“All The President’s Men” – The Unsuspecting Buddy Film

Alan Pakula’s 1976 drama All The President’s Men is a starkly realistic look at the investigation of the Watergate scandal by Washington Post journalists Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) and Bob Woodward (Robert Redford). When five men are arrested for breaking into the headquarters of the Democratic National Convention in Washington, D.C. with wiretapping equipment, Woodward is the first to the courthouse. The shocking revelation that one of them has been paid by… Read More

Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys: A Cult Classic

Director Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys supposes that the insane are not, in fact, babbling nonsense; they very well may be prophets. In the aftermath of a deadly virus outbreak, humanity is living underground. Caged individuals are “volunteered” at random for unknown experiments, supposedly for the greater good – though no one has yet returned. James Cole (Bruce Willis), an inmate with a “strong mind,” is volunteered to go back in time and… Read More

The Big Sick: A Dance with Cultural Identity, Grief, and Stand-Up Comedy

It’s hard to make working the Chicago standup circuit into an original story nowadays; Tina Fey and Scott Adsit have talked it up enough for the next century or so. Almost every aspiring comedian winds their way into the Windy City, and thus every successful one has roughly the same story as to how they escaped the improv cult to land a Netflix special and make six figures at 30. But not… Read More

“The Killing of a Sacred Deer” Review – Cannes 2017

Why does a surgeon keep a watch? In the O.R., you need to tell very precise time. It slips away from you every second: clamp another artery, sterilize the gash in the belly, steady hands, steady hands, plasma plasma plasma… There are measures you can take to keep a patient alive, for sure. But what if there was no apparent cure – and the patient was your son? How steady would your… Read More

“Brigsby Bear” – A Quirky Sci-Fi Coming of Age Story (Cannes 2017)

“What would you do if you discovered that your life as you know it is a lie?” Brigsby Bear is not the first film with this ponderous question as it’s premise. However, the tale spun by writers Kyle Mooney and Kevin Costello asks a follow-up that adds a…quirky twist: “What if the life you knew was a children’s show about a space-traveling bear that teaches you math – created by your kidnappers… Read More

From Cannes 2017: “Good Time” by Josh and Benny Safdie

A robbery gone wrong. It’s a good start. An ink pack explodes in a cab, sending the thieves – brothers Connie and Nick Nikas – scrambling to clean themselves (and the money) in a Domino’s bathroom. When the police finally catch up to them, Nick panics, running his way right through a glass door – and into handcuffs. With Nick’s mental handicap, Connie is dead scared to leave him alone in jail…. Read More

“Loveless,” a New Film by Andrey Zvyagintsev – Cannes 2017

The absence of love. The absence of a child. The absence of concern for anyone but oneself. “Selfish” would have been an equally fitting title for Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Loveless,” which recounts the hapless search two careless parents make for their missing son against the backdrop of a Russia in political mayhem. As the radio and TV news blares on unheard, Zhenya and Boris – parents of 12-year-old Alyosha – can only think… Read More

Another Write Teacher(s) Review for Manchester by the Sea

  Too often, films are hasty to wrap up neat and nice with a happy ending. While this may satiate audiences, it does very little to replicate a reality in which people don’t always get what they want, life takes unexpected and tragic turns, and some wounds just don’t heal. Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea does little to leave the viewer feeling warm and satisfied. With the backdrop of a quiet New England winter, one… Read More

A Write Teacher(s) Review: Lion

Write Readers, we’re about halfway there! The next film on the list is absolutely my favorite, and the one I’m rooting for to win the Academy Award for Best Picture: Lion. Lion is the true story about an Indian boy named Saroo who gets lost from home at the age of five, and it takes him twenty years to get back home. It was written by Luke Davies and directed by Garth… Read More

A Write Teacher(s) Review: Arrival

The next film on our list is as different as different could be, both within its genre and this category. And it’s a space movie, which all avid Write Readers know I actively avoid. (Please see the Gravity post for further explanation.) Arrival, starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker, is a science fiction film adapted from the 1998 short story “Story of your Life” by Ted Chiang. It was directed… Read More