Todd Field

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Little Children Review


Very Good
Five years after rethinking and remapping the idea of the dramatic thriller in the now-classic In the Bedroom, Todd Field finally swings back into the director's chair with an adaptation of Tom Perrotta's Little Children after a sadly unsuccessful attempt to film an adaptation of Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road. Any filmmaker would reconsider their style after five years, and Field is no different: Little Children has little or nothing to do with In the Bedroom in mood, tone or story.

In a small Northeastern community, Brad Adamson (Patrick Wilson) secretly has a huge cult following. A gaggle of housewives, including obvious peculiarity Sarah (the consistently outstanding Kate Winslet), adore Brad from afar as he takes his son to the playground (he's a stay-at-home dad) each day, whispering his nickname between them: "The Prom King." After a dare that leads to a small kiss, Sarah and Brad start spending time together at the town pool with their kids. Rumors fly and the neighborhood becomes a cauldron of suspicion as the town learns that a reformed pedophile named Ronnie (Jackie Earle Haley) has just moved back to the neighborhood.

Continue reading: Little Children Review

Stranger Than Fiction (1999) Review


OK
I am beginning to detect a very strange associate with the surreal and the sub par. This is not to say that I have repented and become a born-again fanatic of American cheese-factory films and will worship John Hughes until my knees bleed. Instead, it is only to say that the last several films that I have watched that have had the intent of being surreal have ended up being sub par. For example, take The Sixth Sense, Naked Lunch, The Blair Witch Project and numerous other oddities that escape me at the moment, each film supposedly working off of the weird but instead going into the realm of the noddy viewer (or, in the case of The Blair Witch Project, the physical embodiment of a Pepto Bismol commercial).

The latest in this string of disappointments comes in the form of Stranger Than Fiction, a film which has countless plot twists that are not only predictable but come with predictable regularity. All one must keep in mind to crack this film open like the WWII Enigma cipher is that Stranger Than Fiction works off of the idea that Stranger Than Fiction does not bare any resemblance to actual life (aside from being a perfect demonstration of Murphy's Law) but instead goes more along the lines of every single B-movie mystery you have ever watched. With that implanted in your head, you will not have to sit through the boring second half of the movie which the narrator spends explaining what goes on.

Continue reading: Stranger Than Fiction (1999) Review

Little Children Review


Very Good
Five years after rethinking and remapping the idea of the dramatic thriller in the now-classic In the Bedroom, Todd Field finally swings back into the director's chair with an adaptation of Tom Perrotta's Little Children after a sadly unsuccessful attempt to film an adaptation of Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road. Any filmmaker would reconsider their style after five years, and Field is no different: Little Children has little or nothing to do with In the Bedroom in mood, tone or story.

In a small Northeastern community, Brad Adamson (Patrick Wilson) secretly has a huge cult following. A gaggle of housewives, including obvious peculiarity Sarah (the consistently outstanding Kate Winslet), adore Brad from afar as he takes his son to the playground (he's a stay-at-home dad) each day, whispering his nickname between them: "The Prom King." After a dare that leads to a small kiss, Sarah and Brad start spending time together at the town pool with their kids. Rumors fly and the neighborhood becomes a cauldron of suspicion as the town learns that a reformed pedophile named Ronnie (Jackie Earle Haley) has just moved back to the neighborhood.

Continue reading: Little Children Review

Stranger Than Fiction Review


OK
I am beginning to detect a very strange associate with the surreal and the sub par. This is not to say that I have repented and become a born-again fanatic of American cheese-factory films and will worship John Hughes until my knees bleed. Instead, it is only to say that the last several films that I have watched that have had the intent of being surreal have ended up being sub par. For example, take The Sixth Sense, Naked Lunch, The Blair Witch Project and numerous other oddities that escape me at the moment, each film supposedly working off of the weird but instead going into the realm of the noddy viewer (or, in the case of The Blair Witch Project, the physical embodiment of a Pepto Bismol commercial).

The latest in this string of disappointments comes in the form of Stranger Than Fiction, a film which has countless plot twists that are not only predictable but come with predictable regularity. All one must keep in mind to crack this film open like the WWII Enigma cipher is that Stranger Than Fiction works off of the idea that Stranger Than Fiction does not bare any resemblance to actual life (aside from being a perfect demonstration of Murphy's Law) but instead goes more along the lines of every single B-movie mystery you have ever watched. With that implanted in your head, you will not have to sit through the boring second half of the movie which the narrator spends explaining what goes on.

