, 141 min, 2008
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Stars: Angelina Jolie, Colm Feore, Amy Ryan
Clint Eastwood’s Changeling is an epic mystery drama – absorbing, angering, maddening, sad, oddly hopeful, and inspiring in its way. Continue reading
, 101 min, 2008
Director: Kevin Smith
Writer: Kevin Smith
Stars: Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Craig Robinson
Kevin Smith’s Zack and Miri Make a Porno is a rollicking, raucous comedy, filthy, profane, mostly hilarious and finally downright heartwarming. To those who think Smith, the crown prince of all things scatalogical and shocking, has lost his nerve, I say he sets you up for it from the beginning. Continue reading
, 124 min, 2008
Director: Charlie Kaufman
Writer: Charlie Kaufman
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams
Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York is an astonishing, dizzying, beautiful, melancholy, sardonically amusing, lovely, apocalyptic, powerful, low-key, brilliant, bewildering and inspiring work of staggering genius (Have I used every single superfluous adjective known to man yet? Good). His latest surrealist trip down the rabbit hole of the creative mind is about… well, there’s positively no satisfying way to complete that sentence. A plot description is futile, for there is no plot; such is life.
Here is a unique ombnibus horror film that is scarier and better-made in theory than in execution.
, 129 min, 2008
Director: Oliver Stone
Writer: Stanley Weiser
Stars: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, Ioan Gruffudd
Oliver Stone’s W. is a hypnotically absorbing portrait of George W. Bush, the current President of the United States. Fresh from taking on another controversial American subject in World Trade Center (2006), Stone is one of America’s finest filmmakers, and he brings all of his technical brilliance and political insight to bear on this one. Continue reading
, 118 min, 2008
Director: Mike Leigh
Writer: Mike Leigh
Stars: Sally Hawkins, Alexis Zegerman, Samuel Roukin
Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky is a comedic slice of life about a profoundly good woman. Simple as that.
, 91 min, 2008
Director: Raja Gosnell
Writers: Analisa LaBianco (screenplay), Jeffrey Bushell (screenplay) (as Jeff Bushell), Jeffrey Bushell (story) (as Jeff Bushell)
Stars: Drew Barrymore, George Lopez, Piper Perabo
I can’t quite put my finger on what it is about computer-manipulated live action animals (you know, the ones that have mouths that are moving in an attempt to match the dialogue) that creeps me the hell out. When you can’t enjoy a goofy, dumb kids’ comedy and you are driven to distraction by such minute details, something is rotten in Denmark. Such is the tip of the iceberg of problems with Beverly Hills Chihuahua, the latest idiotic Disney production. Continue reading
They say you learn something new every day. For instance, did you know the story of the man who invented the windshield wiper and his decades-long battle to get his patent recognized, because I sure didn’t.
, 115 min, 2008
Director: Ed Harris
Writers: Robert Knott (screenplay) & Ed Harris (screenplay), Robert B. Parker (novel) (as Robert Parker)
Stars: Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Renée Zellweger
Ed Harris’ Appaloosa is an easy-going, old-fashioned, elegiac Western with a twist – in that there’s little to no twist. Continue reading
The world of independent cinema is a funny place. Every once in a while, a film comes along seemingly out of nowhere, for reasons passing understanding, and blows you away. Lance Hammer’s Ballast is such a film. A quiet, simple slice-of-life about healing the wounds of the past and moving on with one’s life, it sneaks up and floors you.
Lawrence (Michael J. Smith Sr.) is a small convenience store/gas station owner deep in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. His twin brother has just committed suicide, leaving him in a quietly devastated heap. His twin brother has an adolescent son, James (JimMyron Ross), who lives with his mother Marlee (Tarra Riggs) nearby. James is out of school, having been expelled for getting into fights and using drugs. Marlee is a good woman, a single mother, doing her best.
That’s all that is really necessary to tell you about the premise of this film. The rest I will leave for you to discover.