Category: In the Dark

Home In the Dark
Post

Shine Your Ever-Loving Light on Me

The Jungle Book
Produced and distributed by Disney Pictures 
Directed by Jon Favreau
Screenplay by Justin Marks from Rudyard Kipling’s book 

Midnight Special
Produced and distributed by Warner Brothers 
Written and directed by Jeff Nichols 

Are the Disney executives rethinking

Revelation and Portent
Post

Revelation and Portent

Risen
Produced and distributed by Sony Pictures 
Directed by Kevin Reynolds 
Screenplay by Kevin Reynolds and Paul Aiello 

10 Cloverfield Lane
Produced and distributed by Paramount Pictures and Bad Robot 
Directed by Dan Trachtenberg 
Screenplay by Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken,

Top of the World, Ma
Post

Top of the World, Ma

Black Mass
Produced by Cross Creek Pictures 
Directed by Scott Cooper 
Screenplay by Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth,
based on the book Black Mass, by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill 
Distributed by Warner Brothers 

Ever since The Great Train Robbery

The Curtain Descends; Everything Ends
Post

The Curtain Descends; Everything Ends

Phoenix
Produced by Schramm Film Koerner & Weber and Bayerische Rundfunk 
Directed and written by Christian Petzold 
Distributed by Sundance Selects 

The Gift
Produced by Blue-Tongue Films and Blumhouse Productions 
Directed and written by Joel Edgerton 
Distributed by STX Entertainment

Detecting the Personal Beyond
Post

Detecting the Personal Beyond

Mr. Holmes
Produced by BBC Films and See-Saw Films
Directed by Bill Condon
Screenplay by Jeffrey Hatcher from Mitch Cullin’s novel, A Slight Trick of the Mind
Distributed by The Weinstein Company 

Mr. Holmes is the film adaptation of Mitch

Can’t Get No Satisfaction
Post

Can’t Get No Satisfaction

Madame Bovary
Produced by A Company Filmproduktions gesellschaft
Screenplay by Felipe Marino and Sophie Barthes from Gustave Flaubert’s novel
Directed by Sophie Barthes
Distributed by Alchemy and Millennium Entertainment 

Gustave Flaubert was the satirist of dissatisfaction.  His principal theme was

Women on the Loose
Post

Women on the Loose

Mad Max: Fury Road
Produced by Village Roadshow Pictures 
Written and directed by George Miller 
Distributed by Warner Brothers 

Ex Machina
Produced by Film 4 
Written and directed by Alex Garland 
Distributed by Universal Pictures 

We never know how feminism

A Strange Romance This Was
Post

A Strange Romance This Was

Effie Gray
Produced by Sovereign Films 
Directed by Richard Laxton 
Screenplay by Emma Thompson 
Distributed by Adopt Films 

The only reason for making a movie centered on Euphemia Gray (Dakota Fanning) is sex.  Or, rather its absence.

This story of

Trucking Upward
Post

Trucking Upward

A Most Violent Year
Produced by Before The Door Pictures 
and Washington Square Films
Directed and written by J.C. Candor
Distributed by A24

I went to J.C. Chandor’s new film A Most Violent Year with high expectations.  His first, Margin

Hopalong Rides the Iraqi Range
Post

Hopalong Rides the Iraqi Range

American Sniper
Produced and distributed by Warner Brothers
Screenplay by Jason Hall
Directed by Clint Eastwood

We’re told that during his later career director John Huston frequently preferred reading a good newspaper while his actors performed a scene before the

Seized by the Moment
Post

Seized by the Moment

Boyhood
Produced and distributed by IFC
Directed and written by Richard Linklater

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood became the critics’ darling upon its staged release at the end of 2014.  From The New Yorker to the Daily News, reviewers have vied

Groovy Solipsism
Post

Groovy Solipsism

Inherent Vice
Produced and distributed by Warner Brothers
Directed and written by Paul Thomas Anderson, based on the novel by Thomas Pynchon

