Category Archives: Uncategorized

Valley of Shadows

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Release Date: October 20, 2017 (Norway)
Screened: September 10, 2017 (Toronto International Film Festival)
Runtime: 91 minutes
Rating: No Rating Yet
Studio: Film Farms; Them Girls Film; Anna Kron Film
Director: Jonas Matzow Gulbrandsen
Cast: Adam Ekeli; Kathrine Fagerland

While there is stuff to admire in Valley of Shadows, this Norwegian import really wasn’t my cup of tea. This is one of those movies that is long on atmosphere, but short on action or dialogue. A very European movie in style and nature, Valley of Shadows will only appeal to filmgoers who are into minimalist exercises in style. Continue reading

King Cobra

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Release Date: Screened April 18, 2016 – Tribeca Film Festival
Runtime: 91 minutes
Rating: Not Yet Rated (but let’s be real..it’ll be R)
Studio: Yale Productions/SSS Entertainment/Digital Ignition Entertainment/RabbitBandini Productions
Director: Justin Kelly
Cast: James Franco; Garrett Clayton; Christian Slater; Molly Ringwald; Keegan Allen; Alicia Silverstone

A movie as salacious and lurid as the story it’s telling, “King Cobra” has its flaws, but is generally an effective, lean, and very mean piece of “ripped-from-the-headlines” cinema. Boasting a cast including James Franco, Molly Ringwald, Alicia Silverstone, Keegan Allen, a hasn’t-been-this-good-in-years Christian Slater, and former teenybopper Garrett Clayton, ejecting himself from tweendom straight into the tighty-whities of grown-up films, “King Cobra” offers a stylish though straightforward, yet not uncompelling, dramatization of this tawdry tale of murder and sex. Continue reading

Black Mass

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Release Date: September 18, 2015
Runtime: 122 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Warner Bros.
Director: Scott Cooper
Cast: Johnny Depp; Joel Edgerton; Benedict Cumberbatch; Dakota Johnson; Julianne Nicholson; Kevin Bacon; Peter Sarsgaard; Rory Cochrane; David Harbour; Adam Scott; Corey Stoll; Jesse Plemons

Johnny Depp is a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination in what is arguably the best performance of his career as James “Whitey” Bulger, a small-time Boston hood who grew to become one of the FBI’s most wanted. Scott Cooper’s riveting “Black Mass,” based on the book of the same name by Boston Globe journalists Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill, is a brutal and uncompromising piece, right in line with the life of its subject. Continue reading

Philip Seymour Hoffman: 1967-2014

photo courtesy of cinemaretro.com

photo courtesy of cinemaretro.com

I, like many, was shocked to hear about the death of actor/director/writer Philip Seymour Hoffman today, a brilliant artist gone way too soon. While it was known that he had a substance-abuse problem, it is still shocking and troubling to hear of the untimely passing of an artist who contributed so much to the performing arts, as a writer, director, and Oscar-winning actor.

I have not seen all of Mr. Hoffman’s films; I can’t even claim to have seen his Oscar-winning portrayal of Truman Capote in “Capote.” However, I always admired his skill and his ability to stay just-this-side of character actor in an industry that traditionally eschews those who aren’t young and beautiful. He has appeared in some of my favorite movies, including “Boogie Nights” and “State and Main,” always giving effective performances that were interesting to watch. That is why I think I enjoyed him so much on screen: he was interesting to watch. Of course, it helped that he was a skilled actor and didn’t just read lines. But I’ve always felt that one of the hallmarks of any great artist, especially a performing artist, is their innate ability to be interesting to watch. Otherwise, why would we as an audience want to look at them for two hours on a screen or on stage? Hoffman was always able to get to the root of a character, to build a performance from the foundation up. He didn’t just play dress up, he lived inside of a character, whether they were based on a real person or not. His choices were bold; his characters were sometimes vulnerable, sometimes strong, sometimes flawed, much like Hoffman himself, or any true artist for that matter. The world lost a unique and talented artist today and he will be missed.

Some of his best movies:

Provincetown International Film Festival

Good Day, Movie Lovers!

I’m here at the Provincetown International Film Festival in scenic Provincetown, MA, on the tip of Cape Cod. Some very notable movies playing here this week. I’m psyched to see “Lovelace,” about 70’s porn star Linda Lovelace of “Deep Throat” fame. Hopefully afterwards I’ll be able to catch the new Brian DePalma movie, “Passion,” with Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace.

The new movie from Pedro Almodóvar, “I’m So Excited,” is also showing here. He’s always an interesting filmmaker with a very particular style. A true auteur.

I would love to be able to see the documentary “Continental,” about the famous Continental Baths in New York City, but it’s playing at the same time as “Lovelace.” Oh well! You win some, you lose some. Kind of like how my baseball cap blew right off my head into the Atlantic Ocean on the ferry ride over here!

2013 Academy Awards Recap

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Well, last night was definitely full of surprises.  From Quentin Tarantino’s Best Original Screenplay win for ‘Django Unchained’ to Ang Lee’s Best Director win for ‘Life of Pi,’ the 85th Annual Academy Awards proved to be a pretty darn good show!

I’m not one for regaling about the fashion, so I’m not going to dwell too much on that.  In my mind, everyone looked great.  Yes, some looked better than others, but still, everyone looked terrific in couture gowns and classic tuxedos, with flawless hair, makeup, and spray tan (but would it kill Jennifer Aniston to put her hair up once in a while??). Continue reading