‘Labor Day,’ ‘The Legend of Hercules’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Writer-director Jason Reitman (“Juno,” “Up In the Air”) has proven himself an engaging talent with a flair for making movies that are more thought-provoking and off-center than those produced by his famous father, Ivan (“Ghostbusters,” “Stripes”). His latest, “Labor Day,” works both as an unconventional romance and a coming-of-age tale. The plot centers on Henry (Gattlin Griffith) who lives an uneasy life with his severely depressed mother, Adele (Kate Winslet). Henry’s existence is thrown into turmoil when a rough-looking man named Frank (Josh Brolin) approaches him at a department store and “insists” on a ride. 

‘Barefoot,’ ‘The Best Offer’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

“Barefoot,” Director Andrew Fleming’s English-language remake of the 2005 German movie “Barfuss,” is an offbeat affair that ranges from endearing and sweet to flat-out creepy. The emotional range is primarily due to the cad-like ways of male lead Jay Wheeler (Scott Speedman). Although Jay was born to a wealthy, Louisiana family, he left his life of privilege to make a mess of himself in Los Angeles. When viewers meet him, he’s deeply in debt to a loan shark and working as a janitor in a psychiatric hospital. 

The Curse of the Gothic Symphony Lingers On

Angelo Franco

A terrific portrayal of passion and perseverance, this film depicts a rather obsessive group of musicians – and an exasperated filmmaker – as they attempt to orchestrate the “Everest” of classical music. Reputed to be the largest, longest, and most complex composition ever written, Havergal Brian’s Symphony No. 1 “The Gothic” is a colossal piece of classical music requiring a number of musicians so vast that it has only been performed four times since its completion in 1927.

‘Inside Llewyn Davis,’ ‘The Book Thief’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Filmmaking brothers Joel and Ethan Coen are treasures of modern cinema who somehow craft one great movie after another, regardless of the genre they explore. In 2010, they reinvigorated the Western with a beautiful adaptation of the 1968 Charles Portis novel “True Grit.” Their latest film, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” treads different territory but is just as compelling. Set in 1961, the film introduces viewers to Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), a fictional folk singer struggling to make it in New York’s Greenwich Village. 

Dangerous Delusions Unravel in ‘The Last Elvis’

Angelo Franco

In his directorial debut, Armando Bo (who co-wrote the script with Nicolás Giacobone) uses the seemingly oversaturated Buenos Aires celebrity-impersonators scene to explore the depths of character of one man, Carlos “Elvis” Gutierrez, who is struggling to match his fantasies with the hard realities he faces.   As far as he is concerned, Carlos is the King, not only on stage among impersonators but in his mind as well.

‘The Square’ Vividly Captures the Turmoil in Egypt

William Eley

With this “battle of images” so resonant, to relegate this film as only an award-winning depiction of the on-going fight for social justice and freedom across Egypt would be an act of missing the point. This film is a tangible action, an expressive continuation of this endeavor towards democracy just as important as the raw material of which Noujaim’s narrative is composed. The underlying thesis that makes The Square so unique is that it eschews both the construct of a conclusion and the notion of a singular authorship, as the film chronologically traces the relationships of its six disparate characters.

‘Inside Llewyn Davis’: The Coen Brothers’ New Film Strikes a Chord

Benjamin Wright

Llewyn Davis is the Coen Brothers’ 16th full-length film, and their first in three years, since 2010’s True Grit – the latter a work that earned a whopping 10 Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture, but won none.  Though they directed two segments and contributed as writers to other projects in between, Joel and Ethan Coen’s body of work as directors started with 1984’s Blood Simple and has included 14 other works between that and Llewyn Davis, among them such works as: Raising Arizona, Barton Fink, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, Burn After Reading, No Country for Old Men and A Serious Man. 

Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’: Love in a Future Age

Melinda Parks

In an age where cell phones are our constant companions, where an operating system can respond to voice-activated prompts and mobile Internet access provides us with instant information at any given moment, our relationships with technology and with each other are rapidly evolving. Writer-director Spike Jonze’s latest film, “Her,” an original and surprisingly emotional story about a lonely writer who develops feelings for his cell phone operating system, serves as a commentary on our society’s increasing reliance on technology.

‘The End of Time’: The Cosmos of Peter Mettler

Sandra Bertrand

Watching a Peter Mettler film is no ordinary experience.  You may as well be strapping yourself in place for a ride to through the Milky Way, plunging into the core of a live volcano or simply winessing the inexorable march of an ant colony with their grasshopper prey. The End of Time, the latest in a trilogy by this Canadian filmmaker, is part of a mid-career retrospective, presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center.  The trilogy began with Picture of Light (1996), followed by Gambling, Gods & LSD (2002).  

Wherefore Art Thou, Golden Age of Hollywood?

John McGovern

 The Graduate established that the old generation of Hollywood been had usurped by a new generation, Apocalypse Now served as a harsh reminder that the freedoms and economic prosperity of the ‘60s had started to fade away. Soon, Reagan would dismiss public pessimism brought about by the war in Vietnam as the “Vietnam Syndrome.” Coppola’s film was one of the last great reminders (in mainstream movies) that all good things must come to an end. During the past three-plus decades since the release of the latter film, U.S. cinema has not seen such a prolific time period, as the existence of original directors post-1980 has been more of an exception than a rule. 


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