Archive for Film

Review: 2017 Live Action Shorts Oscar Nominees

By : February 13, 2017

I have no interest in the Oscars or similar marketing entertainment, and I would be hopeless at predicting winners, but I enjoyed these five films this weekend at Los Angeles’s Nuart Theater.   Timestamp The nominee that makes the most effective, engaging and original use of the tools of cinema is Timestamp, from Spain, directed […]

Review: Don’t Think Twice

By : September 3, 2016

Don’t Think Twice shows the forced transformation of a small improv group from New York hopefuls to the newest arrivals in that vast community of artists all over the country who have abandoned their quests for celebrity careers, and settled for pursuing their art in small towns. As the film opens, members of The Commune, […]

Review: Eye in the Sky

By : April 24, 2016

Gavin Hood’s 2015 film Eye in the Sky is a very well constructed thriller, crispy written and mostly well acted. And it is a film with an important central issue. The ethical dimension The central subject of Eye in the Sky is not drone warfare per se, no matter what some reviewers say, it is […]

Film Review: 45 Years

By : February 17, 2016

45 Years is a very fine and wise film, modest enough in scale to feel like a stage play, with a play’s emphasis on dialog. A comfortably retired couple is a few days away from hosting a big party with their many friends to celebrate 45 years of marriage. What could possibly go wrong? What’s […]

Review: Hail, Caesar

By : February 5, 2016

Hail Caesar is far more than a parody of or homage to Hollywood, more than a period piece (1951), more than a vehicle for cameo appearances by various stars, and less a series of set pieces than the trailer implies. Forget the tepid New York Times review — this is a good film. There are […]

Review: Brooklyn

By : December 5, 2015

Brooklyn, directed by John Crowley, is an engaging film, well written and nicely acted, set in the 1950s not as those years were but as we might want them to have been. It is a feel-good confection. While Brooklyn is said to be about the quintessential immigration experience, it seems to be more about the […]

Review: Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict

By : November 23, 2015

Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, Lisa Immordino Vreeland’s 2015 film, succeeds in part because of its wonderful evocation of the art scenes in between-wars Paris and in 1950s New York. The film is visually lush, with so much wonderful art, vintage photographs and brief film clips, and some very clever fade-ins and fade-outs of individuals within […]

Review: Suffragette

By : November 15, 2015

Suffragette is a well made film, but might ultimately be the victim of the classic trap of hagiography: two-dimensional characters. The film’s strength— its successful depiction of an era and two of its most important political issues — is to some extent weakened by a somewhat flat characterization. The fiend who manages the women at […]

Review: Leviathan

By : November 8, 2015

If you appreciate dark foreign films, speaking thematically, you get it all in Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan (2014): the sense of fatalism, quixotic determination fueled by indignation and vodka, the mockery of people hoping that this time the system will work for them, the self-destructiveness of resistance, misogyny, the insecurity of daily life, rapacious governments, collaborationist […]

Review: The Wolfpack

By : June 21, 2015

New York City is loaded with oddities, and director Crystal Moselle has picked a doozie in making a documentary film about the Angulo family. The Wolfpack is an interesting and engaging documentary, intriguing in what it shows and intriguing in what it intimates. The Wolfpack is what six brothers name themselves, in homage to Marvel […]