• Cinephilia

    Review: How to Build a Girl

    For some reason, the world at large has yet to realize what a stunning talent Beanie Feldstein truly is; the 26 year old (and Jonah Hill’s younger sister) can sing, act and pretty much charm the wits off even the most cynical among us. Her scene stealing performance in Lady Bird (a difficult feat opposite the captivating Saoirse Ronan) put her on the map; she took a half-step towards center stage in Booksmart, sharing top billing with Kaitlyn Dever. Before she breaks out of high school roles once and for all (she has starring roles in both Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along and Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story: Monica Lewinsky…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Becoming

    Earlier this year, Hulu released a four-part documentary mini-series on Hillary Clinton; the aptly titled Hillary is an up-close and personal look at the politician’s life from her childhood in suburban Park Ridge to her experience campaigning for the presidency in one of the most bizarre elections to date. It’s a book-end of sorts, a piece to dot the i’s and cross the t’s on Clinton’s story in her own words—enough of letting pundits and columnists write it (and get it wrong). Now comes Becoming, a 90-minute documentary that explores the life and experiences (so far) of another former First Lady, Michelle Obama. But this one, aside from being about a quarter as…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Capital in the 21st Century

    An adaptation of Thomas Piketty’s 704-page tome on the distribution of resources over the course of history, Capital in the 21st Century isn’t exactly a reassuring chronicle of how the world’s current economic inequality came to be. With a break-neck pace, Piketty and friends—economists, journalist, professors and others in the know—cover the limitations of the aristocracy in pre-revolutionary France to the disappearance of the middle class today and everything in between. Archival footage, film clips and news reports fly by, visualizing the historical events, policy decisions and cultural traditions that have led us here as the experts talk us through it all. Directed by documentarian Justin Pemberton (Chasing Great, The Golden…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Deerskin

    If you’ve heard of Quentin Dupieux, it might be in relation to one of his earlier films, Rubber. It’s the story of a tire—you know, the ones on cars—that goes on a murderous rampage. A decade later (with several titles to his name in between), Dupieux returns with a film just as absurd—and just as watchable. Deerskin centers around a man (Jean Dujardin) with an odd obsession that starts when he buys a deerskin jacket (complete with fringe lining each sleeve) from an online ad. We don’t know much about him at this point (and don’t learn all that much about his backstory as the film progresses), other than he’s on…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Eating Up Easter

    If your knowledge of Easter Island is limited to its imposing Moai statues—the centuries-old stone figures that draw thousands of tourists to the small island in the Pacific Ocean every year—a film like Eating Up Easter will prove to be an interesting (and clearly quite personal) exploration of the Chilean territory's culture, people and prospects for the future.

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Thousand Pieces of Gold

    This week's new streaming options present yet another opportunity to take in an older film I'd never seen: Nancy Kelly's Thousand Pieces of Gold, the 1991 period piece that Roger Ebert called "angry and romantic." Starring Rosalind Chao (who would go on to star in The Joy Luck Club and, more recently, The Laundromat and the upcoming Mulan), the film is set in the pioneer Idaho of the 1880s and based on the true stories of Asian men and women brought to the United States as indentured servants or forced brides—human property, however you cut it.