effort that will have toes tapping and pulses racing. Centered on a 19-year-old aspiring Jazz drummer pushed to his limits for better and for worse (usually worse) by a merciless instructor, “Whiplash” tells a simple story of how far […]
Biopics have become so commonplace today that they often lack the prestige they carried 10-20 years ago. So when one stands out, it deserves an extra bit of recognition and praise, and “The Imitation Game” is one such film, commanded by a fascinating performance from Benedict Cumberbatch.
Washed up celebrities, surrealism, truth and the theatre converge into an extraordinary film from Alejandro González Iñárritu (“Amores Perros,” “21 Grams”), a master of weaving multiple story lines together tackling dark but powerful themes about human nature and love. “Birdman” does not veer from these themes, but it is a dramatic structural shift for Iñárritu; […]
“Foxcatcher” is anything but a wrestling drama. Although based on the true story of Olympic gold medalist Mark Schultz and his brief years of training under multi-millionaire John du Pont, “Foxcatcher” expands well beyond the wrestling ring into the minds of two men longing to find greatness.
Slavery is rightfully considered the darkest mark on America’s 237-year history. It was the issue that defined 19th Century America, and one of many examples in humanity’s narrative of the oppression of one people at the hands of another. “12 Years a Slave” is a brutal but necessary reminder of that evil. It is a […]
In telling chapters of history, films have the benefit of hindsight. As obvious as that statement sounds, Oscar-winning screenwriter Brian Helgeland takes advantage of almost 70 years of history in writing/directing “42,” to the point where he can set the stage with the perfect emotional tone for telling the story of Jackie Robinson, one of […]
Man vs. nature is an ever-occurring theme in literature and film, but few dare tag on “vs. God.” Although to be fair, “Life of Pi” implies a certain connection between God and nature, that they aren’t exactly separate entities. Ang Lee’s adaptation of Yann Martel’s celebrated and oft-considered “unfilmable” novel tackles this crisis of faith […]
The timeless narrative of people who do bad things getting what they deserve has become so entrenched in the way we look at books, movies, television and more. For that reason, many who finish “Arbitrage” will find themselves rather bewildered.
If you think it’s tough to think or talk about old people having sex, try being one of said old people. “Hope Springs” pairs two Oscar-winning and well-aging talents in Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones as Kay and Arnold, who endure the ups and downs of couples counseling with the main goal of rekindling […]
Look around Hollywood and you get the feeling that the art of the romance movie is either dying or has been dead for some time. Romance as a genre term has practically been replaced by the phrase “rom-com,” and the only alternatives are gooey teen-geared fare (“Twilight” or a Nicholas Sparks adaptation) or the occasional […]
Abraham Lincoln. Steven Spielberg. Daniel Day-Lewis. Any of these words alone commands a lot of attention and respect; put them together, and you have an almost inconceivable amount of reverence. “Lincoln” is reminiscent of the powerhouse Oscar biopics of the ‘90s and early 2000s, but unlike other recent biopics, it mostly measures up to the […]
Steven Soderbergh and a movie about male dancers are two things most commonly found on opposite sides of a video store (or completely different categories on your Netflix recommendations, if we’re being modern), but behold “Magic Mike,” a film that is both, and a film that works surprisingly well.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s films have a tendency to take you by the shoulders and shake you rigorously, to leave you with an unforgettable scene, moment or quote (“I drink your milkshake!”, anyone?). “The Master” short-changes none of us on lasting images, but the fearless director’s long-awaited return to film after six years is less visceral; […]