21 Nov 2014
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Just as many others of Cameron Crowe’s female characters, Claire can be overly cute at times, but she’s also incredibly cool. She knows great music, literature and films. She draws maps and makes kick-ass mix tapes. She is warm and affectionate, funny and intelligent. And she’s mental. She comes out with the strangest things, at the oddest of times. Which is what makes her both charming, annoying and very real.
If I had to pick one fictional account of rock’n’roll of the early 70s and what it’s like to be on the road, that would be Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical coming of age flick. And that’s because Almost Famous accurately portrays a specific era in time from an insider’s perspective, as Cameron Crowe has experienced it all first hand.
Countless films and directors have approached that enduring myth of the city, the street-smart hero within it, the shady relations he keeps — friends who beg off him; a woman or two, perhaps, for company, but there’s something deep down that remains untouchable — a contrast, just barely there, just enough to be poignant — a certain loneliness or lonesome air.
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City World embodies pure cinema: fundamentals of image and sound removed from plot, characters, and their accompanying sensations. This puts us far from Hollywood, though the film’s location of Orlando, Florida keeps us within tangible understanding.
The beauty of Angel Heart resides in its ability to trick us into thinking it’s a lot more complicated than it actually is. Angel Heart is wonderfully simple, something you will appreciate more when you return to it for a second viewing.
Cameron Crowe made a normal honest film, without exaggerations, that really captures the feelings of true love. Say Anything… is one of the rare 80s teen movies that doesn’t display all teenagers as shallow young people who only ever think about sex – and all adults as idiots who live in their own world.
Don’t let the fact that Tom Cruise stars in this movie put you off. I don’t like him either. David Aames is an entirely different experience. Vanilla sky is an erotic, psychological mind-game, intelligently highlighting the illusion, or possible existence of eternal life, and the feeling of infinite power that comes with youth. These ideas are magically cut down through David Aames, who is forced to come to terms with his own mortality, while finding something far more meaningful than his own narcissism.
Warm Place Tonight
Warm Place Tonight seems to present a bit of truth — in a level past the “personal”; in frustration at how a city can remain so oblique, impervious to its inhabitants … and answers to the same question.
There is something eerie and claustrophobic about setting films in small communities; perhaps Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man is a good example. Such settings have always been ideal for murder mysteries and “whodunit” thrillers. John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary takes advantage of such a setting but uses it in a very unique way.
Brent Chesanek talks to Zachary Wyman about City World
You shouldn’t make a film of any kind and not believe in it. I know that’s not the same as being scared, but this film was very deliberately done. It scares me that so many films are the same, want to do the same thing, using the same techniques, explore the same scenarios. Scares me as in — is this what’s encouraged, what’s desired? I’m not even talking about Hollywood blockbusters. I don’t have much interest in doing work that doesn’t try to offer something new, or something pure.
This Boy’s Life
Based on the life and memoir of writer Tobias Wolff, This Boy’s Life captures the frustrations of childhood and the trust we place in our elders to protect us until we’re capable of doing it for ourselves.
We Bought a Zoo
We Bought a Zoo is perhaps too formulaic a film, and too innocent a story, to have caught the attention of cinema-goers in 2011 – especially when you consider the fact that it came out alongside The Descendants, the well-received Alexander Payne story that bore remarkable resemblances to the former, though won in originality and comedic value.
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Five Dedicated to Ozu
While Five Dedicated to Ozu arrives relatively free of the extra-screen factors that make films such as Empire (would we hear of this static, eight-hour view of the building if it hadn’t been created by Andy Warhol?) — it is still, indelibly, an experience, in addition to a film, for narrative and even experimental pieces alike rarely call one’s attention to the facts, the literal being there, of sitting in one’s seat with the same keenness that watching a piece of driftwood for over several minutes straight calls to mind.
There are just too many things that have inspired and influenced Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank so I won’t even begin to go into them. But I will say this: this is not the biography of either Frank Sidebottom or Chris Sievey, although both have had an impact on the film in different ways.