DETACHMENT (2012)


Directed & Cinematography By: Tony Kaye
Written By: Carl Lund
Editor: Michelle Botticelli, Barry Alexander Brown & Geoffrey Richman

 Cast: Adrien Brody, James Caan, Christina Hendricks, Sammi Gayle, Tim Blake Nelson, Bryan Cranston, William Peterson, Betty Kaye, Lucy Liu, Marcia Gay Harden, Blythe Danner, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Josh Pais, Doug E. Doug,

Detachment is a chronicle of three weeks in the lives of several high school teachers, administrators, and students through the eyes of a substitute teacher named Henry Barthes. Henry roams from school to school, imparting modes of knowledge, but never staying long enough to form any semblance of sentient attachment. A perfect profession for one seeking to hide out in the open. One day Henry arrives at his next assignment. Upon his entry into this particular school, a secret world of emotion is awakened within him by three women. A girl named Meredith is in his first period. A fellow teacher Ms. Madison, and a street hooker named Erica, whom Henry has personally granted brief shelter from the streets. Each one of these women, like Henry, is in a life and death struggle to find beauty in a seemingly vicious and loveless world.

 The film-like its main character shows us the problems. Makes us aware of the problems, but also offers no answers. So not only is it bleak but also nihilistic. While it is heavily philosophical at times and becomes cerebral. It also at times becomes a bit too much.

The storyline of him taking in a girl off the street is understandable as he seems to try to prove to himself he is a good person and help someone he sees as innocent while one of his students sends out warning signs of trouble yet he is blind to it. It also shows a way to make up for things in his past. I also believe it is a way for him to communicate with someone as lonely as he is. In one scene he even witnesses a teacher clearly with mental problems, yet does nothing about it.

 The film shows the hardships not only he but most teachers and administrators have to go through not only from students but also parents and the state. They seem to be battling in a losing war that they are not supplied to handle. Where the only hope is that you can grab one kid, one mind, and teach them something then you have succeeded. You have kids who don’t care. Parents who look to you to babysit and raise their children have no funds for anything.

 Tony Kaye Makes another powerful hard-hitting film that while a little too indulgent at times makes you think and delivers a message. Despite his past troubles, his talent as a director is undeniable. He gets solid performances from the supporting cast who don’t have much to work with as far as characters but you feel the world-weariness.

James Caan’s character is full of spirit and funny yet has the feeling of hitting a brick wall way too many times. Kaye even casts his daughter in a key role and she is effective as is Sammi Gayle as a teen prostitute staying with Brody’s character. Tony Kaye also gets a boost from getting a natural and powerful performance from his lead Adrien Brody who hasn’t been this good in years, His performance is full and realized. He is soulful and complicated but comes through as solid. IT’s also his first leading role in quite some time.

 The storyline of taking the girl off the street is far-fetched. In a real-life way, but works for the film. Marcia Gay Harden’s breakdown feels a bit over the top and far-reaching. The film feels important if only hopefully as a time capsule. More to look back upon as how bad a problem the school system was. More of a social problem film, than a dramatic one. As at times, we get to know the teacher’s home life some of whose is just as bad as the school system is but they are quickly jettisoned and forgotten for the rest of the film. ‘
The film provides dramatic characters and situations but is more concerned with the dilemma of these characters. Though it also is more focused on Adrien Brody’s character and problems.

 I warn you this is not a happy film. It is very sad and depressing. It is worth watching for filmmaking and the performances. The film is definitely Worth Watching. An Addition to the film library you can come back and look from time to time. 
 GRADE: B

GOD’S POCKET (2014)

Directed By: John Slattery 
Written By: Alex Metcalf & John Slattery 
Based on the Novel By: Pete Dexter 
 Cinematography By: Lance Acord 
Editor: Tom McArdle 

Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Turturro, Richard Jenkins, Joyce Van Patten, Eddie Marsan, Christina Hendricks, Molly Price, Dominic Lombardozzi, Caleb Landry Jones, Sophie Takal 

When Mickey’s crazy step-son Leon is killed in a construction ‘accident’, nobody in the working-class neighborhood of God’s Pocket is sorry he’s gone. Mickey tries to bury the bad news with the body, but when the boy’s mother demands the truth, Mickey finds himself stuck in a life-and-death struggle between a body he can’t bury, a wife he can’t please, and a debt he can’t pay


This is a film that’s hard to describe as the fact that you have seen stories like this on-screen before. Though this one feels strangely authentic and that is the scary part. As the film is so downtrodden it seems almost the product of nightmares.

Luckily the film stays low-key. It goes by quickly and with nary a kick. Though it takes its time to tell its story. It doesn’t feel like it’s dragging. It’s surprisingly lean, though it feels indulgent. There is no real fat in the film.

The film has an amazing group of actors, who are all good and believable. You only wish the film had more to give them as far as story and quality. While the film relies heavily on the atmosphere it feels at times like it has very few places to go. It presents circumstances and challenges but very little action and story.

This being one of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last performances it is noteworthy as he is our put upon the protagonist. Trying to figure his way out of an increasingly sticky situation. While also being his own worst enemy. He seems to be one of the few semi-decent characters who while not being from the neighborhood which everyone reminds him. Still seems very much the product of it as he seems to fit perfectly in.

The film is the story of more a neighborhood that seems to be its own trap. We just watch the inhabitants as they go about their day-to-day life. The main story selling point the death of a young man seems to be just one of those things. An act of senseless violence. That seems like it will become some story of the investigation and seeking justice. Though it ends up just being a catalyst for changes and actions for some characters and setting in motion events.

The film seems constantly depressing as the characters seem to always make the wrong decisions and there is little to no humanity. Everyone is out for themselves. Anytime there is humanity shown it is rather surprising and usually followed by acts of merciless violence.

