Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro

After two high-profile Q&A disasters at panels with the cast of Scarface and TV’s Westworld, the organizers of the Tribeca Film Festival had to breathe a sigh of relief when Robert DeNiro stepped on stage and had very little to say. The festival’s co-founder had an hour with Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle co-star Bradley Cooper but admitted he was outsourcing the questions to friends and family who could text him what they wanted to ask.

The result, to start, were some awkward pregnant pauses – but it ultimately led to Cooper filling in the silence with amusing anecdotes about his experiences with the legendary performer.

Read More »

to dust review

Death makes fools of us all because it exposes the limitations of human knowledge. We may have strong beliefs about what happens after our final breath, but none among us truly knows what happens. That uncertainty can gnaw away at those left behind with little more than the memory and the body of the recently departed.

In To Dust, first-time feature director Shawn Snyder locates the tragedy in pining for such answers but also digs a little deeper for a truly revelatory find. Because of – and remarkably, not in spite of – the weighty material he deals with, he finds the comedy in the situation. The lengths to which devastated widower Shmuel (Géza Röhrig) goes to achieve the sense of finality that he cannot locate within his religious community eventually reaches the point of absurdity. We don’t laugh at him; we laugh with him because the Grim Reaper could come knocking at one of our own loved ones’ doors someday soon.

Read More »

Disobedience review

It’s easy to remember Rachel McAdams’ most iconic performance, Regina George in Mean Girls, as little more than the ruthlessly hilarious one-liners and cutting GIF-worthy glances on the surface. But there’s so much more bubbling underneath in her performance that makes it iconic. McAdams is a master of presenting a confident, assured front while meaning or feeling something entirely different. The gulf between what she says and what she wants gets played for laughs in Mean Girls, but in her latest film, Sebastian Lelio’s Disobedience, it’s played for tension and tragedy.

Read More »

back roads review

Alex Pettyfer, probably best known to audiences as “The Kid” in Magic Mike, always aspired to be more than just a thirst trap. In many ways, he might be too handsome for his own good. Pettyfer has been on the cusp of “happening” for a decade since landing the lead role in the Alex Rider series, a YA James Bond that came too close to Harry Potter and too far from Twilight and The Hunger Games. Following years of being sold as little more than a slab of meat to lust after, it’s been an uphill battle for the actor to convince audiences that he has more to offer. With Back Roads, his first go-round in the director’s chair, Pettyfer takes his future into his own hands.

Read More »