‘Short Term 12’ Hits Home

If you have ever worked with kids, and you appreciate their age, you know that they teach you more than you can possibly teach them. The big up (though it rarely feels like it, for reasons I’ll get into in a bit) is that, as an adult, you get to…have to…are charged with working in…

In the Life of Llewyn Davis / NYC in the 60s

The makings of a film people will watch: NEW YORK CITY + Music + The Coen Brothers made it. Not necessarily in that order, and there are indeed many other factors that can score a profit, but to be realistic (which is what I’m going for, here), not many. Location (location, location), something joyous with…

A Knock-out Drama: the Private World Explored in ‘Concussion’

‘Concussion’: She said “I have to do something.” Abby Ableman reads and vacuums at the same time, fixes up hole-in-the-wall apartments in Manhattan, and spends inordinate amounts of time in cycling classes, amidst the aimless, though healthy-minded chatter of other soccer moms. Most importantly, Abby violently, helplessly curses at her son when he hits her…

Reality, History, and Silence: ‘Dallas Buyers Club’

‘Dallas Buyers Club’ could be a film that alters the way audiences view people of varying sexual expression. It could be that kind of resource for filmgoers, but the press surrounding more than one awards acceptance speech by a particular cast member has been drawing attention to the rub of the industry: actors don’t have…

Fading Glamour and Psychological Grit in ‘American Hustle’

Who’s the criminal in a thieving system? In a band of uglies, who’s the worst? We audience members love watching horrible people make bad choices. The length of the average feature length film gives us just the right amount of time to decide who we feel sympathy for, who did the darkest deeds, who deserved…

In Praise of ‘The Butler’

Billed as a the story of a father and son living in two seemingly opposing worlds, Lee Daniels’ ‘The Butler’ grosses over $160 million at the box office over a budget of $30 million. I haven’t mentioned the budget of a film before this, but if I didn’t in this case, I’d be missing a…

A Two-fold History of Silence Exposed in ‘Philomena’

The real life Philomena Lee has had many trials in her life, namely the loss of her son to the nuns who had him adopted without her consent at the age of 17 and, then again, the loss of her son to AIDS when she went searching for him later in life. She found him…

Blame, Sweet Blame: ‘Enough Said’

With all the makings of a Hollywood romantic comedy, Enough Said is this year’s winner in the category of light-hearted yet beautiful moral film stories. There is a question and an answer in this little gem, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s character, Eva, asks and answers: is there a way to prevent heartbreak? The answer is in…

10 Films That Passed the Bechdel Test in 2013 | Tribeca

Here are ten films from 2013 that actually pass the Bechdel Test. This test, which assesses only the most basic presence of women on-screen, is strangely difficult to apply to most American films, but this year you could use count ‘em out on *both* hands. With Sofia Coppola beside Noah Baumbach beside Ridley Scott and…