PFS Review – #TBT Edition – Rich Hill

Rich Hill

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Don Malvasi

Originally Posted on Cinedork.com

As a chaser to Richard Linklater’s monumental Boyhood, take a peek at this Sundance award-winning documentary profiling three destitute white kids from rural Missouri. Their level of poverty and all-around impoverishment makes Linklater’s screen kid look like he’s part of the Trump family.

Three distinctively different kids emerge. One is all-get-out upbeat, another, mostly dour misanthropic; the third, an interesting mess of charismatic, vain, and simpleminded. They hook you.

Oscar Watch – Looking Back at Boyhood

boyhood-still1

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Don Malvasi

Originally Posted on Cinedork.com

Like Seinfeld, Boyhood is about nothing in particular. Yet its staggering charm is that it manages to be about the things that matter most. The Richard Linklater film accomplishes no small miracle in reflecting a slice of life that, as it stretches over 12 years, boasts an authentic take on existence itself. It is unique in that it plays with time and growth in a way that forces the viewer to get immersed in its series of singular moments of the present.

PFS Review – Selma

la_ca_1021_selma

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Don Malvasi

Originally Posted on Cinedork.com

Selma builds its way toward a celebration of the passage of the Voting See it at the Roxy!Rights Act of 1965. Sharply focused on the key months leading up to a series of three nonviolent protest marches in Selma, Alabama, it agonizingly captures the textures of human toil and determination that led to the momentous legislation. Director Ava DuVernay zeros in on Martin Luther King’s ability to channel enormous power, yet exercise exceptional self-containment and control. The film is at its strongest when it portrays the intimate, inward side of King and his entourage of key advisers and assistants. Anything but an icon, the King depicted here is very much a walking and talking human being. His worries and sorrows are portrayed side by side with his contagious confidence. We see King at a low ebb–calling Mahalia Jackson in the middle of the night and asking her to sing to him. We see King whispering his despair to Ralph Abernathy as they sit in a darkened jail cell, the latter providing succor to his friend by quoting the Bible.

Oscar Watch: Looking Back on Birdman

Birdman Mirror

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Nella Fitzgerald

Originally posted on Nelle De Jour

I could not be more relieved and galvanized by the films I’ve seen been watching lately. Whiplash and Birdman were both incredibly immersing and soul-stirring movies. On a basic level, they perform the way film is supposed to, reflecting universal aspects of human spirit with such authenticity and intensity that you have no choice, but to feel connected to the characters. Their vulnerabilities, their idiosyncrasies, the way, ultimately, like us all, they just want to be loved. 

Oscar Watch: Looking Back on The Grand Budapest Hotel

Grand Budapest Hotel

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Don Malvasi

Originally Posted by Cinedork.com

Wes Anderson prefers not to enter himself into a particular time and place unless he’s able to twist and turn his subject until it’s ready to fit into HIS world. In The Grand Budapest Hotel, his eighth and best feature, his enchanting stylization rises to a level of obsessiveness that bodes well for the adventurous filmgoer. Anderson pulls all the stops in production values in taking on the vanished elegance of Old World Europe between the World Wars. His stock company, now enlarged by an even wider swath of familiar actors (no fewer than 17 this time) is here bolstered by a zany, bravura performance by Ralph Fiennes. Fiennes plays Gustave H., a genteel and dapper yet manic and profane hotel concierge who has a way with words and with ladies of a certain advanced age. He controls the Grand Budapest Hotel with a courtly whip.

PFS Review – Into the Woods

INTO THE WOODS

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Don MalvasiSee it at the Roxy!

Originally Posted on Cinedork.com

Rife with colorful characters and brimming with the signature rhyming banter of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, Into The Woods is the closest thing this Christmas season to a rewarding family film. Just don’t expect things to come with a ribbon wrapped around them. If the mashing of familiar Grimm fairy tales into a not-so-conventional tale sounds like your idea of good fun, you wouldn’t be far wrong. Although the Rob Marshall adaptation of the 1987 stage production loses some steam in its second half, it is a well-cast showcase for the likes of Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp (as the Big Bad Wolf), and especially the amusing Tracy Ullmann and the excellent Emily Blunt.

PFS Review – Foxcatcher

Foxcatcher1

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Don MalvasiSee it at the Roxy!

Originally Posted on Cinedork.com

It’s as dramatic as when you first lay eyes on Robert DeNiro in Raging Bull. In Foxcatcher, Steve Carell is not at all the Steve Carell with whom we’ve become accustomed. There’s not a sliver of the character from The Office or The 40 Year Old Virgin to be found. Nor does Carell, fitted with a prosthetic nose, smile once in the film. In one of the year’s very best performances, a super serious Carell gives an uncanny, haunting take on John Eleuthere DuPont.

PFS Review – Black or White

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Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Don Malvasi

Reposted from Cinedork.com

See it at the Roxy!Director and screenwriter Mike Binder will be called on the carpet by the gripe-happy protectors of the politically correct. He’ll be accused of tripping over stereotypes as he presents the story of a custody battle over a racially mixed seven-year-old, Eloise. Despite being a little obvious around the edges, Black or White essentially presents a modern day racial drama with solid conviction and fresh ideas.

Raised by her maternal grandparents after her mother died in childbirth, Eloise (Jillian Estell) faces another tragedy when her grandmother dies in a car accident just before the film begins. Her grandfather, Eliot (a riveting Kevin Costner), a corporate lawyer, suddenly faces the task of raising the child by himself. Just when he begins to get his footing, Eloise’s fraternal grandmother, Rowena (Octavia Spencer, very good) decides the girl would be better off in her custody–especially since her long-estranged, miscreant son, Reggie (Andre Holland), is suddenly eager to get involved with his daughter Or is he?

PFS Rapid Recommendation – Inherent Vice

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Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Davis Rivera

Though many dismissed Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 novel Inherent Vice as ‘Pynchon Lite,’ Paul Thomas Anderson proves the naysayers wrong by remaining dutifully faithful to the source material and exposing the book’s literary merit and how perfectly Pynchon’s verbal acrobatics and exquisitely written characters translate to the screen.  These two masters of matchless attentiveness are an ideal artistic combination and one can only hope that this level of virtuosity will befall other classics in the reclusive author’s oeuvre.