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Preview: Film Clips with Paul Hood

Film Clips with Paul Hood



The latest movie reviews, news and more by a local Harrisburg film critic



Last Build Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2014 22:50:36 UTC

Copyright: Copyright 2015
 



Film Clips: Foner & Hood Discuss 'Boyhood'

Tue, 19 Aug 2014 22:02:04 UTC

2014-08-19T22:50:36Z

Boyhood, the latest from director Richard Linklater, the mind behind such films as Dazed and Confused and School of Rock, delivers his Magnum Opus in an epic work that shows the life of a young boy from ages 5 to 18. In this episode of Foner&Hood-Harrisburg’s resident cinephiles- they team up with (and welcome) Midtown Cinema film critic and Burg...

Boyhood, the latest from director Richard Linklater, the mind behind such films as Dazed and Confused and School of Rock, delivers his Magnum Opus in an epic work that shows the life of a young boy from ages 5 to 18. In this episode of Foner&Hood-Harrisburg’s resident cinephiles- they team up with (and welcome) Midtown Cinema film critic and Burg Magazine Columnist, Sammi Leigh Melville to discuss this groundbreaking film, which stars Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette and Eller Coltrane.

 

The three critics touch on the film’s seamless evolution, its ability to highlight relatable moments, as well as how Linklater may have placed himself amongst the finest in Hollywood.

 

This film is now playing at Midtown Cinema www.midtowncinema.com

 

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Foner & Hood Discuss 'Snowpiercer'

Tue, 15 Jul 2014 17:24:14 UTC

2014-07-15T18:20:10Z

A dystopian survival tale often involves your usual hero, heroine or anti-hero, an apocalyptic event and a series of action sequences that appear more exterior than interior in regards to plotting. But in the case of ‘Snowpiecer,’ a film about a non-stop train filled with survivors of a world experiment gone bad, revelations both shocking and heartfelt are examined....

A dystopian survival tale often involves your usual hero, heroine or anti-hero, an apocalyptic event and a series of action sequences that appear more exterior than interior in regards to plotting. But in the case of ‘Snowpiecer,’ a film about a non-stop train filled with survivors of a world experiment gone bad, revelations both shocking and heartfelt are examined.

Starring Chris Evans, John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer and Kang-ho Song, Snowpiercer borders absurd satire, but remains dark and sardonic and infused with chaos and surprise. Evans, although convincing as the leader of those from the “tail end” appears to channel in similar characterizations from his role as Captain Steve Rogers from Captain America, but offers a solid performance in this hair-raising effort from visionary director Joon-ho Bong.

 

The following is a review from Harrisburg’s own Foner & Hood, a local film review webcast set to appear monthly here on pennlive.com, featuring insights on indie cinema from playwright and pennlive blogger/film critic Paul Hood and Harrisburg Young Professional Arts Committee member and writer, Joe Foner.

For more on this film, check out the review on Foner&Hood, a new film review web/podcast coming to Harrisburg! Follow us on Facebook at Foner & Hood, Movie Reviews

This film is now playing at www.midtowncinema.com

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A Thumbs Up for 'Life Itself' (Film Clips with Paul Hood)

Mon, 07 Jul 2014 16:27:24 UTC

2014-07-07T17:29:16Z

From the pages of Roger Ebert’s touching memoir, ‘Life Itself,’ the moving and heartfelt story of the late Pulitzer Prize winning film critic’s inspiring life, comes a new documentary that examines the conflicted and determined times of a legend. Directed by Steve James, the documentary- which allows audiences into the life Ebert-hones in on the last stages of a...

From the pages of Roger Ebert’s touching memoir, ‘Life Itself,’ the moving and heartfelt story of the late Pulitzer Prize winning film critic’s inspiring life, comes a new documentary that examines the conflicted and determined times of a legend. Directed by Steve James, the documentary- which allows audiences into the life Ebert-hones in on the last stages of a man shaped by his love of cinema; a retrospective slant allows viewers to become immersed in Ebert’s battle with thyroid cancer all while taking us on a journey extracted from the pages of his memoir of the same name. Cleverly, the film is selective in which parts of Ebert’s life it wants to show, and it chooses the most interesting of bits in a non-linear fashion, such as Ebert’s earlier years in Chicago, when at fifteen years of age he was already displaying the steel-coated moxy and wit of a seasoned journalist, then his college years, where he further developed his intellectual heft, priming what would later seem a necessary prerequisite for a flourishing career as film critic and social commentator.

 

Aside from early developments and forays into the world in which he would soon become a critic (Ebert wrote the screenplay for the bizarre film ‘Beyond the Valley of the Dolls’) Life Itself captures the honesty displayed in Ebert’s writing, and offers an unflinching-and often humorous-look in to Ebert’s rise as a film industry icon. Nothing is sugar coated; true to form in regard to Ebert's unique voice and sensibilities all is fair game in regard to what is highlighted in the film, such as Ebert’s immense ego, his battle with alcoholism and struggles with his once escalating weight, and the never before seen hilarious on camera clashes with his late ‘At the Movies’ partner Gene Siskel, a partnership that on the surface seemed tumultuous at best, but filled with a mutual respect.  

