Exhibiting a strong and thoroughly convincing cast, Far From the Madding Crowd is a wonderful period film about love, loss, and strength. Set in the mid to late 1800’s in England, the story follows a woman as she rises in status and simultaneously gains the affection of three different men. The audiences gets to witness her struggle over who (if any) she should choose to be her husband and how it competes with her intent to be independent and nobody’s property. Will she fall for lust, love, or logic?

Based on the classic novel by Thomas Hardy, this film exhibits extraordinary cinematography and stunning visuals that match perfectly with the manner of 19th century Britain. Light is creatively used in many stunning shots, incorporating the sun frequently to give off a naturally beautiful impression.

far from the madding crowd sun

Carey Mulligan is brilliant as the main character, Bathsheba Everdene, playing the feminist headstrong character justice. Playing the sheep farmer, Gabriel Oaks, is Matthias Schoenaerts, who easily stuns the audience with his capability of such a wide range of emotions. Fully embracing the cocky and conflicted character of Sergeant Francis is Tom Sturridge. Playing the third suitor of Ms. Everdene is Michael Sheen, who draws in the audience with his portrayal of lovestruck and lonely William Boldwood.

Filled with admirable passion and an array of interesting characters, this film will definitely pull on your heartstrings.


Written and directed by Noah Baumbach, director and writer of Frances Ha and co-writer of Fantastic Mr. Fox, While We’re Young is a dramatic comedy about betrayal and the stereotypical aspects that come along with growing up and getting older.

The plot follows a middle-aged couple as they become friends with a peculiar young couple in their 20’s, Jamie and Darby. Through the growth of this unique friendship, the middle-aged couple (Cornelia and Josh) changes their entire lifestyle, resulting in a new perspective on life but also in many marital and career issues. The audience gets to follow this journey and see how it effects relationships with friends Cornelia and Josh had prior to meeting Jamie and Darby. The film also gives insight into how it can be difficult to take criticism about something you’re close to and how it can take a abrupt clash in order to accept that you may not know what’s best for something/someone.

All of the actors in this film did a fantastic job in their parts. Each person played their character so well that you’d think they weren’t actors but rather just people the film crew picked off the street. The actors who played the two couples are: Ben Stiller (Josh), Naomi Watts (Cornelia), Amanda Seyfried (Darby), and Adam Driver (Jamie).

Filled with funny moments and extremely relatable situations, this film is great for anyone that feels young at heart or wants to be inspired to channel their inner child more often.

A/perture had a special showing of the film The Room on Saturday as part of their n/ight shift series. If you were unable to make it, I highly suggest that you find some way to see this film. The Room, made in 2003, has been called one of the worst films ever. You may be thinking: “well then why on earth would I want to watch it??” Allow me tell you why…

This film (can you even justify calling it a film?) is so bad that it is so good. If you’re a film nerd like me you’ll absolutely love tearing this movie apart; there are plot holes and continuity errors galore! I have never watched a film that has made me laugh as hard as this one, just because it is so bad. One of my favorite examples of The Room‘s numerous flaws is when (spoiler alert) the mother reveals that she has breast cancer……and then it’s never mentioned again in the rest of the film. This film has a plethora of pointless scenes and random characters that just don’t make sense. Often the dialogue doesn’t even flow correctly! For example:

Johnny: [walks into flower shop] Hi.

Flower Shop Clerk: Can I help you?

Johnny: Yeah, can I have a dozen red roses, please?

Flower Shop Clerk: Oh, hi, Johnny. I didn’t know it was you.

[grabs bouquet of roses]

Flower Shop Clerk: Here you go.

Johnny: That’s me. How much is it?

Flower Shop Clerk: It’ll be eighteen dollars.

Johnny: [hands over cash] Here you go. Keep the change.

[grabs flowers and pats dog on the counter]

Johnny: Hi, doggy.

tommy wiseau hi doggy

Flower Shop Clerk: You’re my favorite customer.

Johnny: Thanks a lot. Bye!

