I am a college student who has some free time, and an insatiable, ravenous obsession with film. I have a wide variety of tastes and I try for quality films, but I almost never say Not Interested. I love mind bending films, screwball comedies from the 30's and 40's, romantic comedies, classic and low budget horror, coming of age films, silent slapstick, feel good, and generally 70's cinema.
I rate films with a mixture of "What the film is" versus how much I enjoyed it. Below is my rating system.
4: It was enjoyable.
3-3.5: Had flaws, but still slightly enjoyable.
2-2.5: Severly lacking.
0-1.5: Worse than a bowel movement made of starving piranhas.
I say yes to friend requests if you have your profile filled out. If you really love cinema and are here for that purpose, you should have reviews, ratings, etc. As a young woman I hold the right to not be randomly sent dick pictures and messages detailing your urges. Keep it in your pants; this is the internet, not the couch in your cousin Rick's basement.
I keep my reviews pretty short,except on a couple films where I just couldn't help myself.
See you around whippersnapper.
"Blue Like Jazz" has a lot going for it, especially because it caters to the demographic of confused religious people either in their twenties or thirties. In contemporary film, faith is rarely a theme that is visited without certain intermingling themes. Most of these films either broach leaving religion altogether and finding a new identity, or they remain schmaltzy and renew the character's faith. This film fits better into the second category, while also having an interesting setting, great supporting characters, and feels fresh for college students, especially those in small liberal arts campuses. The story comes from the book of the same name by Donald Miller, and is semi-autobiographical. It certainly feels that way, because there's raw emotion and private introspection into the thoughts of main character Don (Allman), who narrates the film. Don lives his entire life in Texas, going to a Baptist church and hanging out with friends from a local factory where he works. When he realizes that his mother is having an affair with his married youth pastor, he runs away to Portland to go to the infamously liberal Reed College. There he starts raising questions that religion doesn't always allow, and makes friends with several interesting characters, including a newly freed lesbian and the campus' Pope, who hates all religion and favors indecision. The film stays strong as Don starts to understand his own isolation and the reasons why he is rebelling against his faith, but eventually becomes a tangled mess. It's just trying to enclose so many ideas and so many competing storylines that it collapses in on itself. Don's own realizations about himself don't even culminate until the very end of the film, and we never learn what their impact is, and what it means for the character. We also have to deal with child abuse, alienation, and depression in a very short span of time, and though each theme is lighted upon, the film doesn't say much about them. SPOILERS: That and making the Pope into a victim of sexual abuse during confession was really biased and short sighted, which only feeds into the view that anti-theists already have. It felt more like a cheap ploy to wrap everything up than an actual ending, and for that, I find the most fault.
"Robot and Frank" is a very sweet tempered sci-fi, independent film that somehow remains affectionate and veers from morality, even though it's in a very particular genre of film. The film says very little about the state of the world, or even the future it's set in, and instead focuses on story. The film centers on retired cat burglar Frank (Langella) who has stopped lifting jewels from homes after several stints in jail. He has two children, one a father with small children, the other a globetrotting naturalist. He doesn't see them often, the same as he did during their childhood, and he is slowly lapsing into dementia. His son buys him a domesticated robot to take care of him and the two bond, eventually starting to plot heists on a rich man who is reimagining the nearby library to be paperless. The film rarely challenges the audience with the effects of technology, except when it comes to the library, because it's transformation spurs him to start back up stealing. The film also touches upon the subject of respecting a past generation and the wisdom they possess, which is easily thrown away, either by getting rid of books, or by showing the fragility of the human mind in old age. Frank and his robotic companion find friendship because the former is reaching his mental decline and needs help recovering what little he has left. There doesn't seem to be any subtext on robots in our future, and no message that they should be accepted for their technological benefits. Though there may not be any moral stance taken, this film is actively pacing itself the entire way through. It lets a moment land, takes its time in building its momentum scene by scene. Langella gives a very strong performance, even though we learn very little about the character, except that he has certain regrets about the way he lived his life. For what it is, and what it tries to be, it succeeds at being sweet and essentially, interesting.
Recently a trend has been emerging in writing for both television and film that includes storylines revolving around the plight of the Millennial generation and the woes of the twenty something. The start of it can probably be traced to the boom in Lena Dunham's career and her writing for the HBO series "Girls". Her independent film "Tiny Furniture" was a great precursor to her show, and also featured a slightly overweight protagonist (played by Dunham) who has money woes after college and finds herself relying on the help of her parents. "Frances Ha" takes on some of the same ideals that have been popping up lately, but doesn't have the same empathy for those without direction that Dunham affords easily. Instead, collaborative screenwriting team, and real-life couple, director Noah Baumbach and star Greta Gerwig, find a middle ground, content to show the troubles of artists, but also tells them to take stock of what's important and live their lives. Frances is a modern dancer in a company where she isn't excelling as fast as she would like. Her roommate suddenly uproots herself and begins a new kind of life, where she cares less about her career and more about her apartment and boyfriend. Frances finds herself homeless from time to time, jobless once in a while, and consistently scrambling to find herself amongst everyone else. The film continually stays funny, especially because the characters are so vibrant. Baumbach has a way of capturing the hilarity in being uncomfortable, and forces characters onscreen that are interesting but inevitably intense. Gerwig, always lighthearted but methodical to her characters, lightens the tone somewhat. This, their first collaboration, feels so fresh and young, yet features a strange wisdom that shows the writers are really old souls. There's not been a film that perfectly balances the opinions of this generation and the reality of our world while staying so sweetly funny throughout, and I commend these two for pulling it off flawlessly.