2013 was an excellent year at the movies, but I said the exact same thing about 2012. Film critic for The New Yorker, Richard Brody, chose to open his year-end summary with this quote, “The year 2013 has been an amazing one for movies, though maybe every year is an amazing year for movies if one is ready to be amazed by movies.” I am always ready to be amazed by movies, and 2013 did not disappoint. I was consistently surprised how many movies continue to develop and unfold in my mind days, weeks, and months after I saw them. They refused to leave and I … Continue reading 2013: Another Year of Moviegoing
The Attack – Amin is a Palestinian surgeon, fully integrated into Tel Aviv society, with a beautiful wife, a promising career, and a whole society of Jewish friends. It is all turned upside down by a suicide bombing. The police regret to inform him that his wife died in the blast, and to make matters worse, she was the bomber. Amin enters Palestinian territory to clear her name and prove her innocence, but there is a problem, it’s possible that she wasn’t brainwashed. Starring Ali Suliman, Yevgenya Dodina, Karim Saleh, Reymond Amsellem, Uri Gavriel, and Dvir Benedek, written and directed … Continue reading Movie Beat – 06.21.13
3 Geezers – If these geezers were in their twenties, they would audition for Jackass, if they were teenagers, they would be labeled ‘troubled youths’, and if they were in preschool, they would fit right in. J Kimball (J.K. Simmons) is researching a role for an upcoming movie and spends some time with these degenerates in a retirement home. When it becomes clear that he is in too deep, he calls on his Hollywood friends to put these old farts in their place. Makes perfect sense to me. Basil Hoffman, Lou Beatty Jr., Tim Allen, Scott Cann, Breckin Meyer, and … Continue reading Movie Beat – 05.24.13
“Expand or die.” “Go big or get out.” These two mantras not only describe what motivates the modern-day farmer, they actually speak to the average American’s desire to conquer. They might actually resonate more than Danny Lugo’s mantra from Pain and Gain, “If I feel I deserve it, the universe will serve it.” Pain & Gain is still in theaters, as is Iron Man 3 where Tony Stark tells us in the opening voice over, that we create our own demons. Pay attention to the first five minutes of At Any Price, the groundwork is laid here. Why bring up these two movies in relation to Ramin Bahrani’s latest effort? If those two movies invoke what is distinctly American, At Any Price shows us who it really is. Not larger than life body builders, not billionaire comic book heroes, but one of the most quintessential and overlooked American figures, the farmer.
At Any Price is about Fathers and Sons and the gravity that relationship can take on. An often quoted Biblical saying goes that the children are punished for the sins of the father. There is truth to that, and this movie explores that, but At Any Price shows that it cuts both ways. Sometimes fathers must pay for the indiscretions of their children. Consider the scene in the cornfield toward the end of the second act, Henry staring good and hard at his son, Dean. That look is a “What are we going to do now?” look that a father will give his son in major situations. What a father does after he gives his son that look says more about who he is as a person and a father than anything else. It reveals the character underneath, and Henry Whipple is all out of character.
Arthur Newman – Wallace (Colin Firth) is tired of his life and decides to start over again. This time with someone else’s identity, completely fabricated, a new man: Arthur Newman (a bit on the nose if you ask me). He meets Michaela, or Mike, (Emily Blunt) and they take off together, having all sorts of adventures and romps that poor old Wallace could only dream of. But when fiction becomes so desirable, there is a point where we must turn it into a fact. That means taking the crap along with the fun. Two characters in search of an identity, two great actors in search of a … Continue reading Movie Beat – 04.26.13