HANDS OF STONE

When it comes to sports on film, none transfer to a composed and contained visual medium quite like boxing. Two men, and in some cases women, square off in a confined arena below the spotlights of show time. The action is fast, but not too fast, and in the end, a winner’s hand is raised while the music soars. And while boxing provides the draw for Hands of Stone — based on the true-life story of Panamanian champ, Roberto Durán (Edgar Ramírez) — the movie offers little else in the dramatics department to make it a full course meal. Durán was … Continue reading HANDS OF STONE

JOY

David O. Russell’s latest, Joy, tells the story of Joy Mangano, an American inventor best known for her self-wringing Miracle Mop. Well, sort of. Joy is partly about how Joy Mangano became Joy Mangano, but it’s also about how family just likes to watch you fail, even if that means they have to lend failure a hand. Russell likes a squabbling family — Flirting With Disaster, The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook — and the more squabbling the better, but with Joy, Russell takes his usual squabbling to an unbearably shrill level, sucking all the humor out of the room in … Continue reading JOY

THE INTERN

Using an incredibly hokey premise and coming off like an over manufactured product, The Intern is a kind and gentle movie that massages the shoulders of the generation on the way out while holding the door open for the generation on the way in. Too bad that it fails to really say anything in the meantime, choosing instead to plays directly to the middle, refraining from saying anything offensive or insightful. The premise is bland; Ben (Robert De Niro) is a 70-year-old widower and retired vice president of a phone book printing company. With little to keep him active, he … Continue reading THE INTERN

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

Movie Beat – 02.28.14

The Bag Man – The role of a Bag Man is a time-honored tradition. Heartless, ruthless and cold, the Bag Man kills for money and is hired because he kills. This Bag Man (John Cusack) has been hired by this mobster (Robert De Niro) to transport the bag to this rundown motel loaded with these shady people (Rebecca Da Costa, Crispin Glover, Dominic Purcell). Why bring all these characters under one roof? You’ll have to watch to find that out, but one thing we can be certain of, it will not end without a fair amount of bloodshed. Directed by … Continue reading Movie Beat – 02.28.14

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

Born On This Day – November 17

“We’re face to face with images all the time in a way that we never have been before. And that’s why I believe we need to stress visual literacy in our schools. Young people need to understand that not all images are there to be consumed like fast food and then forgotten—we need to educate them to understand the difference between moving images that engage their humanity and their intelligence, and moving images that are just selling them something.” “Each film is interlocked with so many other films. You can’t get away. Whatever you do now that you think is … Continue reading Born On This Day – November 17

Movie Beat – 11.01.13

About Time – Men of the Lake family have a very particular gift, once he turns a certain age, he has the ability to travel back in time. That age is twenty-one, and that is probably the worst age to give someone the power to shape their life. Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) meets Mary (Rachel McAdams) and falls desperately in love. Unbeknownst to Mary, Tim is recreating his own little Groundhog’s Day by redoing the moments of their relationship until he gets things just right. Works for a while, and then it doesn’t. Time travel is complicated. Co-starring Bill Nighy, Tom … Continue reading Movie Beat – 11.01.13