 

The spine of this touching film is showcased through his relationship with his wife Chaz, the definitive rock and savior of a voice in film we may have lost if not for the insertion of her strength and courage; ‘she is the love of my life,’ Ebert says in the film, a statement often heard but not as tangible as revealed in this documentary. Through Chaz we see a softer side of the famed critic, a vulnerability that readers of his insightful-and at time venomous–reviews may not have knew existed, a vital component of a solid documentary; such films allow audiences an inside look, capturing the heart and soul of what drives its subject. ‘Life Itself’ is a delicate yet forthright work, one that avoids disingenuous adulation and cowardice interviews of those that knew Roger Ebert both professionally and personally. It is striking without offering overly intrusive revelations. It is a film worth seeing this summer and one truly worthy of…well…a thumbs up.

Paul Hood is a Playwright, film lecturer and critic from Harrisburg, PA.

Follow him on twitter @hbgwriter




Young Filmmaker's Show Promise (Film Clips with Paul Hood)

Thu, 22 May 2014 20:46:12 UTC

2014-05-22T21:30:11Z

View full sizemftoh  Often young filmmakers embark on projects far less ambitious than most aspiring auteurs of the craft. Of course, none of it is due to lack of talent and vision but more so time and budget constraints. Such was never the case for Max Einhorn, a Temple University Graduate and native of Central Pa., whose latest film, 'My Father, the Old Horse'...

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Often young filmmakers embark on projects far less ambitious than most aspiring auteurs of the craft. Of course, none of it is due to lack of talent and vision but more so time and budget constraints. Such was never the case for Max Einhorn, a Temple University Graduate and native of Central Pa., whose latest film, 'My Father, the Old Horse' was three years in the making, and far beyond its years in regard to unforeseeable challenges.

But with the help of a fine cast and crew, and assistance of equal talents such as Producer and Co-writer Cara Trabucco and Producer Dan Santelli, both of whom are also graduates of Temple University, the finished product offers audiences an inventive reimagining of the Three Mile Island incident of 1979.

Billed as a modern day western, MFTOH also plays as a suitable psychological thriller that bravely avoids linear construct. Spare, yet significant dialogue emits from the soul and mouths of embattled characters portrayed by veteran screen actor Thomas Roy, (Don) who adds season and depth to the film, along with Shawn Feeley, Lee Marcus and Zachary Wanous, to name a few. Actor Shawn Feeley (Mack) takes on a character that appears to carry much of the internal burdens and emotional weight throughout the story.Of course, none of the weight is unevenly distributed; each character takes on tension bestowed on its small town as harrowing events are discovered one day during a family hunting trip. The antagonist, clad in bright yellow hazmat suits, speak through heavily filtered voices, a choice that some may find odd and frustrating, but yet it works to conceal the overlapping mystery, a mystery that reveals itself in sparsely delivered scenes throughout the film. Along with a gripping plot, MFTOH is suspenseful; something further accentuated by composer Andrew Desiderio’s haunting score.

In all MFTOH is a solid effort, a film that shows promise for Writer/Director Max Einhorn, as well as the cast and crew. It's courageous in its take on a historic event, and clever in its ability to reshape fear of unknown consequences caused by an enviromental disaster near a small town. Whether it's something related to the environment or family or what's going on in ones mind and heart, MFTOH is a film that covers many themes.

To learn more about this film visit www.mftoh.com

Paul Hood is a playwright and film reviewer. Follow him on twitter @hbgwriter


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'Her' A Sleeper Worth Seeing (Film Clips with Paul Hood)

Thu, 06 Mar 2014 01:46:33 UTC

2014-03-06T02:30:26Z

View full sizeCollider.Com  Trying to get over a disintegrated marriage and drifting through life, our apathetic protagonist, Theodore Twombley (Joaquin Phoenix) appears to go about his days in slow motion. He is likable, quiet, immersed in a world filled with technology. In short, even his occupation-writing electronic greeting cards-reveals a soft side. 'Her,' which a few days ago earned...

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Trying to get over a disintegrated marriage and drifting through life, our apathetic protagonist, Theodore Twombley (Joaquin Phoenix) appears to go about his days in slow motion. He is likable, quiet, immersed in a world filled with technology. In short, even his occupation-writing electronic greeting cards-reveals a soft side.

'Her,' which a few days ago earned an Oscar for director by Spike Jonze, the filmmaker that brought us such visionary feasts as ‘Being John Malkovich’ and ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ is one part social commentary, equal parts love story with a smidgeon of sexually perverse comedy. As Twombley, Joaquin steps away from his usual characters, playing a conflicted yet amiable man halted by an inability to express true emotions- a suitable irony in that technology itself is void of such a trait. So when he [Twombley] decides to jump back into the dating game after careful chiding from a close friend, (Amy) portrayed by Academy Award nominee, Amy Adams, his flaw is revealed. It is then we’re introduced to an element relatable to all of us: an operating system known as an OS1, which offers companionship and assistance with daily activities.

