Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Over at Deadspin, I reviewed Citizenfour, which was a sensation at the New York Film Festival. A documentary that takes you behind the scenes when Edward Snowden first blew the whistle on the NSA, Citizenfour is quite good ... but I have a few reservations. I get into those right here.
Sweden's official entry for the Oscars, Force Majeure kick-starts its plot on a split-second decision a husband makes that radically changes how his wife feels about him. (We've all been there, buddy.) My review of this character drama (or is it a dark comedy?) is live at Paste.
Monday, October 20, 2014
Xavier Dolan's Mommy was one of the divisive films at this year's Cannes. I haven't seen it yet, but while in Beirut I got a chance to see the movie he made right before it, Tom at the Farm, which has yet to be released in the U.S. It stars Dolan as a man grieving for his dead lover by going to the deceased's family farm. This turns out to be a very bad idea but a pretty sly film. I reviewed Tom at the Farm for Paste.
While at the Beirut Film Festival, I got the chance to catch up on a few movies that I had let fall through the cracks. One of those was The Blue Room, Mathieu Amalric's romantic thriller that just opened in the States. A whodunit with a somber air, the film plays like an unlikely companion piece to Gone Girl, which I talk about in my Paste review.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
For Playboy, I decided to to put together a handy-dandy list of great animated movies that are currently streaming on Netflix. (The catch: They couldn't come from Disney.) Some observations:
1) There are plenty of great candidates that currently aren't on Netflix.
2) Many of these are geared more to adults than kids.
3) It's a cheat, I admit, but I had to include Team America: World Police.
You can read the list here. (Don't worry: The site is SFW.)
Friday, October 17, 2014
Don't ask me my opinion of tUnE-yArDs: I simply have never been able to get a grasp on Merrill Garbus's much-acclaimed indie-rock project. Nikki Nack, her latest, continues to bewilder me months after its release--it's enchanting, sometimes aggravating, always vibrant--so this week's Friday Video is dedicated to the one song of hers I unquestionably love. It's "Wooly Wolly Gong," off 2011's Whokill.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
I'm very happy to say that I'll be part of the New Auteurs jury at this year's AFI Fest. And I'm especially pleased to be in such good company alongside Alonso Duralde, Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson. It looks like a great slate, as always. Looking forward to seeing what else is added to the festival's program in the next week or so.
Late last month, I went to the Middle East for the first time. My trip was in connection to my attendance at the Beirut International Film Festival. (I was invited by the festival to cover the goings-on.) I'll have more coverage coming soon, but in the meantime, here's an essay about my experience at the festival, which brings together Middle Eastern and Western cinema under one roof. I recommend a few gems and take in the atmosphere in this Screen International piece.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
For the first reel of Birdman, I was wowed but a bit resistant. A whole film made to look like one shot? Another story about an artist at a personal and professional crossroads? Another film from once-mighty director Alejandro González Iñárritu? Soon enough, though, I was won over. My Birdman review is up at Deadspin.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Is Bill Murray more of an actor or a walking meme? I explore that question while discussing his latest film, St. Vincent, for Deadspin. (Also, I reveal a dirty secret: The man's recent misfires have featured some of his most nuanced performances.) You can read the piece here.