In the years since I started writing regularly for the Independent Weekly, I've been neglecting this blog. I hope to start blogging more about movies again soon, in addition to writing for the Independent, but more about that later. In the meantime, I'm posting some snippets. Click on the film title for the link to the complete review.
City Island, a low-key (and low-laugh) comedy: Juliana Margulies looks terrific! Maybe it's the way she's grown into her 40s without trying to hide it, or maybe it's the bangs (she's never had bangs before, has she?) or that Bronx dame eyeliner she's rocking, but there's something sexy and fascinating about the close-ups she gets in City Island. But that's about all there is to see here. As decent as Margulies' performance as Joyce is, the fact that she's aging so gracefully shouldn't take up so much of a viewer's attention.
Kurosawa's High and Low (part of a longer multi-author article): And there at the window is the iconic Toshiro Mifune, about to literally throw all the money he has ever had out the window. The scene is captivating, dense with action and visual information. It's funny and incredibly sharp in its observations of quotidian life, of the detective as working man.
Ken Loach's Looking for Eric: The movie begins behind the wheel of a car going the wrong way down a one-way street. Cars swerve around the driver until finally a collision has the screen go black. Somehow, veteran director Ken Loach has made this feel incredibly limp and not the least bit dangerous.
Holofcener's Please Give: As the lives of the two families intersect, Holofcener is able to make a few minutes of throwaway small talk into a witty examination of the nature of guilt, what it means to be honest or the complexities of charity.
The Joan Rivers documentary A Piece of Work: I was afraid Piece of Work would be a fawning attempt to set the record straight or a bland collection of talking heads testifying to how great Rivers is, or used to be. In fact, the film is largely a verité-style portrait of Rivers with plenty of momentum—due in large part to the way its quick-witted, light-on-her feet subject keeps the action and the camera moving.
The Duplass Bros' Cyrus: Something about the Duplasses on-the-fly approach lends itself to suspense, maybe because it's reminiscent of sloppy, early Wes Craven. In The Puffy Chair, in which nothing suspenseful happens with the plot, there is an ominous feeling behind doors and around corners.
A Godard double feature, Two Or Three Things I Know About Her & Made in USA: In Two or Three Things you are seeing Godard at his most lucid; he has made exactly the film he wanted to make. In Made in U.S.A., he is unrestricted, feral with puns, a precocious child at play.