Author Dustin Freeley

Dustin Freeley has been a lecturer in the English departments of Hunter College, Berkeley College, and the College of New Rochelle. He is a member of the Online Film Critics Society and co-founder of the website

Interviews Alicia-Silverstone

To anyone coming of age in the 1990s, Alicia Silverstone will always be best remembered for her turn as Cher is Amy Heckerling’s eerily timeless Clueless. However, Silverstone’s role as Tammy in William Robert Carey’s new film Angels in Stardust will give pause to those of us with nostalgic inclinations toward Cher as we first witness Silverstone’s range as an actress, and also as we’re forced to abandon our idealized version of the blooming young actress whom we were introduced to in 1995.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Silverstone, who excitedly declared that she was “really drawn to the idea of playing Tammy.” Ostensibly, Tammy could be considered nearly dead last in the running for mother of the year. With her daughter Vallie Sue (AJ Michalka) and her son Pleasant (Adam Taylor), Tammy lives in a makeshift trailer park that occupies an abandoned drive in theater. The Texas desert that surrounds them only lends itself to the desolation, and the missing S on the sign for the Stardust Drive-In figuratively traps them in a pit of desperation, with each character wriggling and wrangling in one form or another to escape.

Home Entertainment

Marriage exposes raw emotions and the most glaring evidence of flaws. Albeit a happiness, it constantly evolves and begs patience and understanding. On the other end of the spectrum, divorce portends to be a salve to problems found in marriage, but the truth is, divorce forces each partner to reflect and explore what went awry. It calls into question decisions that were once thought to be solidly made. It forces each ex to wonder what sort of ideologies he or she adheres to. Brides and grooms don’t enter into matrimony for the end game of divorce, so there is a natural inquiry into each other’s ability to read other people, to remain faithful, to accept the inevitable ups and downs inherent to relationships.

Reviews lone-survivor

The first five minutes of Lone Survivor feels like an advertisement for the Navy. The film opens with the training of Navy SEALS. With each one that rings the bell three times and quits, another perseveres and harnesses their freezing, shaking, breaking down bodies into an unconscious aggression.

Peter Berg brings his familiar Friday Night Lights style to this film, with each shot a mix of articulate calculation and handi-cam reality television that injects the scene with a sense of realism. Also familiar to this Berg joint is Taylor Kitch, who plays Michael Murphy, a bearded SEAL with a fiancé waiting for him back home. Alongside Kitch are Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch), Matt ‘Axe’ Axelson (Ben Foster), and Marcus Luttrell, played by the enigmatic Mark Wahlberg, whose previously mediocre film Pain and Gain dictates that his performance here be one of the better in his career.

Reviews Hours-2013-paul-walker

Paul Walker’s role in Hours is a departure from the most familiar Brian O’Conner that occupies the various Fast-speckled franchise. As Nolan Hayes, he is asked to find a deeper emotional peril as a husband who has recently lost his wife and a father who is on the verge of losing his prematurely-born daughter in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Set in New Orleans, Hours’ introductory credits quickly move from the calm before the storm to a thunderhead’s ominous encroaching and then on to the downpour and rain-spewing gutters. Amidst the storm, Nolan’s wife Abigail (Genesis Rodriguez) goes into labor, but something is amiss as she is not due for five more weeks. Shortly after, a doctor congratulates Nolan’s entry into fatherhood, and then – and only after Nolan asks about Abigail – informs the new father that he is also a new widow. Walker’s reaction to the news is believable, as are most of his actions throughout the film, but the doctor’s failure to inform Nolan of Abigail’s death before being prompted is only one of the flaws within the film.

Reviews narco_cultura

Narco Cultura is a disturbing expose on both Narco culture and the rise of the Narco Corrido, popular songs that glamourize the drug culture and cartels that run rampant through Juarez and other parts of Mexico. With roughly 10,000 homicides over the last four years, Juarez is one of the most dangerous places in the world. Ironically, just across the border and through the fence that divides the United States from Mexico, lies El Paso, Texas, the safest city in the United States.

At the same time, the allure of Narco culture has spread throughout Mexico and the southern half of the United States, from Los Angeles to North Carolina.

Special Edition The-Road

The Counsellor marks Cormac McCarthy’s venture into screenwriting. While a number of his novels have been adapted to the screen, McCarthy has never had sole input into the screenplay – the closest he came was holing up with the Coen brothers to co-pen the script for No Country for Old Men. That movie aside, we must question whether or not McCarthy’s novels transition well to the screen. Ostensibly, they should. His novels read like film treatments. Each moment is plotted out in meticulous detail, so much so that seconds on screen take pages. The genius of McCarthy is that these many pages don’t elicit boredom. His cadence moves at a rapid-fire click while his assonance and alliteration prohibit the reader from breaking free of the rhythm of ominous and nefarious moments.

Interviews 6277823_300

Pop Meets the Void is an innovative project that presumes to tackle the problems of self-promotion and success in the age of the Internet, where the music industry is suffering through the tail end of its death rattle. It’s precisely within this rattle that writer, director, and star William Cusick tells his story “through a series of parallel narratives that explore varying levels of success” in a series of fractured narratives that “overlap, intertwine and never end in this surrealist comedy.”

Reviews for-your-eyes-only

Picking up where Moonraker left off, For Your Eyes Only is a constant stream of action sequences with the theft of a nuclear transmitter sprinkled in for some semblance of narrative. The first 1980’s contribution to the Bond franchise might also be the first in which gizmos and gadgets take center stage, beginning with the Identigraph, a machine that generates a rather accurate description of a suspect based solely on verbal descriptions.

Certainly a neat idea, but also a device that easily allows Bond the ability to skate from one scene to the next without the hindrance of suspense, intrigue, or the burden of narrative.

Reviews moonraker_1979_2

Moonraker is both a product of its time and a movie tired of its franchise’s predilections. Gone is the previously intriguing and strong female character Agent XXX from The Spy Who Loved Me—although Jaws (Richard Kiel) returns from the very first to the very last scene. This time around Bond has Dr. Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles), whose PhD work has taken far too much time away from any drama classes she might have once stopped into. The actors and actresses that surround Bond this time—save staples Moneypenny, Q, and M—are wooden, watching for their marks and there to keep the film moving along. Also gone are any attempts at witty dialogue. Admittedly, screenplays have never been the strongest part of Bond film, but for the first few installments in the Roger Moore canon, it felt like attempts had been made to round out 007 as more than a man of mystery.

Reviews mission_park_2013_2

Centering on the tale of four boyhood friends who choose alternate paths in life, Mission Park deals in an economy of violence and emasculation. There is a divide among the boys: two, Bobby (Jeremy Ray Valdez) and Julian (Will Rothhaar), are raised by Bobby’s father and follow the archetypical path of success: high school, college, career. With the exception of a rather major transgression early on, they follow the straight and narrow. The other two, Derek and Jason, take the gangbanger route: no high school graduation, guns and drug trafficking instead of a degree.

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