I, Tonya Winning

Film Review: I, Tonya

Even if you do not follow Olympic figure skating, chances are you have heard of Tonya Harding-and probably not much good. Craig Gillespie’s new film I, Tonya aims to set the record straight, or at least provide mitigating circumstances for her behavior. The result is a darkly comic film with real-life villains straight out of the Coen brothers. I, Tonya does not exonerate Harding, but it generates more sympathy for her than you might expect, largely due to a stellar performance by Margot Robbi[Read more]
To Die For Weather Girl

Film Appreciation: To Die For

Gus Van Sant’s 1995 film adaptation of Joyce Maynard’s novel is equal parts dark comedy, noir, and media satire. The script by Buck Henry does an outstanding job of maintaining tone and tension. Acting throughout is spot-on, starting with a bravura performance by Nicole Kidman in the lead role. To Die For opens with gloomy shots of Little Hope, New Hampshire, where the story takes place. The camera cuts between shots of a funeral and newspaper items hinting that “New Hope’s Own Weather ([Read more]
Ruthless People Big Dog

Bumbling Crooks: List For Week Ending December 10, 2017

Our films this week all deal with crooks who are not particularly good at their jobs. It is a versatile theme that can work in a number of genres- biography (I, Tonya), dark comedy (Fargo, To Die For), drama (Dog Day Afternoon), and farce (Ruthless People, A Fish Called Wanda). This is not intended as an all-inclusive list. Reader suggestions are welcome. If you know an addition to this list, please write using the suggestions below. I, Tonya (2017) (Reviewed In Thinking Cinema 12/8/17)  http[Read more]
Call Me By Your Name Considering

Film Review: Call Me By Your Name

Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name, adapted from the novel by André Aciman, is a luminous film about sensual awakening and first love. It is, easily, one of the most stunningly beautiful films I have seen this year. Finely drawn performances by Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet insure that Call Me By Your Name will remain in your mind long after you have left the theater. It is the summer of 1983. Elio Perlman (Chalamet) is a seventeen-year-old American-Italian boy at his parents’ sum[Read more]
Maurice Together

Film Appreciation: Maurice

James Ivory’s 1987 film Maurice is a lovely, understated film about a gay man struggling to accept his sexuality while the world around him works equally hard to deny it. The story, an adaptation of the novel by E. M. Forster, is set in England just prior to World War I. As a character in the film puts it, “England has always been disinclined to accept human nature.” Maurice (James Wilby) is a student at Cambridge, where he meets imposing Lord Risley (Mark Tandy) and handsome Clive Durham [Read more]
Classics are still being made

Film Review: I, Tonya

Film Review: I, Tonya

Even if you do not follow Olympic figure skating, chances are you have heard of Tonya Harding-and probably not much good. Craig Gillespie’s new film I, Tonya aims to set the record straight, or at least provide mitigating circumstances for her behavior. The result is a darkly comic film with real-life villains straight out ofContinue Reading

Film Appreciation: To Die For

Film Appreciation: To Die For

Gus Van Sant’s 1995 film adaptation of Joyce Maynard’s novel is equal parts dark comedy, noir, and media satire. The script by Buck Henry does an outstanding job of maintaining tone and tension. Acting throughout is spot-on, starting with a bravura performance by Nicole Kidman in the lead role. To Die For opens with gloomyContinue Reading

Film Review: Call Me By Your Name

Film Review: Call Me By Your Name

Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name, adapted from the novel by André Aciman, is a luminous film about sensual awakening and first love. It is, easily, one of the most stunningly beautiful films I have seen this year. Finely drawn performances by Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet insure that Call Me By Your NameContinue Reading

Film Appreciation: Maurice

Film Appreciation: Maurice

James Ivory’s 1987 film Maurice is a lovely, understated film about a gay man struggling to accept his sexuality while the world around him works equally hard to deny it. The story, an adaptation of the novel by E. M. Forster, is set in England just prior to World War I. As a character inContinue Reading

Film Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Film Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Martin McDonagh creates some of the most unlikeable characters you cannot stop watching. His debut film, In Bruges (2008), features a couple of hit men sent to a Belgium town after one of them bungles a job. Things get more complicated-and violent-from there as McDonagh explores themes of vengeance and redemption. The entertaining but derivativeContinue Reading

Film Appreciation: Fargo

Film Appreciation: Fargo

The Coen brothers’ Fargo (1996) is perhaps one of the most upbeat films you will ever see about a brutal kidnapping and murder. It takes an established cinematic format, the police procedural with elements of noir, and then moves us to a new place by adding dark comedy. Naturalistic settings and straightforward visual presentation almostContinue Reading