More engaged than Apple's Siri, Twombley’s OS1 is personalized, engaged and lifelike. Known as Amanda (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), the operating system becomes an integral part of Twombley’s life. But this is where conflict arises and Jonze examines our attachment to electronic devices rather than humans. Simple, this theory, yet timely and relevant and all of this set against a futuristic backdrop both intriguing strikingly beautiful. Spike Jonze uses his story to show us the technological greatness that lies ahead but also warns of the consequences of relying on it too much. It is man vs. machine or, rather, man obtains machine and hides his emotions within a stream of data, where it feels comfortable because at the end of the day it can be shut down, and all that remains is the memory of artificial emotional gratification.

Good films, no matter the size or scope, often challenge us to look within our lives, and that is exactly what ‘Her’ accomplishes. It is funny without losing focus, heartbreaking without becoming overwrought with melodrama, beautiful without relying on aesthetics. It is the sleeper with a message both revelatory and poignant.

This film is now playing.

Paul Hood is a local playwright and film reviewer/lecturer. Follow him on twitter @hbgwriter

 


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Get Inside 'Inside Llewyn Davis' (Film Clips with Paul Hood)

Thu, 16 Jan 2014 03:04:09 UTC

2014-01-18T17:20:03Z

View full sizeOscar Isaac portrays embattled folk musician, Llewyn Davis.imdb.com  Inside Llewyn Davis places its audience smack in the center of the folk music scene in New York, 1961, but more so in to the life of a struggling musician Llewyn Davis himself, a young man whose life is filled with the usual soul pilfering artists deal with. Llewyn-... View full sizeOscar Isaac portrays embattled folk musician, Llewyn Davis.imdb.com  Inside Llewyn Davis places its audience smack in the center of the folk music scene in New York, 1961, but more so in to the life of a struggling musician Llewyn Davis himself, a young man whose life is filled with the usual soul pilfering artists deal with. Llewyn- portrayed with superb understatement by Oscar Isaac- is the quintessential slacker, a cynical lost soul that adheres to others with more centered lives. His acts, deliberate and void of shame, appear selfish at times, selfish to the point of comedy; a closer look within the underlying-and wholly cerebral-moments in the life of Davis, we see a man trying to capture a piece of his life that's missing-one being the absence of his partner-and it comes through in his music, which truthfully is impressive and moving. Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, the brilliant directing duo behind the Academy Award winning Cormac McCarthy adaptation, 'No Country for Old Men,' Llewyn Davis moves similarly to the Coen's ethereal examination of Larry Gopnik in 'A Serious Man.' Scenes in Davis often end fast, with little or no resolve for the questions and confusion that plague Llewyn; one is his constant need to infiltrate the life of a young woman named Jean (Carey Mulligan), a pale and bitter folk-singer that loathes Llewyn's stubborn nature and neediness. In Jean and Llewyn's scenes are comedic moments as Jean chides Llewyn to get his life together while Llewyn annoyingly diverts the conversation. But along with Jean, other characters fill in necessary spots and seem to act as symbols of what Llewyn's life could be if he chooses the right path, which is something he fails to do most times, such as when he [Llewyn] lets the cat out of his friend's ( the Garfiens) apartment, waves his right to royalties on a potential hit song he helps develop so he can receive an immediate advance and hitchhike's with strange men toward the Midwest to meet a producer in the dead of winter, in hopes he can land a deal with a well-known producer of folk music named Bud Grossman (F. Murray Abraham) . Inside Llewyn Davis is a slow, methodical film that may frustrate those wanting scenes that conclude neatly; but true to Coen Brother's form it challenges without slimming on the entertainment value and to have it constructed in such a manner would have cheapened its mystique. For music fans the soundtrack to Llewyn offers a multitude of soothing folk tracks as Llewyn sings his heart out and fails to catch a break both as an artist and a man searching for acceptance. Throw in appearances by John Goodman, Garret Hedlund and Justin Timberlake, as well as 'Girls' Adam Driver, and you have an intriguing film that leaves you with plenty to contemplate. This film is now playing. See it at Midtown Cinema. www.midtowncinema.com Paul Hood is a local playwright and film critic. Follow him on twitter @hbgwriter   src="//www.youtube.com/embed/eXMuR-Nsylg" frameBorder=0 width=560 height=315 allowfullscreen> [...]