Birdman
Produced by New Regency Pictures
Directed and written by Alejandro González Iñárritu
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures

A Helluva Good Universe Next Door
Post

A Helluva Good Universe Next Door

Interstellar
Produced and distributed by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Screenplay by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan

Nightcrawler
Produced by Bold Films
Written and directed by Dan Gilroy
Distributed by Open Road Films

In their latest film, Interstellar, Christopher

The Skull Beneath the Skin
Post

The Skull Beneath the Skin

Gone Girl
Produced by New Regency Pictures
Directed by David Fincher
Screenplay by Gillian Flynn, from her novel
Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox

If only James Thurber were still with us.  I’d love to hear him address Gone Girl,

Vocation
Post

Vocation

Calvary
Produced by Reprisal Films and The Irish Film Board  
Directed and written by John Michael McDonagh
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures

In his novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), James Joyce has the father

Between the Idea and the Reality
Post

Between the Idea and the Reality

A Most Wanted Man
Produced by The Ink Factory and Film 4
Directed by Anton Corbijn
Screenplay by Andrew Bovell from John Le Carre’s novel
Distributed by Roadside Attractions

John Le Carre has made a career of demonstrating that intelligence

Post

Class Allegories

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Produced by Chernin Entertainment
Directed by Matt Reeves
Screenplay by Mark Bomback and Rick Jaffa
Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Snowpiercer
Produced by Opus Pictures
Directed by Bong Joon-ho
Screenplay by

Songs of Innocence and Experience
Post

Songs of Innocence and Experience

Ida
Produced by Canal + Polska
Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski
Screenplay by Pawel Pawlikowski and Rebecca Lenkiewicz
Distributed by Music Box Films

The personal is the political: This 1960’s catchphrase defiantly bandied by leftists and feminists has always seemed to

Between Hate and Love
Post

Between Hate and Love

Blue Ruin
Produced by The Lab of Madness
Written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier
Distributed by RADiUS-TWC

Hateship Loveship
Produced by The Film Community
Directed by Liza Johnson
Written by Mark Poirier from Alice Munro’s story
Distributed by IFC Films

It Ain’t Necessarily So
Post

It Ain’t Necessarily So

Noah
Produced and distributed by Paramount Pictures
Written and directed by Darren Aronofsky

The Unknown Known
Produced by The Weinstein Company, History Films, and Moxie Pictures
Written and directed by Errol Morris
Distributed by RADIUS-TWC

In Darren Aronofsky’s telling of

Of Pasteboard and Pastry
Post

Of Pasteboard and Pastry

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Produced by Scott Rudin Productions and Studio Babelsberg
Directed and written by Wes Anderson
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures

 

Exceptionally well-made pastries are often said to be lighter than air.  I was reminded of this after

Truth on a Diet
Post

Truth on a Diet

Now that Matthew McConaughey has won his loudly preordained Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Dallas Buyers Club, it’s time we asked how he did it. The answer is simple.  He pulled off a canny trifecta:

Post

Pregnant With Meaning

Her
Produced by Annapurna Pictures
Written and directed by Spike Jonze
Distributed by Warner Brothers

Inside Llewyn Davis
Produced by StudioCanal and Anton Capital Entertainment
Written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
Distributed by CBS Films

 

Her is directed

Post

Flyovers and Combovers

Nebraska
Produced by Blue Lake Media Fund and Bona Fide ProductionsDirected by Alexander Payne
Screenplay by Bob Nelson
Distributed by Paramount Vantage

American Hustle
Produced by Atlas Entertainment and Annapurna Pictures
Directed and written by David O. Russell
Distributed by

Reckless Regard
Post

Reckless Regard

All Is Lost
Produced by Before The Door Picture
Written and Directed by J.C. Chandor 
Distributed by Lionsgate 

