Movie

The Handmaiden

By Park Chan-wook
5
Rated by Zachary C
Jun 8, 2018

The Handmaiden, a Korean film adaptation of the novel Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, is the newest film from one of the most daring directors in cinema.


The plot follows a Korean woman hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress as part of a plot to defraud her of her wealth. It is a classic con, but is subject to a bevy of twists and turns, as the handmaiden develops feelings for her mark and everyone has their own designs on the situation.


Misdirection is accentuated as the movie replays many of the major plot points from alternating perspectives: the heiress, the handmaiden, and the con

Mar 26, 2018

If you're looking for some mindless action and excellent snark, this is the movie for you.


I can find fault with the pacing and the paper-thin plot, but the reason for the movie is obvious: Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson trading quips and being generally hilarious.  When they do that, it's definitely worth the time.


The general idea: a dictator (Gary Oldman) is on trial, but all of the witnesses against him are either dead or discredited by lack of hard evidence.  The last chance to convict him lies with notorious hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), but Interpol has been

The Hundred-foot Journey

By Mirren, Helen
5
Rated by Melody M.K.
May 16, 2015

The movie The Hundred-foot Journey begins in India where an Indian family that loves cooking has a family restaurant. Touched by tragedy during a fire in their restaurant, the head of the family decides they should move to a new country. After some trial and error in finding just the right spot, they come to a lovely village in the south of France and happen upon an empty restaurant for sale. The sale is made and they begin restoration, moving in with not one thought of the 3-star French restaurant across the road from them. Then begins the lovely story of the Indian young man and the French

The Hunt

By Vinterberg, Thomas
5
Rated by Megan C.
Apr 16, 2015

What are the limits of friendship? The Hunt explores this question when a misinterpretation of facts unleashes a chain of consequences in a small town in Denmark. Lucas, a newly divorced father and kindergarten teacher, is tested to the limits of his emotional endurance as he slowly becomes an object of suspicion and mistrust among his coworkers, the townspeople, and even his closest friends. The plot builds to a level of exquisitely wrought tension that keeps you holding out for some kind of relief as Lucas reaches his edge.


This film has many strengths but what stood out most for me was

The Librarian: Quest for the Spear

By Peter Winther
4
Rated by Amanda C.
Dec 21, 2016

The Librarian: Quest for the Spear is the story of a professional student who gets pushed out into the real world (finally, at the age of 30) to find that not everything is as it seems and magic is real. He is hired by "the library," an age-old institution that traps magical artifacts and prevents them from falling into the wrong hands. This particular mission is to find a magical biblical spear, whose parts are scattered around the globe, and which is also hunted by a mysterious nefarious group, the Serpent Brotherhood. Flynn is aided by his guardian, a woman skilled in martial arts but who

The Lunchbox (DVD)

By Ritesh Batra
4
Rated by Caitlin T.
Apr 30, 2016

Director Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox is a must-see movie for food enthusiasts. Ila, played by the stunningly beautiful Nimrat Kaur, is a lonely housewife in Mumbai, India who desperately wants to please and attract her emotionally distant husband. Every day she takes great efforts to prepare his lunch in a unique (at least in our western culture) stacked tin lunchbox which is picked up by a local delivery system and brought to him at work. Our story opens with this lunchbox being delivered to the wrong person, a Mr. Saajan Fernandez, played by Irrfan Khan. Saajan is an equally lonesome man on

The Monster Squad (DVD)

By Shane Black and Fred Dekker
4
Rated by Melody M.K.
Aug 19, 2016

For those of us ready for autumn, cool weather and Halloween, The Monster Squad, released by Tri Star Pictures in August of 1987, is for you.


It's less a Stephen King horror story, and more like Scooby Doo. With a splash of cult classic, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


A club of preteens, lead by Sean, meet in - what else? - a tree house in his back yard with Sean's five year old sister Pheobe tagging along. Sean's mother finds a book at an estate sale written in German and signed by Abraham Van Helsing (famous vampire hunter) and buys it for Sean. He and the group take it to the scary

The Punk Singer

By Kathleen Hanna
5
Rated by Scott S.
Aug 20, 2014

There are times when I hesitate giving any work (an album, movie, or book) "5 stars." In fact, I try really hard not to do it. The idea that a work is "Perfect" and therefore deserving an entire constellation seems somewhat counter-productive to critical thinking and writing about whatever work a person has experienced: Does the White Album REALLY need all of those songs? Did Han Solo REALLY have to live? Objective correlative, indeed!


