THE LEGEND OF TARZAN

There are treasures deep in the misty mountains of the Congo; untold riches that the Belgian king will stop at nothing to find. Fortunately, there is a man who will sell out his tribe and his way of life to lead you to these treasures. All you have to do is bring him the man. The man they call Tarzan. Set partly in London and mostly in Congo circa 1890, The Legend of Tarzan is the long-awaited sequel to the smash hit that launched the careers of Alexander Skarsgård and Margot Robbie. The movie propelled them into bed and into … Continue reading THE LEGEND OF TARZAN

THE BFG

What motivates an artist to return time and time again to the formative and gentle years of childhood? Is it a rejection of the adult world, the world of responsibility and accountability? Or is it a plea to the next generation? Here is where we failed, please to be avoiding these pitfalls. Those who tell stories about their experience are trying to understand now. Those who tell children’s tales, try to understand the future. What makes the latest Roald Dahl cinematic adaptation, The BFG, a success is that the forces behind the movie are nothing if not fascinated about what … Continue reading THE BFG

DOUGH

RECIPE FOR A SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS MOVIE Star to finish: ~90 minutes Servings: One smallish art-house audience Take two parts religion One part aging individual (preferably white) Blend together until their inherent differences rise to the surface. Let rest. Add a pinch of social realism — not too much, just enough to taste. Forcefully work in a few digs at capitalism. Introduce various plot threads. Do not incorporate. Bake in the lukewarm oven for 90 minutes and serve  to those with dulled taste buds. Building predictably and hitting each plot point with Syd Field’s manufactures precision, Dough is a socially conscious movie … Continue reading DOUGH

Now Playing on TCM: Treasures from the Disney Vault

On June 28, TCM returns with the seventh installment from one of its newest series: Treasures from the Disney Vault, a focused look through Disney’s extensive and diverse back catalogue. As with the previous six installments, Disney aficionado Leonard Maltin (author of The Disney Films and Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons) introduces each selection and provides a bit of context. No context is needed for 1961’s live-action feature, The Parent Trap (8:00 p.m. EDT), a fan favorite that spurred three sequels for television and a 1998 remake. Starring Hayley Mills — hot off her success … Continue reading Now Playing on TCM: Treasures from the Disney Vault

THERAPY FOR A VAMPIRE

It’s unfair to dock a movie simply because of when it was released and what might have come before. But life is unfair and the German comedy Therapy for a Vampire (Der Vampir auf der Couch) enters American theaters in the wake of What We Do in the Shadows and Only Lovers Left Alive. A pity considering Therapy is a funny and smart romp, just not as funny and the former and as smart as the latter. Set in Vienna, 1932, Therapy for a Vampire finds Count Graf Geza von Közsnöm (Tobias Moretti) on Dr. Sigmund Freud’s couch looking for help … Continue reading THERAPY FOR A VAMPIRE

BAND OF OUTSIDERS

French critic cum filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard famously said that all you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun, but he could have done it with less. As an artist, Godard vacillated back and forth between incendiary agitator and devoted cineaste, often colliding within the same movie. For his seventh feature, Godard wanted to make something cheap, something fast, something commercial. As Richard Brody writes in his seminal study of Godard, Everything is Cinema, “Godard took no chances with the material: he declared that he wanted ‘to make a simple, legible film.’” That film was to be … Continue reading BAND OF OUTSIDERS

FINDING DORY

Preeminent film director Howard Hawks succinctly described a good movie as: “Three great scenes, no bad ones.” Many since have tried to elaborate on what defines a good movie through various criteria and rubrics, but all fall short of Hawks’s dictum. “Three great scenes, no bad ones.” Elegant and concise, and simply states: I know it when I see it. Finding Dory — Disney/Pixar’s follow-up to the incredibly heartfelt and successful 2003 Finding Nemo — is a good movie, full stop. Picking up shortly after the events of Finding Nemo, everyone’s favorite blue tang, Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres), begins … Continue reading FINDING DORY

TRAPPED

In 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled that is was unconstitutional for individual states to outlaw, or restrict, a woman’s right to an abortion within their first trimester. The decision, Roe v. Wade, was a landmark one, a triumph for individual rights, but it also became a highly contested decision that stoked the fires of the Pro Choice/Pro Life debate that rages on to this day. Actually, to this day doesn’t even seem to cut it. According to the new documentary, Trapped, over 250 laws restricting abortions and women’s health clinics have been passed since 2010 alone. The debate … Continue reading TRAPPED

THE CONJURING 2

When it came to the paranormal, Ed and Lorraine Warren were the people to call. These two demonologists, and agents of the Catholic Church, found themselves attached to many supernatural cases including The Amityville Haunting, an event that made several headlines at the time and continues to live on in infamy in a several feature films and TV movies. Critics of the Warrens decry their work as a hoax, while many remain steadfast in their beliefs: the Devil is real and demons walk among us. This time around the Devil has taken two forms: Bill Wilkins (Bob Adrian), an old … Continue reading THE CONJURING 2

A MONSTER WITH A THOUSAND HEADS

It doesn’t take much to fill one with despair and the general sense that the world is indifferent to your plight, but nothing can drive a person to the brink like dealing with an insurance company. The paperwork, the type numbers, the claims, the people, the waiting, all of it feels like pushing a boulder up a hill. But what makes it ultimately hopeless is the unfathomable faceless-ness of it all. Every other company has a figurehead to point to, to direct your ire at, to shoulder the blame — or praise, if the case may be — but insurance … Continue reading A MONSTER WITH A THOUSAND HEADS