Reviews Category

It may only be June (and hell, the movie premiered all the way back in January at Sundance), but it’s possible “The Spectacular Now” will land at the very top of my Top 10 Movies list of 2013. James Ponsoldt impressed with last year’s “Smashed”, but his third feature is even better, more natural and more heartbreaking. If there was any doubt Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley are two of the most talented and most promising actors of their generation, “The Spectacular Now” can firmly put those doubts to bed.Read More
Destin Cretton’s first job out of college was working at a foster-care facility like the one featured in his feature directorial debut “Short Term 12”, and his personal experience with the subject matter shines through clearly in this grounded, complicated and intimate character study. Led by the steely yet vulnerable Brie Larson in her breakout role, it’s not a surprise this emotional but understated drama won the SXSW Grand Jury Prize as well as the Audience Award. Judging by the amount of tissues being passed around during the screening atRead More
Sebastian Silva’s “Magic Magic” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in the Midnight category, implicating that this is a horror film. And it is – but only in the ways of the human psyche, of how we can be too self-absorbed and selfish to realize when life is becoming a horror for others. Silva sets up “Magic Magic” with a serene, bright scene, his camera panning over a still ocean and gorgeous landscape. This is the calm before the storm, and we soon meet an unsure and nervous Alicia (playedRead More
A more grounded cousin to Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” that nonetheless creates its own world divorced from reality, “The Kings of Summer” heralds the coming of age of its lead characters, as well as the arrival of the young actors who play those characters, particularly Nick Robinson and Gabriel Basso. Robinson and Basso anchor the film with genuine pathos and both possess natural leading man charisma and screen presence – these two are definitely ones to keep an eye on as high profile projects continue to cast young male leads.Read More
A tale of an outlaw couple set against the backdrop of 1970s Texas, “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” immediately drew comparisons to Terrence Malick’s “Badlands”, but this, director David Lowery’s breakout hit, is a brave, raw and visually stunning film that never tries to imitate the classics despite being clearly influenced by them. “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” is a slow-burning romantic crime drama that unfolds against the gorgeous Texas plains through the lens of DP Bradford Young, who well earned a Special Jury Prize from Sundance for his cinematography. “I loveRead More
Rebecca Zlotowski’s “Grand Central” begins with a great opening – electronic music creates a sense of tension as Tahar Rahim smokes on a train and has his wallet stolen, before block red lettering flashes up on the screen spelling out the names of the cast and director. Zlotowski’s decision to set the film in and around France’s nuclear power plants is odd and brilliantly original but “Grand Central” soon becomes overly dependent upon metaphors, to the detriment of an otherwise great love story. Rahim stars as Gary Manda, a youngRead More
“Inside Llewyn Davis” was perhaps our most anticipated film of this year’s Cannes Film Festival and the Coen Brothers latest film did not disappoint, weaving a melancholy yet genuinely funny and enjoyable story of a down on his luck folk singer. It’s essentially a thin plot but it doesn’t matter, as the Coens and cinematographer Bruno Delbonnol have constructed a beautifully woven tale about the failures and successes life throws at us – and the directors cleverly sidestep answering any of those questions. This is a return to lighter fareRead More
“Jeune et Jolie” (“Young and Beautiful”) was the first In Competition film I saw at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and it couldn’t have been a better film to start with. A contemplative tale on female sexuality and the burgeoning discovery teenagers go through, its star Marine Vacth is a joy to watch and someone we all need to keep our eye on over the next few years. Director Francois Ozon‘s tale is set over four seasons and four Francois Hardy songs, following Vacht’s Isabelle, a seventeen year old girlRead More
The based-on-a-true story “Fruitvale Station” is very much 2013’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild” – a first time director, Ryan Coogler, taking Cannes Film Festival by storm following a world premiere at Sundance Film Festival, with an impressive awards-worthy performance from a rising star. And please Academy, award Michael B. Jordan with that Oscar nomination like you did for Quvenzhane Wallis. An intimate film like “Fruitvale Station” rises and falls with its lead, and Jordan is hugely successful in holding us captive as we follow a day in the lifeRead More
Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring” opens with a scene those of us familiar with popular culture will recognize – young teenagers on CCTV apparently breaking into someone’s house. It is of course the aforementioned Bling Ring, five teenagers who spent several months entering – but never actually breaking in to – celebrity houses and stealing clothes, bags, shoes and jewelry. Today’s generation is the generation of no consequences and director Sofia Coppola and her cast of young newcomers, in dramatizing these real events that took place in Los Angeles, makeRead More