That being said, it's pretty difficult to NOT award The Punk Singer five stars and some kind of glowing effusive praise. The troubling thing is, I'm not sure

The Punk Singer (DVD)

By The Punk Singer (DVD)
4
Rated by Bryan V.
Jun 10, 2014

Kathleen Hanna, the subject of this documentary, pretty much embodies pure energy. Whether or not you like her voice or music is beside the point, as  is usually the case with punk music. Hanna is unapologetically feminist, never anything less than direct with a willingness to be confrontational. Again, this is what punk rock is all about. So what makes Hanna documentary-worthy? Her music is cathartic and brutally honest. She’s fearlessness and charismatic.  She’s the leader of the Riot Grrrrl movement, which has endured and grown over the past twenty-five or so years. Her contributions to a

Apr 21, 2016

Danny Garcia begins following and filming The Clash after their manager, Bernie Rhodes, has lifted the band to the heights of commercial success. Rhodes is ferociously competitive, blinding him to the idea that there is no place for success as he imagines it for The Clash. They’re part of, and play to, an angry underclass. They’re searching for an authentic voice (and find it, early on). But by the 1980's they’ve become stadium rock, their image looks bought not made, Mick Jones quits listening, quits collaborating, and Joe Strummer has a crisis of conscience.


Clash fans are the intended

Nov 22, 2016

Photojournalist  Sebastiao Salgado is known for his pictures of less developed countries, most specifically of regions swept into economic forces unleashed upon them by Western industry. Some of his photos, while technically stunning, depict humanities worst atrocities – forced exile, exploitation, extermination. 


Here he is presented by legendary filmmaker Wim Wenders, also an accomplished photographer. Salgado responds to Wenders’ questions with answers that reveal the strain of seeing humanity at its worst. By extension, we are similarly affected. The Salt of the Earth is the kind of

The Secret Life of Pets (DVD)

By Chris Meledandri
4
Rated by Debbie F.
Jan 26, 2017

When it comes to animated films, talking animals is certainly not a new concept, but the idea of domesticated pets going on wild adventures when the owners are away becomes a fun driving force in the new movie The Secret Life of Pets. Delivered by the same animation studio that gave us Despicable Me and those lovable Minions, this wacky adventure is a little more grounded in reality, but nevertheless very funny. And if you like the Minions, you’ll be pleased to know it actually opens with a new short film featuring those lovable little yellow guys.

The Staircase (DVD)

By Jean-Xavier de Lestrade
4
Rated by Heather B.
Apr 28, 2015

Did Michael Peterson kill his wife Kathleen, or was her death--as he claims--a tragic accident? This is the question addressed by the 2005 documentary The Staircase, directed by Academy Award winning (for his previous documentary, Murder on a Sunday Morning) filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade. Starting mere weeks after Kathleen's death and continuing throughout the trial, the team of filmmakers has seemingly complete access to Peterson, his defense team, his children, and other supporters. The viewer is so completely enmeshed in Peterson's life and version of the story, and his defense team's

Nov 5, 2017

The Story of Film is loaded with movie clips from all over the world, beginning at the first moment pictures moved and ending in the early 2000s. Director Mark Cousins invites us to consider how each of the films he mentions contribute to the language of movie-making. He’s a deep thinker who speaks clearly – a rare combination.    


Cousins is especially skilled at recognizing when one film begets another. The process of inspiration being a wonder to watch as Cousins lines up scenes to show us how filmmakers are receptive to the current of influence.  If you like film, particularly

This Is Spinal Tap

By Rob Reiner
4
Rated by Becky C.
Nov 6, 2013

When This Is Spinal Tap was released in theaters in 1984, many audience members were convinced they were seeing a documentary of an actual British rock group, Spinal Tap, fumbling its way through one last tour across America despite the fact they hadn’t had a hit song in nearly two decades.   In reality, the film is a mockumentary directed by the great Rob Reiner, and Spinal Tap is a fake band made up of three brilliant American actors.  Christopher Guest, who went on to direct and star in other hilarious mockumentaries such as Waiting for GuffmanBest in Show, and A Mighty Wind, plays lead

Sep 11, 2017

It's 1845 Haworth, West Yorkshire, England. This historical depiction shows a very bleak and distressing side to the famous Bronte sisters lives. Back when there were very few opportunities for women, it tells of the hardships Charlotte, Emily and Anne faced. It also includes the downfall of their brother Patrick, who they all called by his middle name Bramwell.  His was a tortured soul that could not live up to his own expectations and took it out on his father.

To Walk Invisible created a desire for further research.

Trishna (DVD)

By Directed by Michael Winterbottom
3
Rated by Magda B.
May 22, 2013

Trishna gives a new twist to the traditional Bollywood cinema. It is the Tess of the d'Urbervilles transferred to contemporary India.  The viewer is instantly cheering for an unusual relationship between two young people of different social levels, but all along the gut feeling says that in this love story something may go terribly wrong.   The movie presents the changing socio-economic structure of modern India: bustling, congested mega cities contrasted with poor traditional villages. Made by English filmmaker Michael Winterbotton with a full Indian cast, Trishna has beautiful scenery of the

Jul 21, 2016

Rockumentaries can be pretentious, but not this one. The first thing you’ll discover in Andrew Horn’s documentary We are Twisted ­­­­­­­­F***ing Sister is that the band members are great guys: hardworking, kind, mostly sober. They’re also good storytellers. Who among us wouldn’t be charmed to hear how Dee Snider discovered the perfect garish shade of red lipstick, or how guitarist Jay Jay French and the rest of the band politely asked Dee’s wife, Suzette, to make them stretchy girly glam costumes? 


