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‘Top Five': Chris Rock aims higher than he hits in this charming but crass comedy
Film Reviews / Recommended

‘Top Five': Chris Rock aims higher than he hits in this charming but crass comedy

“It’s always good to make sure you’re never too good at one thing at a time,” mumbles Andre Allen (Chris Rock) to Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson), the New York Times reporter profiling him, upon learning that she dabbles in poetry, photography, and music. And yet, it could just as easily be applied to “Top Five,” … Continue reading

‘Foxcatcher’ wrestles with entitlement and male bonding
Film Reviews / Recommended

‘Foxcatcher’ wrestles with entitlement and male bonding

John du Pont (Steve Carrell with a prosthetic nose) was supposed to ride horses, a regal sport for a regal family — America’s richest dynasty. But he defied his overbearing mother’s (Vanessa Redgrave) wishes, declaring, “horses are stupid!” When we first hear this in Bennett Miller’s new film “Foxcatcher,” it’s not a seven-year-old du Pont … Continue reading

‘Mockingjay Part 1′: too many hovercrafts, not enough Finnick
Film Reviews / Recommended

‘Mockingjay Part 1′: too many hovercrafts, not enough Finnick

In “Mockingjay: Part 1,” the latest installment of “The Hunger Games” films, director Francis Lawrence has us spend a lot of time staring at hover crafts – taking off, flying, landing, sitting inert – and very little time observing character beats — even though they’ve split the final book into two installments. Then again, the … Continue reading

‘Beyond The Lights': Gina Prince-Blythewood gets romance right
Film Reviews / Independent film / Recommended

‘Beyond The Lights': Gina Prince-Blythewood gets romance right

Prince-Blythewood understands that romance is all about the connection forged between two people, so she wisely shoots the majority of Kaz and Noni’s scenes together in two-shots. Whether it’s sitting on the couch of her home, listening to her hit as she tries to turn it off in embarrassment, or pouring over her box of lyrics on the floor of her bedroom, or sitting in his car at the airport eating fried chicken. These are two people sharing time and space, and we’re always watching what’s unfolding between them, not just how things are for each of them separately. Continue reading

‘Force Majeure': Ruben Östlund finds the comedy in marital strife
Film Reviews / Foreign film / Highly Recommended / Independent film

‘Force Majeure': Ruben Östlund finds the comedy in marital strife

When you think about tense family dramas from Sweden, you probably think Ingmar Bergman, and not “hilarious romps.” But writer-director Ruben Östlund’s new film, “Force Majeure,” which premiered at Cannes in May to an adoring crowd, finds the humour in the awkwardness of marital fights and confrontations: it’s not full of witty one-liners, but the … Continue reading

Eddie Redmayne talks Stephen Hawking, preparing for the role, and shooting out of order
Film / Interviews

Eddie Redmayne talks Stephen Hawking, preparing for the role, and shooting out of order

In “The Theory of Everything,” Eddie Redmayne (“My Week with Marilyn” and “Les Misérables”) gives an impressive and detailed performance as cosmologist Stephen Hawking. The biopic chronicles several decades in Hawking’s life – and his relationship with his wife Jane (Felicity Jones) – from his time as a Physics PhD student at Cambridge, where they … Continue reading

‘Dear White People': a must-see biting satire about so much more than race
Film Reviews / Highly Recommended

‘Dear White People': a must-see biting satire about so much more than race

But Simien’s film is far too smart to be about stereotypes: everyone’s identity, and in particular, how they see themselves, gets complicated by multiple factors. By looking specifically at “being a black face in a white place”, the film resonates more universally about the malleability of identity and personal mythology, and how we deal with not quite fitting in. Continue reading

Director Damien Chazelle talks jazz drumming, the bubble of big band jazz, and the genesis of ‘Whiplash’
Film / Interviews / Jazz / Music

Director Damien Chazelle talks jazz drumming, the bubble of big band jazz, and the genesis of ‘Whiplash’

Director Damien Chazelle’s second feature, “Whiplash,” takes a look inside the world of big band jazz through the lens of a 19-year-old drummer and his relationship with his abusive teacher. The 29-year-old Chazelle bears an uncanny resemblance to the star of his film, Andrew, played by Miles Teller: dark haired, lanky, and excited to talk … Continue reading