“Gravity”: Run to Return

One hundred synonyms for “beautiful” could be dug up to describe “Gravity”, Alfonso Cuarón’s latest hit, written with his son, Jonás Cuarón. A One hundred and one, for it is spectacular to see and hear; we feel the despair with Dr. Ryan Stone (brilliantly sculpted from guts by Sandra Bullock), our own losses caught in the…

Reality, History, and Silence: “Dallas Buyers Club”

“Dallas Buyers Club” could be a film that alters the way audiences view people of varying sexual expression. It could be that kind of resource for filmgoers, but the press surrounding more than one awards acceptance speech by a particular cast member has been drawing attention to the rub of the industry: actors don’t have…

Americana: A Tribute to Nothingland in A. Payne’s “Nebraska”

Nebraska: a story of the heartland. An Americana gem. Black and white and cold throughout, Alexander Payne’s latest feature seems to be a carefully crafted study of small town living. An old man journeys from Montana to Nebraska to cash in what he believes to be his golden ticket. No one in the story actually…

Fading Glamour and Psychological Grit in “American Hustle”

Who’s the criminal in a thieving system? In a band of uglies, who’s the worst? We audience members love watching horrible people make bad choices. The length of the average feature length film gives us just the right amount of time to decide who we feel sympathy for, who did the darkest deeds, who deserved…

Captain Muse & ‘Captain Phillips’

If ever there was a film that immediately made the audience feel sympathy for every single character in a band of thieves, ‘Captain Phillips’ is it. Are the bad guys pirates or starved, drug-addicted kids who dare to be cruel if it means living to see better days? That isn’t the focus: not one character…

In Praise of “The Butler”…

Billed as a the story of a father and son living in two seemingly opposing worlds, Lee Daniels’ ‘The Butler’ grosses over $160 million at the box office over a budget of $30 million. I haven’t mentioned the budget of a film before this, but if I didn’t in this case, I’d be missing a…

On “12 Years A Slave”

Film journalist and writer Johanna Schneller opened the press conference for ‘12 Years A Slave’ at the Toronto International Film Festival saying “It’s difficult to say we love this film, we like this film, because it’s so tough.” Director Steve McQueen immediately responded “You could love it, you could love it.” Schneller backed up with…

A Two-fold History of Silence Exposed in “Philomena”

The real life Philomena Lee has had many trials in her life, namely the loss of her son to the nuns who had him adopted without her consent at the age of 17 and, then again, the loss of her son to AIDS when she went searching for him later in life. She found him…