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‘Foxcatcher': An eerie study of family and America




(2014 – Director: Bennett Miller   Cast: Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo)


When you step into the world of Foxcatcher, you step out of time. The film is bookended by a delusional state of patriotism and legacy. We start out with Mark Shultz (Channing Tatum) cashing $20 checks for speaking engagements at school assemblies where he holds up his Olympic gold medal for wrestling and tells uninterested kids what it means to win for America. We end on him getting into a brutal MMA ring (moments after a previous fighter was carted off unconscious) all while chants of “U-S-A” echo in his ears along with the announcer rattling off all his past wrestling accomplishments. What’s in between these two scenes is faded, methodical, and eerie. Timeless, if you will. Mark gets sucked into millionaire John du Pont’s philosophy and vision for America – at least, that’s what’s on the surface.  Read More…

The importance of composition and silence: ‘Ida’




(2014 – Director: Pawel Pawlikowski   Cast: Agata Trzebuchowska, Agata Kulesza)

Ida has a crazy gravitational pull. Every image is so poetic, so breathtaking, that I continually got lost while trying to soak it in with my eyes. If a coffee table book containing each shot from this film existed, I would buy it in a heartbeat. Read More…

Performances and ambition lift ‘Birdman’




(2014 – Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu   Cast: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough, Emma Stone)

What impresses me most about Birdman is its fluidity amongst the never-ending on-screen brokenness. Every character is fragile and fighting perceptions of self-worth, confidence, validation, reality, and truth. So what better way to underlay the present than to give the illusion that the entire film is done in one two-hour take. In a film that is all about risk and truth, the single take approach brings clarity to a film in the riskiest way possible. We glide from one character to the next with no break, no cut, and no chance to catch one’s breath. Read More…

‘Interstellar': A rarity in today’s film world




(2014 – Director: Christopher Nolan   Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain)

I have problems with Interstellar. Several, actually. A few plot points, lack of character building, dialogue heavy with exposition, and a script that would, at times, expedite things simply to keep the plot moving. This is a film that’s easy to nitpick. It’s a hyped up intergalactic science fiction film – there are bound to be question marks. But by golly, Christopher Nolan just landed one of the most dynamic, emotional, and ambitious films I have ever seen.

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