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…

‘Gravity’: Run to Return

One hundred synonyms for “beautiful” could be dug up to describe ‘Gravity’, Alfonso Cuarón’s latest hit, written with his son, Jonás Cuarón. A One hundred and one, for it is spectacular to see and hear; we feel the despair with Dr. Ryan Stone (brilliantly sculpted from guts by Sandra Bullock), our own losses caught in the…

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…

The Primordial Darkness of ‘August: Osage County’

An alternative tagline for the screen version of August: Osage County could be “Streep and Roberts go darker than ever, fist in fist”. The thriller angle of this drama is seeing these two women, who have stunned audiences in award-winning biopics and the like for decades, revel in portraying what turned out to be possibly…