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'The Wolf of Wall Street' an Unfocused Howl (Film Clips with Paul Hood)

Mon, 30 Dec 2013 18:23:52 UTC

2013-12-30T20:10:23Z

View full sizeimdb.com  Jordan Belfort had his eyes set on the American dream as a young, penny stockbroker. But in Martin Scorsese's latest work, it is clear that money is the root of all evil, along with drugs, orgies, and diabolic schemes. In a time before Enron and Bernie Madoff, Belfort's company, Stratton Oakmont made tons of money selling... View full sizeimdb.com  Jordan Belfort had his eyes set on the American dream as a young, penny stockbroker. But in Martin Scorsese's latest work, it is clear that money is the root of all evil, along with drugs, orgies, and diabolic schemes. In a time before Enron and Bernie Madoff, Belfort's company, Stratton Oakmont made tons of money selling junk stocks to unsuspecting buyers, raking in astronomical amounts of money. But in Scorsese's over-the-top, overly long take on Belfort's rise and fall, the examination excessive greed and debauchery appears careless and scenes drone on in senseless rhetoric. In short, it appears editing this film was not a consideration, (running time is 3 solid hours) a consideration that may have made the film as tight and focused as the excellent film, 'Goodfellas,' of which Wolf is unapologetically modeled. As a master filmmaker perhaps Scorsese is allowed freedoms, allowed to explore and take risk, an admirable assumption as The Wolf of Wall Street meanders between evident brilliance and cringe-worthy ridiculousness. The brilliance, thankfully, comes in the form of balls-to-the-wall performances from its main cast. Leonardo DiCaprio is dynamite as Belfort, grabbing one by the throat and demanding to be watched and heard. As Belfort he [DiCaprio] is a view of insanity, gluttonous drug-use and egomania, and one finds themselves captivated as he leans in with a furrowed brow and says, "Sell me this pen." Along with DiCaprio, Academy Award nominated Jonah Hill, who has grown up and graduated from the one-dimensional Apatow camp, delivers another grand performance as the cowardice accomplice of Belfort in the role of Donnie Azoff. Complete with a set of cartoonish teeth and even more cartoonish wardrobe, Azoff avoids becoming a static character and legitimizes the film's blatant hyperbolic slant. The flaw in The Wolf of Wall Street is its avoidance of balance. Although there are scenes when Belfort reveals theories behind his greed and a Robin Hood mentality, the dramatic wealth of an impending FBI investigation becomes lost in the fray, causing one to take in far too much implausibility. Although not as focused, one could argue Belfort's high-wired life was indeed one frenetic blur altered by Quaaludes and cocaine, and Scorsese's lean toward the excessive lifestyle was solely to show the absurdity of one man's quest for money and power. DiCaprio's performance is powerful enough, as well as Hill's portrayal of Donnie Azoff and a quick, scene thieving cameo by Matthew McConaughey as Mark Hanna, a man he would later model in his career, but the film's length kills its power. The Wolf of Street does not take itself serious, which may save the movie from obtaining the title of Martin Scorsese's lesser work, but if one is to take this ride, be sure to buckle up and keep an open mind. This movie is now playing.   Paul Hood is a local Playwright and Film Critic from Harrisburg, PA. follow him on twitter @hbgwriter     src="//www.youtube.com/embed/iszwuX1AK6A" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315" allowfullscreen=""> [...]


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McConaughey and Leto, Fierce in Dallas Buyers Club (Film Clips with Paul Hood)

Sun, 01 Dec 2013 22:51:09 UTC

2013-12-06T05:22:06Z

View full sizeimdb.com  Throughout the history of worthy transformations in film, transformations such as the striking frailty of Christian Bale in the psychological horror, The Machinist, and the weight gained by Charlize Theron in Monster, to name a few, nothing has prepared audiences for the unrecognizable physical nature of Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club. Purely surface,... View full sizeimdb.com  Throughout the history of worthy transformations in film, transformations such as the striking frailty of Christian Bale in the psychological horror, The Machinist, and the weight gained by Charlize Theron in Monster, to name a few, nothing has prepared audiences for the unrecognizable physical nature of Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club. Purely surface, and a skin upon bones conduit for a character suffering from full-blown aids, the true story behind Texas playboy, Ron Woodruff, and his battle to illegally obtain effective medications for other AIDS sufferers during the height and controversy of the disease in the 80's, is more a tale about the human spirit and life purpose. For the second time since his lauded performance in Mud, McConaughey elevates his screen prowess. Although as Woodruff, the quintessential ladies man and true Texan adept with a crusty demeanor and penchant for bigotry and homophobia, which run rampant as we watch his deterioration, we can't help but latch on with intrigue. Woodruff's Texas drawl is laced with profanities and off-color remarks and one may quickly find they want to loathe him, loathe him until he receives the horrible news about his diminishing T-cell count and inevitable death (he learns he has 30 days left). But as the bottom falls out for Woodruff waiting below is his reason for living, and through this his soul is unearthed, revealing a man determined to beat his illness and provide hope to others. One of his eventual suitors is a young, lost soul named Rayon. Stunningly portrayed by Jared Leto, Rayon, a male cross-dresser stricken with AIDS, is enigmatic, sly, an androgynous mystery that cracks the veneer of Woodruff's gruff outlook on alternative lifestyles. Through Rayon we see the disintegration of a life and the prolonging of another in Woodruff, and although back-story is offered in quick spurts on both characters, the strength of the story offers enough, and immerses us in two of the best screen performances of the year. Dallas Buyers Club is testament to the strength of mind and will to live. Although grim it is filled with humor and revelation and takes one back to a harrowing time in American history; a time when the AIDS epidemic was in full swing and the country was at odds with gay communities across the country. In a small role played by Jennifer Garner as a physician that comes to believe the dreaded AZT trials do more harm than help, we get a glimpse of what lies ahead and a sense of hope about one Ron Woodruff's defining moment. This film is now playing at Midtown Cinema www.midtowncinema.com Paul Hood is a Playwright and Film Critic in Harrisburg, PA. follow him on twitter @hbgwriter src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Hs1kpGNSRVk" frameBorder=0 width=560 height=315 allowfullscreen> [...]


