Friday, January 23, 2015
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Writer/Director Laurie Collyer (Sherrybaby) has obviously studied the works of Haneke and the Dardennes and brings a similar gritty sensibility to this production. Some will also find the film reminiscent of Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine from 2010, but Collyer’s approach is more assured and natural, rendering superior results. Sunlight Jr. never relies on jiggly cameras, overlapping muttering or other tropes of cinema verite to sell viewers on the film’s authenticity. Collyer tells her downtrodden tale with appropriate vigor, but refreshingly doesn’t feel the need to beat up her audience in the process.
While the film’s overall rating barely nudges it above “worth seeing,” the aspects it does well it does very well, and its crafting of an impoverished human landscape gives a fascinating glimpse at the results of 30 years of economic trickle-down. It is one of the few recent films to look soberly at the plight of poor women facing unplanned pregnancy and the crucial safety net offered by those women’s health organizations red state politicians so despise. Sunlight Jr. neither celebrates nor demeans the working poor, but paints an involving, unsentimental portrait of an American Dream gone off the rails.
Sunday, January 18, 2015
Episodes ✭Season Four - Showtime
Yes, that's right, one star. Considering I could barely make it through a single 30 minute installment, I was stunned to learn that this show has been running for 4 years. Complete rubbish. How can we miss Matt LeBlanc when he won't go away?
Togetherness ✭✭✭Season One - HBO
This show was created and written by the Duplass Brothers and apparently some people consider that a good thing. It has some potential, namely the presence of Melanie Lynsky. The first episode was heavy on backstory and light on laughs, but hopefully that will get sorted as things progress.
Downton Abbey ✭✭✭✭½
Season Five - PBS
We're two episodes into the fifth season here in the States and so far not a lot has happened. The biggest deal is it looks like Lady Mary is about to do the wild thing with one of those indistinquishable fops that keep chasing her. However, you can tell much awkward unpleasantness is being set up for later in the year. And yes, a season six is in the works. I bet Dan Stevens is glad this show isn't holding him back anymore. (cough)
Friday, January 16, 2015
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
On a similar track is The Theory of Everything (2014) ✭✭✭✭, a feel bad then feel good film that should please your entire entourage. Here we have the extraordinary story of world renown physicist and best selling author Stephen Hawking, who rose to prominence despite being diagnosed with ALS while a graduate student at Oxford in the 1960s.
Based on the memoirs of Hawking’s first wife Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones), the story more closely resembles a grand romance than a biopic, as Jane devotes herself to the care of her beloved - and increasingly incapacitated - genius and their three children. The Theory of Everything is intelligently written and well paced, with the excellent design and period details one expects from top notch British productions. James Marsh’s direction is dialed in perfectly, giving even the grim moments a life-affirming bounce.
Most amazing of all is the work of Eddie Redmayne as Hawking, who never fails to capture the warmth and sly, impish wit that resides deep within Hawking’s tragically contorted frame. Redmayne has received Golden Globe and SAG noms for this performance, and I suspect the Oscars will follow suit. As an interpretation of a disabled character, it ranks right along side Daniel Day Lewis’s turn as Christy Brown in My Left Foot (1989).
Friday, January 9, 2015
(Bio from IMDB)
J.K. Simmons turns 60 today, and it's great to see this career journeyman actor finally getting the recognition and praise he deserves. His astonishing portrayal in Whiplash has received SAG and Golden Globe nominations, and the Oscars will likely follow suit. This should be an exciting awards season for Simmons. I hope he's made some room on his bookcase.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
- Soundstage Studios has pieced together an assortment of behind the scenes videos for a number of popular films. If you're interested in movie magic, you'll love this set. Check it out.
- Nicolas Bell of Ioncinema is compiling the 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2015, with lots of interesting info. Start here and click through the list.
- J.B. of The Fantom Country waxes poetic about Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice. If the film is half as interesting as J.B.'s review, it will be a winner.
- Abby Tegnelia of NowItCounts.com sees some real shockers in this year's Golden Globe noms.
Sunday, January 4, 2015
Non-Stop (2014) ✭½
The first 20 minutes or so are actually pretty good, but then it all goes to shite in a hurry. My vote for Stupidest Movie of the Year.
The Dreamers (2003)✭✭✭
I avoided this movie for 10 years. I could have continued that trend and not missed a thing. Meh.
Mystery at the Moulin Rouge (2011) ✭✭½
Not even the divine Emilie Dequenne can save this dumb thing.