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Monday, November 23, 2015


A moving story. 
Anyone who has been waiting for a big romance should head to Brooklyn today. (The film, not the city.)

Newbie director John Crowley’s robust romantic drama tells the story of Eilis (Saoirse Ronan), a wallflower from a small town in 1950’s Ireland who reluctantly leaves her family for job security in New York. She moves to Brooklyn and eventually meets Tony (Emory Cohen), a young Italian plumber. When these two lock hearts, it’s the type of startling movie magic I’m not sure we’ve seen since Jack met Rose in 1998. 

Brooklyn is a romance first, but it finds extra purpose by telling the story of a young woman struggling to find her place in this world and hoping to build a better life. It’s hard not to feel something during every moment of this lush film. 

Last year, the best movies of the year were edgy, inventive films (Birdman, Boyhood and Budapest). This year’s best films are non-cynical Hollywood classics: a newspaper detective story (Spotlight), a cold war thriller (Bridge of Spies) and Brooklyn, a non-cynical gusher. While I’ve been looking for the next new thing, it appears the best films of 2015 are throwbacks to what Hollywood does best — the type of films that “Hollywood doesn’t produce anymore.” I like it both ways; I think I’ll just start looking for movies that begin with a “B.”

Simply put: Straight outta Brooklyn: a tender, lush masterpiece. 

Award potential: Expect nominations for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actress. I’d love to see newcomer nominations for Best Director and Best Actor, but those seem unlikely, as does Julie Walters for Best Supporting Actress.

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks.

Friday, November 20, 2015


All the Globe's Men.
As someone who works inside a newspaper building, I have to confess that I may be biased reviewing this film; I love a solid journalism movies. Spotlight, however, is a stellar one.

Technically, this is the true story of how a journalist team at the Boston Globe shed light on the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese.

Artistically, this is a love letter to investigative journalism and the heroism involved in getting the truth out.

This story is set in 2001. That’s just 14 years ago but it was visually amazing to me how much paper the offices and libraries are filled with. And it’s more amazing to watch how director Tom McCarthy (The Visitor) pulls riveting drama out of a docker-adorned team flipping through pages and books, trying to get the story right. They also want to get it first, and that causes a furious tension throughout the film. It's one of the best of 2015.

I can’t speak for someone who is a Catholic, but this film doesn’t have much room for religion bashing. Even our heroes are flawed folks. There have been similar cover-ups in the NFL recently, so I saw the Catholic Church shown as an organization, not a collection of Christians who believe. I don’t see religion or football any differently because of those actions. I think that’s the spirit the filmmakers were going for.

Simply put: Stop the presses! This is the best newspaper movie since All The President’s Men.

Award potential: Likely Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actors (Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo). The frontrunner for the Best Ensemble Golden Globe for Drama.

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks.