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 →

Film Review: The Town

The Town directed by Ben Affleck (Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, R, 125 minutes) Starring Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, John Hamm, and Jeremy Renner. Based in Charlestown, a neighborhood of Boston, the Town tells the story of a washed-up hockey player turned bank robber caught in the vicious cycle of crime. After a successful robbery, the main character – Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) – volunteers to intimidate a hostage (Claire played by Rebecca Hall) after discovering that she lives four blocks away from the thieves’ home base. While being observed in a Laundromat, the hostage approaches Doug asking for some change. After some basic dialogue, Doug asks Claire out on a date, setting in motion a story of love, crime,… Read More →

Film Review: It Might Get Loud

It Might Get Loud directed by Davis Guggenheim (Thomas Tull productions and Sony Pictures Classics, NR, 98 minutes) Starring Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White Everyone loves electric guitar. Beyond its pleasant aesthetic and varying tonal qualities lies an iconic cultural status. From the metal-head who spends more time shredding in Guitar Center than in the classroom to the almost universal urge to play guitar in the air when a real guitar does not suffice, guitar wins. I am unaware of the competition guitar entered but it totally won. It Might Get Loud caters to our dreams and desires. While our rock star fantasies died before inception through Junior High and High School bands or garage rock with friends,… Read More →

Film Review: Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes directed by Guy Ritchie; Warner Home Video, 128 minutes. Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law, Rachael McAdams, and Mark Strong. The mystery genre has always been slightly problematic for me because it seems easy to connect events through tenuous circumstances and odd observations. Suppose the killer has dirty hands: the mystery writer makes the detective deduce that the killer works in the coal mine in the neighboring county. However, dirty hands do not guarantee the occupation of this individual. The killer perhaps recently landscaped his or her backyard. The foundational reasoning in Sherlock Holmes carries these same inferences. Logic aside, Sherlock Holmes mixes both good and bad in a strikingly mediocre movie. Concerning what is good; Robert Downey,… Read More →

Film Review: Paper Heart

Paper Heart directed by Nicholas Jasenovec. Starring Charlyne Yi, Michael Cera, and Nicholas Jasenovec. What is love? Is it a tangible experience? Can a scientist find it in the brain? Some people fall in and out of it; some people do not believe in it; some people think that love is a verb. In Paper Heart, Charylne Yi seeks to understand this complex phenomenon. Paper Heart holds a unique characteristic coined as a “hybrid documentary” by the producers. The movie is partly a documentary because it details the stories of actual human beings, yet at the same time the movie tells a fictional story about the relationship between Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera. For this reason, the movie often breaks… Read More →