Like Ficarra and Requa’s 2011 comedy Crazy Stupid Love, Focus begins promisingly and bops along enjoyably for a while, only to run out of steam…
"The Broken Down Grace of Bill Murray": After some extensive research and countless hours of voracious movie-watching, Nathan Rabin of The Dissolve has put together a comprehensive retrospective on Bill Murray.
"It’s tempting to suggest that Murray has learned how to cultivate an air of mystery. But the truth is that mystery can’t be cultivated, any more than charisma or magnetism can: An artist either has it or doesn’t. Murray, remarkably, has been able to maintain it even after appearing in Larger Than Life, Osmosis Jones, and multiple motion pictures in which he provided Garfield’s voice. That helps explain the remarkable longevity of Murray’s career. Of everyone Murray started out with atSaturday Night Live, he’s the only one who has gone the distance, the one who hasn’t died, semi-retired, or been rendered irrelevant by the cruelty of time and a lack of reverence for his comic elders."
"How Her Helped Me Fall In and Out of Love": Spike Jonze has created a work of art that has connected with audiences in a beautifully personal way. That much is true for Kyle Turner at The Movie Scene. See also: By Lauren Wilford at Patheos, "A Guest Review of Her".
"That intangibility ends up being an interesting obstacle. Samantha asks, “What’s it like to be alive in that room?” Theodore lays on his back and describes the feeling of being alive. He and I were left laying on our sides talking to one another late into the hours of the night (yay time zones!) talking on Skype, revealing to one another what was on our minds. I was intoxicated, drunk on the beauty of his heart and mind. But you can’t help wondering what it’s like to feel the warmth of their skin, the softness of their lips, the minute fibers in each hair on their arm, or the cool mist of their breath."
"This Old Man": At The New Yorker Robert Angell wittily and poignantly writes about aging, memory, death, loss and most importantly, our primal need for affection. Life in the nineties.
"People my age and younger friends as well seem able to recall entire tapestries of childhood, and swatches from their children’s early lives as well: conversations, exact meals, birthday parties, illnesses, picnics, vacation B. and B.s, trips to the ballet, the time when . . . I can’t do this and it eats at me, but then, without announcement or connection, something turns up. I am walking on Ludlow Lane, in Snedens, with my two young daughters, years ago on a summer morning. I’m in my late thirties; they’re about nine and six, and I’m complaining about the steep little stretch of road between us and our house, just up the hill. Maybe I’m getting old, I offer. Then I say that one day I’ll be really old and they’ll have to hold me up. I imitate an old man mumbling nonsense and start to walk with wobbly legs. Callie and Alice scream with laughter and hold me up, one on each side. When I stop, they ask for more, and we do this over and over."
"Beyond True Detective: 17 TV Long Takes Worth Your Attention": A whole host of writers at the A.V. Club have compiled a list of 17 long takes worthy of your time and energy.
"The fourth episode of True Detective has brought new attention to a TV necessity: the long shot, often taking the form of a tracking shot. Such shots are frequently celebrated in film—think of Martin Scorsese’s use of tracking shots over the years, or the self-parodying opening of Robert Altman’s The Player—but critics rarely call attention to them on TV, perhaps because TV is more of a writers’ medium, or perhaps because they’re simply not as showy as others, often blending into the background. The True Detective shot is neither of those things. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga is the sole director for all eight episodes of the series’ first season, and the shot is a long, intricate piece of action choreography that feels lifted straight from a Michael Mann film. It’s an impressive accomplishment, but it’s not unprecedented in television history."
"Soundstage Tunisia": Jesse Dukes of VQR sheds light on Hollywood's favorite desert nation.
"The best time is sunset. Drive west from Tozeur, Tunisia, past the date palm oasis of Nefta, and you will find the northwestern reach of the Chott El-Jerid—a seasonally dry salt lake that glistens slightly under orange skies. Keep the scrubby dunes and silhouetted dromedaries on your right as you drive straight toward the Algerian border for seven kilometers. Look left across the endless dry lake bed and you can just make out a gleaming white dot against the pinkish gray of the flat. Aim for the dot. Soon enough jeep tracks appear, which you follow over crunchy salt dust to arrive at a small igloo-like structure next to a small, shallow crater. Look familiar?"
RogerEbert.com contributor Glenn Kenny and Matthew Zurcher discuss the associational power of sound in Stanley Kubrick movies. Image from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Read the full conversation at To Be Cont'd.
Have you ever wondered how many superfluous questions Ellen Page asks in Christopher Nolan's Inception? Probably not. No matter, the comical people at Funny or Die have put together yet another gem for your amusement: Inception Supercut : Every Ellen Page Question.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
The RogerEbert.com pick for the Best Director of 2014.
On how Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper" examines evil.
The RogerEbert.com staff pick for the Best Animated Film of 2015.