20TH CENTURY WOMEN

A young man sees the world from a specific point of view. Though women may surround him — women who raise him, teach him, love him and confuse him — he will never be able to fully see the world through their eyes. He tries and comes closer than most, but, in the end, the young man will still be faced with the same question that plagued Sigmund Freud: What do women want? The year is 1979 and the young man in question is 15-year-old Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann). His mother, Dorothea (Annette Bening), is 55 and trying to raise … Continue reading 20TH CENTURY WOMEN

LIVE BY NIGHT

Adapted from the 2012 novel by Dennis Lehane, Live By Night is a great American epic wrapped inside a misguided movie. Written for the screen, produced and directed by Ben Affleck, who also stars, Live by Night starts overseas in the trenches of World War I, where Joe Coughlin (Affleck) makes up his mind to never again take orders from anyone. But it doesn’t take long for Coughlin, a two-bit Boston bank robber, to learn never-say-never and he finds himself working for Albert White (Robert Glenister), an Irish gangster he eventually betrays, and then Maso Pescatore (Remo Girone), the Italian … Continue reading LIVE BY NIGHT

LOW DOWN

Sometimes, things just line up. In the past two weeks, I have watched three movies dealing with jazz music and musicians, and all three have found different, if not cliché approaches to explore the artistic expression of the genre. First was Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, a grueling ordeal about a student/mentor relationship and the relentless pursuit of perfection. Following that was Keep On Keepin’ On, a documentary from Alan Hicks about Terry Clark and his protégé, Justin Kauflin. In direct contrast to Whiplash, Terry was not only one of the most prolific jazz trumpeters he was also the happiest. A narrative … Continue reading LOW DOWN

MALEFICENT

Maleficent is Disney’s latest in a spate of Nostalgia Branding, a trend spawned from the enormous box-office success of 2010’s Alice in Wonderland. Last year’s Saving Mr. Banks was a lesser movie than the movie it referenced, Mary Poppins, but the performances from Tom Hanks as Uncle Walt and Emma Thompson as writer P.L. Travers added enough heart to carry the otherwise schmaltz material. Coming next year, Disney will revamp Cinderella and I am sure there are many more of these can’t miss financial opportunities to come. The logic is: if you see Maleficent, Disney get’s your money. If you … Continue reading MALEFICENT

Movie Beat – 05.30.14

Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhass – Michael Kohlhass (Mads Mikkelsen) was just another family man, a horse trader and a loyal citizen. Then they stole his horses and murdered his wife, now he has nothing to live for. Nothing, except for his revenge. A classic tale of retribution painted across the wide-open landscape of 16th Century France. Mélusine Mayance, Delphine Chuillot, David Kross, Bruno Ganz and Denis Lavant co-star in a script written by Christelle Berthevas and Arnaud des Pallières with des Pallières directing as well. In limited release from Music Box Films.   Filth – Bruce … Continue reading Movie Beat – 05.30.14

GINGER & ROSA

Ginger & Rosa - Poster

Ginger & Rosa tells the story of two seventeen-year-old girls who are coming of age in England, 1962. With the creation of the atomic bomb, mankind had finally unlocked the power to obliterate all living things from the planet. The older generations have survived two world wars and even though the threat of the bomb scares them, they have seen enough truly horrible things and probably take this atom bomb business with a grain of salt. For the youth, what is the point of planning and preparing for a future that might not exist? Seventy years later, we still live with the threat of total and complete nuclear annihilation. It isn’t talked about as much these days, but the bombs still exist, the threat is still there. America is the only country that was foolish enough to drop one of these monstrosities, and even though they now reside in the power and control of some truly demented and psychotic individuals, they do not poses the threat in our hearts that they once did. I suppose one could say that there is a human fail safe, something that prevents one from destroying too many. Even the ruthless have parameters. The parents in this movie fear the bomb, but not in the way that the children do. They are aware of those parameters. They know the bottomless well that is mankind’s evil, but they also know that life goes on. Preparing the next batch is possibly the only way one can conquer evil.

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Movie Beat – 03.01.12

21 And Over – Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) is a straight-A student who is trying to get into medical school. In fact, he has an interview for said school tomorrow morning, but tonight, tonight he is twenty-one. It would be a real shame to let such a historic moment go by, and one beer won’t hurt, right? One wouldn’t have, but Casey (Skylar Astin) and Miller (Miles Teller) show up and put that idea to bed. Jeff Chang has one hell of a night: drinking, stripping, mayhem, and chicks. Written and directed by the duo that brought you The Hangover (Jon Lucas … Continue reading Movie Beat – 03.01.12