Friday, October 23, 2015

Dangerous Men

Waves crash on a beach as cheesy synth music bops along in the background. The words Dangerous and Men appear on screen, slam together, and explode, and the credits begin: "Created & Written By John Rad. Producer: John Rad. Original Music, Song & Lyrics: John Rad." It goes on like that for a while. It's clear from the opening moments that this is a singular work from a singular mind, but absolutely nothing can prepare you for the what happens during the next hour and eighteen minutes.

Dangerous Men
Director: John Rad
Starring: Melody Wiggins, Michael Gradilone


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Room

Five year old Jack (Jacob Tremblay) has spent his entire life in what he calls Room, a windowless sound-proofed shed with an electronically locked door. He's only ever spoken to his loving Ma (Brie Larson), who has spent the last seven years trapped inside by a mysterious captor. Since escape has always seemed hopeless, she's decided to tell Jack that there is nothing outside of Room: the people they watch on their small TV aren't real, trees and oceans aren't real...everything outside of their confines is considered "outer space." It's a heck of a premise for a movie, and writer Emma Donoghue's script (adapted from her own novel) provides plenty of opportunities for gut-wrenching — and even a few heart-pounding — set pieces.

Room
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay



Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Bridge of Spies

Whatever imagery the title Bridge of Spies conjures in your mind are likely a heck of a lot more thrilling than what appears in Steven Spielberg's latest film, a studious spy tale that's about as far from thrilling as it gets. Still, this is a Spielberg movie we're talking about here, and there's plenty to like: it's an insightful, noir-tinged, captivating recreation of a historical event I hadn't heard about before. I never thought I'd describe one of Spielberg's movies as "educational," apart from maybe just a pure filmmaking perspective, but here we are.

Bridge of Spies
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Austin Stowell


Friday, October 9, 2015

Bone Tomahawk

Statistically speaking, most movies are bad. That's simply an unfortunate truth. And after seeing so many average, disappointing, or outright terrible films every year, it's truly exciting when I'm sitting in a theater and I realize I'm watching something amazing. I cherish that feeling. When I'm watching a great movie, I can actually feel it recharging my love and passion for film. It's the kind of experience that, if I'm lucky, I'll get maybe three or four times a year. Bone Tomahawk delivered that feeling in a huge way. S. Craig Zahler's debut film is a perfect union of impeccable writing, controlled direction, stellar performances, and nail-biting tension. It's a once-in-a-decade masterpiece.

Bone Tomahawk
Writer/Director: S. Craig Zahler
Starring: Kurt Russell, Richard Jenkins, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox


Monday, October 5, 2015

Legend

Legend's biggest draw is a dual performance from Tom Hardy as twin brothers Ron and Reggie Kray, the notorious 1960s gangsters who made headlines in East End London with their violent exploits and by hobnobbing with high class socialites. The trouble is, even after watching more than two hours of their story play out on screen (as written and directed by Oscar-winning writer Brian Helgeland), I still don't have a very good sense of who these men really were. Legend is a stylish period piece with a lot of flash but very little soul.

Legend
Writer/Director: Brian Helgeland
Starring: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Taron Egerton