COLUMBUS

“Life’s tragedy begins with the bond between parent and child.” —Ryūnosuke Akutagawa A father is sick and the son is beckoned to his side. Though the set-up may be familiar, the execution is anything but. This is Columbus, the first movie from writer/director Kogonada, a video essayist of considerable reputation, and little of Kogonada’s acute eye is lost in the leap from three-minute analysis to a feature-length narrative. Columbus is the story of two wayward souls who come together in the town of Columbus, Indiana. He is Jin (John Cho), the son of an architecture scholar who has fallen into … Continue reading COLUMBUS

THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK

As far as the filmmakers behind The Only Living Boy in New York want you to think, Thomas Webb (Callum Turner) is your typical New Yorker. He feels he was born a few decades too late — he would have preferred the gritty, hard-scrabble NYC of the 1970s — is in love with a girl who just wants to be friends (Kiersey Clemons), lives in a Lower East Side walk-up so he doesn’t have the displeasure of running into his Upper West Side parents (Pierce Brosnan and Cynthia Nixon), befriends an hard-drinking novelist (Jeff Bridges) and works at a rare … Continue reading THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK

ESCAPES

duŸenŸde \dü-en-(,)dā\ noun: the power to attract through personal magnetism and charm To make it in Hollywood you got to have duende and Hampton Fancher has duende in spades. Born July 13, 1938, in East Los Angeles, California, to a merchant marine and a dancer of Mexican/Danish descent, Hampton Lansen Fancher III was a kid bursting to get out. Terrible at school, he voluntarily removed himself and hopped a freighter out of Galveston, Texas and headed off to Spain. He studied flamenco dancing and named himself “Mario Mantejo.” He was 15. No path to Hollywood is typical and as Fancher … Continue reading ESCAPES

WIND RIVER

The camera swoops over rocky peaks and muddy roads covered in ice and snow. It’s an inhospitable and barren environment, as inviting as the Sahara Desert or the middle of the Pacific Oceans. It’s wintertime in Wyoming and it’s about as forgiving as an Old Testament god. Wind River, from writer/director Taylor Sheridan, opens in this desolate wasteland with Natalie (Kelsey Asbille) running shoeless through waist-deep snow in the middle of the night. We don’t need anyone to tell us she is running for her life. A day or two later, Cory (Jeremy Renner) finds the remains of her boyfriend … Continue reading WIND RIVER

THE MIDWIFE

Even though The Midwife — the latest from writer/director Martin Provost — opens with a live birth, the story revolves around an off-screen death, with Claire (Catherine Frot) at the center of both. She is a midwife, and we come to know the type of woman she is by watching her make her rounds delivering babies all day and all night. Fastidious and capable, its no surprise when we find out she doesn’t drink, smoke, or stray outside the line. Then a rupture comes: Claire’s father has committed suicide. Claire deals with it, but she feels an obligation to inform … Continue reading THE MIDWIFE

LANDLINE

Watch enough movies and trends start to develop. One of the major ones: Love is hard; fidelity is harder. And as time wears on it becomes harder. At least for Tom (John Turturro), a middle-aged father of two daughters who has been having an affair. When his youngest, Ali (Abby Quinn), discovers his extra-curricular activities, she is more devastated to learn that it’s not simply a physical relationship, but an emotional one as well. The eldest, Dana (Jenny Slate), should be equally disturbed, but she is also stepping out on her fiancé with an old flame. Ali isn’t exactly surprised, … Continue reading LANDLINE

DETROIT

Detroit — the latest film from Academy Award-winning director, Kathryn Bigelow — opens with as much promise and technical brilliance as any feature made this year. Starting with a brief animation depicting the White Flight of the 20th century, Detroit opens on the early morning of July 23, 1967, with a speakeasy raided by police. An informant is roughed up, arrests are made, a crowd gathers. The cameras, seemingly omnipotent, cut back and forth from multiple perspectives, stitching together bits of action from all over; not to give an abstract picture, but to construct a complete one. This is how … Continue reading DETROIT