The latest round of film releases coming to area theaters have heavy subjects to say the least.
On Friday's Up to Date, our independent, foreign, and documentary film critics return with some praise and some scorn for the latest films to hit the silver screen.
From the story of a family that is ruined by cancer, prescription drug abuse, and divorce to the intimate tale of a man who falls in love with a computer personality, these powerful narratives are sure to raise a few tears and some divisive opinions.
If done well, movies about dysfunctional families are able to elegantly dance that fine line between humor and pain. Terms of Endearment succeeded at finding that balance, as does the film adaptation of Tracy Letts's Pulitzer Prize-winning play August: Osage County, where an unplanned death reopens life-long yet still festering wounds. The Weston clan of Osage County, Okla., must have a family tree that looks like a weeping willow. It is headed up by Beverly (Sam Shepard), a college lecturer and occasional poet, and his poly-addicted wife, Violet (Meryl Streep), who personifies how pills came to be known as mother’s little helpers. Of their three grown daughters, only Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) has stuck close to home; Barbara (Julia Roberts) and Karen (Juliette Lewis) long ago picked up stakes for relationships by turn strained or serially monogamous.
Throughout Paolo Sorrentino’s exuberant and strange film The Great Beauty, a 65-year-old writer whose only hit novel was published 40 years prior struggles with his own reputation and mortality, as well as that of his beloved Rome, Italy. According to Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo) and his jaded circle of friends, Rome is over and done – finito. As one of his friends says, the only decent people left in Rome are the tourists.
On the basis of Sini Anderson's enlightening and electric documentary The Punk Singer, many will come to consider its subject, Kathleen Hanna, one of the most influential musicians they've never heard of. But they can't walk away forgetting her.
Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace after years of secrets and denials was ripe for telling on the silver screen. When the complicated web of performance-enhancing drugs collapsed, his career lay in ruins.
On Friday's Up to Date, our indie, foreign and documentary film critics share their reviews of the latest films to hit area screens and talk about their favorites of this year.
It's that time of year again, and Up to Date's independent, foreign and documentary film critics have picked their favorite films of the year. Drumroll, please, for Cynthia Haines, Steve Walker and Bob Butler's choices.
Here are their favorites (in no particular order) with some descriptions from Steve Walker:
The documentary Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney started to make in 2009 about Lance Armstrong ended up being something else entirely. Called The Armstrong Lie, the film contains footage that was shot as recently as May 2013, including the minutes following Armstrong’s confessional but smug and non-contrite interview with Oprah Winfrey.
From a manufactured media circus, to a desperate game of cat-and-mouse with a serial killer, Hollywood sure knows how to romanticize journalism.
On Friday's Up to Date, DVD Gurus Mitch Brian and Jason Heck join us to talk about some of their favorite films that feature reporters. We'll dive into some thrilling vampire conspiracies, reports gone wrong, and others that are sure to set off the investigator in everyone.
In Stephen Frears' heartfelt and moving Philomena, the most effective shots are among the simplest a filmmaker can employ: tight close-ups. In this case, the camera’s focus is on the furrowed, and inspiringly lived-in face of the great Judi Dench. Playing a woman who longs to discover the whereabouts of the son taken from her when she was a teenager, Dench gives the title character a strength and resolve that has gotten her through the fifty years since she last saw her son.
In 1985, just a handful of years into the AIDS epidemic, if someone appeared gaunt, splotchy, and paper-thin, it was suspected that they had contracted HIV. Though gay men made up a large percentage of those infected, the virus was transmitted via body fluids like blood and semen - with no regards to sexual orientation. Still, any man who contracted HIV during that Age of Ignorance was branded a contagious homosexual. As was Ron Woodroof, the profligately heterosexual rodeo cowboy robustly played by Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club.
A new film, now playing in Kansas City, makes a startling case – that American evangelicals, in the name of doing mission work, have triggered something in Africa that’s very different from prayer and worship and medical help for the needy. Instead, the film suggests, they’ve influenced governments and societies to discriminate against gay and lesbian people … or worse.
Blue is the Warmest Color, the winner of the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, is a frank and honest examination of a relationship from a heated first glance to its dying embers. Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, the film rides waves of passion, bliss and anger in such truthful ways that anyone who’s been madly in love will identify with the couple, even if the parties happen to be two women. And to boot, the movie is wonderfully alive.
The silently haunting images of the Zapruder film captured the moment John F. Kennedy was shot during that famous Dallas parade in 1963. Those images have become part of the mythology that surrounds the event, both for the conspiracy theorists and others.
On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with historian Max Holland, who has analyzed the effect of the film on how the American people understand the 50-year-old assassination.