Flower Shop Clerk: Buh-bye!”

Just reading that over makes my skin crawl because of how stiff and unnatural the dialogue is. There is often a scene where the topic/mood will change abruptly and completely out of the blue. For example:

Mark: How was work today?

Johnny: Oh, pretty good. We got a new client and the bank will make a lot of money.

Mark: What client?

Johnny: I cannot tell you; it’s confidential.

Mark: Aw, come on. Why not?

Johnny: No, I can’t. Anyway, how is your sex life?”

Like…!!?!? The script makes me want to bang my head against a wall! But, as this film is not one to take seriously, all of the hideous errors and blatant flaws just make the film even funnier. Interestingly enough though, the film was not made to be a comedy. The director, writer, and star, Tommy Wiseau, fully intended for the film to be a serious drama. I’m not sure what he was on when he was writing and planning this film, because it obviously did not come out as he intended. Wiseau has since embraced the new reputation of The Room and has said that he completely planned on it being a black comedy. [Come on Tommy, you’re not fooling anyone.]

Another infamous line from Tommy Wiseau and an excellent example of poorly-flowed dialogue:

oh hai mark

The Room has a rating of a 3.5 on IMDB (mainly because some people really love how bad it is so they give it 10’s) and a 33% on Rotten Tomatoes. If you like films but aren’t too observant when it comes to some of the technical aspects of filmmaking, you may not appreciate this film as much as a budding filmmaker or a tough film critic would. But, you’d have to be blind and deaf to not find it funny at how horrible it is.

I hope at this point I’ve convinced you to get together with some friends that love to critique films and that I’ve informed you of how horribly amazing this film really is. I’ll leave you with my favorite line…


Johnny: How dare you talk to me like that!

[pushes Lisa back on the couch]

Johnny: You should tell me everything!

Lisa: I can’t talk right now.

Johnny: [sits next to Lisa] Why, Lisa? Why, Lisa? Please talk to me, please! You are part of my life! You are everything! I could not go on without you, Lisa.

Lisa: You’re scaring me.

[Lisa gets up, but Johnny also gets up]

Johnny: You’re lying! I never hit you! YOU ARE TEARING ME APART LISA!”

tearing me apart lisa

I hope you enjoyed this review! It’s a bit different than my usual reviews so I hope that it was up to par and that you liked this style of writing! Feel free to leave any comments with suggestions or tips!

If you haven’t seen this film: think of a reality show version of Twilight except all the vampires are much older and not nearly as dashingly handsome. This mock documentary, or “mockumentary,” is the satirical story of mainly three vampires who share a flat in New Zealand. The mockumentary follows the group over a few month period and documents their way of life, them getting into trouble and them making friends.

There is definitely some well-written humor in this film. But, if you’re looking for Sherlock Homes-style wittiness, this isn’t the film for you. If you like quick jokes that’ll make you chuckle at their amusing stupidity, you’ll love this film. But, even if you have a more sophisticated humor, it’s hard not to enjoy this story.

What We Do In The Shadows features an assortment of distinctive characters. There’s Viago, played by Taika Waititi, the uptight vampire who’s all about cleanliness and being polite, Deacon, played by Jonathan Brugh, the sloppy and slacker vampire, and Vladislav, played by Jemaine Clement, the lady’s man of the group. Besides the main three vampires there is also Stu, played by Stuart Rutherford, the group’s human friend, and Nick, played by Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, the group’s turned-vampire “frenemy.”

If vampires and werewolves and zombies actually existed, this film could be an actual documentary. The film constantly backs up its plot with “factual historical documents” and information, making the film seem a lot more realistic; that is if it was at-all possible. So, even though it’s a mockumentary, it’s a mockumentary done well.

Overall, if you’re looking to see a film that is humorous and entertaining, this is the film for you.

