Google+ Cinema Viewfinder

Friday, September 12, 2014

Movie Review: Love Is Strange (2014)


by Tony Dayoub


Sweet, sincere and romantic, if ever there were an LGBT-themed film with crossover potential Love Is Strange would be a prime candidate. Sure, there has been Brokeback Mountain, Milk, The Kids Are Alright and any number of other ones that have struck a chord with audiences, particularly in the arthouse circuit. But there is something sweeping about Ira Sachs' Love Is Strange, something to which everyone in a deep, committed relationship can relate to without the movie betraying its own identity to pander to a straight audience. While "betray" may be too strong a word to use regarding the previously mentioned movies they did play to the stands, so to speak—Brokeback by emphasizing homosexual alienation; Milk by emphasizing its countercultural aspect; Kids by making the story a triangle featuring a straight male figure as a possible point of identification.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Movie Review: The Drop (2014)


by Tony Dayoub


Michaël R. Roskam's The Drop doesn't exactly venture into new territory. Its story places two small-scale hustlers, Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) and his cousin, known to all as Cousin Marv (James Gandolfini), at the center of a treacherous and complicated scheme right out of Noir 101. Now owned by Chechen mobsters, the eponymous Cousin Marv's Bar is robbed by two dim assailants on the night it happens to be the assigned drop bar receiving all of the Chechens' protection money collected at other bars. This instantly puts Bob and Cousin Marv in hot water with the bar's deadly owners who suspect an inside job. Though the robbers were masked, Bob notices a curious detail: one of the thieves was wearing a stopped watch. Mentioning it to lead investigator Detective Torres (John Ortiz) inexplicably raises Cousin Marv's ire and sets him against his soft-spoken relative.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

TV Review: Sons of Anarchy: Season Seven


by Tony Dayoub

If the first few episodes of Sons of Anarchy's final season are any indication, then the series is going down in the same manner it started: as a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions, with the eponymous motorcycle club's royal family and their dysfunctional dynamics at the heart of what ails its crown prince. Jax (Charlie Hunnam) is as dark and vengeful this season as he was bright and optimistic just before his wife Tara's shocking demise. SAMCRO is licking their wounds while preparing to once again make their ascendance in their town of Charming. And Jax's mother, Gemma (Katey Sagal), is alternately remorseful and gratified that sacrificing Tara allowed her to preserve the strength of her two fractured families: Jax and his young sons and the motorcycle club.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL POST AT SLANT MAGAZINE

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Movie Review: Code Black (2014)


by Tony Dayoub

Early in the documentary Code Black there is this graphic and harrowing shot above. More than a dozen emergency medics and nurses work on a shooting victim as the director, narrator and the film's principal subject, Ryan McGarry explains, "If you're an outsider, this looks like total chaos. But I see unity in that chaos. There's a team here coming together to save someone's life." It's a flabbergasting statement to say the least. But as Code Black unfolds we learn that this is no ordinary emergency room. It's C-Booth, a cramped, very public space in LA County Hospital that has the dual distinction of being the nation's very first emergency room and its busiest. McGarry started documenting his time there as a first-year resident, way before he ever decided to turn the footage into a film. What he turned in, though, is polished bordering on slick, a sharp contrast to the frequently catastrophic roughness the doctors at C-Booth encounter daily.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

TV Review: Houdini (2014)


by Tony Dayoub

Houdini begins with master escape artist Harry Houdini (Adrien Brody) in chains, plunging into a frozen river from St. Louis's Eads Bridge. It's a representative flashpoint the miniseries will go back to at the end of its first half and at the start of its second. In between, Uli Edel's miniseries scrutinizes the enigmatic Houdini's personal life more than previous projects. Using the framework of a relatively obscure book, Houdini: A Mind in Chains - A Psychoanalytic Portrait, it tries to explain some of what actually motivated the man.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL POST AT SLANT MAGAZINE