Archives for December 2014



Under Angelina Jolie’s direction “Unbroken” plays out nice and slow but peters out

Released on December 25th
Jack O'Connell, Miyavi and Domhall Gleeson
Directed by Angelina Jolie

While watching "Unbroken," the World War II survival film directed by star-of-the-moment Angelina Jolie, one question stood out among the rest: How can such an extravagant, provocative personality turn in such a normal, even traditional film? Here is a woman who built her career on shock value. Where are the shocking moments in "Unbroken"? This isn't entirely a bad thing, as the classical, ... more >


SCREENPLAYS DECONSTRUCTED: Snyder’s Beat Sheet Applied to “Birdman”

Iñárritu co-wrote screenplay with three other writers
[New Regency Pictures / Worldview Entertainment]
Film was directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

To all screenwriters out there who’ve studied screenwriters handbooks, manuals and guidebooks I don't think I am alone in thinking that Blake Snyder's “Save the Cat” is a personal favorite, despite the fact that it pretty much ignores the stuff that makes auteur cinema possible. I’ve been wanting to apply the Snyder Beat Sheet to a movie for some time. Alejandro Inarritu's ‘Birdman’ is a great ... more >

CITIZENFOUR DISTURBS with a quiet unembellished conviction

Directed by Laura Poitras
[HBO Films, Participant Media]

“Citizenfour” is in many ways a hard film to swallow. Not only is its subject matter, the unlawful surveillance of the American public by the NSA (National Security Agency), one that courts controversy and debate but the way filmmaker Laura Poitras tackles this subject, head-on and at times drily, might be off-putting for some audience members looking for a more rounded discourse. And yet despite ... more >

A painful WORKPLACE QUANDARY gets highlighted in the new Dardenne bros. film

Metascore 92/100
[Les Films du Fleuve, Archipel 35, BIM Distribuzione]
Directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

"Two days, one night" centers on Sandra (Marion Cotillard), a factory employee who's just returned to work after recovering from an illness. Upon realizing that the company can run with one less employee, management tells Sandra she is to be let go while the remaining employees will receive a bonus each. Talk about a dilemna. In this tenderly-observed and suspenseful drama the action is essential. ... more >