On ‘Boyhood’

From a technical standpoint, Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is absolutely beautiful. The film was made in pieces over a period of twelve years. The film grew with the cast. That’s what devotion looks like. That’s also what parenting is about, what growing up is like- waiting and wondering what the developed piece will really turn out…

‘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…

Americana: A Tribute to Nothingland in A. Payne’s ‘Nebraska’

Nebraska: a story of the heartland. An Americana gem. Black and white and cold throughout, Alexander Payne’s latest feature seems to be a carefully crafted study of small town living. An old man journeys from Montana to Nebraska to cash in what he believes to be his golden ticket. No one in the story actually…

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…

On ‘12 Years A Slave’

Film journalist and writer Johanna Schneller opened the press conference for ‘12 Years A Slave’ at the Toronto International Film Festival saying “It’s difficult to say we love this film, we like this film, because it’s so tough.” Director Steve McQueen immediately responded “You could love it, you could love it.” Schneller backed up with…

‘The Dynamiter’ & Childhood

The concept of children as smaller versions of adults persisted in history up until the early 20th Century. The purpose of children was to grow up and carry on whatever their parents or guardians needed them for, whether it was a family business or help in the field or the family home and bloodline. “Kids”…