GHOST IN THE SHELL

What stories will this generation tell the ones to come? If the latest output from Hollywood is any indication, they will tell and re-tell the stories of previous generations with slight variations that aren’t adapted but simply repackaged. Hell, if Hollywood was a bookstore, then the used section would be the executives’ favorite. Especially anything dog-eared and underlined. Why bother doing the work when you can piggyback off of someone else? That is the main knock against the live-action Americanization of Masamune Shirow seminal 1989 manga, Ghost in the Shell. Set in the Japanese city of New Port City in … Continue reading GHOST IN THE SHELL

PERSONAL SHOPPER

Not everyone can shop for themselves. Some aren’t very good at it, some are too busy and others are too well known to walk into Cartier without TMZ hounding them out the door. For the high-class clientele, a personal shopper is a must and Maureen Cartwright (Kristen Stewart) fills that role for international actress and model, Kyra (Nora von Waldstätten). Maureen’s relationship with Kyra isn’t great — Kyra treats Maureen like crap and Maureen reciprocates with animosity — but neither is her relationship with her boyfriend, Gary (Ty Olwin), a computer programmer working in another country. They communicate exclusively over … Continue reading PERSONAL SHOPPER

THE SENSE OF AN ENDING

A man builds his life. He tells his story, he buries his secrets and he forgets his lies. Then he grows old and begins to wonder: Was I right? Was I wrong? Did I say too much? Not enough? Too bad he forgets to ask the one question that really matters: Does anyone care? At least that’s what Tony Webster — known affectionately by his friends and family as “Mr. Webster” — should be asking himself. This curmudgeonly divorcé spends his days in a quiet and suffocating routine of running his boutique camera repair shop and not giving a good … Continue reading THE SENSE OF AN ENDING

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

If a description is necessary of Disney’s 2017 live-action re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, let it be this: Moviemaking by committee. Not one frame of this two-hour and nine-minute hollow money grab smacks of personality or identity. Nor does it carry the weight of craft, charm or the unbridled joy found in either the 1991 animated version or the 1946 live-action film from Jean Cocteau. Instead, Beauty and the Beast opts for familiarity, redundancy and unnecessary indulgences that neither expand the world nor reveal uncovered truths. Sticking close to both the ’91 animated telling and the ’94 Broadway musical that … Continue reading BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

THE SON OF JOSEPH

The Son of Joseph begins with two young men poking a rat in a steel cage with a prod. The rat scurries from one part of the cage to the other, trying to evade the prod but his efforts are futile. At one point the rat starts to fight back, biting the rod. “Try poking his eyes out,” one tells the other. “I can’t,” the friend responds. “He’s too clever.” For the next 110 minutes, we are that rat and writer/director Eugène Green is the man prodding us with both his ideas and his style. Divided into chapters — ‘The … Continue reading THE SON OF JOSEPH

DONALD CRIED

You can’t go home again, but people certainly do try. Often with disastrous results. Peter Latang (Jesse Wakeman) left his small Rhode Island home years ago, but the death of his grandmother has beckoned him back to the snowy working-class neighborhood of Warwick. En route, Peter loses his wallet and finds himself stranded on familiar ground. With no one else to turn too, he calls on his former next-door neighbor and childhood friend, Donald (Kris Avedisian). Peter isn’t exactly thrilled by having to rely on Donald, but Donald couldn’t be happier than to lay eyes on Peter once more. Peter … Continue reading DONALD CRIED