Classic Movie Review: 'Napoleon Dynamite'
Starting at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival we began hearing raves about a little $400,000 dollar indie called Napoleon Dynamite. The film about a nerdy Idaho kid and his weird family and friends became a hit at arthouses and online where fan-sites spouted dialogue and debated the film’s deeper meanings even before the film became a mainstream smash. Once Napoleon Dynamite did hit the mainstream in wide release the hype proved to be very real, Napoleon Dynamite was a phenomenon.
Movie Review: 'Dear Evan Hansen' Starring Ben Platt
Try-hard is a term used to describe people who desperately want to be accepted by a group of people but their effort renders them pathetic and roundly rejected. Try-hard is an apt description of the new Broadway film adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen. The film starring Ben Platt as the title character, Evan, tries very hard to make you like Evan and identify with him, and feel sorry for his outsider plight. However, the sweaty, pathetic obviousness of the attempt renders it completely unwelcome.
Documentary Review: 'The Village Detective: A Song Cycle'
Filmmaker Bill Morrison and I share a fascination with old movies, specifically those that have been mostly lost to time. His remarkable found footage documentary Dawson City Frozen Time explored the decaying beauty of silent films found buried in a former gold mining outpost. Some of the films were far too gone to be restored while others were remarkably well kept in that frozen tomb. Morrison shared both the decayed and well preserved, edited together to tell the story of Dawson City, a place with a very unique history all its own.
Classic Movie Review: 'Hester Street' Starring Carol Kane
For those who might only know actress Carol Kane from her work on television in the series Taxi or, far more recently, the Netflix comedy, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, you might not be aware that Carol Kane is an Oscar nominee. In 1975, Kane co-starred in the movie Hester Street and her thoughtful, sweet and vulnerable performance as Jewish mother arriving in America at the turn of the 20th Century earned her a nomination for Best Actress. Kane lost out to Louise Fletcher’s daringly dastardly performance as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Movie Review: 'Last Night in Rozzie'
Last Night in Rozzie is a complicated story about relationships. From friendships to marriages to parent and child relationships, Last Night in Rozzie has a lot of different types of relationship dramas to navigate around. The film stars Neil Brown Jr as Ronnie Russo, a kid from Rozzie, a suburb of Boston, real name Roslindale. Ronnie Russo is a rare Rozzie success story in that he made it out of the lower middle class suburb and made something of himself in the big city.
Movie Review: 'Best Sellers' Starring Aubrey Plaza
Best Sellers is a frustratingly conventional movie about two opposites forced to work together. It’s frustrating because this highly conventional comedy premise stars the remarkably unconventional Aubrey Plaza. Aubrey is far too interesting for a conventional comedy. Her talent for spiky line delivery and brilliantly awkward comedy defies convention. See movies like Black Bear or Safety Not Guaranteed or even a movie of hers that I don’t care for like Ingrid Goes West. Regardless of the role, or the quality of the movie, Aubrey Plaza can’t be confined by plot.
Classic Movie Review: 'The Outlaw Josey Wales' Starring Clint Eastwood
The Outlaw Josey Wales stars Clint Eastwood in the title role of a man with a deep and abiding dedication to revenge. When Union soldiers in Missouri after the Civil War, murder Josey’s wife and son, he quickly joins up with a group Southern resistance fighters, led by Fletcher (John Vernon). This resistance however, doesn’t last long and soon enough, Fletcher is advising his men to turn themselves over to the enemy in exchange for their lives.
Documentary Review: 'Little Girl'
Little Girl is a heart-rending documentary about the struggles of a little girl who was born a boy. Sasha was born a boy but by a very early age, she began to express to her mother that she was really a boy. Sasha’s parents, at first, dismissed their child’s gender questions but, eventually, they were forced to come around. Now, they are tangling with schools, and bullies and Russian ballet coaches who keep working to make Sasha’s life far more difficult than it should be.