You don’t have to be a dancer to appreciate this film. This documentary follows a corps dancer and choreographer, 25-year-old Justin Peck, of the New York City Ballet as he choreographs his first and the company’s 422nd original ballet in just two months. But this story is not all about dance. It is about every aspect behind the ballet: costumes, lighting, music, etc. and it is about the relationships between everyone behind the ballet. You do not have to be a fan of dance to admire and respect the hard work that goes into making this ballet.

The fly-on-the-wall perspective that this film gives the audience allows you to see the behind-the-scenes version of the ballet. From original choreography to costumes fittings to orchestra rehearsals and finally to the premiere performance, you get to see it all. Filled with frequent scenes without dialogue and absolutely no interviews or direct speaking to the camera, the documentary allows for the dance and the company’s devotion to speak for itself.

The dancing itself is absolutely beautiful and lyrical and completely exhilarating and amazing to watch. Justin Peck truly does an excellent job of choreographing a stunning story that has the audience awestruck with the amount of talent that is gorgeously displayed.

This is a story that would often go untold to the average person. It is quite rare to be given the perspective and inside scoop that this film gives. Think “Black Swan” minus the drama and craziness. There have been a multitude of fictional films on the ballet world, but this one is unique in that its realness is blatantly obvious in the best possible way. It effortlessly shows the real relationships between all of the people behind the ballet: the choreographer, the dancers, the orchestra, the conductor, the lighting director, etc.

If you enjoy ballet then this film will be right up your alley. But, you don’t have to be a dance addict to appreciate and enjoy this story and this film.

This film is witty and adorable and heartbreaking and funny and just overflowing with talent. Starring Anna Kendrick as Cathy, a struggling actress, and Jeremy Jordan as Jamie, a successful young author, this film will make you feel all types of emotions. The story sporadically shows you moments and important events throughout a young couple’s five year relationship. Seeing moments from the beginning of the relationship and knowing that the relationship will eventually end makes the film heartbreaking for the audience. The style is similar to 500 Days of Summer in that the audience knows the adorable relationship will end, but still prays that the director will be kind and somehow have the characters live happily ever after together.

But this film is not just about a failing romance. It is also about the struggle of watching someone you love achieve greatness, while you can’t seem to prosper. It is about personal failure and self-consciousness. It is also about attaining greatness and misunderstanding how that makes others feel. This film is not a simple love story.

Almost all of the film is a musical and most of the dialogue is communicated through singing. Both Kendrick’s and Jordan’s talent speaks for itself in that they have both starred in Broadway shows before. Their singing voices are strong and beautiful and completely full of emotion. The soundtrack will give you goose bumps and might have you Googling for voice lessons because it’s so impressive. What’s even more impressive is that 11 of the 14 songs were sung live and Kendrick and Jordan had to sing each song up to 17 times so that cameras could change positions.

The Last Five Years was originally a musical and was adapted for the screen by Richard LaGravenese, who also directed the film. The musical was written by Jason Robert Brown, who actually cameos in the film. Sherie Rene Scott, who played the original Kathy in the original off-Broadway production of The Last Five Years, also cameos and Betsy Wolfe, the actress who played Cathy in the 2013 Off-Broadway revival of the stage musical, also has a small role in the film. Who doesn’t love a film with little hidden characteristics like these?

Overall, this film is bursting at the seams with talent and is a wonderful story that anyone can enjoy.

The best way to describe this movie is “realistic.” Boasting an outstanding cast and a true-life setting, this film makes audiences feel like they are in the middle of a real story. Little Accidents is the story of a present-day coal-mining town in West Virginia after a mining incident in which ten men are killed. The story follows the only surviving man from the incident, a 15-year-old boy whose father died in the mine, and the mother of a 15-year-old boy who has disappeared. It focuses on the aftermath of the incident and who is to blame for the deaths of the ten miners. This puts a lot of pressure on Amos Jenkins, the surviving miner, whose memory determines the future of the mine and the people in the mining town.

Shot in Beckley, West Virginia, every aspect of this film feels real; from the homes of the people, to the people themselves, it feels like you could easily stumble upon a town just like the one portrayed. “A lot of the cast members were just people from the town,” said Producer Summer Shelton.

