Realizing All is Lost

Review of All is Lost, Directed by J.C. ChandorAll is Lost quickly divided audiences into those who relished its novelty of one cast member (Robert Redford playing “our man”), a monologue totaling about 50 words, and enthralling details of how to survive at sea, and those who despised the film as pretentious, shallow, and meaningless. Our Man starts the film with a brief voiceover--a reflection of remorse, presumably aimed at his family, which ends with “all is lost here except body and soul.” … [Read more...]

Muppets Most Wanted a True Friend

Review of Muppets Most Wanted, Directed by James BobinMuppets Most Wanted starts off where the The Muppets (2011) ended--having just finished their reunion show to great fanfare, they now don’t know what to do with themselves. That is, until Dominic Badguy (in French, the last name means “good man”) convinces them to go on a world tour (i.e., Europe) to reap the rewards of their new stardom. Kermit is skeptical and would rather they stay put for a little while, seeing that the Muppets had jus … [Read more...]

We Are All Divergent

Divergent, Directed by Neil BurgerIs human nature inherently flawed? Is resistance beautiful? At what cost should we be willing to obtain peace? These rather large questions and more are woven into the narrative of Divergent (2014). Divergent is based on the first installment of Veronica Roth’s bestselling young adult science fiction trilogy. In a post-war Chicago, the inhabitants have devised a political solution to maintain order and stability by dividing people into five factions: a … [Read more...]

Not Loving This Enemy

Enemy, directed by Denis VilleneuveMen staring. Women naked but for stiletto heels. And, oddly, a tarantula on stage. A woman’s shoe lowers over it, cautiously at first, then strikes to kill.Apparently for some people such a scene is erotic, but for me and I suspect many others, it was just downright creepy. Also, it didn’t make sense. And that pretty much sums up the entirety of the film Enemy, from its arachnoid opening scene until — well, the ending was even creepier, but I won’t give it … [Read more...]

Come stay at The Grand Budapest Hotel

Every once in a while I run across a film that I don’t understand - and frankly, don’t even see the point of - yet still find immensely enjoyable. Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of those films.Set somewhere in a fictionalized European nation called the Republic of Zubrowka circa 1932, The Grand Budapest Hotel recounts the story of Zero, a young orphan from a war-torn country who lands a job as a bell hop in The Grand Budapest Hotel. It flows something like a storybook, with pl … [Read more...]

Driving Fast with Nowhere to Go

Need for Speed, directed by Scott WaughReviewed by Matthew FoersterFilms based on video games are a fairly common feature in theaters today. From Tomb Raider featuring Angelina Jolie to the successful Resident Evil series, video game based movies have proven to be formidable box office hits. However, one noticeable difference between those films and the most recent video game-turned-movie, Need for Speed, is that they were based on games featuring character-driven narratives. That is to s … [Read more...]

Veronica Charms

Veronica Mars, directed by Rob ThomasA lot of people really, really like Veronica Mars.There are several ways I have deduced this: 1) All my friends who talked about the TV show, even before it was a movie, and even though its last season ended seven years ago 2) The 91,585 people who raised more than $5.7 million to make a movie based on the show — the most backers of any Kickstarter campaign, ever, and 3) The plenteous hoots and hollers and other joyous exclamations I heard throughout the f … [Read more...]

Win the Internet and Lose Your Soul

Review of The Social Network, Directed by David FincherJeff Hammerbacher, one of Facebook’s earliest employees, once infamously claimed that "The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads." That nicely captures the intellectual conceit and littleness of Silicon Valley’s culture. It did not seem to occur to Hammerbacher that minds spent thinking about clicking ads may not be as fine as he thought. Hammerbacher at least had the good sense to add, "That suc … [Read more...]

It Never Hurts to Help: Life Lessons from Eek! The Cat

Review of Eek! The Cat, Created by Savage Steve HollandThanks to the miracle of Youtube and the unerring good taste of my husband, I've recently been introduced to a delightful little animated gem by the name of Eek! The Cat (later known as Eek! Stravaganza). From 1992 to 1997, while my brother and I were up to our eyeballs in Looney Tunes re-runs on ABC, this Canadian cartoon was airing on Fox. Don't get me wrong—I cherish my memories of Saturday mornings with Bugs and Daffy. But I'm sorry t … [Read more...]

Dead Poets Society: The call of a modern classic

Review of Dead Poets Society, Directed by Peter Weir It has been my growing conviction of late that high school English is a waste of time at best and destructive to the human spirit at worst. These classes foist brilliant literature on kids before they’ve grown mature enough to enjoy it, and as a result it turns them off to the joys of great writing for the rest of their lives.Sometimes, however, there are exceptions. Dead Poets Society shows us English as it’s meant to be. It’s the Engl … [Read more...]