“Love and Mercy,” a Music Biopic that Really Sings

By Ryan Anderson (@randerson_ryan) Biographical movies are a dime-a-dozen, and there’s certainly no shortage of biographical films about musicians, either, but the unconventional structure and strong performances make “Love and Mercy,” a look at the life and times of Brian Wilson, one of the better entries into the canon. It’s a wise decision to startContinue reading ““Love and Mercy,” a Music Biopic that Really Sings”

“The Big Short” Dives into a Worldwide Financial Meltdown–with Laughs

By Ryan Anderson (@randerson_ryan) “The Big Short,” now in theaters, follows Oscar Wilde’s dictum that if you’re going to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you. If “The Big Short,” named one of the top 10 films of 2015 by the American Film Institute, didn’t make us laugh at the avariceContinue reading ““The Big Short” Dives into a Worldwide Financial Meltdown–with Laughs”

“Black Sea” Goes Deep and Dark

By Ryan Anderson (@randerson_ryan) “Black Sea,” released earlier this year, is a resolutely old-fashioned thriller that hearkens back to the many quality submarine films of the past and adroitly adds tenets of “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” The setup is cleverly simple. Robinson (Jude Law) has spent his life on subs, both as aContinue reading ““Black Sea” Goes Deep and Dark”

“Creed,” Surprisingly, has a Deft Touch

by Ryan Anderson (@randerson_ryan) I’m as surprised to be writing this as you all are to be reading it, but, here goes: the umpteenth iteration of the “Rocky” series, in theaters now, is actually, (gulp), good, and–wait for it–Sylvester Stallone may be worthy of an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor. Is this bizarroContinue reading ““Creed,” Surprisingly, has a Deft Touch”

Silverman Proves She’s No Clown in “I Smile Back”

by Ryan Anderson (@randerson_ryan) With “I Smile Back,” Sarah Silverman joins the likes of Robin Williams and other standup comics who proved their alacrity with serious material in movies. Laney (Silverman) is a despicable, self-loathing housewife who engages in repeated acts of debasement to punish herself for wrongdoing. Despite a devoted, loving husband, Bruce (JoshContinue reading “Silverman Proves She’s No Clown in “I Smile Back””

“The Night Before” Supplies Impudent Laughs Before Lapsing into Traditional Christmas Sentiment

by Ryan Anderson (@randerson_ryan) “The Night Before,” now in theaters, is very funny for much of its running time before undercutting its own subversiveness with a traditional, cliched, happy ending. But, before reaching its treacly conclusion, “The Night Before” threatens to join dark, irreverent holiday classics like “Bad Santa.” The parents of Ethan Miller (JosephContinue reading ““The Night Before” Supplies Impudent Laughs Before Lapsing into Traditional Christmas Sentiment”