Robert Redford and Bruce Dern are proving that we needn’t retire to our rocking chairs at 77—not if we have star power,

O Captain, My Captain
Post

O Captain, My Captain

Captain Phillips
Produced by Trigger Street Productions
Directed by Paul Greengrass
Screenplay by Billy Ray
Distributed by Columbia Pictures 

Captain Phillips, the film, has come under fire since its opening, as has the eponymous captain of the Danish container

Attachment and Loss
Post

Attachment and Loss

Blue Jasmine
Produced by Perdido Productions 
Written and directed by Woody Allen 
Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics 

 

Grim.  That’s the first thing to say about Woody Allen’s new movie, Blue Jasmine.  The second is that its lead, Cate Blanchett,

Elysian Fields Forever
Post

Elysian Fields Forever

Elysium
Produced and distributed by TriStar Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment 
Directed and written by Neill Blomkamp 

Neill Blomkamp’s second film, Elysium, is, in a way, a sequel to his first, District 9.  This time, however, there are

Post

Reason’s Enemy

Copperhead
Produced by Swordspoint Productions 
Directed by Ronald F. Maxwell 
Screenplay by Bill Kauffman 
Distributed by Brainstorm Media 

What makes a good war story?  Cannons, bombs, bloody bodies, and bounding heroes?  Stephen Crane’s short story “An Episode of War” demonstrates

Heartless Irony
Post

Heartless Irony

What Maisie Knew
Produced by Red Crown Productions
Directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel
Screenplay by Nancy Doyne and Carroll Cartwright
Distributed by Millennium Entertainment 

 

Some people should not have children.  This is one way to read Henry James’s

A Vast, Vulgar, Meretricious Beauty
Post

A Vast, Vulgar, Meretricious Beauty

The Great Gatsby
Produced and distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures
Directed by Baz Luhrmann
Screenplay by Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce 

 

Why do studios keep trying to turn F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby into a film?  Fitzgerald’s extraordinarily vivid

Oblivious
Post

Oblivious

Oblivion
Produced and distributed by Universal Pictures
Written and directed by Joseph Kosinski from his graphic novel

The Company You Keep
Produced by Voltage Pictures
Directed by Robert Redford
Screenplay by Lem Dobbs from the novel by Neil Gordon
Distributed

The Long Take
Post

The Long Take

Beyond the Hills
Produced by Canal+ 
Written and directed by Cristian Mungiu 
Distributed by Sundance Selects 

 

Beyond the Hills is Cristian Mungiu’s fictionalized account of the widely reported story of an exorcism performed at a Rumanian Orthodox monastery near Tanacu

Unspoken Promises
Post

Unspoken Promises

Promised Land
Produced by Focus Features and Image Nation
Directed by Gus Van Sant
Screenplay by Matt Damon and John Krasinski from a story by David Eggers
Distributed by Focus Features

 

I thoroughly enjoyed Matt Damon’s latest movie, Promised Land

Mercy Is Courage
Post

Mercy Is Courage

The Hobbit
Produced by New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Wingnut Films
Directed by Peter Jackson
Written by Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens
Distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures

For this month’s column, I’ve enlisted my son Liam to write the review,

Enemies
Post

Enemies

Skyfall
Produced by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer and Eon Productions
Directed by Sam Mendes
Written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan
Distributed by Columbia Pictures

Lincoln
Produced by 20th Century Fox and Dreamworks Pictures
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Written by

Poisonous Intoxicants
Post

Poisonous Intoxicants

The Master
Produced and distributed by The Weinstein
Company, together with Annapurna Pictures 
Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson 

 

The Master is another travesty by the supposed wunderkind Paul Thomas Anderson.  In 2005 he gave us his rendition of

Lawless Enforcement
Post

Lawless Enforcement

Lawless
Produced by Benaroya Pictures
Directed by John Hillcoat
Screenplay by Nick Cave from the novel by Matt Bondurant
Distributed by The Weinstein Company

