Susan Leber

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Down To The Bone Review


Excellent
Drug or alcohol-based plotlines usually follow the predictable formula of working towards cataclysmic redemption or moralizing a main character's journey towards a bottomless pit in order to teach an audience a thing or two. But writer-director Debra Granik takes a different approach with her debut feature, Down to the Bone, and places us alongside living the minutest of struggles of paying the bills and raising kids while overcoming withdrawal from substance abuse.

Poignant but beautifully far from precious, Down to the Bone captures the very human daily tasks that are difficult to contend with while fighting the personal demons of addiction. The characters are not immediately easy to attach to because of their flaws, but it's their effort to grasp the strings of their lives that will lead them to not give up that form compelling performances rich with sympathy and care. You want them to beat the odds, and even when they falter, there is a quiet understanding that they are learning from their poor choices instead of just falling on an old habit because it's there.

Continue reading: Down To The Bone Review

The Roost Review


Excellent
The great thing about early John Carpenter films is their purposeful, deliberate intention of setting up and paying off genuinely scary moments. Ti West's The Roost embraces that spirit, eschewing extensive character and plot development in favor of delivering a series of scary set pieces. West, a recent film school graduate embarking on his first feature, shows an uncanny knack for camera placement, eerie and evocative lighting, and timing. In much the same way the good comedian knows how to time out a joke, West understands the nature of fright.

The Roost follows four kids en route to a wedding, lost during the dead of night in some rural backwoods. In time-honored horror movie tradition, their car breaks down and they're left near an abandoned farmhouse and barn with no resources at their disposal -- their cell phone is dead from over-use. West dallies a bit too much during this part of the movie, since we never really get to know any of these characters very well.

Continue reading: The Roost Review

Down To The Bone Review


Excellent
Drug or alcohol-based plotlines usually follow the predictable formula of working towards cataclysmic redemption or moralizing a main character's journey towards a bottomless pit in order to teach an audience a thing or two. But writer-director Debra Granik takes a different approach with her debut feature, Down to the Bone, and places us alongside living the minutest of struggles of paying the bills and raising kids while overcoming withdrawal from substance abuse.

Poignant but beautifully far from precious, Down to the Bone captures the very human daily tasks that are difficult to contend with while fighting the personal demons of addiction. The characters are not immediately easy to attach to because of their flaws, but it's their effort to grasp the strings of their lives that will lead them to not give up that form compelling performances rich with sympathy and care. You want them to beat the odds, and even when they falter, there is a quiet understanding that they are learning from their poor choices instead of just falling on an old habit because it's there.

Continue reading: Down To The Bone Review

Margarita Happy Hour Review


Excellent
"I'm so exhausted all the time... Can't ask my mom for help... You wanna split some nachos?... So I spent my whole friggin' day at Medicaid... Drink up, ladies -- only 15 minutes left of happy hour!"

Five irresponsible late-twentysomething mommies meet at an El Cheapo Mexican restaurant to splurge on $2 Margaritas. What better way to hang on to their last vestige of rebellious slacker spirit? They drink to each other's health or bitch about the state of affairs while their two-year-old babies crawl around under the table having tea parties. It's pretty goddamned cute without being precious or sentimental.

Continue reading: Margarita Happy Hour Review

The Roost Review


Excellent
The great thing about early John Carpenter films is their purposeful, deliberate intention of setting up and paying off genuinely scary moments. Ti West's The Roost embraces that spirit, eschewing extensive character and plot development in favor of delivering a series of scary set pieces. West, a recent film school graduate embarking on his first feature, shows an uncanny knack for camera placement, eerie and evocative lighting, and timing. In much the same way the good comedian knows how to time out a joke, West understands the nature of fright.

The Roost follows four kids en route to a wedding, lost during the dead of night in some rural backwoods. In time-honored horror movie tradition, their car breaks down and they're left near an abandoned farmhouse and barn with no resources at their disposal -- their cell phone is dead from over-use. West dallies a bit too much during this part of the movie, since we never really get to know any of these characters very well.

Continue reading: The Roost Review

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Susan Leber Movies

Down To The Bone Movie Review

Down To The Bone Movie Review

Drug or alcohol-based plotlines usually follow the predictable formula of working towards cataclysmic redemption or...

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Down To The Bone Movie Review

Down To The Bone Movie Review

Drug or alcohol-based plotlines usually follow the predictable formula of working towards cataclysmic redemption or...

Margarita Happy Hour Movie Review

Margarita Happy Hour Movie Review

"I'm so exhausted all the time... Can't ask my mom for help... You...

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