ARCHIVE REVIEW: L.I.E.

L.I.E.
Directed by: Michael Cuesta
Written by: Stephen M. Ryder, Michael Cuesta, & Gerald Cuesta
Starring: Paul Dano, Brian Cox, Bruce Altman, and Billy Kay

Watching L.I.E. reminds you of what the American Independent Cinema first set out to do; it’s of full moral ambiguity within a premise that would never in a million years be green-lit by a Hollywood studio.  Looking at recent indie fluff like Juno or any of its brightly colored siblings makes the often edgy facade of independent movies seem like they’re losing touch, never mind the quality.

L.I.E. stars Paul Dano in what is still his most daring role.  His excellent performances in Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood almost seem safe next to his role as Howie, a gay, misguided 15-year-old who becomes romantically entangled with a much, much older man.  If Dano is daring, than Brian Cox is fearless on an almost unparalleled level as that older man.

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Five Awesome Movie Moms

Good movie moms often go unrecognized.  The past two years, the Best Supporting Actress Oscar has gone to two mother monsters (not Lady Gaga) who give the role kind of a bad name.  So, to celebrate Mother’s Day, we take a look at some moms who either kill their children with kindness, or literally kill for them.

The Bride (Kill Bill)- As played by Uma Thurman, The Bride spends all of the first Kill BIll movie thinking her daughter is dead.  The second half of Volume 2 delves more into their relationship and adds some disarming humanity to the story.  Here’s a mom who takes time out of finishing her revenge conquest to lay in bed and watch Shogun Assassin with her daughter.  If that’s not a great mom, I don’t know what is.

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Five Movies to Celebrate Family

If there was anything I noticed missing on the dinner table this Thanksgiving, I could tell you it is nothing I would put salt or pepper on. All the years of Thanksgiving I have had in the past, I celebrated by sitting around with my family appreciating the things we had, like a big turkey dinner, a home over our heads, time off from school and friends to see movies with later that night. But when I sat around with those people I called my family, I didn’t realize the things we thankful for weren’t any of those things combined. Instead it was just the fact that we were all in the same room, mood and had the company and joy of each other for a single afternoon. Comfort is the only word I can put on it.

It seems like a simple concept that we are told all the time, but cannot truly grasp until we’ve had to spend Thanksgiving thousands of miles away from the memories and people we so badly long to be with.

In honor of my little revelation I offer a handful of films that give me a great warmth and sense of family, the sweetest Thanksgiving treat, as a theme.

Up in the AirSure Ryan Bingham, the corporate executioner fighting to save the old school ways of his job, is known for flying solo. Without friends at work, without family in his empty apartment, and without the company of a lover, Bingham may seem like quite the loner when in fact he couldn’t feel more confident and content with his ways. However, after two women enter his life and take him for a life changing ride, Bingham reconsiders his philosophy on family and people in general. It is a beautifully endearing film and a story for the ages.  Continue reading

REVIEW: City Island

City Island
Directed by: Raymond De Felitta
Written by: Raymond De Felitta
Starring: Andy Garcia, Alan Arkin, Julianna Margulies

Somewhere, quaintly hidden in all the bustle and busyness of New York City and the Bronx, there lies a small fishing village called City Island where the story takes place. And somewhere, quaintly hidden in all the bustle and busyness of Hollywood, there lies a small indie comedy called City Island where great laughs are harbored.

It is family melodrama at its finest, and most certainly entertaining. The film follows one family as they hide their smoking, their habits, their hobbies and their great secrets until misunderstanding after misunderstanding leads to a crescendo of  revelation and yelling. Continue reading