Friday, March 19, 2010


After a peaceful presidentially-aspiring senator is brutally murdered in a public place, the militarized government and the radical resistors work (respectively) to cover and reveal the sources of his murder, while a plodding deliberative judge sorts through the zigzagging evidence. This elegantly-crafted, politically-tinged, historically-rooted, oscar-winning film careens from broad comedy to procedural thriller while breaking every Robert McKee story rule ever pompously dictated and keeping the audience in its cinematic grasp every moment.



When Eliza finds a suspicious note beside her husband's discarded pants, her working class New Jersey family decides to accompany her into the city to find her husband and find some answers; while their mishaps feel a bit like familiar-indie all-in-a-day conventions (by now), the performances are subtle and the plots gentle ambling toward its inevitable-feeling ending, *doesn't* feel predictable or telegraphed - just true. The filmmaking is unselfconscious and allows the actors and the story to take center-stage, and with a cast this good, any other choice would be a sin; particularly commendable is the inobtrusive and yet none-too-hipster use of music, reminding that music can just serve an indie story, not serve as a token-cum-advert for the next soundtrack album of the month.


Thursday, March 11, 2010


When astronauts take a nuclear payload to attempt to ignite a dying sun, the challenges they meet turn their spacecraft into a drifting space-version of SURVIVOR, with the stakes higher in every imaginable way. I found the pacing and dramatic tension to be clearly from the GOOD Danny Boyle oevre, loving the mise en scene, the characters, the plot roller-coaster, but was most bumped by the question (subtly?) introduced by the antagonist: is God speaking through a Freddy Krueger-style prophet of apocalypse or through the welcoming light of a needy mother sun?


Thursday, March 04, 2010


This dystopian fable combines important elements of 2001 Space Odyssey and Solaris in a meditation about aloneness, longing, memory and hope as they affect a solitary hydrogen3 miner on the lunar surface. I was surprised by how riveting and grueling this story managed to be while also remaining so patient, simple and focused; a beautiful sinister score underscores subtle and demanding performances, filmed, and directed with a precise balance of beauty and tragedy.