BOOKSMART

Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) have been living under a false assumption. Wanting to get ahead, they decided to eschew social lives and spend high school with their noses in the books. And with the walls of their bedrooms plastered with positive aphorisms and feminist slogans, Molly and Amy have become the best versions of themselves — uberRory Gilmores with a fashion sense devoid of time or place. Molly, the school’s class president, got accepted into Yale and Amy is off to Africa to make tampons for the underprivileged before studying at Columbia. As you might expect, all … Continue reading BOOKSMART

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

MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN

Men, Women & Children is the latest movie from Jason Reitman, who garnered his fame with well-made, well-plotted, well-paced movies like Thank You For Smoking (2005), Juno (2007), and Up in the Air (2009). Following that impressive run, Reitman’s value dropped considerably with Young Adult (2011) and Labor Day (2013) – which was dumped into this year’s no-man’s land of January release — and now he besieges audiences with Men, Women & Children a movie that tries to set the problems of four suburban families against the backdrop of the cosmos. Set in current day Texas, Men, Women & Children … Continue reading MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN

SHORT TERM 12

Short Term 12 - Poster

Short Term 12 derives its name from the place of business where the characters work. Short Term 12 is a halfway house of sorts for juvenile delinquents that are assigned there while the courts and families figure out what to do with them. Three months is the average stay, but some of the kids live there for years, waiting to turn eighteen, where they are released upon the world and have to find a way to fend for themselves. Writer/direction Destin Daniel Cretton adapts his own short film of the same name and follows the staff and residents of Short Term 12 in this emotionally draining movie.

Short Term 12 is bookended with two stories, both told by Mason (John Gallagher Jr.) with great relish. The first describes an instance where Mason defecated in his pants in front of one of the kids and the second one is about one of the kids and his success post his stay at Short Term 12. These two stories show the success of Short Term 12, as it’s focus moves from the staff to the residents. We begins by watching the staff deal with the residents and their own problems, but as the movie progresses, we realize that they may be beyond help. They’re not, but they are at an age where starting again and forgiveness is much more difficult to come by. The salvation of these people, and indeed all people, lies with the children. Life may have dealt them a bum hand, but they have the ability to rise above it and change the situation.

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Movie Beat – 08.23.13

Devil’s Pass – Fifty years ago, nine people froze to death while hiking in the Ural Mountains. Now, a group of idiotic twenty-somethings is going to recreate that hike just to prove that man can conquer the elements. Or because they have nothing better to do. At first things go well, it always does, then something happens, and things don’t go so well. They always do. Someone tries to kill them, first by avalanche, then by gun, but once they find a long abandoned bunker with some sort of zombie-demon inhabitants, they are doomed for sure. Happens to me all … Continue reading Movie Beat – 08.23.13