Maize and brew: Student baristas take coffee seriously

December 7, 2010

“The best part of my job is all the people I get to meet and talk to, straight up,” Roney said. “Coffee’s very interesting. I’ve been very interested in it for a long time. But I think what makes me like it more than other jobs I’ve had is that face-to-face interaction with hundreds of people every day. It’s an extrovert’s job.”

Happy holidays, Hollywood

December 6, 2010

My love of snow and the holiday season is largely based on movie depictions — that kid rejoicing last Wednesday wasn’t actually me, it was Fuller (Kieran Culkin) in “Home Alone 2.” Film has historically exploited the season to the fullest extent, and yet has perpetuated holiday family values in direct, easily understood fashion.

The HARRY POTTER generation

November 21, 2010

College-aged viewers — the ones old enough to remember every moment of the last 12 years of “Harry Potter” but young enough to relate to the boy-wizard’s plight — are the lifeblood of the series, no matter how many times older generations chastise us for obsessing over “a kids’ book.” Some (older) people really just don’t get it. I’m not obsessed, but I fully understand that “Harry Potter” is our story — we grew up with it, and we’re seeing it reach a fittingly epic end with its seventh and eighth films.

New Michigan-based film company premieres ‘The Art of Power’

November 18, 2010

“Movies and everything going forward are going to be really different,” he said. “It’s going to be interesting coming up … seeing who makes the first move and what it is.”

Trains, Tony Scott, and Denzel: The UNSTOPPABLE combo strikes again

November 14, 2010

“Unstoppable” is stripped down and presented almost entirely in real-time. The runaway train is a formidable villain, and its mysterious, almost mystical quality is one of the film’s strongest points. Carrying large amounts of toxic chemicals, it is never fully explained how serious its damage would be, but the realistic in-the-moment presentation is thrilling.

Making musical memories in cinema

November 7, 2010

Whenever I hear the piano exit to “Layla,” it’s not that I see the entire montage from Goodfellas; the importance of the combination is that each form informs and changes the other. For me, just as much as “Layla” is an essential part of “Goodfellas,” the film has become an essential part of my experience of the song. The same way that people relive their memories to music, my experience of music often returns me to a film. That said, music in film is more than mathematical and the combination is far more than the sum of its parts. Music combined with a visual medium can change the way we move, the way we respond to real situations and most importantly, the way we remember.

From avid film viewer to struggling screenwriter

October 24, 2010

When I watch a film, story can take a back seat, and the macro film’s fatal flaws matter little in the context of the micro scene’s emotional connection. In every subsequent moment, the film has a chance to win me over. I don’t watch anything with a cynical urge to throw it away, and I don’t make a judgment until the closing credits roll. I’m an easy sell. And I’m the type of viewer that movie studios love. That said, much to my chagrin, my viewer identity doesn’t translate well into a creative one.

B-Boy Breakdown: ‘U’ learns some power moves

October 6, 2010

The festival was straight out of a dance film, and overwhelmingly impressive for being witnessed in reality. During the b-boy competition finals, the dancers used their turns, timing and teammates to perfection. Every big move inspired a collective “Oh!” to sweep over the crowd. While the competition was isolated to six participants at a time, there’s no question the b-boy performances get everyone involved, no matter the age and no matter the experience. From the DJ to the dancers, from the MC to the crowd — everybody elevates to the same level.

Film goes digital, as it should

October 3, 2010

Why not digital? There’s a charm to physical film, sure, and it’s everything the industry is based on. We use the word “film” because it sounds sophisticated, and the medium to which it refers is just so. But there’s sophistication to digital “film” as well — an art that hasn’t been fully explored, and has yet to be understood by film viewers.

THE SOCIAL NETWORK is status-worthy cinema

September 30, 2010

If you considered a movie about the creators of Facebook an awkward and likely unsuccessful prospect, you weren’t alone. The controversies surrounding the inception of Facebook are well documented, and it’s rare that such a contemporary character profile works as both a bold, true portrait and as an entertaining film. “The Social Network” is that rarity. Inherently — and legally — the film must be a careful depiction of recent and true events, and it succeeds brilliantly.

Affleck dazzles behind the camera in THE TOWN

September 20, 2010

“The Town” is a crime drama that succeeds on both the “crime” and “drama” counts – it’s a gritty, riveting display that avoids the cheesy pitfalls of its genre-mates. That each and every character, no matter how flawed he or she is, inspires an emotional investment is just as much a testament to the cast’s ability as it is a sign of Affleck’s talent as a director.

Why I Missed the INCEPTION Trailer

September 19, 2010

The problem begins with trailers, the movie geek’s most tempting and yet least-fulfilling drug. The cry of “we don’t want to miss the previews — that’s the best part!” is well and alive these days — just not quite like it used to be. Trailers ruined movies for me, at least for a few years. I went full film geek and overdosed. And I promised not to go in that direction again.

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