Although less commercially driven, “Room” is to 2015 as “Gone Girl” was to 2014: An acclaimed film based on an acclaimed book adapted for the screen by the author that takes the viewer into deep, psychologically troubling places. Obviously, “Gone Girl” is a mystery thriller with a creepy darkness to it, while “Room” is more […]
Category: "Independent Drama"
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 […]
How is John Carney the only filmmaker who knows how to make a contemporary musical? The “Once” filmmaker recaptures some of that film’s magic in “Begin Again,” a more mainstream approach for a wider American audience. With a team of terrific songwriters and a top-notch cast, “Begin Again” is a welcome reminder of why and […]
Calling “Boyhood” “unlike anything you’ve ever seen” is stating the obvious, yet there is almost no other way to describe it in as many words. Making a film over the course of 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater has transformed everything we know about filmmaking, in some ways challenging the very definition of […]
Woody Allen has proved to be a filmmaker of many talents in his five-decade career, yet he continues to — every few films — push himself into new territory, and he’s done so with “Blue Jasmine.” Cate Blanchett stars as the severely troubled titular character and she and Woody prove to be a perfect match […]
In a time when TV is dominated by shows about morally twisted main characters you can’t help but root for, “Dallas Buyers Club” fits right in, plus it adds a layer of historical relevance and social responsibility those shows usually lack.
“The Spectacular Now,” based on the novel by Tim Tharp, does us the unusual favor of depicting teenage relationships without any romanticism or moral agendas. It’s a little surprising that it was adapted by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, writers of “(500) Days of Summer,” because that film definitely exaggerated its core romantic relationship, […]
Nothing the Coen Brothers ever do is really a change of pace, but “Inside Llewyn Davis” is about as close to one as you’re likely to get from the filmmaking duo that has rolled out nothing but critically acclaimed hits since 2008 Best Picture winner “No Country for Old Men.” Even with a three-year break […]
Tales of 20-somethings in New York City epitomize the independent film scene, as does the star and co-writer of “Frances Ha,” Greta Gerwig, the indisputable indie queen. Together with writer and director Noah Baumbach, “Frances” is practically the comfort food of independent film, a genre label usually reserved for something edgy and different. However, despite […]
It’s not as hard to imagine artificial intelligence becoming a reality as it was 10 or 20 years ago. So even though “Her” is just a riff on the “robot who learns to love” plot from movies as far back as arguable “Pinocchio,” writer/director Spike Jonze makes this futuristic concept much more accessible and capable […]
Aging is hard, as it accepting your lot in life. “Nebraska” adds another poignant story about life’s tragic beauty to Alexander Payne’s filmography and it’s likely the most universally accessible of all his previous efforts.
“Hyde Park on Hudson” might forever be known as that other film in 2012 featuring a U.S. president — if anyone remembers it at all. Both films are entirely different portrayals, namely in the scope of both the stories they tell and the span of time in which they take place, but only one of […]
William Friedkin is a name you know, but not one you hear much about these days. The “French Connection” and “The Exorcist” director hasn’t delivered anything of that quality since those days in the ’70s, but he shows he’s still a skilled and relevant filmmaker with his film version of the Tracy Letts play “Killer […]
Disabled people having sex isn’t a topic so much tiptoed around as completely ignored by — well, pretty much everyone. So at the very least, Ben Lewin’s “The Sessions” has to be applauded for shattering taboos. With an outstanding performance from John Hawkes and a script that takes a brazen (i.e. open) approach to sex, […]
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” will be a relevant book for a long time, and consequently there’s nothing dated about Stephen Chbosky’s unique coming-of-age story now that it has finally hit the big screen so many years later. Anchored by strong performances from its leads and a powerful sense of poignancy, “Wallflower” is a […]