Children of Men

Overview:  In 2027, a man and his ex-wife attempt to traffic an illegal immigrant in a world broken by global infertility.  Universal Pictures; 2006; Rated R; 109 Minutes. What the Camera Shows:  By now, anyone who has seen, heard of, or discussed Children of Men is well aware of its...

There Will Be Blood

Overview: An independent oil man explores his prospects amid the backdrop of early 1900’s California. Paramount Vantage/Miramax Films; 2007; Rated R; 158 Minutes. Visual Storytelling: There Will Be Blood begins with fourteen minutes of wordless, character-building genius. Director Paul Thomas...

On the Waterfront

Overview:  A former boxer turned dock worker struggles with his involvement in a mob’s control of his community. Columbia Pictures; 1954; 118 Minutes. Everything Else:  Addressed honestly, the supporting structures set in place within On the Waterfront are most accurately measured somewhere...

Shotgun Stories

Overview:  Tensions between two sets of half-brothers explode into a tragic family feud. International Film Circuit; 2007; Rated PG-13; 92 minutes. From the Beginning: From the very first minute, we are deafened by the quiet.  It’s in the distressed position of that long body.  That fatigued...

The Truman Show

Overview:  An insurance salesman discovers his entire life has been presented to the world as a 24/7 television program. Paramount; 1998;  Rated PG; 103 Minutes Contextualization:  The 1990s marked an interesting moment in movie history.  Studios realized the full potential of movies as magic...

Annie Hall

Overview: Woody Allen’s quirky classic follows Alvy Singer and Annie Hall, two seemingly mismatched New Yorkers, as they try to navigate their way through a young relationship. 1977; Rated PG; 93 minutes. The Opening: Annie Hall opens with Alvy Singer delivering a biting monologue on...

Unforgiven

Overview:  Considered by many to be Western’s seminal masterpiece, Unforgiven follows retired outlaw Will Munny in his pursuit to collect a vengeful bounty; Warner Brothers; Rated R; 131 Minutes Will Munny:  It might seem a bit trite to say that Clint Eastwood’s most brilliant move as the...

Adaptation

Overview: Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman writes himself into his movie script adaptation of a Susan Orlean novel about a colorful orchid thief.  2002; Rated R; 114 Minutes.   Miracle Number One:With Nicolas Cage taking on dual roles as twin brothers Charlie and Donald Kaufmann and casual...

City Lights

Overview: Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp gives us his most moving and sincere adventure as he looks to win the affection of a blind flower vendor by hiding from her his low social status. 1931; 121 Minutes Vintage Chaplin:  The Tramp’s grace and dexterity punctuate his trademark slapstick physical...

Casablanca

Overview: During World War II, a cynical American expatriate struggles against his own desire to help a former lover and her new husband find safety; Warner Brothers; 1942; Rated PG;  102 minutes. The Value of Sentiment: Often, when we as a film culture make our innumerous greatest-ever films...

The Lord of the Ring...

Overview:   Frodo and Sam are led by an unusual guide while everyone else begins to choose a side and prepare for the inevitable as the battle for Middle Earth continues in the second installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  2002, New Line Cinema, rated PG-13, 179 minutes. I remember...

Lord of the Rings: T...

Overview: The Lord of the Rings trilogy comes to an emotionally gratifying conclusion. New Line Cinema; 2003; Rated PG-13; 201 minutes. The End of All Things: The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the great cinematic accomplishments. As a collective society, I’m not sure we deserve movies...

Days of Heaven

Overview:  An ill-tempered worker accidentally kills his boss, flees to the Texas Panhandle with his lover, and convinces her to partake in a scheme that results in a lethal love triangle.  Paramount Pictures; 1978; Rated PG; 94 Minutes. Form:  Many great film directors make you squint to...