High school movies have always dealt with teenage issues such as drugs, sexuality and loneliness but have rarely dealt with the teacher's issues and their struggles. In Craig Zisk's feature film debut "The English Teacher," Julianne Moore plays an English teacher whose life is disrupted when one of her old students returns to her town.
"Big Bad Wolves" is not an easy film but it is an exhilarating and ultimately fun experience that will not only frighten audiences but also make them laugh.
"Before Snowfall" is a riveting coming-of-age journey that informs as it rivets with strong balance that few other films achieve. The two lead performances carry the film wondrously in a tale of two lost souls filling the voids of their respective loneliness.
As the applause erupted, this writer felt a tremendous sense of nostalgia; the kind one feels after a long journey that will undoubtedly never repeat itself in the same way. More Ring cycles are surely on the way and those who have an opportunity should surely not miss out on the opportunity to experience one of the most fulfilling artistic endeavors ever. Happy Birthday Richard Wagner! The Metropolitan Opera has surely done you well.
When one thinks of a festival film, there is always thought that the movies being showcased are dramatic, dark, original or sometimes quirky. Audiences never think of a sappy romantic comedy with generic plot lines or clichéd characters and dialogue. Unfortunately "A Case of You" starring Evan Rachel Wood and Justin Long, is exactly this type of film that one does not expect to see at such a prestigious film festival like Tribeca.
For years, the New York Islanders have been looked down upon by the hockey world for their lack of success on and off the ice. The team has not won a playoff series since 1993 and has only made the postseason four times in 18 years. The Islanders have become a punch-line for disparaging jokes that point to poor contracts given to such players as Alexei Yashin and Rick DiPietro. Ownership problems and its decaying arena have not helped matters.
Back in 2006, Laurie Collyer released her narrative feature debut. The film was "SherryBaby," a story about an impoverished mother recovering from drug addiction and returning home after being in jail. The film was a raw and unflinching tale that captured the emotional core of the central character. For her second narrative "Sunlight Jr.," Collyer continues to thread the same ground but this time creates an unfocused narrative with erratic style that distracts from the Matt Dillon and Naomi Watt's riveting performances.
It is impossible not to praise the ambition and execution of the project, but it is hard to truly embrace the finished product when one feels cheated after wading through it. There is no rule or expectation that the viewer must be rewarded at the end of a film, but there is certainly a tremendous sense of frustration when he/she leaves the theater feeling that a perfectly good hour and a half has been misused on a director's cruel joke.
Family is a common theme that has been explored in many unusual ways in films; the dysfunctional unit is often the most popular depiction in cinema and literature. Director Steph Green's feature film debut "Run and Jump" continues this narrative thread with a unique story about Vanetia Casey (Maxine Peake) and her struggles to get her life back together after her 38-year old husband Connor's (Edward Macliam) suffers stroke.
Matt Creed's first film "Lily" is a character study of a woman trying to refocus her life after Cancer treatment. The film starring Amy Grantham, is based on the real life events of the actress and attempts to show the hardships of a Cancer patient after having gone through the effects of the deadly disease.
The Wagner bicentennial celebration has been a big success at the Met. A perfect "Parsifal" in February was followed by two solid and often breathtaking accounts of "Das Rheingold" and "Die Walküre." "Siegfried" takes the celebration up a notch with a dynamic union of singers, conducting and even a production that lives up to the hype.
Nonetheless, "Deep Powder" is an exceptional romance. It's tremendous lead performances overshadow any of the aforementioned gripes and bring the audience on a cathartic journey.
The Coming of Age story has been portrayed throughout the history of cinema. The Dardenne Brother's recent "The Kid with a Bike" showed their main protagonist coming to terms with his loneliness while Alfonso Cuaron's "Y Tu Mama Tambien" told the story of two men discovering their sexuality. For Meera Menon's first feature film, "Farah Goes Bang," Menon takes a different approach by combining the sexual troubles of recent college graduates with their political views.
Overall "Bluebird" is a terrific film that can be trying at times. Edmand never gives any hope that these families will get through the dark times and never allows his characters to live with any glimmer of hope. However, the film's tonal congruity and top-notch performances will surely resonate.