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Creating tension – genuine tension – is one of the most difficult things to effectively do in a film. It’s about finding the right buttons to push, yes, but also about discerning the best manner in which to push them. It comes down to the choices made by the filmmaker. When those choices don’t work, the result is flat and leaves the viewer disinterested and disengaged. When they DO work, however, the sky is the limit.

The new film “7500” is very much the latter – both literally and figuratively.

The film – currently streaming and available for free on Amazon Prime Video – is the story of a pilot confronted with an attempted hijacking. Taking place almost exclusively within the confines of the cockpit of an airliner, it is a claustrophobic and taut piece, a bundle of exposed-nerve tension that is rendered all the more powerful by the limitations of its setting.

Anchored by a phenomenal performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “7500” is a story about a man being pushed to the breaking point – and beyond – by circumstances outside of his control. His survival and the survival of his passengers are reliant on his making the right choices at the right time. And thanks to the efforts of Gordon-Levitt and first-time feature writer/director Patrick Vollrath, we’re there right alongside him – muscles tensed, breath held – until the bitter end.

Published in Movies
Sunday, 19 April 2020 16:55

Clique bait - ‘Selah and the Spades’

There are plenty of teen movies out there, comedies and dramas alike. But while the standard high school setting lends itself well to the former, it seems that if you’re looking for the latter, then something more … hallowed … is in order.

Specifically, prep school, in all of its trust-funded, ivy-walled glory. The deep pockets and deeper tradition that comes with such a setting clears the runway for more dramatic stakes. That’s not to say that regular high schools can’t host drama, nor prep schools comedies – there are plenty of examples of both – but the insularity inherent to boarding school is fallow ground for dramatics.

This brings us to “Selah and the Spades,” a new film currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. The film – a debut feature from writer/director Tayarisha Poe – ventures into the shadowy world of cliques at an upscale Pennsylvania prep school. It’s a deconstruction of what it means to be a big fish in a small pond – particularly when the fish becomes big enough to endanger the delicate equilibrium.

It’s also a look at the fragility of teenage relationships, an examination of how the stresses of high achievement can fracture a young person’s sense of self. The result is a willingness to throw one’s lot in fully with a group; this allows the onus of identity definition to fall on peers … for better and for worse.

Published in Movies

Just because a town is small doesn’t mean it is lacking in shadows or secrets. With proximity comes familiarity … and familiarity breeds contempt.

That’s why small-town noir works so well – the trappings of the genre work beautifully even removed from sprawling urban landscapes. A ramshackle desert town, an isolated Midwestern farming community or a hardscrabble coastal fishing village – they’re all ripe for receiving the noir treatment.

So it is with “Blow the Man Down,” newly streaming on Amazon Prime Video. The movie – set in the fictional town of Easter Cove, Maine, and filmed largely on location within the state – marks the feature debut of the writing/directing team of Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy.

It’s the story of a small town and the murkiness that exists in the depths beneath the seemingly placid surface. The film explores the idea that in these small places, the divide between the person we present to the world and the person we actually are can be shockingly vast. There are plenty of secrets packed into the cracks; even the most upstanding of citizens may have unsettling skeletons in their closets. And when that veneer of respectability and gentility is cracked, true (and often unpleasant) natures are unleashed.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 20 December 2017 14:14

Amazon’s latest a Van Damme good one

“Jean-Claude Van Johnson” an absurd action parody

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 10:46

When destiny calls, ‘The Tick’ answers

New Amazon series revives beloved cult superhero

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 18 January 2017 12:33

New to view in 2017 - A TV preview

Some upcoming television debut offerings

Published in Cover Story
Wednesday, 24 August 2016 13:13

Amazon TV pilots take flight

Amazon Video offers up three offbeat series

The explosion of broadcast alternatives with regards to television has been something to see in the past few years. No longer is original programming beholden to the big networks or even cable outfits. Streaming services have thrown their respective hats into the ring to significant success.

Published in Buzz

NEW YORK Amazon is expanding its lineup of Dash buttons, its 'Jetsons'-style devices that let you reorder a particular product with a single touch. The online retailer says the buttons offer 'quick and easy' convenience but they won't necessarily help you save money.

Published in Biz
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 16:33

Facebook's stock sinks, so who should buy it?

NEW YORK - Investors are dumping Facebook's stock, spooked by slowing revenue growth, the lack of a financial outlook and plans to spend more money in the coming months.

Are they right?

Only if they are thinking in the short term. Investors can expect Facebook's stock to be volatile for a few years. But analysts say those willing to wait will likely be rewarded someday.

'I view it as a tomorrow stock,' says Christian Bertelsen, chief investment officer at wealth management firm Global Financial Private Capital.

Published in Tekk

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