Christina Hendricks continues to come across as a desirable screen icon. She is luminous and beautiful and though she plays a grieving mother. Later in the film, as she seems to be irresistible to any male. She seems oddly emotionless as her character knows better yet is shocked by the attention paid to her. She commits an act but does so with what seems little care. That has incriminating results that she oddly seems to have no concerns about. Though they affect her.

Richard Jenkins truly makes a mark as a columnist in the middle of all this investigation. While being from the neighborhood has his own demons to deal with while trying to get the story. As he is easily distracted and we get some clues for his condition. We observe his questionable prowess with women also.

In fact, the entire third act of the film becomes strange at how quickly the neighborhood turns from favorable to certain inhabitants to just pure hate and the reason seems rather thin. Like it happens more because the script and story demand it rather than naturally or organically.

John Slattery making his feature film debut, Picked an exemplary story to tell. It always seems when actors choose to direct they pick material more character-based and depressing that has to be gritty to bring more of a reality, but smartly pick material that allows for an ensemble to play off of and includes actors friends who are more the character actor types. He could have done slot worse in the material.

The film at times feels like it is trying too hard to be gritty and showcase all his grime and crime. Then at other times it wisely becomes more understated.

The film has a strangely happy ending or as close as this type of film can have.

This is a film that feels in the same world as TREE’S LOUNGE only not as optimistic and also would go well with a viewing of THE DROP only this is less exciting and feels more authentic.

Grade: B-

ZOOLANDER 2 (2016)

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Directed By: Ben Stiller
Written By: Ben Stiller, Justin Theroux, Nicholas Stoller & John Hamburg
Based On Characters Created By: Ben Stiller & Drake Sather
Cinematography By: Daniel Mindel
Editor: Greg Hayden 


Cast: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Will Ferrell, Milla Jovovich, Justin Theroux, Kristin Wiig, Benedict Cumberbatch, Christina Hendricks, Olivia Munn, Jon Daly, Billy Zane, Andy Dick, John Malkovich, Alexander Skarsgard, Moshe Kasher, Fred Armisen, Kiefer Sutherland, Naomi Campbell, Ariana Grande, Kate Moss, Sting

Derek and Hansel are lured into modeling again, in Rome, where they find themselves the target of a sinister conspiracy.

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DARK PLACES (2015)

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Written & Directed By: Gilles Paquet-Brenner
Based on the book By: Gillian Flynn
Cinematography By: Barry Ackroyd
Editor: Douglas Fox & Billy Crise 

Cast: Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hault, Chole Grace Moretz, Corey Stoll, Tye Sheridan, Drea De Matteo, Christina Hendricks, Sean Bridges, Andrea Roth

Libby Day was only eight years old when her family was brutally murdered in their rural Kansas farmhouse. Almost thirty years later, she agrees to revisit the crime and uncovers the wrenching truths that led up to that tragic night.

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THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT (2018)

TheStrangers

Directed By: Johannes Roberts
Written By: Ben Ketai & Bryan Bertino
Cinematography By: Ryan Samul
Editor: Martin Brinkler 


Cast: Martin Henderson, Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, Lewis Pullman, Damien Maffei, Emma Bellomy, Lea Enslin, Leah Roberts 


A family’s road trip takes a dangerous turn when they arrive at a secluded mobile home park to stay with some relatives and find it mysteriously deserted. Under the cover of darkness, three masked psychopaths pay them a visit to test the family’s every limit as they struggle to survive. The director knows his visuals and how to make them Strong, memorable and lasting. Unfortunately the script doesn’t support his vision completely

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FIST FIGHT (2017)

FISTFIGHT1

Directed By: Richie Keen
Written By: Van Robichaux & Evan Susser
Story By: Max Greenfield, Van Robichaux & Evan Susser
Cinematography By: Eric Edwards
Editor: Matthew Freund 


Cast: Charlie Day, Ice Cube, Jillian Bell, Tracy Morgan, Dean Norris, Kumail Nanjani, JoAnna Garcia-Swisher, Dennis Haysbert, Christina Hendricks, Kym Whitley, Stephne Weir, Alexa Nisenson, Max Carver, Charlie Carver, Nolan Bateman 


When one school teacher unwittingly causes another teacher’s dismissal, he is challenged to an after-school fight.

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LOST RIVER (2015)

Lostriver

Written & Directed By: Ryan Gosling
Cinematography By: Benoit Debie
Editor: Nico Luenen & Valdis Oskarsdottir
Music By: Johnny Jewel 


Cast: Christina Hendricks, Matt Smith, Saoirse Ronan, Iain De Caestecker, Ben Mendelsohn, Eva Mendes, Barbara Steele

“Lost River” is a dark fairy tale about love, family and the fight for survival in the face of danger. In the virtually abandoned city of Lost River, Billy, a single mother of two, is led into a macabre underworld in her quest to save her childhood home and hold her family together. Her teenage son Bones discovers a mystery about the origins of Lost River that triggers his curiosity and sets into motion an unexpected journey that will test his limits and the limits of those he loves.

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THE NEON DEMON (2016)


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Directed & Story By: Nicolas Winding Refn
Written By: Nicolas Winding Refn, Polly Stenham & Mary Laws
Cinematography By: Natasha Braier
Editor: Matthew Newman
Music By: Cliff Martinez 


Cast: Elle Fanning, Jena Malone, Karl Glusman, Abbey Lee, Bella Heathcote, Desmond Harrington, Keanu Reeves, Christina Hendricks, Alessandro Nivola, Jamie Clayton


*Please note that some trivia and facts have been republished from imdb among other sources In this review

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