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McQueen's Artistry Captivates in '12 Years' (Film Clips with Paul Hood)

Sat, 23 Nov 2013 18:56:51 UTC

2013-11-23T19:36:07Z

View full sizeimdb.com  There's a movie of importance in theaters; this movie, the third feature-length film in director Steve McQueen's young, yet brilliant career as a filmmaker is '12 Years a Slave,' which, although much shorter, has received whispered comparisons from many moviegoers as having the same affect as Steven Spielberg's epic holocaust film, Schindler's List. Based on the true story of Solomon... View full sizeimdb.com  There's a movie of importance in theaters; this movie, the third feature-length film in director Steve McQueen's young, yet brilliant career as a filmmaker is '12 Years a Slave,' which, although much shorter, has received whispered comparisons from many moviegoers as having the same affect as Steven Spielberg's epic holocaust film, Schindler's List. Based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free man caught up in harrowing plan of deception as he is duped into thinking he has landed a good job with a group of traveling musicians, the story follows Northup's plight with a close, unforgivable lens that immerses audiences into the day to day gruel of mental and physical torture. In fact, there are multiple scenes in which horrid, inhumane acts are played out in entirety, as though McQueen wants one to never forget the anguish, the southern heat, the scars and punishment endured. A tight script composed by screenwriter, John Ridley, runs seamless against McQueen's methodical direction, as well with Chiwetel Ejiofor's portrayal of Northup, a family man with considerable talent. In a film that 's subtle in condensing time, Ejiofor's metamorphosis from mild mannered father to captive slave is nothing short of stunning and not one frame of it is delicate by any means. This is truly a brave film. It is brave in that it reopens a cauterized wound on the surface of American history, and dares its viewers to turn away. But to turn away is denial, cowardice even. To turn away is rejection of acts some that shaped our society. Therefore, one is forced to review horrible events, such as the ruthless physical and psychological acts committed by slave-owner, Edwin Epps, played by Michael Fassbender, in a role sure to garner attention from the academy. Fassbender as Epps is fiery and unpredictable, conflicted, hypocritical in his faith, a virtual demon among humans, whom in various scenes is called out by his mistress, portrayed by Sarah Paulson, a woman whom also walks a thin line in regard to her religious beliefs as she is hateful and vindictive toward house staff. A-list actors fill roles to help carry the film, reputable talents such as Paul Giammati, Benedict Cumberbactch, Alfre Woodard along with Lupita Nyong'o (Nyong'o is excellent in her big–screen debut) and Brad Pitt, whom in a small but significant role becomes the voice of future ideals that reach out to all of us. This must see film is now playing at Midtown Cinema. www.midtowncinema.com Paul Hood is playwright and film critic from Harrisburg, PA. follow him on twitter @hbgwriter phwroteit@gmail.com           src="//www.youtube.com/embed/iiw1cYXQw4g" frameBorder=0 width=560 height=315 allowfullscreen> [...]


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'Enough Said' Says Enough (Film Clips with Paul Hood)

