Elevate Difference

Reviews of Focus Features


It’s hard to give a shit about the rich. The beautiful and the damned don’t stir much sympathy. All the angst of moneyed loneliness seems… slight, when compared to poor and ugly people who feel lonely. Pity should be reserved for people the world shuts out, not those who shun the world’s embrace. Sofia Coppola’s new movie, Somewhere, is about the sadness of having everything. Luckily, it’s not as bad as you might think.


Alejandro González Iñárritu’s latest film, Biutiful, survives on the quality of its performances but suffers under the morose weight of Iñárritu’s bleak worldview. It is not a surprise that Biutiful is obsessed with the darker side of life—after all, this is from the same director that created Babel and 21 Grams.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story

It’s not very often that people take the time to explore the mind of a teenager and it’s even less frequent that this exploration takes place on the Silver Screen. In the current cultural climate, teenagers are nearly an endangered species; 1.6 million are homeless, and those fortunate enough to have a roof over their heads face daily struggles with bullying, body image, sexual predators, and the intense stress of a failing educational system. Even, or maybe especially, those of privilege, who come from stable homes and elite educational institutions are crippled by an overwhelming expectation to succeed.


I just got back from seeing the documentary Babies. I have to say that it was great! Director Thomas Balmès followed four babies from four countries for a little over a year each. The movie is mostly without dialogue, except for the little bit of the parents' talking. It is mostly shot from the baby's level, and is organized by the developmental stages of babies' lives.


Some say the mark of a great film is that it defies our expectations. If that's the case, then Oldboy director Park Chan-wook's latest should be considered one of the best. Thirst is the story of a Catholic priest who becomes a vampire, and has thus earned the label of a horror flick, but the film itself is virtually genre-proof.

Lust, Caution

Ang Lee seems to have a thing for short story adaptations and violent sexual encounters. While I respect much of Lee’s previous work and believe he often possesses masterful vision, Lust, Caution is a sadistic, repulsive disaster. Lee takes great liberties with this pseudo-drama portraying an amateur conspiracy against a prominent Japanese collaborator in 1940s occupied China.