With a travel book in her hands and a cigarette in her fingers, Carmen (Aline Küppenheim) deliberates what shade of paint she’d like for her walls. She wants it like a sunset but not too pink. Maybe a bit blue. After all, it’s not like she goes outside too often. Even her commutes, now to her Las Cruces beach house, are isolated. It’s 1976 in Chile, three years into dictator Augusto Pinochet’s rule. While paint drips onto Carmen’s heels, defectors and accused communists fall in the streets. But hey, she’s got a home to renovate. Continue Reading →
We’ve all been there. You turn on the radio and an incredible song is playing you’ve never heard before in your life. It’s a soaring rock anthem that chills you with goosebumps and makes you feel alive. Is this an Unforgettable Fire-era U2 song? Is this my new favorite band? The music ends, and the DJ jumps in with something like, “Praise be to God. That was Soul Eternal, with their hit single “Let the Spirit Thrive” only on your Christian Rock station 104.7!” Continue Reading →
While they say that love is eternal, eventually, even the greatest of love stories come to an end. Marriage vows foretell the reality of “to death do us part.” It’s an inevitability rarely explored in cinema, and even then, only in schmaltzy melodramatic weepers. Fortunately, Michael Showalter’s Spoiler Alert is free of schmaltz. Instead, the film deftly explores the process of a couple dealing with a terminal illness amid all the usual messiness of a real relationship. Continue Reading →
I Love My Dad
For writer/director/star James Morosini, I Love My Dad acts as therapy. The self-reflexive comedy-drama finds Morosini telling a story of a father catfishing his son to get back into his good graces, a true-ish story from his own life. Morosini is joined by Patton Oswalt, playing his pseudo-dad named Chuck, in one of the veteran comedian’s meatier roles of the last decade. Oswalt has the unenviable job of being distant yet hoping to remain close, of playing the roles of Franklin’s (Morosini) online girlfriend and absent father. He performs it with gentle, manic, absurd brilliance. Continue Reading →
The story of Kevin Smith certainly sounds like fodder for an inspirational movie. A film geek from New Jersey cobbled some money together, grabbed a camera, and filmed a movie at his convenience store workplace. Continue Reading →
The Night Clerk
Michael Cristofer's first movie since 2001 is a low-key thriller that respects its characters, even if its setup isn't too original.
As a general rule, people love to watch what other people do, especially if the person they’re watching isn’t aware of it. It gives us endless fascination to see how someone else acts when they think that they’re alone. But while knowing someone’s secrets can be fun, knowledge can also be a burden. Michael Cristofer returns to the director’s chair after an almost 20-year absence to explore what happens when you see something you shouldn’t in his drama, The Night Clerk.
Bart Bromley (Tye Sheridan) likes to watch people not for unsavory reasons, but instead to learn from them. He has Asperger’s Syndrome and, to better understand human interactions, watches the guests of the hotel where he works via hidden cameras that he’s set up in the guestrooms. One night, Bart’s cameras record a woman getting murdered, causing Bart to rush to the hotel to save her. Since Bart was off at the time his appearance at his workplace rouses the suspicion of Detective Johnny Espada (John Leguizamo). While the case is being investigated, Bart is transferred to another location. There he meets and quickly becomes infatuated with guest Andrea (Ana de Armas) and as the duo bond, Bart starts to feel a little less lonely, but Andrea has secrets of her own.
Despite featuring a murder and a protagonist who records people without their consent, this is a story about loneliness and connection. Most of the plot centers on the relationship between Bart and Andrea with the crime elements being relegated to Johnny’s subplot until the climax. This isn’t a bad angle to take, but it may be a turn off for audiences who are expecting a taut thriller. Continue Reading →