Thu, 24 Oct 2013 21:59:10 UTC

2013-10-24T22:18:53Z

Few romantic comedies dabble in realism. As of late, films in this genre have leaned toward the examination of love on terms applicable to the millennial generation, revealing the plights and conflicts of hipsters yearning to find love amongst the hopeless, techno-driven society saddled with ridiculous rules about dating, which often misleads us toward implausible fantasies no matter how... Few romantic comedies dabble in realism. As of late, films in this genre have leaned toward the examination of love on terms applicable to the millennial generation, revealing the plights and conflicts of hipsters yearning to find love amongst the hopeless, techno-driven society saddled with ridiculous rules about dating, which often misleads us toward implausible fantasies no matter how cute they appear. But in the case of the charming film, 'Enough Said,' now playing at Midtown Cinema www.midtowncinema.com directed by Nichole Holofcener and starring the late James Gandolfini along with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the blossoming of a love affair between two middle-aged divorcees avoids the cutesy fluff and strips away the potential of an hour and a half of whiny, contemplative situations and happily exposes remnants of an authentic romance, accentuated with comical circumstances involving Eva (Dreyfus) who finds out Albert- the man she has an interest in-played by Gandolfini, is the ex-husband of one of her clients (Eva's self employed as a masseuse) a woman who so happens to have nothing positive to say about Albert. A lot of the comedy derives from Eva's apparent shallowness, something that appears embedded in her due to the fact her clients all have personality traits that help her gauge what she does not want in a man. Dreyfus offers us her usual dry wit, combined with her girlish sensibilities that force us to accept her quirks, something that makes her interest in Albert more endearing. Albert is the quintessential wounded teddy- bear. Gandolfini-in a role far and away from his notorious lead role on the HBO mega-hit 'Sopranos"- is likeable as a divorcee that, refreshingly, is a man we want to root for instead of the usual romantic comedy male lead we're supposed to loathe and wonder how he was able to marry in the first place. Of course, this wouldn't-and isn't-suppose to work, for the mere fact that in today's world some may say, 'you are what you attract, physically' but this is what Enough Said debunks in its subtle, yet poignant story of looking beyond the surface because on the outside these two souls glow from within, and they shine together when dark influence fails to act as a dimmer (that being the influence of Albert's ex-wife, Marianne, portrayed by Catherine Keener). Things in common and positions in life are what bring people together. The B plot deals with major life changes as both Albert and Eva come to grips with their children leaving the nest, so there is reason, room left for the connection to move onward and prosper. Luckily, we're privy to the beginning of it all.   Paul Hood is a local playwright and reviewer of film. Follow him on twitter at hbgwriter.       src="//www.youtube.com/embed/L1TDTv_tGd8" frameBorder=0 width=560 height=315 allowfullscreen> [...]



'Closed Circuit' More of the Same? (Film Clips with Paul Hood)

Tue, 10 Sep 2013 14:27:53 UTC

2013-09-10T14:46:10Z

View full sizeimdb.com  When it comes to thrillers, certain criteria are required to deem the movies within the genre a success. In the case of Closed Circuit, a film starring Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall and Jim Broadbent, a dwindled romance is infused into a winding, almost text-book formula. Set in London, the story begins with an act of terrorism...

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When it comes to thrillers, certain criteria are required to deem the movies within the genre a success. In the case of Closed Circuit, a film starring Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall and Jim Broadbent, a dwindled romance is infused into a winding, almost text-book formula.

Set in London, the story begins with an act of terrorism that takes place at a public market. From there we're quickly taken along the path of fallout and schemes that result from the investigation. Are there surprises? Yes. Are there clever diversions and witty banter? Yes. But what we as audiences fail to receive from a film not quite bad enough to have us looking at our smartphones, are original turns within an all too familiar plot structure. Even the characters look and feel like ones we've seen before. Eric Bana, as conflicted Barrister, Martin Rose still reels from the memories accumulated from his once promising marriage, and looks and sounds like your typical male protagonist searching for truth amongst mental turmoil: the fashionable stubble, tousled hair, and worn clothes that somehow manage to remain, well, awesomely worn...

Nevertheless the wardrobe covers a character that offers nothing new, nothing insightful, no amount of introspective revelation; of course we are privy to his memories and theories about the case, but none of it feels satisfying due to the film's expected devices, not even veteran actor Jim Broadbent as a wise Attorney General lends intrigue, nor the implementation of a mysterious character played by Julia Stiles (in a role that feels purposely modeled after her character in 'The Bourne Identity').

Closed Circuit is not a bad film by any means, Rebecca Hall gives the film substance and emotion, Bana is solid and Jim Broadbent is always a consistent performer; but the overall draw of the film takes place in its set-up. From there it all begins to go on without much to chew on.

 

Paul Hood is a Playwright and Film Critic from Harrisburg, PA. Follow him on twitter @hbgwriter

 

 

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Blanchett Saves Allen's 'Blue Jasmine' (Film Clips with Paul Hood)

Sat, 31 Aug 2013 16:48:30 UTC

2013-08-31T18:34:43Z

In a rather simplistic approach to the 'rags-to-riches' tale, Allen reverses the theme, and relies heavily on his sole protagonist, Jasmine.

In Woody Allen's latest film, 'Blue Jasmine', the 78 year old filmmaker explores the unfurling of a life defined by prominence; and for those familiar with Allen's work, the saving grace of Allen's wicked character study is his ability to transplant stock characters to a setting other than his beloved landscape of Manhattan.

In a rather simplistic approach to the 'rags-to-riches' tale, Allen reverses the theme, and relies heavily on his sole protagonist, Jasmine –superbly portrayed by Cate Blanchett-by flanking her with characters that seem as though yanked from an early film by Martin Scorsese, such as Chili, (Bobby Cannavale) the dim-witted, working class boyfriend of her utterly confused adopted sister, Ginger, played by Sally Hawkins. Further, a surprise awaits moviegoers with the insertion of an amiable but crusty individual named Augie, played by none other than stand-up comic Andrew "Dice" Clay, whom remarkably, shows no sign of the Dice Man himself, as he reveals acting chops under Allen's careful direction.

