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 […]
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 Romance as a genre term has practically been replaced by the phrase “rom-com,” and the only alternatives are gooey teen-geared fare (“Twilight” or a Nicholas Sparks adaptation) or the occasional […]
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; […]
Grief is a process. Psychology books and personal experience will tell you that. Perhaps not all of us experience someone being ripped from our lives in an instant, but the process is always the same. Why then, is it so challenging to watch 9-year-old Oskar (Thomas Horn), whose father (Tom Hanks) dies in the 9/11 […]
Few of us can truly grasp the economic fundamentals of the 2008 stock market crash—how it happened, why it happened. Most of what we understand are the after effects, the human consequences. Rookie filmmaker J.C. Chandor’s “Margin Call” attempts to merge those two understandings: the economics and the executive-level decision-making with the real-life impact and […]
Historical fiction espionage thrillers have a devoted fan base, as do the novels of John le Carré. These folks are an intellectual lot, stimulated by the secret dealings of the world’s intelligence agencies, which during the Cold War were at an all-time high. And they can keep “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” a film that despite […]
It might not be an election year, but politics never take a break from being cutthroat. “The Ides of March” peels back the curtain on election campaigns, in this case those of two Democrats vying for their party’s nomination. Based on the play “Farragut North” by Beau Willimon, who had a hand in the screenplay, “Ides” […]
Most movies don’t know how to handle cancer. Heck, most people don’t know how to handle cancer — and I’m not talking about the patients. Cancer, or any other terminal illness for that matter, almost always plays some kind x-factor in a film — that is when a film even dares to enter a realm […]
Sports movies have always been preoccupied with what’s happening on the field, the court, the ring or what have you. They tell stories of underdogs defying the odds and champion values of honor, courage and determination. “Moneyball” peels back that obvious first layer yet achieves all those very same ends. The sport of baseball is […]
Late-summer Civil Rights dramas don’t come around much. In fact, late-summer dramas don’t come around much period, but “The Help” has just the right pinches of humor and bright colors to keep it from becoming a weighty affair more suited for the winter awards contenders. Don’t assume, however, that come the turn of seasons that […]
During parts of “Network,” you have to wonder if it’s a joke. The exploitation of a lunatic news anchor/prophet for financial gain with society just buying right in? Nuts. “Network” can definitely be viewed as an extreme and an unlikelihood, but that’s not to negate its powerful message and frightening ideas about media, consumerism and […]
Compelling figures make for compelling drama. Compelling characters who feel ordinary make for award-worthy drama. The script that David Seidler assembled into “The King’s Speech” using purely research taps into a story that’s simply gold: a British monarch, whom we are accustomed to view as having an inherent infallibility, with a speech impediment that makes […]