REVIEW: Everyone Else

Everyone Else
Directed by: Maren Ade
Written by: Maren Ade
Starring: Birgit Minichmayr, Lars Eidinger, Hans-Jochen Wagner, and Nicole Marischka

A fear of the bourgeoisie lifestyle has infiltrated European cinema for decades.  It surfaced most prominently in the American mainstream with The Graduate, but it’s still a very European ideal, and one that the deliberately paced, intensely independent film Everyone Else focuses on with a new twist.

The film was written and directed by the little known Maren Ade and also stars a cast of complete unknowns; a testament to their talent when you see how good this movie actually is.  It’s handling of the complex, almost undefinable emotional feelings of its characters is something most American films cannot hope to touch on.

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REVIEW: Blue Valentine

Blue Valentine
Directed by: Derek Cianfrance
Written by: Derek Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne, and Joey Curtis
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, Faith Wladyka, and Mike Vogel

Forty pounds lighter, with their dreams still in tact,  Cindy (Michelle Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling) go for broke on the streets on an unnamed urban setting.  She’s aspiring to be a doctor in a loveless home, and he can’t seem to decide what he wants to do.  But they’re in love, and they think that’s enough.  Flash-forward a few years (and pounds), and these same people would tell a much different story.

Cindy and Dean’s beginning and end are at the bipolar core of Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine. In one instance, we see two hipsters full of youth and verve and in the next, he’s balding with a beer gut and she has kept her pregnancy weight and permanently embedded a scowl.

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REVIEW: I Am Love

I Am Love
Directed by: Luca Guadagnino
Written by: Luca Guadagnino
Starring: Tilda Swinton, Flavio Parente, Edoardo Gabbriellini, and Alba Rohrwacher

Amid the beautiful interiors, finely prepared meals, and meticulously planned out wardrobes, a human element emerges.  I Am Love, the beautifully written, filmed, and acted drama from Luca Guadagnino, is obsessed not only with its elegant, finely tuned surface, but the emotions that boil just beneath it as well.

The age of the horrific Katherine Heigl rom-com doesn’t exist yet in this film, which chronicles the Recchis,  a wealthy Italian family, and the Russian black sheep who married into it at the turn of the millennium.  Every day, Emma (Tilda Swinton) must suit up in a differently colored, yet similar-looking dress and perform the functions of an everyday aristocrat.

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REVIEW: The Kids Are All Right

The Kids Are All Right
Directed by: Lisa Cholodenko
Written by: Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
Starring: Annette Bening, Juliane Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Mia Wasikowska

You usually watch a movie about the inner workings of the suburban American family expecting to see it deconstructed, but sitting through Lisa Cholodenko’s bracing, hilarious The Kids Are All Right you watch something strange: it being rebuilt.  Following an economic crisis and subsequent rethinking of what it means to be American, Kids comes at the perfect time.  It rethinks the nuclear family on the silver screen by doing the most daring thing: not mentioning it.

Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Juliane Moore), the two moms at the center of the film, were each impregnated by the same sperm donor.  Now that their daughter Joni (Mia Wasikowska) has turned 18, her brother Laser (Josh Hutcherson) pressures her to contact the donor (Mark Ruffalo).  They do, it’s awkward, and it almost tears the happy family apart.

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ARCHIVE REVIEW: Wall-E


Wall-E
Directed by: Andrew Stanton
Written by: Andrew Stanton and Jim Reardon
Starring: Ben Burtt, Fred Willard, Sigourney Weaver

He might be one of most lovable animated movie characters of all-time. Sorry Simba, Dori and Shrek, but this bot was built to love.

Wall-E is a classic animated tale with a different, more mindful approach, telling the story of a lone robot performing the selfless duty of cleaning up the mess on Earth while the human population is away on a 700 or so year cruise. The first 30 minutes of the film are silent and all the talking is left to the amazing animated work done by the Pixar team. It’s all an ode to the silent, comical works of Charlie Chapin, add fantastic color palettes and unique imagery which make this one film that doesn’t need 3D to be a visual masterpiece. Continue reading