The “story” of Roger Michell’s new film, Hyde Park on Hudson, derives from the personal letters of Daisy (Laura Linney), the nominal protagonist who happens to have been a distant cousin of President Franklin Roosevelt (Bill Murray).
Summing up a year’s worth of movies can
be tricky. Top 10 lists often yield more questions than answers. The
subjective nature of the endeavor inevitably reveals personal interests,
quirks and prejudices, all of which can be either intriguing or
infuriating depending on whether you agree with a given compiler’s
This Is 40 is only the fourth feature film directed by Apatow (following The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Funny People), but he has tickled our funny bones onscreen as a producer (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Superbad, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Bridesmaids) and a writer (Fun with Dick and Jane, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Pineapple Express).
Consider this a mission or statement of
purpose for next year’s film coverage. The seed of the idea began at
this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, where I decided to go,
as I stated, where the frames took me.
I’ve long had a soft spot for books about
the movies. My space-challenged loft features a shelving unit,
embarrassingly overstuffed from floor to ceiling, dedicated to the topic
— from collections of critical essays and reviews to interviews with or
biographies on filmmakers to wide-ranging histories of an art form
that’s still in its relative infancy.
Director Sacha Gervasi attempts to frame Hitchcock as a love story between the director and his wife Alma, a rekindling of their passion for one another without actually presenting evidence of the initial spark or the carefully laid foundation between them.
Right off the bat in Lincoln,
director Steven Spielberg gives us one of his signature moments, a
framing device in the story that is supposed to be based on historic
facts that smacks of pure invention and threatens to derail our
investment in, not just the individual moment, but the film as a whole.
Slowing down, in the Buddhist way,
is all about opening oneself up to the cacophony of life. Audiences should keep this notion in mind during screenings of The Sessions,
the new film from writer-director Ben Lewin, featuring John
Hawkes in one of those quietly human performances.
I’m not certain when the feeling set in for me, but at some point during the Flight
screening I attended, I was overcome with the sense of observing the
dark days of Stevie Ray Vaughan, the virtuoso Texas guitarist who died
in the early 1990s after years of working as a sideman (most notably
with David Bowie on his 1980s classic Let’s Dance) and taking
center stage with his own band.
I had to catch myself in Toronto during the festival press screening of Cloud Atlas,
the new film from Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis (Andy and Lana), and
carefully consider what it would mean to define their adaptation of
David Mitchell’s book as “novelistic.”
The year 2012 bears the burden of
apocalyptic Mayan calendar predictions and a curious onscreen
fascination with speculative science fiction dramas but, apparently seeking to top things off, writer Dinesh D’Souza
teams up with John Sullivan to speculate about the true intentions of
President Barack Obama in 2016: Obama’s America.
In what should be an iconic image, we see
Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, a Folk singer who recorded his first single “I’ll
Slip Away” back in 1967, strolling along with his guitar case strapped
across his back. His long dark hair billows in halo-like fashion around
his head; his eyes hidden behind dark shades.
For the couch-bound adrenaline seekers, the American Express/Tribeca Film series offers up Sleepless Night, a French production from Frederic Jardin (of the 2002 comic drama Cravate club) that mines similar territory.
This year’s seventh annual Downtown Dayton LGBT Film Festival lineup definitely addresses a new honest reality, this striving for a sense of urgent
authenticity, both through the films and the celebratory events.