Film Review: Inside Out

Inside Out

Inside Out written and directed by Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen (Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios, PG, 95 min) Starring Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, and Kyle MacLachlan. Trying Something Different How often do you have a million-dollar idea? I don’t know about you, but it seems like I’ve got something that could generate revenue every month. Granted, I’m pretty sure these ideas are worse than Tom Haverford’s ideas in Parks and Recreation, but it’s still fun to imagine how these concepts could become reality. Honestly, ideas represent the easy portion of any project. The sweat emerges in the details. How can this idea breathe new life?… Read More →

Film Review: Jurassic World

Jurassic World

Jurassic World written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver and directed by Colin Trevorrow (Universal Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, Legendary Pictures, PG-13, 124 min) Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Irrfan Khan, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, and Nick Robinson. On Nostalgia Nostalgia can be a dangerous influence on art. Let me unpack that. Our Google overlords define nostalgia as, “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.” Running with this definition, nostalgia predisposes the average person toward something; it causes us to think fondly of what came before and create positive associations with the thing that creates the connection. So nostalgia is dangerous for art because it can exist as… Read More →

Film Review: Cake

Cake written by Patrick Tobin and directed by Daniel Barnz (Cinelou Films, Echo Films, We’re Not Brothers Productions, R, 102 min) Starring Jennifer Aniston, Adriana Barraza, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington. Habits How do you act when you aren’t conscious of your actions? I tend to rub my fingernails. It’s a habit I believe I’ve passed down to my son as he tends to want to rub my fingernails when he’s trying to calm down. The innate habits we possess to get us through life can vary greatly but we engage in them to cope with the minute to the drastic. Meet Claire With Cake, we see a mother coping with physical and emotional pain. Claire (Jennifer Aniston) attends a chronic… Read More →

Film Review: Interstellar

Interstellar

Interstellar written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan and directed by Christopher Nolan (Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures, PG-13, 169 min) Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Jessica Chastain, and Matt Damon. What Would You Do for Love? Certain research posits kinship as a powerful actor that compels people outside of self-interest. If I unpack this idea a little bit, these people suggest the standard setting for human beings is selfishness. We act out of interest for the things that provide the most pleasure to us. When it comes to presenting a positive or helpful demeanor to other people, there’s a chance this person will recognize the common humanity in the other, but if it’s a… Read More →

Film Review: Inherent Vice

Inherent Vice written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (Ghoulardi Film Company, IAC Films, Warner Bros., R, 148 min) Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Katherine Waterston, Owen Wilson, Benicio Del Toro, Reese Witherspoon, Martin Short, and Michael Kenneth Williams. Searching for God Knows What What makes a good detective story? For some, the answer is a desire for mystery. The whodunit aspect becomes the key. Each chapter or scene adds weight to the impending sense of cracking the case. The mystery genre, however, provides many offshoots. In particular, the noir genre of detective story creates a brooding sense of drama surrounding the standard case solving formula. The detectives in charge of the case become the main point, transforming the story… Read More →

Film Review: The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game written by Graham Moore and directed by Morten Tyldum (The Weinstein Company, Black Bear Pictures, Bristol Automotive, PG-13, 114 min) Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kiera Knightley, Matthew Goode, and Charles Dance. The Weight of Story In my line of work, we like to remind clients that a logo cannot bear the full weight of a brand. If you try to inject every little part of the business into your visual expression, it will break under such immensity. The same principle applies to many forms of art. If you try and do too much, it’s going to be a mess. It doesn’t matter if it’s a song, a story, or a sculpture, throw too much into the mix and… Read More →

Film Review: Whiplash

Whiplash

Whiplash written and directed by Damien Chazelle (Bold Films, Blumhouse Productions, Right of Way Films, R, 107 min) Starring Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, and Paul Reiser. LEAD What does it take to be an effective leader? Let’s get the obvious out of the way. You’ll need followers. If you’re leading thin air, I feel bad for you son. But supposing you are in a position of leadership, no matter how large or small, there’s an opportunity to mold the people underneath you, to encourage them and maximize their potential. Some leaders offer the quiet calm in a storm. Others are fiery and charismatic. Some micro-manage; others break the chains and let their people run free. Truthfully, much of your leadership… Read More →

Film Review: Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler written and directed by Dan Gilroy (Bold Films, Open Road Productions, R, 117 min) Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Bill Paxton, Rene Russo, and Riz Ahmed. Moore’s Law Moore’s law represents a problem for narrative of any kind. This term denotes the trend where computer hardware doubles every two years. Moore’s Law explains the constant feeling that your technology is outdated, especially if it’s over two years old. While this phenomenon equates to profitable businesses—there is, after all, a consistent need for updated toys, Moore’s Law means that any story developed over two years ago faces potential problems if it attempts to set itself in present day. I would even venture a filmmaker would much rather shoot scenes based on eras… Read More →

Film Review: The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything written by Anthony McCarten, directed by James Marsh (Working Title, StudioCanal, Focus Features, Universal Pictures, PG-13, 123 min) Starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. Circles What does a circle represent for you? With no right or wrong answer, the responses could vary drastically. Some might think about the lack of a flat surface. They would reason a circle must be in constant motion, rolling wherever it might go. Others might consider a circle to be inherently equal; by definition, a circle possesses identical distance from any point on the perimeter to the center of the circle. For others, a circle represents completion, the holistic encompassing nature of life. In theory, a circle could be everything. The… Read More →

Film Review: The Skeleton Twins

The Skeleton Twins

Skeleton Twins written and directed by Craig Johnson (Duplass Brothers Productions, Venture Forth, Roadside Attractions, R, 93 min) Starring Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Luke Wilson, Ty Burrell. A Special Bond? Rumor has it that twins share a special connection. Some even create their own language. What does that bond look like as they grow up and start their own families? The relationship between twins functions as the central theme to Craig Johnson’s The Skeleton Twins. Twins A dark comedy, the film begins with Milo (Bill Hader) finishing a suicide note before reclining in a bath tub to slit his wrists. Simultaneously, his twin sister Maggie (Kristen Wiig), three time zones away, prepares to swallow a lethal dose of pills. Before… Read More →