• Cinephilia

    Review: Some Kind of Heaven

    On a recent episode of the New York Times podcast “The Daily,” the show that focuses on one timely news story each morning, reporters descended on The Villages, the massive, pre-fab retirement community in central Florida. Boasting over 120,000 residents, the community is reliably conservative and, according to some reports, is singlehandedly responsible for keeping Florida red in recent elections. The focus of the episode, however, was the burgeoning liberal voices inside the manicured landscapes of The Villages, revealing a divergent narrative from the one so heavily managed by the community with fake town squares and more special interest clubs than the best-funded high schools. Now comes Some Kind of Heaven,…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: The Reason I Jump

    For those with a distant relationship to autism—they aren’t raising a child diagnosed with it, they don’t work in a capacity to serve someone with it—the condition can be a mysterious one. So much misinformation has swirled through media and popular culture over the years that it can be confusing to know exactly what it is, where it comes from or how it presents in an individual. The general awareness of the condition typically centralizes around its external, observable factors; we busy ourselves with how to “normalize” someone’s inability to communicate or socialize, how to integrate them into an abled society as smoothly as possible. How often, though, do we…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: The Planters

    A film with a distinctive sense of style, humor and fun, The Planters marks the confident and highly-watchable feature directorial debut of collaborators Alexandra Kotcheff and Hannah Leder. The duo also co-wrote the script and co-star in this brief but enjoyable dark comedy about friendship and grief, with a bit of a mystery thrown in for good measure. Both still in their mid-thirties, Kotcheff and Leder nevertheless make an assured debut with a film heavily influenced by Wes Anderson in both its visuals and dry tone. If mimicry is the highest compliment, the filmmaking duo does Anderson proud, establishing themselves as a new generation of artists who, like those before them,…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Rebecca

    That anyone would consider making a new film version of a noir novel already masterfully adapted by none other than Alfred Hitchcock is in itself the definition of hubris. Why bother? The answer, of course, is because art is—by its own definition—open to interpretation. And so, filmmaker Ben Wheatley (Free Fire) has had a go at the story Rebecca, that of a mousy young newlywed, her new husband Maxim de Winter, and the dead first wife whose presence haunts their expansive English manor, Manderley. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who says it’s a “better” interpretation of Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 gothic novel than Hitchcock’s Best Picture winner, including here.…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: The 40-Year-Old Version

    One of the great things about Netflix snapping up some of the best films of the year is how easily the platform can make an incredible film available to millions. One of the worst things about it is that with a seemingly never-ending list of options in your queue, it’s all too easy to miss truly remarkable movies when they come along without the fanfare they deserve. For The Forty-Year-Old Version, the story of a struggling New York City playwright determined to salvage her artistic career, plenty of acclaim has already been afforded: for one, the film won the U.S. Dramatic Directing Award at Sundance this January, after workshopping its…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Time

    There’s no shortage of true crime documentaries on streaming services lately, films and mini-series that chronicle the ins and outs of murders and heists and frauds that audiences eat up like candy. So focused on the salacious details of the crime they chronicle, rarely do these projects shift their focus to the actual people involved, those whose lives are impacted indefinitely, and often in ways invisible to all but those who know the situation best. Filmmaker Garrett Bradley takes just such a turn in the deeply humanizing documentary Time, a fascinating chronicle of one woman’s life-long journey through the criminal justice system on behalf of her husband and for the…