Sunday, April 24, 2016

Film Review: I Smile Back (2015)

Broad Green Pictures
There’s plenty of terrible mental and emotional spaces in the I Smile Back movie. As an exploration of a well-meaning but critically damaged woman, who is played by Sarah Silverman, it goes deep into territory that will make people feel uncomfortable, even though 

I doubt this was the intended purpose of its makers. Its director, Adam Salky, decided to place its plot in a perfect household, where Laney and Bruce, a young and successful couple have two perfect children and live in a beautiful house.

In that environment, however, the main character of Laney feels an endless torrent of negative emotions and thoughts which push her into alcoholism, drug use, and promiscuity. At one point, the situation begins to deteriorate and she starts to lose control, which triggers an onset of fear about the prospect of losing her family. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Film Review: Point Break (2015)

Copyright: Warner Bros. Pictures
Having an intellectually-lighter script can, in the right hands, be a huge advantage. It could be argued that the script’s and the director’s cognitive potentials add up to make a single IQ – if the script is low on its intellect, a high-IQ director can mend it by lending her or his potential to the equation.

That is why Kathryn Bigelow made the original Point Break in 1991 into such a memorable film, in spite of a paper-thin plot and so many dumb looks on the faces of the actors that some might think they’re solving mathematical equations.

The Point Break remake once again has a weak script, but I’m not saying that it’s director Ericson Core is unintelligent. However, Point Break 2015 is a bland endeavor that leaves the viewer in a state of nothingness, emotionally and especially intellectually. The story once again features a young, dashing daredevil (which is a horrible movie from 2003 which Core also directed) called Utah who also works as an FBI agent.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Film Review: Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Copyright: Universal Pictures
However you look at it, Hail, Caesar! is a densely layered film which is immensely enjoyable on its surface. Designed as a weird comedy about the golden age of Hollywood and one man’s mission to keep it that way, the film’s plot quickly branches out into numerous other domains, including religion, workers’ rights and the role of musical interludes.

In it, Coen brothers do what they do best and mix strangeness with latent meaning, but in a way that makes them look more like baboons and not David Lynch disciples. Their best films use this formula to a degree and even though this film is not one of those, it still provides a celebration of some of the most recognizable cinematography in the last 30 years.

For most of the film, the perspective of the plot is split between characters that are somehow connected to a disappearance of a big movie star from the set of a historical epic film. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Film Review: Irrational Man (2015)

Copyright: Sony Pictures Classics
The talent of Woody Allen knows no limits. His film called Irrational Man is one of the best examples of his current creative period in which he apparently fell in love with simple and basic thrillers. Like Match Point, this film provides an uneasy, self-mocking feel that is rare and precious in Hollywood these days.

Here, Allen puts Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone to work, using them to create a plot where a distraught philosophy professor played by Phoenix arrives at a new college and begins to reevaluate his life through talks, sexual encounters and epiphanies about the nature of humanity. Along the way, murder also becomes involved.

The plot, like Allen’s direction, builds up an environment of intellectualism and an (undeserved) high quality of life, but also a vast and placid emptiness about the purpose of it all.