 

Whenever I think of Prohibition movies, I inevitably see Jimmy Cagney smiling rakishly as he shrugs

Post

Bats and Weasels

The Dark Knight Rises
Produced and distributed by Warner Brothers
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Written by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan

Hope Springs
Produced by Escape Artists and Mandate Pictures
Directed by David Frankel
Written by Vanessa Taylor
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Post

Responsibilities

Savages
Produced by Relativity Media
Directed by Oliver Stone
Written by Shane Salerno and Don Winslow from Winslow’s novel
Distributed by Universal Pictures

The Amazing Spider-Man
Produced by Marvel Entertainment 
Directed by Marc Webb 
Written by James Vanderbilt and Alvin

Post

Utopia Forestalled

For Greater Glory
Produced by NewLand Films
Directed by Dean Wright
Screenplay by Michael Love
Distributed by ARC Entertainment

 

Are you familiar with the Cristeros?  They were Mexican Catholics who rebelled against their secularist government in 1926.  I knew very

Things Are Looking Up
Post

Things Are Looking Up

Damsels in Distress
Produced by Westerly Films 
Written and directed by Whit Stillman 
Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics 

 

Is there a better remedy for depression than watching Fred Astaire’s films?  Violet Wister (Greta Gerwig), the heroine of Whit Stillman’s magisterial

Bullseye!
Post

Bullseye!

The Hunger Games
Produced and distributed by Lionsgate 
Directed by Gary Ross 
Written by Suzanne Collins and Gary Ross 

 

Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games is the first volume of a trilogy set in a not-too-distant future.  An unspecified apocalyptic event

A Capital Mars
Post

A Capital Mars

John Carter
Produced and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Directed by Andrew Stanton
Written by Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, and Michael Chabon

 

When Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote Under the Moons of Mars in 1911, introducing the character John Carter,

Howling at the Heavens
Post

Howling at the Heavens

The Grey
Produced by 1984 Private Defense Contractors in association with Liddell Entertainment
Directed by Joe Carnahan
Script by Joe Carnahan and Ian Mackenzie Jeffers from Jeffers’ story
Distributed by Open Road Films

 

We tell one another stories to help

Illusions and Disillusions
Post

Illusions and Disillusions

The Artist
Produced by Le Petite Rein and Studio 37 
Directed and written by Michel Hazanavicius 
Distributed by The Weinstein Company

A Dangerous Method
Produced by Recorded Picture Company 
Directed by David Cronenberg 
Screenplay by Christopher Hampton 
Distributed by Sony

Those Real Estate Blues
Post

Those Real Estate Blues

The Descendants
Produced by Ad Hominem Enterprises
Written and directed by Alexander Payne
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Young Adult
Produced and Distributed by Paramount Pictures 
Directed by Jason Reitman 
Screenplay by Diablo Cody (Brooke M. Busey)

 

The Descendants and

J. Edgar Who?
Post

J. Edgar Who?

J. Edgar
Produced by Imagine Entertainment and Malpaso Productions
Directed by Clint Eastwood Written by Dustin Lance Black
Distributed by Warner Bros. Entertainment

 

Director Clint Eastwood’s  J. Edgar opens with the June 2, 1919, bomb attack on the Washington, D.C.,

Of Candidates and Clowns
Post

Of Candidates and Clowns

The Ides of March
Produced by Smoke House
Directed by George Clooney
Written by Grant Heslov, George Clooney, and Beau Willimon
from Willimon’s play, Farragut North
Distributed by Columbia Pictures

 

George Clooney’s film The Ides of March is a behind-the-scenes

Shane On Wheels
Post

Shane On Wheels

Drive
Produced by Bold Films and Odd Lot Entertainment
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
Screenplay by Hossein Amini from the novel by James Sallis
Distributed by Film District

 

At the close of George Stevens’ 1953 big-screen version of Jack Schaefer’s