CCFF 2018: Three Identical Strangers

Three Identical Strangers tells the crazy but true and sad story of Bobby Shafran, Eddy Galland, and David Kellman. The three of them were separated at birth when they were adopted by three different families.  Bobby was sent off to live with the affluent Shafran family.  Eddy went to the middle class Gallands.  As for David, he went to live with the blue-collar Kellmans.  All were adopted by Jewish families who had an older daughter living…

"CCFF 2018: Three Identical Strangers"

CCFF 2018: After Everything (formerly Shotgun)

Even though a health crisis is at the center of this relationship-driven dramedy, Shotgun is as far from a Nicholas Sparks film as it gets. Elliott (Jeremy Allen White) works behind a sandwich counter with his roommate and best friend, Nico (DeRon Horton).  It’s all fun and games for the two of them–drinking or getting high–until Elliott learns he is suffering from a rare diagnosis of Ewing’s sarcoma.  There’s a lot of nitty-gritty detail about…

"CCFF 2018: After Everything (formerly Shotgun)"

CCFF 2018: First Reformed

First Reformed is a mesmerizing drama about a pastor who counsels a husband and wife. Reverend Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke) is a pastor at the First Reformed Church.  The Dutch Reform church used to be a station on along the Underground Railround but as it approaches 250 years, it doesn’t contain the magic that used to be there.  The congregation is small even as tourists continue to stop by.  This isn’t helped by Abundant Life…

"CCFF 2018: First Reformed"

CCFF 2018: Damsel

A wholly original film with a twist you never see coming, Damsel is a hysterical western from the minds of David Zellner and Nathan Zellner. Samuel Alabaster (Robert Pattinson) has tracked down the location of the woman he plans to marry, Penelope (Mia Wasikowska).  As he sets through in his journey, he hires Parson Henry (David Zellner) to officiate the wedding when he finds his future bride in addition to a gift, a miniature horse called Butterscotch.  Samuel…

"CCFF 2018: Damsel"

CCFF 2018: Leave No Trace

Debra Granik’s third narrative feature, Leave No Trace, is a emotionally powerful film to say the least. We first meet Will (Ben Foster) and his teenage daughter, Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie) in their fourth year of living in Forest Park.  It’s illegal to live in public land but the two of them have gotten away with living on the outskirts of Portland for so long.  After Tom gets noticed by someone walking in the woods, it…

"CCFF 2018: Leave No Trace"

Jurassic Park Remains A Classic After 25 Years

Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park remains an innovative, groundbreaking and inspiring classic as it did when it was originally released 25 years ago in June. Shortly after the incident on Isla Nublar and the quick introduction of lawyer Donald Gennaro, the film really gets going with paleontologists Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and paleobotonist Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) digging up a velociraptor in Montana.  Their dig is shortly interrupted by a helicopter, which leads to Grant and Sattler…

"Jurassic Park Remains A Classic After 25 Years"

Beach Rats: Not Quite a Coming-Out Story

Beach Rats won’t be a film that appeals to the masses but Eliza Hittman delivers a quality film nevertheless. Written and directed by Eliza Hittman, the film stars Harris Dickinson, Madeline Weinstein, and Kate Hodge. Set in Brooklyn, Frankie (Dickinson) is struggling with who he is as his father is dying of cancer.  He searches the internet to hookup with older men but he never really comes out as gay in the film.  He chats…

"Beach Rats: Not Quite a Coming-Out Story"

Person to Person unique but doesn’t intersect

Person to Person is certainly a unique film that has different story lines that don’t quite meet up like I had hoped for. Written and directed by Dustin Guy Defa, the New York-based movie stars Abbi Jacobson, Michael Cera, Tavi Gevinson, Michaela Watkins, Philip Baker Hall, Bene Coopersmith, George Sample III, Ben Rosenfield, Olivia Luccardi, and Isiah Whitlock. It’s a short film with a running time of only 84 minutes but there is so much…

"Person to Person unique but doesn’t intersect"

The Incredible Jessica James is innovative, genuine

Releasing on Netflix this week, The Incredible Jessica James is one of the best comedies that I’ve seen this year. Written and directed by Jim Strouse, the comedy stars Jessica Williams, Chris O’Dowd, Lakeith Stanfield and Noël Wells.  Zabryna Guevera, Taliyah Whitaker, Sarah Jones, Will Stephen, Susan Heyward, and Megan Ketch also star. Jessica Williams, The Daily Show alumnus, breaks out in her role as Jessica James, a young playwright in New York City.  At…

"The Incredible Jessica James is innovative, genuine"

Director Christopher Nolan declares war on Netflix

Director Christopher Nolan, whose new film Dunkirk hits theaters on Friday, had some not-so-nice things to say about Netflix and their aversion to theatrical releases. Nolan spoke with Indiewire this week in an interview. “Netflix has a bizarre aversion to supporting theatrical films,” Nolan said in an interview this week. “They have this mindless policy of everything having to be simultaneously streamed and released, which is obviously an untenable model for theatrical presentation. So they’re…

"Director Christopher Nolan declares war on Netflix"