Archive for Film

THE REVENANT & Leo’s Celebrity

Really enjoyed my friend Evan Klonsky’s REVENANT review. Some (brief) follow-up commentary:



“Mr. DiCaprio” is so special because he’s always occupied unique territory in the dead center of a “method vs. personality star” Venn diagram.

His (Hugh Glass-esque) relentless commitment to roles never comes at the expense of a “Leoness” that isn’t clearly definable. Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks are also method/personality hybrids, but their distinguishing traits are significantly easier to distinguish.

Leo’s public persona/mystique is performance art that continues to evolve with/throughout his career. THE REVENANT is no less about celebrity than Iñárritu’s BIRDMAN.


Soul Loves

It’s been a soul-crushing week.

After weirdly eulogizing David Bowie on ★’s release date (just three days prior to his passing), Ziggy Stardust’s *first* No. 1 US album now feels Warren Zevon’s “The Wind”-esque. “I Can’t Give Everything Away” is Bowie’s “Keep Me in Your Heart.

Visiting an appropriately vibrant tribute outside The Thin White Duke’s New York apartment was a touching affirmation of the unprecedented mark he’s left personally, locally, globally, and intergalactically.


Glenn Frey was my favorite member of a uniquely talented and accomplished rock institution that has always been greater than the sum of its parts (and not solely for their unrivaled harmonies).

Don Henley’s vocals are more conventionally beautiful, but Glenn Frey may have possessed the most purely American voice I’ve ever heard. And he was good in JERRY MAGUIRE!

I last saw The Eagles back in 2014 and thought they’d soar forever. I was right.

While he wasn’t a rock star (he could certainly sing, though), losing Alan Rickman also struck a chord. Many will remember Rickman as Hans Gruber and/or Severus Snape, but I’ll always think most fondly of him as Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest. 

This role really encompasses what made Rickman special. In this (ahead of its time) source material for a future Amazon original series, he radiates accessible and lighthearted humanity within a curmudgeonly thespian shell.

Rickman never wanted you to take him any more seriously than he didn’t take himself. By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Warvan, he shall be remembered.

Bowie, Frey, and Rickman each seemed conscious and proud of their respective show business legacies and longevity.

Their mortality reminds us of our own, but their lives illuminate the beautiful ways shared creativity can connect strangers via shared pop cultural experience.

A soul-crushing week can really make the heart expand.

Bank’s 10 Favorite Movies of 2013

2013 revitalized my passion for movies. Here’s another (obligatory?) top ten list. Sorry, Gravity fans. I wouldn’t mind seeing Sandra Bullock float away.

10. Fruitvale Station - Kicks your heart in the balls.

9. Dallas Buyers Club - Performances more memorable than the film itself. McConaughey and Ziggy Stardust deserve all the award nominations heading their way.

8. MudSo all in on McConaughey’s surgence that I just made up a word.

7. HerJoaquin’s relationship with an operating system leaves you feeling more human. Close your eyes and feel this movie.

6. Catching FireDear Hollywood, THAT’S how you make a damn sequel. A fringe (blockbuster) masterpiece in an era plagued by franchise fatigue. So many compelling performances. Doc Narcisse and Honey Bunny!

5. 12 Years a SlaveHard to watch” is an understatement. Nursing a cinematic hangover I’m not quite sure I want to shake. Our Best Picture.

4. American HustleA Scorsese-esque American classic. Rich ensemble. Never self-indulgently clever. JLaw + McCartney = Everything

3. The Wolf of Wall StreetLeo’s Jordan Belfort is Gordon Gekko and Henry Hill’s incestuous crack baby.

2. Spring BreakersProfessor Franco guides us on a hauntingly trippy exploration of excess. Still awaiting my grandma’s review.

1. Inside Llewyn DavisAnother Coen brothers’ classic. An odyssey that ends in the same place is still an odyssey. Even more incredible when you see it in the same theater as Daniel Day-F*cking-Lewis. New York City!


2010: The Year of The Dude

The Dude most definitely “abided” in 2010. Read why I believe Jeff Bridges really tied 2010 together.

Social Studies

The Social Network is much easier to “like” than its protagonist. In a film that successfully fuses the energy of  the 2008 poker flick 21 with the darkness of Oscar-winning Mozart biopic Amadeus, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg is depicted as a man smart enough to see everything but his own weaknesses. Unlike the world’s youngest billionaire, however, David Fincher’s masterpiece is flawless.

While Facebook is bringing people closer together than ever before, Zuckerberg has been a public enigma throughout most of the social media phenomenon that has defined my generation. This movie changes that, as Fincher and screenwriting icon Aaron Sorkin pull back the curtains on the revolutionary site’s Wizard of Awes.

Jesse Eisenberg will no longer be regarded as the poor man’s Michael Cera, as his portrayal of the Harvard genius will likely garner an Oscar nomination in February. The film’s star shines as a sort of Nerd Fonzie, blending creative and technological ambition with attitude.

Still, it’s Justin Timberlake who steals the show as Napster co-founder Sean Parker. JT, who was the only watchable element in 2006′s Alpha Dog (a movie that proved the pop icon has both stage and screen presence), delivers greatness as the puppeteer pulling Zuckerberg closer to financial heaven and personal hell.  He also gets the last laugh, embodying the music industry’s equivalent of Zuckerberg. Napster nearly crippled the music biz, and Timberlake gets ironic payback by making its innovator the true villain within the story.

At its core, The Social Network is a movie about pursuing one’s dreams (How’s that for an Inception connection?). It will resonate with anyone who’s ever yearned to date their dream girl, get famous, or change the world. Whether or not Mark Zuckerberg did so at others’ expenses, we are all undeniably living his dream. The Social Network’s greatest achievement is revealing to us that every big dreamer still has nightmares.