MISTRESS AMERICA

Roughly two-thirds into Mistress America a series of characters criticize another’s short story. Mainly for being shallow plagiarism, but of all the harsh criticism hurled at the author, the line, “Just like the rest of your generation; everything a pastiche” lands closest to home. Not because the author in question takes it bitterly, but because it is the criticism that the author of Mistress America seems to hurtle at himself. Mistress America — director Noah Baumbach’s tenth feature film and second collaboration with co-writer and star, Greta Gerwig — revolves around two young women, Tracy (Lola Kirke) and Brooke (Gerwig), whose … Continue reading MISTRESS AMERICA

STEAK (R)EVOLUTION

Of all the fine cuisine options the world provides, nothing seems quite as ubiquitously unique as the steak dinner. The preparation of this culinary staple can range greatly from locale to locale, but the results are essentially the same: high quality beef from a knowledgeable butcher, prepared by an acclaimed chef and producing a savory and mouth-watering experience. If you are a meat-eater. And a meat-eater you better be if you venture into the cinema for a taste of Steak (R)evolution, a two-hour documentary exploring this signature dish in a dozen different cultures and locales, because that dish is steak … Continue reading STEAK (R)EVOLUTION

THE 100-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED

Allan Karlsson (Robert Gustafsson) is like Teflon. No matter what situation Allan finds himself in, he can slide out as easily as he slid in. He’s been doing it since day one, and on day 36,525, Allan slides right out the window and into one last grand adventure. While Allan certainly has a great deal of good luck, he also has had plenty of help along the way, especially when his mother (Pernilla Göst) advised him to stop thinking, “Just like your father, always thinking for no good reason.” With that, she died, like her husband before her, and the … Continue reading THE 100-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED

BEING EVEL

There truly wasn’t anyone like Evel Knievel. His motorcycle was his weapon, but what did he combat? Gravity, I suppose. For what purpose? Political? Maybe. Celebrity, fame and fortune? Probably. Destrudo? Definitely. Even the name was a creation, a gift from a punny policeman that Knievel modified, turning “evil” into “Evel” so that he sounded dangerous, but not devilish. He made himself into an American icon, donning red, white and blue, and as the song goes, “stars and stripes too”. I don’t know if anyone ever asked for an Evel Knievel, or need one, but that is beyond the point. … Continue reading BEING EVEL

PEOPLE PLACES THINGS

If there is a type of indie film that has become incredibly tired and in need of a makeover, it is the adult beginner movie, e.g. the pre-mid-life crisis where someone learns to stop focusing on career and cherish the family at hand. Thankfully, People Places Things takes that very type, removes the polish, rubs it in the dirt and injects some much-needed life. Will Henry (Jemaine Clement) is a comic book artists and teacher in the vein of Scott McCloud, serious but with a casual attitude. He is happily married — or so he thinks — with twin daughters. … Continue reading PEOPLE PLACES THINGS

HIPPOCRATES: DIARY OF A FRENCH DOCTOR

If there is one great frustration of the modern world, it is that all enterprises are businesses. Be it entertainment, politics, legal, educational or other, the bottom line is that no matter what the trade, money must be made. This is especially true of the health care system, which is both extremely costly and immensely profitable. Some doctors pull in astronomical paychecks while others — to say the least of nurses — feel the cold squeeze of financial reality. The pill pushers live high on the hog, while those we rely on to read our charts work long, exhausting hours for barely … Continue reading HIPPOCRATES: DIARY OF A FRENCH DOCTOR

MERU

In the past decade, cameras have become smaller, more portable and more affordable. They can easily be taken to the farthest corners of the Earth and bring back pristine images for all to see. Mounted on helmets and long poles, these cameras capture images and perspectives that normal cameraman simply cannot, and this aspect has given a considerable rise to extreme sports documentaries, and in the case of Meru, the mountain climbing documentary. Located in India, Meru sits at the headwaters of the Ganges River — immediately imbuing the mountain with spirituality — and rising 21,850 feet into the air. … Continue reading MERU

BEST OF ENEMIES

Two things wise and educate people are advised not to discuss are religion and politics. The reason that wise and educated people are advised to avoid such topics is simple; everyone has their own beliefs. As foolish as these beliefs may seem to others, wise and educated people hold on to these beliefs with amazing devotion, believing these beliefs with such ferocity that anyone who doesn’t hold this beliefs to be self-evident, are completely foolish. While this form of rhetoric — if it can be called that — is in high demand, it is also damning. Every night, TV sets … Continue reading BEST OF ENEMIES

LISTEN TO ME MARLON

Listen to Me Marlon… This is one part of yourself speaking to another part of yourself. Listen to the sound of my voice and trust me. You know I have your interests at heart… Just relax, relax, relax. I’m going to help you change in a way that will make you feel happier, more useful… I want you to accept what I say as true. What I tell you here and now is true. That audio excerpt, made in 1996, comes from Marlon Brando’s personal collection of self-hypnosis. It is one excerpt of many that Brando recorded either for himself, … Continue reading LISTEN TO ME MARLON