The film covers the band's early years when Twisted Sister worked a suburban bar circuit in

Jul 19, 2019

July 21st, 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of “UHF.” To celebrate the occasion (and its recent addtion to the JCL catalog), I wrote about my lifelong love of the film.


When I was around four or five years old, there were a handful of films I watched over and over again. Oliver!, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Beetlejuice were in very heavy rotation in my family room, along with several Disney animated films that we regularly threw on in the afternoon. I remember watching those films as a kid and being in awe of them. They felt so exotic, and I was completely captivated by the

Where Do We Go Now? (DVD)

By Directed by Nadine Labaki
3
Rated by Magda B.
Jul 14, 2013

If you think that a comedy about religious and ethnic tension is impossible or inappropriate, this movie will prove you wrong! Where Do We Go Now is a satirical fable depicting contemporary life in an isolated unnamed Middle Eastern village where Muslims and Christians coexist in peace. When word spreads that a civil war is engulfing the surrounding country, the people instantly forget about their common bonds and prepare for war. The once peaceful village is slowly drawn into violence, but village women - sick and tired of losing their husbands and sons to senseless warfare - band together to

Widows

By Steve McQueen
5
Rated by Zachary C
Feb 15, 2019

To call Widows a heist film is reductive.  It revolves around a heist, but that doesn't do the film justice.


Veronica Rawlings, played by Viola Davis, has an adoring husband and seemingly loving marriage.  Her husband, Harry (Liam Neeson), is also a successful criminal, but when a job goes bad and he along with his entire crew are killed, a large number of puzzle pieces fall into the laps of those left behind.  Interconnected are the people Harry stole from and those he stole for.   Robert Duvall and Colin Farrell play the aging patriarch and future of the Chicago political dynasty Mulligan

Wild Rose

By Nicole Taylor
5
Rated by Zachary C
Nov 6, 2019

"3 chords and the truth"


That's what Rose-Lynn has tattooed across her forearm.  That's the answer to the question the other people born and raised in Glasgow ask her, "Why country music?"


Rose-Lynn has just gotten out of prison.  Headphones on, country playlist rolling, she immediately sets to getting her life plans back on track.  Her plan is pretty simple. You see, she has a goal, a dream, a purpose...to get to Nashville to fulfill her destiny as a country music superstar.  


Not everyone is completely onboard with her plan, like her mother, played by Julie Walters. She is expecting

Wind River (DVD)

By Taylore Sheridan
5
Rated by Zachary C
Dec 3, 2017

On the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is a tracker and hunter of threatening wildlife on the reservation, protecting the people from dangerous animals. Cory finds the corpse of a teenage girl when patrolling the reservation. Young FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is sent in to investigate. New, inexperienced, and idealistic, Jane is quickly in over her head trying to solve the murder while adjusting to the culture shift on an Indian reservation. Cory knows the land and the people of Wind River, and Jane enlists his help. To say more would start to

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

By Morgan Neville, Caryn Capotosto, Nicholas Ma
5
Rated by Heather McCartin
Jan 15, 2019

As a child of the early '90s, I grew up with classic PBS children's programming - programming that may look very different from the current PBS Kids programs that are currently airing.  One of my go-to, can't miss programs was Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.  He was my preschool teacher before I attended school and he was my guidance counselor before I knew such a title existed.  While he didn't devote time to ABCs and 123s (that was more Sesame Street's specialty), he introduced the concepts of feelings, emotion, and self-worth, all while showcasing places, people, and events from all around the

Jun 5, 2019

If you think Broadway is only accessible in New York City or on tour think again.  Several classic and contemporary shows are often revived and filmed for audiences to see (either as live TV specials or as limited film releases).  Here you can meet a young boy who never wanted to grow up (Peter Pan) or see how to stand up for injustice one move at a time (Hairspray).  Featuring several big names of stage and screen (John Legend, Carrie Underwood, Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris) these stories are preserved for a lifetime with the power of DVD, introducing a brand new world of audiences to

You Will Be My Son (DVD)

By Gilles Legrand
4
Rated by Sarah A.
Aug 4, 2016

Paul de Marseul is the head of an esteemed family-owned winery in Saint-Emilion, France. He is an extremely overbearing father to his son Martin, who everyone assumes will take over the business one day from his father. But of course things get really interesting when the son of his estate manager returns the golden boy from his time in the Napa Valley.


From award-winning director Gilles Legrand, You Will Be My Son is a very emotionally charged and sympathetic film, with amazingly beautiful scenery of the Bordeaux region of France. The film stars French actor, Niels Arestrup (War Horse, Sar