GREEN ROOM

If there is anything I have learned from watching movies it is this: never, ever take that one last job. No matter how much money, no matter how great the chance of fame, no matter the guilt involved, never take that last gig. Too bad that these punks have never seen a movie, or they might have figured that out. But alas, they didn’t and a broke hardcore punk band — lead by guitarist and lead-singer, Pat (Anton Yelchin) — takes one last gig hoping to salvage some aspect of this cross-country trip. Not that they’re desperation isn’t understandable; they … Continue reading GREEN ROOM

TCM FILM FESTIVAL — 2016

For classic movie lovers, there is no greater film festival than the TCM Film Fest in Hollywood, California. Every spring, throngs of moviegoers descend on the honorary capital of moviemaking for a feverish, bleary-eyed three-day celebration of the moving image. Now in its seventh year, the TCM Film Festival, running April 28–May 1, continues to expand the ever-growing TCM brand. What started simply as a TV channel has moved from mere programming to one of a historical and archival presence. TCM produces DVDs, Blu-Rays, various product lines, established a theme cruise, a Hollywood/New York movie locations bus tour and even … Continue reading TCM FILM FESTIVAL — 2016

MILES AHEAD

Miles Davis was a man of few words, but an endless stream of music. Though the story of Davis’s meeting with then First Lady Nancy Reagan at a White House dinner in 1987 is most likely false, the punch line is still rings true: When Reagan asked Davis what he’d done to deserve an invite, Davis responded, “I’ve changed the course of music five or six times. What have you done except fuck the president?” Urban myth or no, that attitude is the attitude of writer/director/star Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis in the bio-pic, Miles Ahead. Situated primarily during Davis’s reclusive … Continue reading MILES AHEAD

TOO LATE

Film noir is about being a day late and a dollar short. Hence why the newly released Too Late is a classic noir set in modern-day L.A. A dirty, but honorable, private eye with a predilection for strippers, Samson (John Hawkes), is inextricably connected to Dorothy (Crystal Reed), a stripper with a heart of gold, who winds up strangled to death in Elysian Park. From there, Samson’s Pontiac Trans Am takes him high into the Hollywood Hills where the plot thickens and the body count builds. Then: a strip club from a previous time, a drive-in 35mm theater and a … Continue reading TOO LATE

LOUDER THAN BOMBS

If there is a truth in life, it is a simple one: everybody is trying their best. It’s an often-difficult truth to accept because it is far too easy to criticize one another for their shortcomings, their mistakes, their screw-ups. Even though people in glasshouses shouldn’t throw stones, they commonly do. And, so, we soldier forth trying to make it through this world as best we can, trying desperately to understand one another. Joachim Trier’s third film, Louder Than Bombs, is about that desperate search for the truth, both within and without. Three years ago, renowned war photojournalist Isabelle (Isabelle … Continue reading LOUDER THAN BOMBS

THE FIRST MONDAY IN MAY

Few arguments are rehashed ad nauseam quite like the debate over what is art and what is not art. In the right corner, wearing the red trunks, the Fine Arts: ars gratia artis. In the left corner, wearing the blue trunks, the Applied Arts: everyday design and decor. In the past, there is a division between these two and never the twain shall meet. But this is the 21st Century and, baby, that wall is eroding fast. Eroding faster thanks to cinema and fashion, two artistic forms that intersect beautifully in The First Monday in May, a documentary about the … Continue reading THE FIRST MONDAY IN MAY

APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD

Although America did not invent animation, it certainly has dominated it for over a century. Japan has tried, and very nearly succeeded to take the crown, but the one-two punch of Disney/Pixar is too much to contest, and many times animated features from rival studios and across the globe look and feel like faint echoes of those successful formulas. That doesn’t mean great work isn’t being done elsewhere. Not by a long shot. It just has to work a little harder to make an impact on Yankee screens, and when it does, it is something special to behold. Set in … Continue reading APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD

FIREWORKS WEDNESDAY

Somewhere in northern Tehran, a young couple rides a motorbike into town. They laugh, they play, she teases him, and then, her chador gets stuck in the gears of the motorbike. “Whom are you hiding from?” he asks her, pointing to the stuck chador. “You,” she teases him. So begins one of Asghar Farhadi’s chamber pieces, Fireworks Wednesday (Chaharshanbe-soori), a movie that starts open and isn’t confined to any one room, but is suffocating in it’s confinement never the less. Farhadi, who won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film with A Separation (2011), is an Iranian born filmmaker … Continue reading FIREWORKS WEDNESDAY