Tag Archives: Sean Penn

Mystic River: Gone Girl

WE BURY OUR SINS, WE WASH THEM CLEAN. Even after the phenomenal Unforgiven (1992), the movie that won Clint Eastwood an Oscar as director, the aging filmmaker went on making a slew of films in the latter half of the decade that always had interesting ingredients but were generally speaking done in by an overly … Continue reading Mystic River: Gone Girl

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

STOP DREAMING. START LIVING. Life Magazine employee Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) is a first-rate daydreamer, but unable to make his real life exciting… until the day he needs to save his job and find a lost negative. Neither this initially much-hyped project nor the original Danny Kaye film have much in common with James Thurber’s … Continue reading The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Woody Allen: A Documentary

Originally shown as a two-part event on the PBS show American Masters, this is Robert B. Weide’s fourth documentary on comedians, a frequently entertaining and engrossing look at one of the hardest working men in showbiz. Over the course of three hours we learn what motivates him, what makes him great and how he works … Continue reading Woody Allen: A Documentary

Gangster Squad

NO NAMES. NO BADGES. NO MERCY. In 1940s Los Angeles, Sergeant John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) is secretly tasked with gathering a small group of men he can trust in an attempt to rid the city of the powerful mobster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). Zombieland (2009) director Ruben Fleischer takes on a different genre, with less … Continue reading Gangster Squad

Dead Man Walking: Soul Food

  Actor Tim Robbins’s first film as a director was Bob Roberts (1992), a political satire that remains relevant to this day. The movie revealed a filmmaker who was passionate and outspoken about his beliefs, and when Dead Man Walking emerged as his second directorial effort there was reason to believe that he would use … Continue reading Dead Man Walking: Soul Food

I’m Still Here

2008 was the year when Joaquin Phoenix announced to the world that he’d give up acting and become a rap artist; apparently, this was also a time when he stopped shaving and showering. Eventually, the whole thing was revealed as a stunt for this faux documentary that aims to show how artists are not allowed … Continue reading I’m Still Here

Thin Red Line: Days of Hell

EVERY MAN FIGHTS HIS OWN WAR. “I didn’t think he was capable of betrayal of this magnitude.” That quote is lifted from an Entertainment Weekly interview with one of the producers of this film, Robert Michael Geisler. He was referring to director Terrence Malick and those words illustrate to what degree the relationship between these … Continue reading Thin Red Line: Days of Hell

Tree of Life: Dinos and Divinity

When this film was screened at the Cannes festival it drew mixed reactions. There were boos as well as applause, but it seems like those who favor it are in the majority. Most reviews have been positive and the movie ended up snaring the top prize at the festival. That’s the thing about Terrence Malick. … Continue reading Tree of Life: Dinos and Divinity

What Just Happened

IN HOLLYWOOD, EVERYBODY CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM.  This movie, which chronicles a Hollywood producer’s harried life as he’s trying to please studio bosses, egotistical movie stars and two ex-wives is easy to believe as it was based on real-life producer Art Linson’s book. Everybody involved here must have had plenty to bring to the table; … Continue reading What Just Happened

The Pledge

DETECTIVE JERRY BLACK HAS MADE A PROMISE HE CAN’T BREAK, TO CATCH A KILLER HE CAN’T FIND.  When Jerry Black (Jack Nicholson), a cop in Nevada who’s about to retire, ends up being the one who tells a family that their eight-year-old girl has been murdered, he swears on “the salvation of his soul” to … Continue reading The Pledge

Milk: Here to Recruit You

HIS LIFE CHANGED HISTORY. HIS COURAGE CHANGED LIVES.  Director Gus Van Sant is a strange fellow. His oeuvre is full of original films about people who choose their own paths in life, but he’s never made a movie quite like this. Some will argue that Van Sant is merely trying to reach a more commercial … Continue reading Milk: Here to Recruit You