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

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

Movie Beat – 11.08.13

The Armstrong Lie – “Sure I cheated. BUT, I didn’t cheat that one time, and I want credit for it.” Seems like a silly argument to take, but Lance Armstrong was a cheater, what else would you expect? In 2009, director Alex Gibney and producer Frank Marshall set out to make a documentary about Lance Armstrong, the man who overcame testicular cancer and became the poster boy of cycling. Over the course of the lionization of Armstrong, the truth came out, and boy did the subject change course. Documentary out in limited release from Sony Pictures Classics.   At Berkeley … Continue reading Movie Beat – 11.08.13

Movie Beat – 10.18.13

2 Jacks – A modern and comic spin on a classic Leo Tolstoy story, “Two Hussars” set in Los Angeles. The Jacks are both movie directors, with the son following in the father’s footsteps whether he likes it or not. It’s a cutthroat business, this movie business, and it takes a cutthroat individual to make it happen. Danny Huston plays Jack Sr., Jack Huston is Jack Jr., Sienna Miller and Jacqueline Bisset play the girl, and Billy Zane and Rosie Fellner add to the cast. Bernard Rose directed and Breaking Glass Pictures gives this one a limited release.   12 … Continue reading Movie Beat – 10.18.13

Movie Beat – 07.05.13

Absence – Liz (Erin Way) is near full-term when she suddenly looses the baby. Actually looses it, disappears, good-bye, nice knowing you. That’s fairly strange and the doctors have no medical explanation for it. Liz’s brother, Evan (Ryan Smale) is a film student and wants to get her side of the story on camera, and maybe get to the bottom of the mystery. Evan and husband Rick (Eric Matheny) decide to get Liz a little rest and relaxation by taking her up into the woods. Things go all right for a while, then as you can imagine, all hell breaks … Continue reading Movie Beat – 07.05.13

THE GIRL

Did he train you? Did he rehearse you? Did he tell you exactly what to do, what to say? You were a very apt pupil too, weren’t you? Scottie’s questions at the climax of Vertigo do more to illuminate the inner workings of the film’s director than the entire ninety minutes that is The Girl. Hailed as Alfred Hitchcock’s masterwork, Vertigo (1958) stars James Stewart as Scottie, a man in love with a woman, or his idea of a woman. He loses the first woman and then finds another woman just like her. Scottie does whatever he can to recreate her in … Continue reading THE GIRL