Suffering Your Art: ‘Whiplash’

Stories about artists struggling to reach success are often sympathetic to the artist. They’re usually focused completely on the false pretense that harsh challenges met on the road to being successful are acutely unfair and that they are comparable to simply standing up for oneself by telling the supposed enemy to back down. That’s the…

‘The Judge’: Fathers and Sons

“I saw him in you” “I saw you in him” The house of mirrors that is every story about fathers and sons in America grips American audiences like nothing else (for better or worse). ‘The Judge’ stars Robert Duvall as the well-respected judge in a small midwestern town and Robert Downey Jr. as his big…

On ‘The Theory of Everything’

There is a long history of biographical films about important thinkers and celebrities that at best obscure the role of the people who supported them in their rise to fame. In the 2014 Stephen Hawking biopic, there is a brilliantly equalized focus on Hawking and Jane Wilde, his first wife. The script was based on…

St. Vincent: Bright Spot of Awards Season

A critic wrote not too long ago that Bill Murray needs to drop his 800-number and get an agent so he can snag that Oscar-winning role he so deserves. I think that review alone should’ve prepared the Academy to honor his next performance- it only seems fair. * Serious Man Voice: “Oh, reeeally? You think…

On ‘Boyhood’

From a technical standpoint, Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is absolutely beautiful. The film was made in pieces over a period of twelve years. The film grew with the cast. That’s what devotion looks like. That’s also what parenting is about, what growing up is like- waiting and wondering what the developed piece will really turn out…

The Most Classic Horror Film: “Psycho”

All my life I’ve heard people name Hitchcock’s “Psycho” as the scariest movie they’ve ever seen. I heard the music from Janet Leigh’s murder scene played as a spoof on TV and saw clips of Leigh screaming bloody murder in the shower. I understood that this movie was an icon of horror, but couldn’t get…

Choreographing Feeling: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

I finally got a chance to see Wes Anderson’s latest, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”. I must say that it made me feel like filmmaking was all arts captured and choreographed into colors and shapes before me. The perfection of the character’s movements is ironic, the look and feel of their fortunes and misfortunes is mechanical,…