Reel Dad: Phantom Thread captivates with its emotional complexity

He designs his clothes with as much understanding of the women who wear what he creates as the materials he reaches for. While this renowned fashion designer thrives with ease in his professional life, he struggles to achieve the same success in his relationships. Only with his sister does he manage to sustain some type of connection. But that bond has its complexities. With Phantom Thread, writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson effortlessly glides through the world of high fashion of the 1950s with the same ease as when he invaded the oil fields of California in There Will Be Blood and … Read more

Reel Dad: Predicting the Oscar nominees

A year of turbulence in the world inspired memorable moments on screen, including creatures from other worlds, chills from this world and relationships essential to any world. Which ones will Oscar honor with Academy Award nominations? Here are my choices for the names we will hear on Tuesday, Jan. 23. Best Picture Greta Gerwig’s delightful exploration of the dynamics between mother and daughter make Lady Bird a top contender. Joining it as contenders should be Martin McDonagh’s examination of one mother’s anger in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; the tribute to emerging love in Call Me By Your Name; the … Read more

Reel Dad: The Post is a must-see movie for 2018

The Post

We prepare for tomorrow by studying yesterday. What once happened can clue us to what may occur. The lessons of the past warn us about what will matter as we move forward. At this time in our country, when so many in power challenge the pursuit of truth, Steven Spielberg’s new film The Post offers an essential look at the bravery that truth requires, to find it, share it, learn from it. With the pace of a thriller, and the detail of a documentary, the film recreates a moment in time when people dare to put their lives and reputations … Read more

Reel Dad: Frances McDormand tries to make sense of Three Billboards

This week, Jonathan Schumann — who co-wrote this column with his “Reel Dad,” Mark Schumann, from 1999 to 2006 — returns to Arts & Leisure to take a look at a new film getting a lot of buzz. Early on in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Mildred (Frances McDormand) storms into a room and happens upon someone reading Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard to Find. The storming in and out is something we’ll see, almost exhaustively, throughout the film. The nod to O’Connor, and this short story in particular, is anything but accidental. The rogues’ gallery of small-town … Read more

Reel Dad: I, Tonya celebrates pop celebrity

  Years ago, before social media made it easy for opinion to swell, Tonya Harding was America’s favorite villain. This tough, talented and tormented figure skater dared to challenge the reign of the graceful Nancy Kerrigan as the sport’s leading royalty. And, somehow, she managed to find herself in the middle of the sport’s greatest controversy when Kerrigan’s knee got whacked one day after practice before the U.S. Nationals competition in Detroit. For the weeks that followed, between Nationals and the Olympics, people talked about few other things. Never mind what was happening in the world or with the economy, … Read more

Reel Dad: Lady Bird spotlights mothers and daughters

She tends to her laundry with precision and care, never doubting her mission, never questioning her ability. This is her space. She owns this room. And if anyone dares to question her authority, the conversation will be brief. For people who remember Laurie Metcalf as Roseanne’s sister on television, her work as an overbearing mother with a heart in the film Lady Bird may be a revelation. Metcalf becomes the mother trapped by love she feels but cannot express, the fear she hides but will not confront. This lady knows her daughter, a wandering high school senior, needs a mother’s … Read more

Reel Dad: Watching movies with Nano

For more than 19 years, this column has celebrated how movies create shared family experiences. And, for more than 40 years, my mother-in-law, Marge Holland, was one of my favorite movie buddies. Together we shared countless hours tapping our toes to musicals and chuckling over comedies. And though she would occasionally accuse me of liking every movie I see — which isn’t quite true — she knew which ones she liked. Each week, when the Ridgefield Press arrived, Marge first turned to this column. A year or so ago, I asked her to watch Sally Sanders, Steve Coulter and me … Read more

Reel Dad: BPM captures essence of social movements

by Jonathan Schumann This week, Jonathan Schumann — who shared the “Take Two” movie review column with his “Reel Dad” Mark Schumann from 1999 to 2006 — returns to Arts and Leisure to review this featured selection at this year’s New York Film Festival. Robin Campillo’s BPM (Beats Per Minute), which captures the AIDS activist movement in Paris, feels like so much more than a film. This is a searing historical document that sheds light on a too often forgotten fight. It also captures the passion and idealism that drive social movements and acts of civil disobedience. This passion is … Read more

Reel Dad: Wonder Wheel — A Woody Allen mystery

On film, Woody Allen can amuse, irritate and perplex. He gives us movies that will last for years followed by flicks we barely remember. Because he continues, well into his 80s, to make a movie every year, he gets to issue a dud now and then. But he never bores. Even when Allen frustrates, he makes us want to watch. Wonder Wheel, which closed this year’s New York Film Festival, can be as touching as any film from the Allen collection. And as frustrating. When Kate Winslet, in a bravura turn, describes the sadness in her life, we share her … Read more

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