Monthly Archives: July 2012

Citizen Ruth (Alexander Payne, 1996)

Citizen Ruth (1996), following the titular, drug-addicted pregnant woman (Laura Dern) being used by pro-lifers and pro-choicers, was the first feature by Alexander Payne. I often get the impression that Payne dislikes his own characters, but he especially hates those in Citizen Ruth. There is not an ounce of sympathy for Ruth, who is not […]

And Everything Is Going Fine (Steven Soderbergh, 2010)

And Everything Is Going Fine (2010) is more created than directed by Steven Soderbergh. It consists entirely of footage from Spalding Gray’s previous monologues, interviews, and the occasional home movie, amounting to his final monologue. Gray’s performance art consisted of sitting at a table, alone, telling about some part of his life, perhaps playing music […]

Shoeshine (Vittorio De Sica, 1946)

Before Vittorio De Sica made his most lasting masterpieces in Bicycle Thieves and Umberto D (the former of which topped the first ever Sight & Sound poll for greatest film of all time), he was still good enough to get the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to create an honor for a non-American […]

Tiny Funiture (Lena Dunham, 2010)

Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture depicts a college graduate who returns home and finds herself without occupation, a boyfriend, and even an identity. Generally, such a description only scratches the surface of a film, but Tiny Furniture is content to be just that. Its minimalism is not inherently a flaw. In fact, minimalism is what allows […]

Mystery Train (Jim Jarmusch, 1989)

Mystery Train(1989) was Jim Jarmusch’s first departure from black-and-white, but a sparse landscape is perfectly effective in color thanks in no small part to Robert Muller, who shot Jarmusch’s previous feature Down By Law(1986) and several, including Paris, Texas(1984) for Wim Wenders. The film’s contemplative long takes both emphasize the struggle to communicate that resides […]

Heaven (Tom Tykwer, 2002)

With all the buzz surrounding the ambitious trailer of the even more ambitious Cloud Atlas film, I thought it a good time to re-visit an earlier film of Tom Tykwer, who is co-directing Cloud Atlas with the Wachowski siblings (of The Matrix fame). Having already seen his Run Lola Run (1998), I opted for Heaven […]

Punch-Drunk Love (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2002)

Style over substance is an all-too-common sin, and one that Paul Thomas Anderson succumbs to without much fight in Punch-Drunk Love (2002). The film follows lonely Barry Egan (Adam Sandler) in his search for love and his exploitation of a promotion that will earn him an abundance of frequent flyer miles (real-life inspiration: David Phillips). […]