Point and Shoot

Originally posted to Facebook on October 28, 2014 ·

Tonight’s movie shown by the Arthouse Film Festival was Point and Shoot, winner of the TriBeCa film festival this year. PaS is a documentary about a guy, Matt VanDyke, who has been living a sheltered sort of life, longing to become a man and do something with his life. He decides to travel to have a “crash course in manhood”, and buys a motorcycle and a video camera, and sets off. His goes many places in North Africa and the Middle East, but his story really takes off after he decides to help out his Libyan friend, a pacifist, who’s joined in the Libyan revolution against Gaddafi. That alone is an interesting story, but this documentary, edited and produced by Marshall Curry, has an interesting take on the concept of documenting one’s life that sets it apart from other coming of age films and documentaries.

Point and Shoot opens this Friday in NYC, at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema, L.A. in November, and later, elsewhere. If you’re interested in documentaries, you need to add this to your list!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irtm_c1UNcY

Laggies

Tonight’s Arthouse Film Festival movie was Laggies, starring Kiera Knightley. Kiera plays Megan, a woman having the ‘what am I going to do with my life’ crisis of her late 20s. Her friends are all growing up, and her boyfriend proposes at her friend Allison’s wedding. Ellie Kemper plays Allison, Jeff Garlin plays Megan’s father, and there are other notable casting choices, as well. It’s all too much for Megan, and she hides with her newfound, underage friend and her father, played by Chloe Grace Moretz and Sam Rockwell, respectively.

Typical RomCom movie that takes place over a week in the Seattle area, which is surprisingly rain-free. Passable movie, and Kiera has an acceptable ‘Murrican accent.

 

Fury

Originally posted to Facebook on October 17, 2014

Fury. Well. It’s a good war film, ranking up there with Saving Private Ryan. It’s a brutal film, with graphic violence, so much so that it’s almost an antiwar movie. Brad Pitt plays the commander of a Sherman Tank, named Fury, in the last days of World War II in Germany. The movie starts with the crew needing a replacement co-driver, played by Logan Lerman. He was a clerk, and is confronted with what war does to men (hint: it ain’t pretty). Somehow, Brad Pitt and his tank crew have survived since Africa, and are determined to see it through. Shia LeBeouf, Michael Peña, and Jon Bernthal round out the tank crew.

Fury is uncompromising, and appears to match accounts I’ve read of U.S. tankers, whose life expectancy is very short. We the audience experience that, close up. The story itself is a good one, and while there’s one scene that goes awry, everything else in the film makes sense for the story. The fight scenes are gripping. I do recommend it, for those that can stomach it.

The Skeleton Twins

Originally posted to Facebook on October 4, 2014 ·

Saw Skeleton Twins last night. Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig play siblings who reunite after 10 years apart, after the brother attempts suicide. The sister’s life is pretty awful, too. Wiig and Hader have great chemistry on screen. You really get a sense of the anguish both of them are feeling. Ty Burrell, Luke Wilson, and Joanna Gleason round out the cast. There’s a lot of snarkiness in this movie, but there’s also really meaningful drama. Great Indy movie.

Definitely recommended!

This Is Where I Leave You

Originally posted to Facebook on September 21, 2014 ·

Saw This is Where I Leave You today. Meh. A father’s last request is to have his wife and four children (and their families) sit shiva upon his death. A stellar cast, that includes Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Jason Bateman, and others, cannot overcome the script. Everyone has a story, everyone has an agenda, and there’s just too much to cover in the time allotted. Maybe, with an additional 45 minutes, they might’ve been able to let it play out better, but they didn’t. Most everyone makes “progress” and nothing is resolved, but the implication is that things are improving. I can only imagine it would have been a lot better in the hands of someone like Robert Altman. There are some good moments in the movie, but if you really want to see it, wait for cable, NetFlix, etc.

The Hundred-Foot Journey

Originally posted to Facebook on August 17, 2014 ·

Just came back from seeing The Hundred Foot Journey, a film exec produced by Spielberg and Oprah. An Indian family leaves Mumbai, and winds up in a village in France, where they open an Indian restaurant right across the road from a highbrow French restaurant, run by a forceful woman, played by Helen Mirren. The patriarch of the family is played by Om Puri, who is one of those actors you know you’ve seen before, somewhere.

This is a romantic film, with a leaning towards comedy, but the main star of the film is the food. This movie is the latest one to tackle the subject of food porn, in terms of preparation, presentation and consumption. Film critics see parallels to other such movies, but I’m willing to overlook that. It’s well written, and passionate in its own way. I recommend it.

Life, Itself

Originally posted to Facebook on July 13, 2014 ·

Today, went to see Life, Itself, which is a documentary that covers the book of the same name, written by Roger Ebert. The movie tells his life story, starting with his past, how he came to be, and so on. The documentarian shot this film during the last year of Roger’s life, and many of the questions are asked and answered from several hospital beds. It’s heartbreaking a few times, but Roger wanted it that way, so there are a couple of uncomfortable moments. However, true fans of Ebert will enjoy this film.