The actors gave genuine and heartfelt performances. Jacob Lofland, who plays Owen, the son of one of a deceased miner, was superb in conveying the emotions of confusion, isolation and guilt. Elizabeth Banks gave a convincing performance, portraying loss and hopelessness as the grieving mother. And Boyd Holbrook, Amos Jenkins, was excellent in his portrayal of a traumatized survivor, pressured and confused, searching for the right thing to do.

This movie may hit home for many, especially those who appreciate an authentic story.

Word of advice: make sure you bring tissues to this film. Heart wrenching and heartbreaking, this story is one that seems surreal yet is starkly realistic. Still Alice is the story of a Columbia University linguistics professor and mother of three who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease at the age of fifty. The story follows Alice as her condition worsens and she struggles to live her life.

Julianne Moore is astounding as Alice and her raw emotion shines through, fully embracing her character. Moore has been nominated for numerous awards for her performance, including an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.  Paling in comparison to Moore, but nonetheless giving outstanding performances, are Alec Baldwin as Alice’s husband John, Kristen Stewart as daughter Lydia, Kate Bosworth as daughter Anna, and Hunter Parrish as son Tom. These supporting characters are essential to the flow of the story and all of the actors portray their characters fairly well; only occasionally is there a line of dialogue that sounds a bit stiff.

The film’s music carries the story well and the score seems to fit each scene perfectly, going along with or sometimes aidingthe plot. Many of the film’s scenes focus on Alice to the exclusion of her surroundings. This deliberate technique gives the audience a sense of how Alice feels about the world around her and how she is confused by her surroundings.

Although a sad film with an (spoiler alert) unhappy ending, this film is well written, well directed, and well made.

Set in crime-ridden New York City in the winter of 1981, this intense film keeps viewers engaged and engrossed. Classified as an action/drama/crime film, the story follows an ambitious businessman as he fights to protect his heating oil business and tries to keep his family safe during ‘a most violent year.’ Throughout the film, Abel Morales (played by Oscar Isaac) is desperate to close on a property that would profit him greatly and to find out who has been hijacking his oil trucks. Impeding him from accomplishing his objectives are an ongoing police investigation of his company and the people responsible for his truck hijackings.

There are many stylistic aspects of production I noticed throughout the film that I liked. The director, J.C. Chandor, includes some interesting viewpoint and silhouette shots and also a very distinct color scheme of blue and yellow that is consistent throughout every shot. Furthermore, the way the film starts and ends with Abel running gives the viewer a sense of conclusion and that the story has come full circle; I thoroughly enjoyed that. I also thought the acting was phenomenal, especially Jessica Chastain, who plays Abel’s wife Anna. Chastain was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture.

Overall, I enjoyed this film and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in crime dramas or wants to watch a noteworthy film.


Set in Communist Poland in 1962, Ida is the hauntingly beautiful story of a family’s search for truth. Having been dropped off at a convent as a young child, Ida (played by Agata Trzebuchowska) grew up amongst nuns in the Catholic church, unsuspecting and accepting of her upbringing. As Ida prepares to take her vows to become a full nun, the Mother Superior orders her to meet her only living relative before staying at the convent forever.
Ida journeys to the city where she meets her mother’s promiscuous sister, Wanda Gruz (played by Agata Kulesza) although Wanda is very cold and unwelcoming towards her niece. In a brief conversation, Wanda reveals to Ida that she is Jewish, and that her parents were murdered during the war.ida2_7094944
As Ida prepares to return to the covent, Wanda decides that they should search for their family’s remains to give closure to their grim past.
Ida expolores the long-term destruction of war and the difficult decisions and experiences delt with to find closure. Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, Ida was well recieved at many festivals- including Toronto International Film Festival and Winston Salem’s own RiverRun Film Festival.
Even though the film is relatively short with a running time of only 80 minutes, it beautifully speaks in black and white of paths that can be taken- making it to possibly become a modern classic.