Guest Film Review: In Time

In Time directed by Andrew Niccol (Regency Enterprises, New Regency Pictures, Strike Entertainment, PG-13, 109 minutes) Starring Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, and Cillian Murphy Science without Morals In Time, the newest work from writer-director Andrew Niccol, is a thoughtful addition to the genre of dystopian futuristic films. Niccol wrote and directed Gattaca, which is easily one of the best science fiction films ever created, and he returns to the theme with a film about a society that has embraced science and technology to the point where it loses its moral compass. In Time shows us a society where genetic engineering has effectively solved the problem of aging and death — everyone is immortal and stops aging beyond their 25th birthday. Thus, we are presented… Read More →

Film Review: Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds directed by Quentin Tarantino (Universal Pictures, Weinstein Company, A Band Apart, R, 153 minutes) Starring Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth, Mélanie Laurent, and Christoph Waltz. Dual Duels Set in France during World War II, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds tells the story of two separately planned attempts to assassinate the leaders of the Nazi party. In one storyline, Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) – nicknamed “The Jew Hunter” for his ability to locate Jews in hiding – interrogates a dairy farmer learning that he is harboring a Jewish family under the floorboards. While Landa’s men shoot through the floor, teenage daughter Shosanna Dreyfus escapes the carnage. Three years later, Shosanna hides in plain sight as a cinema owner… Read More →

Film Review: Paul

Paul directed by Greg Mottola (Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, Working Title Films, R, 104 minutes) Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, and Kristen Wiig. I Hated This Movie So Let Me Be Brief I wanted to see this movie because I had faith in the duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Starring in the soon-to-be cult classics, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, these actors have blended comedy and social satire through an artful presentation. With the funding of a major studio, Paul ought to be even better with a larger budget. Wrong! A Mandatory Plot Mention Pegg and Frost play nerds on holiday in the United States. Having attended Comic Con, the duo travels the southwest encountering… Read More →

Film Review: Rabbit Hole

Rabbit Hole directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Olympus Pictures, Blossom Films, and Odd Lot Entertainment, PG-13, 91 minutes) Starring Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, and Dianne Wiest. The Past Events of a Suffering Family Although I rarely discuss it, I lost my older sister when I was nine years old. Due to complications at her birth and negligent medical practice, she ended up brain damaged and bed ridden for her short life. Such a loss changes you at the core. Honestly, I think I was young enough to not fully understand the ramifications, but I see how the event has changed me. In many ways, I’m the oldest child and have assumed all the stereotypes involved with that title. Yet, biologically,… Read More →

Film Review: The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life directed by Terrence Malick (Cottonwood Pictures, Plan B Entertainment, and River Road Entertainment, PG-13, 139 minutes) Starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and Jessica Chastain. Why Me? Do you remember the last time you cried uncontrollably? In those moments when tears threaten to disrupt breathing patterns and life seems to change course, did you ask, “Why me?” Though circumstances differ from person to person, we all encounter these life altering and painful-to-the-bone scenarios. With Terrence Malick’s Palme d’Or-winning opus, The Tree of Life, such existential crises are exquisitely depicted on film. Job As the movie commences, Job 38:4 flashes over a blank screen. In this biblical passage, God declares, “Where were you when I laid the foundation… Read More →

Film Review: Super 8

Super 8 directed by J.J. Abrams (Amblin Entertainment, Bad Robot, and Paramount Pictures, PG-13. 112 minutes) Starring Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, and Riley Griffiths. Mystery Shrouded in mystery, the trailer for Super 8 reveals very little plot. From it, we get a clear picture that J.J. Abrams is interested in telling a story through concealment. Much like Ernest Hemingway’s writing style, this form of narration builds suspense as the human mind fills in the blank spaces. Super 8 is a science fiction film that depicts a small town’s encounter with a dangerous unknown being. The protagonists of the film are a group of children who are filming a Super 8 zombie movie. While filming a scene at the… Read More →

Film Review: Blue Valentine

Blue Valentine directed by Derek Cianfrance (Hunting Lane Films and Silverwood Films, rated R. 112 minutes) Starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. The Anti-Reality of the Hollywood Divorce What kills a relationship? Hollywood typically answers this question in extremes. Too often, a marriage falls apart as a husband is unfaithful or a wife completely changes her personality. In real life, many relationships end with the passing of time. When people jump into commitments early, the warts and ugly spots of each person creep out and many marriages lose during the test of time. Sure, some relationships end over the big things so often depicted in Hollywood, but sometimes a marriage dissolves after many small-yet-irksome qualities emerge. With the film, Blue… Read More →

Film Review: The Social Network

I finally watched the Social Network last night. I think it is a pretty good movie but not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination. Below is an excerpt from a review far better stated than any attempt I could make. “In the prologue of David Fincher’s film The Social Network, Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) is on what you might call a “date.” But he isn’t enjoying it. Neither is his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend Erica. Zuckerberg, a Harvard student with his eyes set on privilege and status, is griping about how his perfect SAT scores have failed to earn him access to the school’s most elite clubs. As he rants, his vanity exposes his disrespect for the rest of the world–including Erica…. Read More →

Film Review: Black Swan

Black Swan directed by Darren Aronofsky (Fox Searchlight Pictures, Protozoa Pictures, and Phoenix Pictures, R, 108 minutes.) Starring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, and Vincent Cassel. Screenplay by Mark Heyman and Andres Heinz. More Beethoven, Less Danielle Steel When one labels something romantic, the modern mind conceives its definition as love, relationships, and happy endings. On the other hand, the 19th century conception of Romanticism espoused in symphonies, ballets, and stories exhibits deep-felt emotion such as love, suffering, anxiety, and death. The conception of romanticism illustrated in Black Swan resembles the classical sense of the word pointing the viewer to deeply rooted emotions and actions. Similar to previous psychological thrillers directed by Aronofsky such as Pi and Requiem for a Dream,… Read More →

Film Review: The Last Station

The Last Station directed by Michael Hoffman (Egoli Tossell Film and Zephyr Films, R for strong sexual content, 112 minutes) Starring Helen Mirren, James McAvoy, and Christopher Plummer. The Last Station documents the final years of Leo Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer) and his wife, Sofya Tolstoy (Helen Mirren). The plot centers on Tolstoy’s later-life philosophies such as nonviolent resistance and social justice. Most of Tolstoy’s closest advisors are pressuring the old author to redraft his will in order to give his publications to public domain. Sofya, however, becomes paranoid concerning these idealistic philosophies and worries that losing copyrights to her husband’s work would equal a return to poverty. Tolstoy’s closest confidant, Vladimir Chertkov (Paul Giamatti) hires a Tolstoyan – one who… Read More →