As a cinematic city, Boston has taken on a life of its own, as often filled with noir-ish violence and seedy corruption as cockamamie accents and sports jokes. The latest installation in the Boston-set movie canon is appropriately none of these, instead being defined by obsessive realism and a removed, objective critique of the town. Spotlight, which is slated for a November 6 release after a successful run on the festival circuit, recounts the story of the Boston Globe's investigation of child abuse in the Catholic Church in 2001. It presents this history while examining the essence of its city, including its strengths and its faults.
Blogger Brandon Latham ventured to the Georgetown Waterfront to scope out the Sunset Cinema Series. Here are his thoughts on the summer lineup of films inspired by or filmed in the oldest neighborhood in Washington.
One of the directors of Best of Enemies, Morgan Neville, calls his film "both thrilling drama and absurdist comedy." And he’s right. This documentary is edge-of-your-seat thrilling and knee-slappingly funny. It is also informative, critical, biographical and inspirational. Best of Enemies balances the roles of documentary, namely to educate and entertain, in a masterful way that makes it a truly fantastic film.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl has the look and feel of a movie that was made with the conscious effort to be unlike any other movie out there, and it works, and it is one of the truly great viewing experiences I have ever had.
In 1995, Cheryl Strayed took off on an eleven-hundred-mile trek to put aside the pain of grieving her mother's death and save herself from her own destructive behavior. When her memoir became a bestseller in 2012, Reese Witherspoon grabbed onto it with the aim to make it through her own production company, Pacific Standard, and starring herself as the independent, troubled young woman. Wild is her movie (with credit due to photographer Yves Bélanger, screenwriter Nick Horby and director Jean-Marc Vallée).
Nightcrawler is a modern take on a cautionary tale as old as television itself, one that cinema most famously already told in Network (1976). In that oscar-winning film, an ensemble of cable newsmakers destroy their own and one another’s lives — through suicide attempts, assassinations, infidelity and prostitution — in order to boost ratings at the expense of their friendships.
There’s a scene in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him/Her in which Connor (James McAvoy) sits in a classroom and sees the woman he loves. He asks if he can bother the man in front of him for a piece of paper and to borrow a pen. Unsure exactly what to say, he writes, “Hi.,” hands the folded note forward and asks, “Can you pass this to the girl with the red hair?”
In the opening montage of Gone Girl there is a series of ordinary homes, an ordinary Main Street with an ordinary bar and even an ordinary lamp post clock at the heart of what these Midwestern folks must consider a pretty ordinary downtown. It is simple and run-down and altogether safe, if unexciting. Nick Dunne fits in just fine. He wears loose fitting clothes and goes down to the local watering hole — named The Bar and owned by Nick and his sister Margot — to play board games and complain about his wife, Amy.
Jason Reitman’s Men, Women & Children is an art film disguising itself as a star-driven dark comedy. It is meticulously paced but episodic, built on its characters but highly impersonal. And while it fails to reach the heights of the filmmaker’s prior works, it is unapologetically a Jason Reitman picture.
Best of Enemies, directed by Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville, debuted as the opening film at the AFI Silver Docs Film Festival. It offers an unprecedented, in-depth look at the clash of two of America's most dually contested public figures of the 1968 presidential election, William F. Buckley, Jr. and Gore Vidal.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl has the look and feel of a movie that was made with the conscious effort to be unlike any other movie out there, and it works, and it is one of the truly great viewing experiences I have ever had