Movie: Men at Lunch

Men at LunchThe one-hour fifteen minute documentary Men at Lunch pretty much delivers on its promise: to explore the many facets of the famous 1932 photograph of eleven iron workers eating lunch atop the skyscraper at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York while it was under construction.

Corbis, which bought the photo some years ago and collects its licensing fees, says it is the best selling image in its archive.

The documentary creates some mystery around the photo, enough to maintain a compelling narrative for most of the film, although the last act does drag as it explores who some of the individual 11 men in the photo were. Continue reading

Movie: Thanks for Sharing

Thanks for SharingThanks for Sharing is first and foremost a movie about addiction. It does not moralize, demonize or glorify it. Instead, it shows us what addiction is, plain and simple.

The story follows several sex addicts in various phases of their lives: from a the recovered turned mentor who is still married to his wife, to the newbie addict who is forced to deal with his addiction because of a court order. As we follow these characters’ lives, one thing becomes clear: there is absolutely nothing sexy about about sex addiction. Continue reading

Movie: The Company You Keep

The Company You GateRobert Redford’s The Company You Keep is one of those quiet mystery / thriller types of movies Hollywood should be making more of. What makes it so compelling is the structure of the script and how it untangles the mystery at hand.

The big secret to its formula is this: there is always another, bigger mystery.

When questions are raised in the beginning about the character played by Redford, you think you’re being set up for an entire feature length adventure to find the answer. But when the answer comes twenty minutes or so later, it is not only satisfying to get the answer, but in doing so it raises a slew of other questions that in themselves seem like enough to sustain the remainder of the film. But they, too, are answered in time, and the process continues and repeats. Continue reading

Movie: Blue Jasmine

Blue JasmineWood Allen has been a roll these past few summers. Midnight in Paris was one of the best movies of 2011 (listen to my review here), and last year’s To Rome With Love, while uneven, had several laugh out loud moments. On this basis alone I wanted to see Blue Jasmine, expecting some more quirky Woody Allen comedic charm.

Unfortunately, when it comes to threes, the third time is not a charm, instead illustrating that three’s a crowd. The problem is more than just that Cate Blanchett as Jasmine is unlikable — she is also irredeemable. You don’t want to root for her, for good or bad, and you will find yourself wishing that all the other characters in the movie just kick her out of their lives so it will all be over with and we can all leave the theater. Continue reading