The greatness in Blue Jasmine, which falters in comparison to Allen's strongest work (Husbands & Wives, Crimes and Misdemeanor's, Match Point) in regard to imaginary scope, recovers with satisfaction in part because solid acting is the focus; most notably the incredible performance by Blanchett, as takes on the task of delivering of a woman unhinged from a life that once sustained her mental and financial stability, along with her overall happiness, happiness squandered by her conniving husband, played by Alec Baldwin in yet another typecast role. These items, quite detrimental for Jasmine, help solidify stark characterizations clearly bred for the likeness of Blanchett's acting skill.

With clever weaving of Jasmine's story through seamless flashbacks, Allen highlights critical devices within his subplot-devices that contain his obsession with lies, deception, along with intertwining of infidelity and insecurities among couples. Although overused by Allen throughout his career, all is forgiven when the tools he's comfortable with fall into place and further shadow the dimmed soul of Jasmine. In short the saving grace of Allen's use of familiar themes, such as disintegrated affluence and internal conflict, remain striking due to the fierce portrayal offered by Blanchett, an actress undoubtedly undeterred when absorbing characters with emotional weight and substance.

This film is now playing at midtown cinema

Paul Hood is a local film critic and playwright; follow him on twitter @hbgwriter

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Yes, 'The Conjuring' Scares. (Film Clips with Paul Hood)

Sat, 27 Jul 2013 18:07:12 UTC

2013-07-27T18:40:40Z

The Conjuring gets under your skin, gradually building its eventual outcome, one that induces flinches and gasps...

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Not since the Exorcist has a horror film had the pacing and deliverance of back-story both enthralling and touching as the brilliance constructed in what could be justified as a legitimate throwback to old-school scares. But in taking in the "The Conjuring" a film based on actual events it is clear: the classic rules of this long, lost genre are reinstated, happily.

With today's rehashing of classic slasher-style elements and the onslaught of lame "found footage" films that visually shake upon the screen more than "shake up" dormant fears within the mind of moviegoers, The Conjuring gets under your skin, gradually building its eventual outcome, one that induces flinches and gasps, and it does not let go until its conclusion.

Starring Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, audiences are shown a B-Plot that cleverly foreshadows events that occur later in the film, (something done with tact and avoidance of spoon-feeding throughout the film) in which a creepy doll becomes the sudden conduit of a vile entity. With this the opening scene is a taste what's to come, and perhaps allows the squeamish to opt out. But if one chooses to stay along for the horrifying journey, this homage to horror-done-right shows how one family's fight against a mysterious entity raises questions about religion and insanity, all while completely scaring one out of their wits.

 

This film is now playing

Paul Hood is a playwright and film critic from Harrisburg, PA. follow him on twitter: @hbgwriter 

 

 

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Yes, I still write reviews, among other things

Mon, 01 Jul 2013 23:04:28 UTC

2013-07-02T01:13:32Z

It's been a busy year for me as a writer, and recently I was asked a question by one of my readers, or rather, presented a statement that made me feel as though I was being neglectful. "So, Paul, we haven't read any reviews from you in quite some time," he said. I thought about my year, and what... It's been a busy year for me as a writer, and recently I was asked a question by one of my readers, or rather, presented a statement that made me feel as though I was being neglectful. "So, Paul, we haven't read any reviews from you in quite some time," he said. I thought about my year, and what caused me to set aside writing reviews consistently, and all I could come up with was I had ventured into the world of writing for the stage and screen, reasons that brought me toward analyzing film in the first place, a passion that's lead me into lecturing about film at Harrisburg University with Philosophy Professor Scott Foulkrod, as well as reviewing theater, something I was honored to do for the Patriot-News/Pennlive during the beginning of the new theater season. But as passions go, I dived into mine, having one of my plays (Aldous Remembers) published by a London/South Africa-Based e-publisher, Off the Wall Plays; and then finishing a screenplay (one I cannot mention for contractual reasons) which is now, hopefully, growing a set of strong legs within the industry. Other projects, such as the award-winning short film, 'The Patient', had me assembling part of the cast. Also one of my short works (Other Cat) was recently presented at Hershey Area Playhouse as part of Playwrights Alliance of Pennsylvania's 'Storm Stories.' Soon I'm off to Cape Cod in a few weeks to conduct a playwriting workshop at the wonderful Cotuit Library located in Barnstable, Ma., as well as other projects in the works. So as to not frustrate those following my short analysis of films, I am offering you my thoughts on a few I have not had a chance to write about...until now.   Man of Steel Henry Cavill dons the cape of a cultural icon, slightly more beefed up than the Superman in Christopher Nolan's less-than-stellar version. Man of Steel is filled with highly philosophical inquiries and a smidge of religious meaning. It is a far more spiritual and darker take on the origins of Clark Kent as it shows his struggle to harness his gifts. It is the cerebral mixed with the fantastical. And it is rated PG-13.   Before Midnight Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy star in this realistic view of a romance once fueled by passion and distance. Richard Linklater (School of Rock) does not shy away from leaving the camera stationary, and offers viewers a voyeuristic, fly-on-the-wall experience making us privy to the ups and downs of married life when outside elements infiltrate the bond. Searing arguments ensue, and there are moments where you may wonder if love will prevail. It may be tough for romances on the brink, but revelatory and eye-opening for ones open to discussion. And it is Rated-R. World War Z This summer has no shortage of science-fiction films, and with the upcoming release of two highly anticipated popcorn-munching romps (Elysius and Pacific Rim) one may have feelings of guilt for not having read the acclaimed Max Brook novel (which is a solid read) but may enjoy the overall structure and the characters presented in World War Z, which does a marvelous job of avoiding senseless gore. But fans of this genre may enjoy following Brad Pitt across the globe as he takes on a zombie pandemic. Of course Pitt offers his usual quirky style of acting but is a likable hero with heart and bravery. And this film is rated PG-13 This is the[...]



