The Most Awkward Things about That Awkward Moment

by Ethan Alter January 31, 2014 6:00 am
The Most Awkward Things about <i>That Awkward Moment</i>

As the film goes out of its way to explain to us, the title of the new guy-centric relationship dramedy That Awkward Moment refers to that strange halfway point between a casual hook-up and a real romance. But it's also an accurate description of the movie's content: this tedious, originality-starved run through familiar rom-com tropes is basically one long awkward moment. It's a film that for everyone involved -- including stars Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller along with writer/directror Tom Gormican -- would be wise to quietly put behind them… like puberty or admitting that you cried at the end of Marley & Me. Here are the most awkward things about this entirely awkward movie.

Indie Snapshot: Tim’s Vermeer

by Ethan Alter January 31, 2014 5:50 am
Indie Snapshot: <i>Tim’s Vermeer</i>

Art history comes alive in Tim's Vermeer, a wildly entertaining, appropriately thoughtful and genuinely inspiring non-fiction account of one man's attempt to do the (apparent) impossible: recreate one of the many masterworks to emerge from the brushstrokes of renowned Dutch painter, Johannes Vermeer -- he of "Girl with the Pearl Earring" and "The Milkmaid" fame. Vermeer's particular genius was recreating life so vividly on his canvas that his paintings almost resemble photographs, with a clarity and level of detail that pull you into the frame. For centuries, art scholars and appreciators have contemplated how he achieved that remarkable effect. And now, one such amateur armchair enthusiast -- a computer engineer named Tim Jenison, who had no formal artistic training -- has not only come up with a compelling theory… he actually puts it into practice.

Indie Snapshot: The Spectacular Now

by Ethan Alter August 2, 2013 6:00 am
Indie Snapshot: <i>The Spectacular Now</i>

If movies could be released as cassette singles (remember those?), some enterprising producer could make a killing putting out a tape with last year’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower as the lushly orchestrated A-track and The Spectacular Now as the stripped-down flip side. Taken together, these are two of the best examples of the John Hughesian coming-of-age high school drama since… well, since the heyday of John Hughes. What’s interesting, though, is that while they cover similar ground and inspire the same heady mix of emotions in the audience, they go about the task in significantly different ways. Perks is sweeping and swoony, filled with the kind of grand passions and gestures that mark adolescence. As the title suggests, The Spectacular Now is rooted in the moment, depicting the ordinary experiences of its teenage characters in ordinary ways. But its within that ordinariness that both the characters and the audience can occasionally catch a glimpse of the spectacular.

21 and Over: Project X Goes to College

by Angel Cohn March 1, 2013 6:00 am
<I>21 and Over</I>: <I>Project X</I> Goes to College

Last year's Project X took the house party movie to the next level by introducing some gross stuff we hadn't seen before, and 21 and Over seems to be continuing in that genre as a "one wild night in college" movie -- like Superbad on steroids.

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