The Cinema of Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck has accumulated a few reputations during his career and most of them are as unflattering as they are deserved. Unfortunately, the title he deserves most but has yet to receive from the public is that of respected filmmaker. It’s not a mystery why. James Gray was never a drunken heartthrob that made girls nervous and guys angry, even as they mimicked his every mannerism. James Gray was also never an actor and never found himself on the cover of YM Magazine. No one cared if James Gray made it back from an about-to-explode asteroid and maybe that’s why he’s considered an artist. That’s not to say Gray didn’t earn his reputation, it just sheds light on why Ben Affleck might never rec

Inside Llewyn Davis

Synopsis: A week in the life of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Inside Llewyn Davis is a movie you enjoy but don’t realize quite how much until you find yourself thinking about the characters and the world they live in long after your initial viewing. Some stories are structured with plot points to help move the audience along. Then there are stories structured with characters, more specifically their experiences and reactions. Oscar Isaac plays such a character, the titular Llewyn, and his journey is one many people can relate to, even those who lead a far different lifestyle. Llewin is introduced as the kind of storyteller you want to hear stories f

Dressed to Kill

Synopsis: A mysterious blonde woman kills one of a psychiatrist's patients, and then goes after the high-class call girl who witnessed the murder. Brian De Palma is a unique talent that never quite saw the level of success that his peers experienced, and Dressed to Kill has all the trademarks of his interesting but flawed movies serving as an explanation of why. Critics often talk about the Hitchcockian visual style that De Palma saturates his movies with, but they just as often miss his strong sense of film noir. The crime genre was born as an exploitative tool to draw in audiences excited by lust and blood and Dressed to Kill delivers on that front. What’s surprising is how many people tak

The Best of Michael Mann

Somehow the name Michael Mann doesn't have the same cachet it once did and that's a shame. People also forget that he was a writer and wrote many of his greatest movies. Personally I prefer 80's Mann to the stuff he did later. Stylistically it felt far more premeditated and sucked me into the intensity of the stories more. The predominantly hand held style he developed in the 90's had its own effect on the audience but also felt like it could have been directed by anyone and still looked the same. Here are my top five Michael Mann movies. 1. Thief - James Caan, in his greatest role, plays a thief whose life is shaped by the 11 year stretch he served at Joliet prison. This movie is raw and co

Putney Swope

Synopsis – When the token black man on the executive board of an advertising firm is accidentally put in charge, he renames the business "Truth and Soul, Inc." and replaces the regime of white ad men with his militant brothers. From the first shot an impression is made that the movie is a student film with shoddy cinematography, awkward acting, and as much production value as knowledge in cinematic technique. Putney Swope makes Clerks look like Lawrence of Arabia. That’s one impression that is made, the other is that the movie playing out is both brilliant and important and induces laughter like few other movies ever have. Putney Swope proves that the strength of a story defines the movie vi

PCU

Synopsis - A high school senior visits college for the weekend, and stays at the wildest house on campus in this classic tale of anti-political-correctness. Peter Travers described The Post as a movie that "could not be more timely." It was probably because PCU came out 23 years ago. If it had been released at the tail-end of 2017, well, Travers would still pant over The Post, but there would definitely be a more relevant-to-the-times movie to champion. PCU divides audiences, which is ironic considering the movie is about how easily divisions form in society, but what it aims to do is make people laugh at how seriously we can take ourselves sometimes. The reason why I compared it to The Post

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (no spoilers) Just watched Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. I've heard a lot of praise, however, after watching the movie I can't agree with the sentiment. I just found too many events that I couldn't believe and the movie felt like it was always meandering in directions that didn't add to a whole cohesive story. Three Billboards tries to be a Coen brothers neo-noir but the difference is, in Fargo every event felt like it actually happened, and as crazy as everything was, it felt like in the course of those events something like that could actually go down - every character's action felt like someone in their shoes had done somethin

Heaven's Gate (219 min. version)

Synopsis - A dramatization of the real-life Johnson County War in 1890 Wyoming, in which a Sheriff born into wealth, attempts to protect immigrant farmers from rich cattle interests. This is a movie i've been meaning to watch for a long time but for one reason or another never got around to, a common story amongst film geeks regarding the infamous Heaven's Gate. The reason why is that this three and a half hour marathon was never labeled as a life changing cinematic experience, in fact, most of its notoriety comes from the tumultuous shoot, going insanely over budget, and bringing down a movie studio (United Artists). Watching a movie just to see the the McGuffin that caused all of the scand

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