Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave is tense and unflinching. Its relentless intensity and graphic brutality has been the defining feature in the media, but it is also an essential part of the film and the primary reason it could become the most important portrait of American slavery yet on camera.
When I was young my mother would take me to the local theater for the free weekly movie. I watched everything they showed, sobbing through Peter Pan, laughing through Shrek 2, openly weeping at the death of Mufasa. It was my mom’s love of cinematic tales that really sparked my interest in film.
Blue Valentine writer and director Derek Cianfrance’s latest film The Place Beyond the Pines is, if anything, a study in what Robert Penn Warren, legendary 1940s author of All the King’s Men, calls “the awful responsibility of Time.” We begin with Ryan Gosling’s character Luke Glanton, a reckless circus-performing motorcyclist. Seemingly out of nowhere, Luke has great responsibility thrust upon him when an old flame from an upstate New York carnival stop steps back into his life with his infant son.
I had already seen the movie in theaters three times. Enjoyment is one word, obsession is another. The first three times, this film had sent me into hysterics, including, but not limited to impassioned weeping, strings of incoherent syllables, and frenzied gesticulation at the screen. In each of my three previous viewings, the usual suspects (“I Dreamed a Dream,” Fantine’s passing, “When Tomorrow Comes”) were to blame, but during this latest screening at the Garden Theater, the floodgates held fast against their onslaught
Spring Breakers arrived in theaters last Friday only to confuse audiences around the country. The film begins practically pornographically, bare breasts splashed with beer and tan rears occupying the entire movie screen, accompanied by the aggressive sounds of Skrillex. It then flashes forward to the mundane and fictitious Kentucky College where four girls find they don’t have enough money to fund a spring break getaway to Florida.
As the recent New York Magazine article, “Why Do Women hate Anne Hathaway (But Love Jennifer Lawrence)?” thoughtfully explores, Anne Hathaway bugs people. Unlike the magnetic Jennifer Lawrence, Hathaway has always had trouble garnering public affection. For the most part, I try to stay away from the popular sport of celebrity hating that this article examines.
The first time I saw Zero Dark Thirty left me shaken to my core, affected to an extent I rarely experience at the cinema. I was deeply moved by what I saw as a powerful meditation on obsession and revenge … Read More
But the more I thought about this movie, the more I realized it simply gives an illusion of depth. A movie filmed with somewhat unconventional techniques, or featuring naturalistic dialogue and little plot, is automatically assumed to be “artsy” and thus philosophical, by association with the style of the French New Wave.