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Thursday , August 13 2020

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The Lonely Hearts Killers

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  5 In 1947, a single mother from northern Florida, Martha Beck, placed a “lonely hearts” ad in a rag with a nationwide circulation, through which she met Raymond Hernandez from New York City, an ex-con/con man who preyed upon war widows and single women of means, relying upon ... Read More »

He Said: Top 10 Films of 2014

10. Blue Ruin.  This deftly-constructed deconstruction of the Hatfields and McCoys narrative seemingly came out of nowhere.  Jeremy Saulnier had previously written and directed one feature film – the obscure horror/comedy Murder Party (2007) – in which former classmate and stay-at-home dad, Macon Blair, had a supporting role.  And yet, with Blue Ruin, Saulnier’s eye is as subtle and evocative ... Read More »

She Said: Top 10 Films of 2014

10. Bad Words.  Here’s a cheesy, distasteful, and seemingly thin premise: a 40 year old high school drop-out identifies a loophole that allows him to compete in a children’s spelling bee. But Jason Bateman, as Guy Trilby, pulls it off with unapologetic, politically incorrect snark even before the plot deepens to explain how (and why) in the world this is happening. ... Read More »

The Battle of the Invasions of the Body Snatchers!

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  6 In the 60 years since Collier’s magazine first published Jack Finney’s serial, The Body Snatchers, there have been four film adaptations, as the pod people narrative seems to have a “Shakespearean mobility from one period to the next” (Mike Davis, author of The Monster at ... Read More »

The Wages of Fear (1953) v. Sorcerer (1977)

Spoiler scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  5   Although a veteran filmmaker, director Henri-Georges Clouzot (Les diabolique (1955), La vérité (1960)) realized his first commercial breakthrough by capitalizing upon the popularity of the novel by Charles Arnaud, Le Salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fear) (1950).  In notable contrast to modern adaptations (read: ... Read More »

He Said: Top 10 Films of 2013

10. To the Wonder.   In a year that included the likes of Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and The Grandmaster, perhaps no popular film justifies use of the cliché “visual storytelling” more than writer/director Terence Malick’s To the Wonder.  The underlying narrative (such that it is) covers the life cycle of a love affair (said lovers played by Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko).  Alternating between the idyllic and the realistic, the dialogue (such that ... Read More »

She Said: Top 10 Films of 2013

10. Gravity.  Take a nap before watching this one, especially in IMAX 3D, because it’s exhausting. Gravity is a thrilling ride into space where no one can save you if something goes wrong. It made me think about how small and alone we are in the vacuum of space. 9. Nebraska.  This film touched my heart and illustrated the significance ... Read More »

My 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2014

When it comes to annual cycles in the film industry, concepts tend to show up in pairs – two tornado films (1996), two volcano films (1997), on and on up to this years’ end-of-the-world comedies (This Is the End and The World’s End).  Unfortunately, 2014 will see the trend continue with two great directors Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler (2008), Black Swan (2010)) and Ridley Scott (Alien (1979), Black Hawk Down (2001)) devoting ... Read More »

The Folly of the Bechdel Test Movie Rating

I just finished viewing The Heat, the most recent buddy-cop genre flick featuring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy.  And in light of the current buzz in the film community, I could not help but notice how The Heat is one of the supposedly few 2013 movies that pass the “Bechdel Test,” which has apparently become the proxy for detecting gender bias in film.  In case you have not heard, to ... Read More »

She Said: Top 10 Films of 2012

10.  Ruby Sparks  (written by Zoe Kazan, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, starring Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Chris Messina, Annette Bening, and Antonio Banderas).  Ironic and quirky.  A man creates his “soulmate” with his writing, but this film is clearly written from her point of view.  Still, this movie is both fun and thought provoking. 9.  Sound of My Voice  (written by Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, ... Read More »

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