Continue reading: Stranger Than Fiction Review

In The Bedroom Review


Excellent
In the Bedroom is an immensely powerful motion picture that presents a small New England town in its trademark tranquility... until tragedy strikes and disrupts the folksy setting. Actor-turned-director Todd Field delivers a penetrating feature (in his mainstream debut) that suggests he has a knack for helming solid, gripping heartfelt stories that are shocking and uniquely absorbing. In the Bedroom is an eloquent and sobering drama that intensifies beyond expectation. Ambitious and convincingly involving, this film is one of the most memorable offerings of the year. Well-acted and beautifully crafted, In the Bedroom is an emotionally haunting tale that provokes the senses.

The film takes place in a small Maine community called Camden. Here, it's not all that uncommon to see chipped wooden houses on every other corner or sleepy-eyed churches that feature old rusty bells hanging in the steeple. The aura of small-town life is apparent and could pass for a Norman Rockwell painting. Among this quaint town's residents are a prototypical middle-aged couple named Matt and Ruth Fowler (Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek). Matt is a distinguished physician and native Mainer. New Yorker Ruth is a high school choral music teacher who enjoys her occupation. The Fowlers have one child named Frank (Nick Stahl), a college graduate student studying architecture, who has returned home for the summer while working as a lobsterman to earn some extra money.

Continue reading: In The Bedroom Review

New Port South Review


OK
Great premise, no delivery.

New Port South tells what ought to be an interesting story but flubs it at every step of the way. New Port South is a Chicago suburb and the name of a highschool, where a distressed kid named Maddox (Blake Shields) wants to fight the power. Not only does he equate the constant monitoring of highschool with prison, he's sure there's some conspiracy surrounding a teen who caused a lot of trouble two years earlier. Maddox decides to organize a propaganda campaign and organizes other forms of civil disobedience... to what end? His goals are never clear, except that he wants to take pictures instead of write papers. Well who don't!?

Continue reading: New Port South Review

Walking And Talking Review


Excellent
Well, a lot more talking than walking.... And not to be confused with last year's Kicking and Screaming.

And not at all a bad movie, and the most aptly titled film out right now. Walking and Talking is basically just that, focusing on best friends Laura (Anne Heche) and Amelia (Catherine Keener) and their comedic struggles with life and love at the dawn of the big 3-0.

Continue reading: Walking And Talking Review

Eyes Wide Shut Review


Extraordinary
Mr. Kubrick would have been upset. I take that back. He would have been totally pissed. I'll get it out up front: Our screening was interrupted by a fire alarm, which sent the entire San Francisco press constituency outside for a full hour, and ultimately forced us to miss about five minutes of the movie, right in the middle, where it was getting juicy. Not to mention that whole digital alteration thing. Ugh.

That aside, this is one hell of a movie. A somewhat bizarre cross between A Clockwork Orange and The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut is the work of a meticulous craftsman -- a luscious and rich odyssey through the streets of New York, and into the minds of a couple of its residents.

Continue reading: Eyes Wide Shut Review

Broken Vessels Review


Weak
It's Trainspotting by way of Bringing Out the Dead, a cautionary tale of ambulance drivers boiling over in all kinds of drugs. But don't get too excited, because not much of Broken Vessels is very interesting, as co-stars Field and London act like they really are stoned throughout the entire production. See also Permanent Midnight for an example of why this does not a good film make. Plot is nonexistant, and character development is limited to an aborted romantic entanglement. Field mostly sits and stares... which is pretty much what I did while watching this thing.

Eyes Wide Shut Review


Good

Despite all the tongue-wagging about philandering shrinksand other rumor mill jazz, "Eyes Wide Shut" turns out to notbe entirely about sex after all.

Instead its something even more shocking by Hollywood standards-- a complex and intimate study of a couple surviving a very big bump intheir marriage.

There is sex. Plenty of it. But more frequently there'salmost sex and fantasy sex when a small marital spat between a rich,handsome couple of nine years escalates into a confession that begets adownward spiral jealousy, obsession and, most of all, temptation.

Continue reading: Eyes Wide Shut Review

Todd Field

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Todd Field Movies

Little Children Movie Review

Little Children Movie Review

Five years after rethinking and remapping the idea of the dramatic thriller in the now-classic...

Little Children Movie Review

Little Children Movie Review

Five years after rethinking and remapping the idea of the dramatic thriller in the now-classic...

In the Bedroom Movie Review

In the Bedroom Movie Review

In the Bedroom is an immensely powerful motion picture that presents a small New England...

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New Port South Movie Review

New Port South Movie Review

Great premise, no delivery.New Port South tells what ought to be an interesting story but...

Eyes Wide Shut Movie Review

Eyes Wide Shut Movie Review

Despite all the tongue-wagging about philandering shrinksand other rumor mill jazz, "Eyes Wide Shut" turns...

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