It Felt Like Love

Posted on : by : jjmurphy

Like Daniel Patrick Carbone’s Hide Your Smiling Faces (2014), Eliza Hittman’s It Felt Like Love (2014) feels like a memory piece. Fourteen-year-old Lila (Gina Piersanti) lives with her dad (Kevin Anthony Ryan) in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn, but hangsRead More

Hide Your Smiling Faces

Posted on : by : jjmurphy

The specter of death casts a mysterious spell over Daniel Patrick Carbone’s mesmerizing debut feature, Hide Your Smiling Faces (2014). Set in rural northwestern New Jersey, the film deals with young kids trying to come to terms with the kindsRead More

Best Independent Films of 2013

Posted on : by : jjmurphy

Maintaining a blog keeps getting more and more difficult. With teaching and more academic writing – books, articles, chapters, conference papers, and lectures – it’s been an even harder struggle this past year. I’m one of the four editors ofRead More

Frances Ha

Posted on : by : jjmurphy

In Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha (2013), Greta Gerwig presents a version of a character she has played before. In Joe Swanberg’s Hannah Takes the Stairs (2007), she was an inadvertent heartbreaker, in Baumbach’s previous film, Greenberg (2010), she fell forRead More

Spring Breakers

Posted on : by : jjmurphy

Harmony Korine has tried really hard to be America’s most vilified filmmaker. He wrote Kids (1995) for Larry Clark at age nineteen, which made $7 million at the box office and gave him credentials within the industry. With $1 millionRead More

Computer Chess

Posted on : by : jjmurphy

Andrew Bujalski’s Computer Chess (2013) represents a radical departure for this indie writer/director. Bujalski has been associated with mumblecore ever since Funny Ha Ha (2002) won recognition at the SXSW Film Festival in 2005 (even though the film actually debutedRead More

All the Light in the Sky

Posted on : by : jjmurphy

Considering how many feature films Joe Swanberg has made at this point in his career, All the Light in the Sky (2013) might be easy to overlook, especially following the recent success of his commercial breakthrough, Drinking Buddies (2013). InspiredRead More

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

Posted on : by : jjmurphy

Set in Texas (though apparently not actually shot there), David Lowery’s second feature, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013), is a modern-day western, chock full of references to both genre and other films. Its emphasis on visual storytelling recalls Terrence MalickRead More