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

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD

The average viewer may not know who J. Paul Getty was. If they do recognize the name, it’s most likely from his extensive collection of art, housed in Santa Monica’s Getty Center or the Getty Villa, located just up the coast in the Pacific Palisade. They might even recognize him as the answer to a trivia question: Who was the world’s first billionaire? But in a world of thousands of billionaires, first no longer holds currency. Yes, according to the 1966 Guinness Book of Records, J.P. Getty was the world’s richest private citizen, worth approximately $1.2 billion. Getty made his … Continue reading ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD

CONCUSSION

Just in time for College Football Bowl games and the NFL playoffs, Concussion tells the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith), the Nigerian-born forensic pathologist who discovered and named chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the brains of several recently deceased NFL players. Omalu’s discovery began with Pittsburg Steeler, Mike Webster (David Morse), who died in 2002 at the age of 50. Physically healthy, Webster suffered from brain damage due to repetitive concussions from playing football, a risk that most players, owners and viewer suspect is a by-product of the game, but a truth not many are willing to acknowledge … Continue reading CONCUSSION

THE MARTIAN

Of all the people to get stranded on Mars, Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is the lucky one. Smart, resourceful, cunning and, most importantly, optimistic, Watney can grow potatoes using human feces, manufacture water simply and reconfigure every possible piece of technology available to him. All while maintaining hope in the face of certain catastrophe and sanity in spite of being the only living soul on a planet. Yes indeed, Mark Watney is one of those rare-breeds. The Martian is a shipwreck story located in the barren wasteland of Mars, set to swinging 70s disco music, and featuring a diverse cast of incredibly … Continue reading THE MARTIAN

Born On This Day – November 30, 1937

“A friend of mine says, “Art’s like a shark. You’ve got to keep swimming, or else you drown.” Keep bouncing around. People always ask me, “What’s the plan?” There is no plan. I go to what fascinates me next.” “I think I have less patience, mainly because I’m so experienced. Because I’m so experienced I need the very best people around me. Because people say, “Well you don’t need a terribly good camera” or, “You can go and do this,” and I say, “No, no, no, no, you don’t understand. I want the Earth. And I want the Earth in … Continue reading Born On This Day – November 30, 1937

Born On This Day – November 30

“Working as a screenwriter, I always thought that ‘Film is a collaborative business’ only constituted half of the actual phrase. From a screenwriter’s point-of-view, the correct rendering should be ‘Film is a collaborative business: bend over’.” –David Mamet “I’m a yarnteller. My job is to engage you as much as I can and as often as I can. I love the process and still continue to adore the process, actually. I don’t get attached to anything. I’m like a good antique dealer. I’m prepared to sell my most valuable table.” –Ridley Scott “Normally, people tend to shut off their ambitions … Continue reading Born On This Day – November 30

Movie Beat – 10.25.13

Blood Brother – Documentary about Rocky Braat, a young and successful American searching for meaning and purpose in his life. He finds it in India, with a bunch of HIV infected kids who are doing their best not just to survive, but to enjoy life on the way out. Braat comes face to face with the beauty and horror that exists simultaneously, and tells his story, hoping to inspire others. Directed by Steve Hoover and out in very limited release. Check here for when it will be playing in a theater near you.   Blue Is The Warmest Color – … Continue reading Movie Beat – 10.25.13

THE EAST

The East - Poster

The East is a domestic terrorist group that terrorizes big business and corporations that commit heinous acts against nature in the desire for greater profits and lower costs. We are introduced to their mission statement, a YouTube video the organization uses to advertise its presence and to document their acts. They call these acts “jams” and the first jam targets the residence of an oil tycoon whose tanker ship sprung a leak in the gulf destroying wildlife and the natural habitat. The East gives the tycoon a taste of its own medicine and pumps oil into his house through pipes and air ducts. The security cameras capture footage of crude oil bleeding from heating vents and running down the walls, a terrifying violation of house and home. This video comes with a voice over from one of the members, letting the world know that they are watching and they are coming. The sentiment expressed is similar to the one Tyler Durden gave us over a decade ago in Fight Club, “We cook your food, we take out your trash, we guard you while you sleep. Do not fuck with us.”

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STOKER

Stoker - Poster

Stoker is a coming of age tale of a young girl’s sexuality wrapped up in a horror movie. Actually, it’s really a young girl’s coming of age story wrapped up in a pastiche of Hitchcock films. Directed by Korean auteur, Park Chan-Wook, Stoker is his first foray into the English language market and utilizes an international cast (Wasikowska, Goodman, and Weaver are all Australian, Goode is British) to fill out a story set in Nashville, TN. None of the characters act like nor talk like they are from Tennessee, but such is the magic of movies. In addition to accents, the movie is also devoid of pesky neighbors, intelligent law-enforcement, or concerned school counselors. This isn’t a realistic movie by a long shot, this is an exercise in insular drama. A collection of bad people who might have been bad from day one, or who might have learned to like it along the way.

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