'Frances Ha' is Inspiring, Subtle (Film Clips with Paul Hood)

Mon, 17 Jun 2013 20:07:40 UTC

2013-06-18T18:38:16Z

View full sizeimdb.com  Frances lives in New York, but really does not live in New York; she is a dancer but doesn't  dance either. In fact it is apparent Frances does not quite have it together. Her life is in a sort of proverbial purgatory, a limbo complete with the pontifications of a New York hipster trying to find...

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Frances lives in New York, but really does not live in New York; she is a dancer but doesn't  dance either. In fact it is apparent Frances does not quite have it together. Her life is in a sort of proverbial purgatory, a limbo complete with the pontifications of a New York hipster trying to find a way in the city of dreams. But as examined in Noah Baumbach's latest film, none of this deters her yearning to express exactly who she is. Greta Gerwig, who has become a delightful presence on-screen, plays the title role. Frances is a tall girl; awkward in nearly every presentation of herself to others, and her uncomfortable ramblings are quite comedic; but that is the mere surface of a woman quite determined to find her way.

 

The screenplay, penned by both Baumbach and Gerwig, is filled with humorous subtleties that may get lost on those who prefer a more direct approach to comedy, and Baumbach infuses wit with relevance, making his latest work relatable and avoids the usual disconnect from non-hipsters; we feel Frances' plight is relatable in that she is lost among the established, the privileged, and the lucky. But none of this stops Frances from becoming what she desires, and none of it keeps us from loving her.

This film is now playing at Midtown Cinema

www.midtowncinema.com 

Paul Hood is film and theater critic from Harrisburg, Pa.

 

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Have a 'Close Encounter' with Elks Theatre's Spielberg Fest (Film Clips with Paul Hood)

Fri, 07 Jun 2013 19:17:26 UTC

2013-06-08T15:37:44Z

View full sizeElks Theatre  Beginning July 8th, at the historic Elks Theatre in Middletown,elksmovies.wordpress.com a month-long tribute to master visionary, Steven Spielberg, begins with a widely popular suspense/thriller. 'Jaws'www.imdb.com/title/tt0073195/?ref_=sr_2 based off the acclaimed novel written by Peter Benchley, was undoubtedly the smash hit of the summer of 1975. The story, accompanied by what has to be one of the most popular film scores written by veteran composer, John...

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Beginning July 8th, at the historic Elks Theatre in Middletown,elksmovies.wordpress.com a month-long tribute to master visionary, Steven Spielberg, begins with a widely popular suspense/thriller.

'Jaws'www.imdb.com/title/tt0073195/?ref_=sr_2 based off the acclaimed novel written by Peter Benchley, was undoubtedly the smash hit of the summer of 1975. The story, accompanied by what has to be one of the most popular film scores written by veteran composer, John Williams, centers on a great white shark that terrorizes the small town of Amity, a small island community.

Starring Roy Schieder, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss, Jaws is touted by many film-enthusiasts as the first summer blockbuster, and a film that was a huge success because of a disastrous error during production when a vast percentage of the film was destroyed, causing Spielberg to resort to a 'less-is-more' approach. 

For the new generation there is now a chance to take in what essentially launched the career of one of the film industry's most gifted filmmakers, as well as other Spielberg classics such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. (Extra Terrestrial) and Saving Private Ryan. During the weekend of June 28th, Saving Private Ryan, which won Spielberg an Academy Award for best Director in 1998, will include a Tribute to the Troops sponsored by Middletown VFW Post 1620.

 

All classic films are shown in 35mm. Ticket prices for the event are $8.00 and shows start at 7:30pm

 

Paul Hood is a writer and film critic from Harrisburg, PA.

 

 

 

 


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