Burstein undoubtedly got remarkable footage of a year in the life of Warsaw [ Indiana] High School, but alas, she lost her way sometime in the editing room. Did marketing play too a big role here — the obsessive need to create archetypes in order to hook audiences by recreating THE BREAKFAST CLUB poster??? Click…


We agree that UNIVERSE is an operatic, ebulliently effective look at 60s icons; we disagree about heft. Rich thinks it perfectly captures its moment, whereas Jan also finds compelling anti-Bush, anti-Iraq War agenda. Excellent performances from mostly-novice cast. Soundtrack proves genius of Beatles simpliciter as well as this specific incarnation. Click HERE for FF2 haiku.

Film Review: AWAY WE GO

I really wanted to like this film written by husband/wife team Dave Eggers & Vendela Vida, but alas.  Road trips are always choppy but this one is totally sliced & diced.  Were filmmakers so bored by back story clichés that they couldn’t bother constructing any personal histories?  If we don’t believe any of these characters…


Adaptation based on Jane Smiley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning meditation on KING LEAR. This searing film rages against residents of an Iowa town for averting their eyes while a power-mad tyrant (Robards) abused his daughters. Pfeiffer’s ferocious as the middle daughter. Cast totally against type, it’s the best performance of her career. More on A THOUSAND ACRES.


10/10/13 UPDATE: Away from Her is based on the story “The Bear Came Over the Mountain” by Alice Munro. Today Munro became the 13th woman in history to win the Nobel Prize for Literature 🙂 2008 UPDATE: Congratulations to writer/director Sarah Polley (nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar) & Julie Christie (nominated for the Best Actress…

Review: ANNE B. REAL

“Cynthia” is a high school student in a dangerous urban neighborhood who finds inspiration in THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK. Outwardly she seems quiet, but the tension within her builds until she takes dramatic public control of her own words at a rap concert. JaNyce Richardson is terrific — a triumphant debut performance!***** For more,…


Harvey Pekar is an ornery autodidact who became a counterculture personality by creating an adult comic book series about his life in working-class Cleveland. This imaginative biopic combines interviews with the “real” Harvey, panels based on the strips, dramatic reenactments, & snippets from guest shots on the David Letterman Show. More on AMERICAN SPLENDOR.


Charlize Theron plays a futuristic freedom-fighter discovering mid-mission that “the truth” is very complicated. Rich found the rules of her world too thin to be engaging. Jan agrees that Frances McDormand’s oracular role was ludicrous, but she was still drawn into Theron’s dilemma & moved by her relationship with her colleague (played by Sophie Okonedo).…


Gila Almagor’s screenplay is autobiographical & she stars here as her mother, a mentally-ill Holocaust survivor ridiculed by neighbors & totally unable to care for her teenage daughter no matter how much she tries. Heartbreaking depiction of life in the infant state of Israel: hard times with little room for pity. More on AVIYA’S SUMMER.