Avengers: Age of Ultron

Directed by Joss Whedon Written by Joss Whedon, Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby SYNOPSIS Following a decisive victory that allows the Avengers to possess a stone with great and mysterious power, Tony Stark (Downey, Jr.) enlists the help of Bruce Banner (Ruffalo) to harness this power and create an A.I. to protect the world and end war permanently. When his plan goes awry, the squad must assemble to defeat the evil he has unleashed. WRITING David: Is there such a … Continue reading

While We’re Young

Directed by Noah Baumbach Written by Noah Baumbach SYNOPSIS A struggling, middle-age documentarian (Stiller) and his wife (Watts) feel out of place as their closest friends all begin to have children, but they remain childless. Spurred by a surprise friendship with a young, hipster filmmaker (Driver) and his wife (Seyfried), they begin a rejuvenated journey to find meaning and purpose in their lives. But do their new friends have ulterior motives? WRITING Chelsea: I feel like … Continue reading

Merchants of Doubt

Directed by Robert Kenner Written by Robert Kenner & Kim Roberts WRITING David: It is embarrassingly easy for groups to be convinced of what they want to hear. Thus, by studying the dangers of confirmation bias in America’s highly polarized culture, and how those with influence can and do readily manipulate this to their advantage, producer/director Robert Kennor is doing vital and important work with his documentary feature Merchants of Doubt. For me, his film was deeply … Continue reading

Cinderella

 Directed by Kenneth Branagh Written by Chris Weitz WRITING David: It is hard to think of a more superfluous film than this; a Disney production which treads the well-known waters of the Cinderella story with only a whiff of an effort to add anything new. Rather, this live action effort removes nearly all of the playful whimsy of previous, more musical iterations in favor of melodrama and problematic romantic cliché. Yes, there are comic elements, … Continue reading

What We Do in the Shadows

Directed by Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi Written by Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi WRITING David: Considering vampire stories have been recycled since the early stages of film history, it was a nice surprise for this film to feel very fresh. By poking fun at the many conceptions of vampiredom we as a world have amassed and placing these in a Real World-esque documentary, the movie is very much an invitation to be in on the joke. … Continue reading

Lee Daniels’ The Butler

By Lee Daniels David: It is hard to resist the feeling that with Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Lee Daniels is daring his audience to criticize his work.  The film so unabashedly and lackadaisically preaches to the choir as a celebration of civil rights that it seems Daniels was simply banking on the fact that he could finger anyone pointing out its glaring flaws as a bigot.  “What, you didn’t like The Butler?  What are you, racist or … Continue reading

The World’s End

By Edgar Wright Chelsea: The “Cornetto Trilogy” as it has come to be called, is a loosely linked collection of three films by collaborators Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright.  When I say loosely, I mean loosely.  Each of them is a comedy, but each has different settings, characters, and wildly different plots.  The only thing besides the collaborators connecting them is the sighting of a different flavor of Cornetto ice cream treat, a British drumstick type … Continue reading

Blue Jasmine

By Woody Allen David: Despite setting nearly all of his films in the world of the bourgeoisie intelligencia and inhabiting that world himself, Woody Allen has always had an affinity for the blue color and an itching disdain for the sourness of excess.  This is never clearer than in his most recent triumph, Blue Jasmine.  Telling the story of a rags to riches to rags socialite whose wealth vanishes after revelations of white collar crime, the … Continue reading

The Conjuring

By James Wan Note:  Because Chelsea is a scaredy-cat and likes to have control of the situation when watching horror films, her mother, Marge, is guest blogging with David today.  Marge loves horror movies, and we think she has done a bang up job of offering her perspective on this particular one. David: With a healthy respect for the forerunners of its genre, James Wan’s The Conjuring skillfully utilizes the tricks of the horror trade rather … Continue reading

Fruitvale Station

By Ryan Coogler David: Fruitvale Station opens with actual footage taken by a nearby witness of Oscar Grant’s shooting on New Year’s night of 2009. As a result, the film is marked by a pervasive sense of dread. We know where it is going, and due to the raw and upsetting nature of the video, that moment never leaves the forefront of our minds. Yet, while this prologue effectively provides viewers with the needed context and … Continue reading