Half Nelson

Writing and directing duo Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden stunned me with the left hook that was their 2006 film Half Nelson. That project was a Ryan Gosling-starring film about a drug-addicted teacher trying to touch the lives of inner city children. Then they knocked me on my ass with the quick uppercut that was their 2008 film Sugar, which was a look at the life of a man from the Dominican Republic who is recruited to come to the U.S. and play professional baseball, but who doesn’t quite find it to be the glamorous experience one might expect. After that, they made It’s Kind of a Funny Story in 2010, and that saw me regaining my wits and getting back to my feet, because it was kind of a crappy movie. So, here I am, standing here dazed, waiting for Fleck and Boden’s next punch, what’s it going to be? According to Variety, it will be a drama called Hate Mail, which follows the intersecting lives of a series of Manhattanites who have all had relationship-ruining experiences regarding the receipt of hate mail. That’s about all of the information out there regarding this film so far, but it’s news to me just because of the filmmakers attached. I thought Half Nelson and Sugar put these two right up there with Ramin Bahrani when it comes to modern, minimalist filmmakers, so I’m hoping that It’s Kind of a Funny Story was just a momentary misstep. I guess Hate Mail will […]

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Like the dinosaur blood found inside ancient, tree sap-encased mosquitoes, short films can often be cultivated and grown into something bigger and more rewarding: a feature film (sorry if you were hoping for a T-Rex). Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, there are more and more quality short films popping up everyday (and we’ve been trying our darndest to pay them their due around here), many of them hoping to hit it big and make a name for the filmmakers. It’s not an impossible dream — in fact, while you have heard of most of these writers and directors, they weren’t all that famous back when they made their shorts. Here are twelve films that started small before hitting the cineplexes:

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AnthonyMackieHurtLockerInterview

After being blown away by The Hurt Locker, I was lucky enough to talk to Mackie about his role, the experience of the Middle East during Ramadan, his work with Matt Damon, his friendship with Wynton Marsalis, and his confidence in Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar chances.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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