Saturday, November 29, 2014

Nightcrawler - Movie Review

Nightcrawler (R) 117 mins B
The title no longer reminds me of a Pete Yorn album

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, Rick Garcia

In one of the most underrated performances of the year, Jake Gyllenhaal is Louis Bloom, an overachieving sociopath. Lou canvasess the streets of LA under the cover of darkness. His mission is to be the first film crew at every grisly murder scene, deadly car crash, destructive house fire, etc... If it bleeds it leads and pays a lot of money. The film also stars a cougered up Rene Russo as Nina, a veteran television news director desperate for ratings. The pairing of Nina and Lou makes for one of the year's most unlikely on-screen couples.

Recommended for those who like their drama dark and gritty with a side of bloody.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Rosewater - Movie Review

Rosewater (NR) 103 mins B-

Starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Kim Bodnia, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Dimitri Leonidas, Haluk Bilginer; written by Jon Stewart from a book by Maziar Bahari and Aimee Molloy

Rosewater is sort of a quiet little film that is highly enjoyable but not particularly memorable... and I feel bad saying that because there really isn't much to criticize. Maybe it's because I knew how the story would end. Or, because the film is overshadowed by it being Jon Stewart's impressive theatrical writing and directing debut.  Whatever the case, this one quickly slips under the radar.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Starz Denver Film Festival Wrap-up - Movie Reviews

Uncertain Terms
Uncertain Terms (NR) 75 mins  B+
A provocative look at the unpredictability of love. 

Wild (R) 115 mins B+
Reese Witherspoon is great- believe the hype. 

Wild Canaries (NR) 96 mins A-
Refreshing and original

Heaven Adores You (NR) 104 mins B+
Remembering Elliot, a gentle reminder

Hotline (NR) 82 mins C
Interesting, but a little too dry. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants (Book Review)

Happens Every Day: An All-Too-True Story - Isabel Gillies A-
Published: March 2009

Before her 2009 divorce memoir, Happens Every Day: An All-Too-True Story, became a New York Times bestseller, Isabel Gillies was a semi-famous film and television actress best known for her role on television’s Law and Order. Now, she is the author of three books (two memoirs, one novel) and on her way to becoming best known as a semi-famous bestselling author.
Despite her fame, fortune and beauty, Gillies was not immune to cold-hearted rejection. When her husband unequivocally announced he wanted out of their marriage, Gillies’ life became less “law and order” and more “woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown.” However, all her self-pity, insecurity and stalker-like instincts read like fiction... It made for an honest and captivating memoir.

Check out NPR's Maureen Corrigean Review from 2009

Sunday, November 2, 2014

An Entertaining, Bittersweet, Hipster Chic Romance (Book Review)

Office Girl - Joe Meno B
Published: Summer 2012

Office Girl almost feels like a guilty pleasure. It's cutesy, clever and hipster chic- a bittersweet romantic comedy set against a cold, snowy Chicago backdrop. The story follows two twentysomethings as they try not to let their soul-crushing office job and the world around them diminish their artistic ambition. There's also a lot of tomfoolery and bicycling in the snow. Quirky and fun.

Additional reading: Here's The New York Times book review of Office Girl written Lucinda Rosenfeld

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Gritty Japanese Lit (Book Review)

Snakes and Earrings - Hitomi Kanehara A-
Published: 2003 in Japan (2005 U.S.)

Japanese novelist Hitomi Kanehara wrote Snakes and Earrings when she was just twenty one years old. The novella sold over a million copies, won the Akutagawa Prize in 2003, and was adapted to film in 2008. Snakes and Earrings is gritty, unflinching and raw. The parts about body modification are cringeworthy, but affective. Kanehara does a masterful job capturing the essences of self-destructive, sadistic youths engulfed in a world of darkness. The protagonist, a nineteen year old named Lui, is especially convincing as a nihilistic young woman spiraling out of control. Snakes and Earrings is definitely not for everyone; however, it is an intriguing trip into another state of mind.

Snakes and Earrings Trailer -->