ONCE UPON A TIME IN… HOLLYWOOD

Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood is a fairy tale of two houses. Inside one lives Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio, magnificent), a TV star cut from the Steve McQueen fold. Simultaneously in his prime and all washed up, Dalton spends most of his time around Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), Dalton’s one-time stunt double, now driver/gopher/drinking buddy; a close friend who is “more than a brother, less than a wife,” according to the movie’s narrator. Continue reading ONCE UPON A TIME IN… HOLLYWOOD

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

Born On This Day – November 17, 1942

“Each film is interlocked with so many other films. You can’t get away. Whatever you do now that you think is new was already done in 1913.” “When I first went to L.A. in 1970, there was a little bit of that need in me to buy into, participate in, the dream world of celebrity. It’s almost as if they are like gods and goddesses – that’s the impression they make on you from when you’re four or five years old. That’s the old story.” –Martin Scorsese Continue reading Born On This Day – November 17, 1942

Born On This Day – July 30, 1970

“Films are subjective-what you like, what you don’t like. But the thing for me that is absolutely unifying is the idea that every time I go to the cinema and pay my money and sit down and watch a film go up on-screen, I want to feel that the people who made that film think it’s the best movie in the world, that they poured everything into it and they really love it. Whether or not I agree with what they’ve done, I want that effort there-I want that sincerity. And when you don’t feel it, that’s the only time … Continue reading Born On This Day – July 30, 1970

2013: Another Year of Moviegoing

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 WOLF OF WALL STREET

In a year where directors are inseparable from the subject of their movies (To The Wonder, Pain & Gain, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, and many more), one rises above the rest of the pack. The Wolf of Wall Street is about Jordan Belfort’s desire to become one of Tom Wolfe’s “Masters of the Universe,” a Wall Street money mogul that can rise above and pay their way out of their discrepancies. Who better to tell this tale than Martin Scorsese, a director who has spent his career chronicling those high-minded dreamers who care very little about the legality or morality … Continue reading THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

Movie Beat – 12.25.13

47 Ronin – A ronin is a master-less samurai, a drifter, a wanderer who makes his way from village to village, performing meaningless tasks for room and board. Kai (Keanu Reeves) joins up with a bunch of other ronin, 46 to be exact, to defeat a bunch of evil spirits and demons plaguing the land. Kou Shibasaki, Rinko Kikuchi, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, and Min Tanaka co-star. Writers Hossein Amini and Chris Morgan retell the legendary tale with direction from Carl Rinsch. Out in wide release from Universal Pictures.   August: Osage County – Holidays mean family time. Some of … Continue reading Movie Beat – 12.25.13

Movie Beat – 05.10.13

Aftershock – A group of Americans are traveling in Chile and looking for an experience that can’t be found in the average Lonely Planet guide. With a little assistance from a couple of locals, they find it, and man is it fun. They dance and drink the night away in an underground club, but then Mother Nature throws them a curve. An earthquake hits and the place comes tumbling down. Many die in very inventive fashions, but for the survivors, the real horror gets going. The earthquake freed a nearby prison and mayhem is loose. They are going to have … Continue reading Movie Beat – 05.10.13

2012: A Year At The Movies

2012 was a magnificent year for the movies. They are more diverse, more personal, and more magical than ever. Yes, there was the onslaught of the usual blockbuster fare, sequels left and right, and the mighty flops that were John Carter and Battleship, but there was so much more to discover in theaters this year. It is quite possible that 2012 was one of the best years for the cinema, maybe not on par with 1939 or 1960, but time will tell which of these stories permeate the collective consciousness and hang around and continue to inform our experiences. 2012 also saw a great amount of cinema history as … Continue reading 2012: A Year At The Movies

Movie Beat – 12.25.12

Django Unchained – What could say Christmas more than a Quentin Tarantino movie? Set in the South two years prior to the Civil War, Schultz (Christoph Waltz) is a bounty hunter who frees Django (Jamie Foxx) from slavery because he needs Django’s special knowledge of a very large bounty. Django comes along for the ride, because what could be better than getting paid to kill all the folks who whipped you and stole your wife? Of course all of this leads back to the terrible and ferocious Calvin Candie (Leonardo DeCaprio). Part Spaghetti Western, part German Fairytale, total Tarantino. Few … Continue reading Movie Beat – 12.25.12