THE QUIET ONE

There seems to be no end to the fascination of the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s. Especially when it comes to classic rock and especially when those musicians feel as familiar as childhood friends; unfortunately, there is an end to the exciting stories to be told and material to be mined.

The Quiet One isn’t a bad documentary on Bill Wyman, the bassists for The Rolling Stones from 1962 to 1993, or a bad documentary in general. It just suffers from arriving too late to the party to add much to a well-worn story. Continue reading “THE QUIET ONE”

YESTERDAY

Yesterday is a trifle of a movie: a light, sugary sweet confection that is delicious and satisfying. It’s kind of like an early era Beatles song: bouncy, energetic, and consumed by puppy dog love. Sure, The Beatles also wrote “Don’t Let Me Down” and “A Day in the Life,” but Yesterday — written by Richard Curtis and directed by Danny Boyle — isn’t concerned with the entirety of the Fab Four’s discography, just the silly love songs they need to tell their story. And to tell it well. The premise is as preposterous as it is magical: Jack Malik (Himesh … Continue reading YESTERDAY

OPHELIA

“You may think you know my story,” Ophelia (Daisy Ridley) tells us. And for most of us, we think we do. She is Ophelia, daughter of Polonius (Dominic Mafham), brother of Laertes (Tom Felton), and girlfriend to Hamlet (George MacKay). But, as her ominous line suggests, we do not know the whole story. Ophelia, based on the novel by Lisa Klein, recasts Shakespeare’s mad adolescent as one of the more cunning characters in a play populated by madness. Here, Ophelia is the favorite maiden of the Queen (Naomi Watts in a dual role) and Hamlet’s secret bride. Deceit is rampant, … Continue reading OPHELIA

WALKING ON WATER

Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, known simply as Christo, is an 83-year-old environmental artist. Along with his wife, Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009, Christo found notoriety in large-scale temporary art projects. They wrapped Paris’ Pont Neuf Bridge in 450,000 square feet of sandstone fabric; they shrouded Berlin’s Reichstag in silvery textiles; and they constructed an 18-foot high, 24.5-mile long fence in Sonoma, California out of nylon and steel cables. Art critic David Bourdon called it, “revelation through concealment.” But the passing of Jeanne-Claude brought Christo’s work to a halt. Like all artists, the number of unrealized projects was numerous, and, for a … Continue reading WALKING ON WATER

HALSTON

Who was Roy Halston Frowick? He was the man who stuck a pillbox hat on Jackie Kennedy’s head before her husband’s inauguration in 1961. He was the gay kid from Des Moines, Iowa who brought New York fashion to both Paris and Beijing. He was the man who sold his line and name to JCPenney, claiming he wanted to “dress all of America.” He was friend to Liza Minnelli, inspiration to Andy Warhol, and regular at Studio 54. And on March 26, 1990, Halston died from AIDS-related complications. He was 57. Halston is the latest documentary from Frédéric Tcheng, whose … Continue reading HALSTON

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO

The Last Black Man in San Francisco’s Jimmie Fails and Montgomery Allen are Estragon and Vladimir. Only they’re not waiting for Godot; they’re waiting for the bus. Neither comes. Unlike Samuel Beckett’s two heroes, Fails and Allen get up and leave. But, unfortunately, they still can’t move. Jimmie Fails plays Jimmie Fails, a young man trying to form his future by reclaiming his family’s past. Jonathan Majors plays Allen, a fishmonger by day and a playwright by night. Fails lives with Allen and Allen’s grandfather (Danny Glover) in a cramped house south of Hunters Point but spends most of his … Continue reading THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO

THE DEAD DON’T DIE

Humanity has reached a dead-end, and it’s fracking that did it. In real life, maybe, but in writer/director Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die, definitely. Fracking the polar ice caps — which doesn’t sound that far-fetched — has thrown the Earth off its axis and caused the dead to rise. One of the first out of the grave is an old Jarmusch staple: Iggy Pop, sporting his requisite leather vest and lack of t-shirt. The grave he climbs out of belongs to Samuel Fuller, one of Jarmusch’s idols. If those names don’t mean anything to you, then Dead Don’t Die … Continue reading THE DEAD DON’T DIE

AMERICAN WOMAN

Stories have trained us to expect life to progress in a linear nature: Set-up, complication, and resolution — preferably in that order and ideally with some connective tissue. In reality, it’s a little more circuitous. The connections are there, but some distance is required. That seems to be the motivation of American Woman, the new drama from director Jake Scott and writer Brad Ingelsby, that, on the surface, appears to a be a standard missing-persons drama. American Woman is, but with a little distance, proves to be much more. The center here is Debra (Sienna Miller), a single mother living in … Continue reading AMERICAN WOMAN

LATE NIGHT

How Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States of America has been the topic du jour ever since November 6, 2016, and the discussion won’t be going away anytime soon. Currently, the narrative is occupied by investigations of foreign meddling, but back in 2016, the focus was on the state of the nation and two divisive populations, both fed up for drastically different reasons. Pundits and analysis lobbed plenty of theories at their constituents, but the one that cut through the noise the loudest was of castigation: The majority of white women voted for Trump over Hillary … Continue reading LATE NIGHT

PASOLINI

There are few filmmakers in the annals of cinema as notorious as Pier Paolo Pasolini. From his first film, Accatone — documenting a messianic pimp — to his last, Saló, or the 120 Days of Sodom: an infamous and notorious work that is either 145 minutes of filth so depraved it cost the filmmaker his life or a grand subversive masterpiece. Pasolini, the latest release from provocateur Abel Ferrara, opens with the Italian director, played magnificently by Willem Dafoe, putting the finishing touches on his final film. Pasolini is 53, gay, a pluralist in the highest regard, and lives with … Continue reading PASOLINI