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

MOXIE (2021)

Directed By: Amy Poehler
Written By: Tamara Chestna & Dylan Meyer
Based on the book by: Juliet Mathieu
Cinematography: Tom McGill
Editor: Julie Monroe 

Cast: Hadley Robinson, Lauren Tsai, Alycia Pascual Pena, Nico Hiraga, Amy Poehler, Ike Barinholtz, Marcia Gay Harden, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Sydney Park, Anjelika Washington, Josie Totah, Josephine Langford

Inspired by her mom’s rebellious past and a confident new friend, a shy 16-year-old publishes an anonymous zine calling out sexism at her school.


One applauds the film on it’s Diversity and constantly wearing it’s message on it’s Sleeve. That is actually empowering to young women and promotes a positive message. While also being a movie that is entertaining and enjoyable.

It’s notable for being Amy Poehler’s directorial debut and she has a supporting role as the lead character’s mother.

What works for the film is its message that saves it from being another forgettable teen comedy that is centered around female characters. 

The script is smart enough to tackle serious subjects and allow a different point of view. That while being heavy at times in subject matter reminds us that the film is centered around young characters who are allowed to be silly at times and immature. Yet still right on when it comes to certain subjects.

Two-thirds of a satisfying movie then In The last third it all come to a head with the aspects that previously have been annoying become problematic. That beats you over the head with its message 

The film is Not subtle with the foreshadowing. It also quickly becomes what can be seen as Peak white feminism. As while the lead character sees injustice and decides to do something about it and pretty soon has a diverse set of new friends to support her as they are the ones who usually is being oppressed and picked on.

Soon they are spreading the message and empowering her and getting stuff done. They are also the ones taking the punishment and the hits more and as soon as it is introduced that she is ignorant when it comes to culture and race and takes it as a personal Insult and soon is having a breakdown as she has no defense and lashes out. So then the movement becomes more about her emotional arc and loses the message and she is especially threatened when it becomes about more than her and the others of various races soon seem to take over and are more vocal.

Not to mention when the film takes down a major villain who uses the patriarchy to his advantage and stays protected because of it. I. A storyline that hat is major but treated minority again as it is more supposed to be about the actual victim it is more centered around her and the change SHE the leader brought about.

It seems that for all fo it’s politics it seems to skip one glaring faux pas of it’s own. Why is there a caucasian lead in a film full of minorities and different types. Where we are supposed to see injustices supposedly from her eyes though she doesn’t suffer and yet constantly acts like she is the one who Is. when in fact they happen to all those around her. The biggest crime perpetrated against her is that nothing really happens to he because she is so unnoticeable

Then the film has the other characters applaud because she cares. The movie might have been more interesting if seen through the eyes of a downtrodden character. That can show an alliance with the caucasian character but can also say something about how it seems white feminism only worried about it’s own concerns and not the universal concern of people of color females.

The way the movie Presents itself is from that kind of liberal feminism that tries to have a positive message but also shows it’s own problems that it refuses to see or at least acknowledge.

In the end when she reveals herself it is seen as her taking back her identity and all the minorities cheer her on. Which feels like white feminism propaganda to a certain extent. 

Especially when Amy Poehler who directs the film and plays the leads mother keeps getting credited by the lead as her inspiration it feels like ego pleasing on display. As she is shown With very few faults herself.

In the end, the film is very empowering and worth watching. Especially for younger viewers but doubt for older teens, it will be as memorable.

Grade: C+

POINT BLANK (2019)

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Directed By: Joe Lynch
Written By: Adam Green
Based on characters created By: Fred Cavaye
Cinematography: Juan Miguel Azpiroz 

Cast: Frank Grillo, Anthony Mackie, Marcia Gay Harden, Stuart F. Wilson, Christian Cooke, Teyonah Parris, Boris Micgiver, Markice Moore 

An ER nurse and a career criminal are forced into an unlikely partnership in taking down a ring of corrupt cops threatening the lives of both their families.

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MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT (2014)

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Written & Directed By: Woody Allen
Cinematography By: Darius Khondji
Editor: Alisa Lepselter 


Cast: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki Weaver, Simon McBurney, Eileen Atkins, Catherine McCormick, Erica Leerhsen Hamish Linklater, Ute Lemper

Stanley is a magician who has dedicated his life to revealing fraudulent spiritualists. He plans to quickly uncover the truth behind celebrated spiritualist Sophie and her scheming mother. However, the more time he spends with her, he starts thinking that she might actually be able to communicate with the other world, but even worse, he might be falling in love with her.

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