Movie review: ‘Foxcatcher’

I remember first reading about the strange case of John du Pont, the extremely odd heir to the du Pont fortune who was murderously obsessed with Olympic wrestlers, in an article in a gay newspaper 20 years ago. The supposition at the time was that no one could be as obsessed with wrestling as to [...]

‘The Way He Looks:’ A beautifully, sensitively directed movie

When you’ve seen as many LGBT-themed movies as I have, after a while the descriptor “gay coming of age” attached to a film makes me sigh. Really, another one? Part of my exhaustion with the genre is that they tend to have virtually identical plots, despite cultural or historic specifics, and another part of my [...]

Movie review: ‘Horns’– a cool little movie

Daniel Radcliffe in 'Horns'

Before I get into my review of Horns, I want to complain about a small part of the film that doesn’t have much of an effect on either the film’s plot or ultimately its quality. Two of the characters in the film, both childhood friends of the film’s hero Ig Parrish (Daniel Radcliffe), are secretly [...]

Gilroy pulls out Gyllenhaal’s greatest performance

Sites like Gawker, papers like the National Enquirer and stations like HLN give it some serious competition, but local television news is still arguably the crassest, most cynical and often least ethical news medium in the United States. This has been the case for decades, and “if it bleeds, it leads” has become a cliché [...]

Movie review: ‘Birdman (Or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)’

Michael Keaton and Edward Norton in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Birdman (Or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) One of the great lines – and there are many – in Birdman is spoken by Ed Norton’s lauded method-actor Mike Shiner to Michael Keaton’s blockbuster star Riggan Thomas, who wants to earn respect by appearing on Broadway: “Popularity is the slutty little cousin of prestige.” The scene [...]

An extraordinary piece of filmmaking


Whiplash It’s hard to imagine a teacher worse than Terrence Fletcher, the jazz band leader at fictional Shaffer Conservatory of Music in New York who J.K. Simmons plays with terrifying, unpredictable, sadistic joy. Fletcher, something like a cross between a Sgt. Hartman in Full Metal Jacket and Delores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order [...]

Movie review: ‘Pride’- a comedy, a romp and a tear-jerker

In the somewhat tired genre of British movies that focus on plucky working class folks winning contests and defying mores (The Full Monty, Billy Elliot, Brassed Off, etc.) the politics of class conflict are usually sublimated by the up-from-our-bootstraps plotlines. It’s actually kind of sinister how those films trivialize the experience of British coal miners, [...]

A commentary on the false romance of the mentally unstable artist

Michael Fassbender in Frank

When Jon Burroughs (Domhnall Gleeson) first sees Frank (Michael Fassbender), the lead singer of a ragtag little rock band for which he is randomly hired to play keyboards, his reaction is probably that of most of the audience watching the film Frank: What the hell? Here is a man with a giant, cartoonish fake head [...]

Movie review: ‘This Is Where I Leave You’

Maybe I’m a bit more emotional or sentimental than some, but when I watch people in the movies and on TV react to death, I’m astonished by the lack of, well, sorrow. Filmed funerals often seem to be settings for dramatic meetings of mourners, such as Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne’s prophetic handshake at the [...]

A dark comedy that is beautiful, surprising and moving

The Skeleton Twins The best thing about getting past Labor Day is not, contrary to popular thought, the arrival of pumpkin spiced lattes at Starbucks, but rather the wide release of good movies to theaters. Of course, good movies do show up in the first nine months of the year, but movies like Boyhood, Locke, [...]

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