Gus Van Sant

Gus Van Sant’s ‘Promised Land’ Breaks Promise to Audiences

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – When a Gus Van Sant picture works well, it can be as rousing as “Milk” or as thrillingly experimental as “Elephant.” Few filmmakers have straddled the mainstream and independent realms with such success (Steven Soderbergh would be another). But when a Van Sant film fails, it often fails spectacularly, as proven by “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” and that notoriously pointless “Psycho” remake.

Gus Van Sant Turns Death Into Poetry in ‘Restless’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Gus Van Sant’s “Restless” is an undeniably twee and hipster film that will annoy some viewers about as much as bad performance art, but I found the film’s commitment to a unique tone and world view refreshing as so few directors even know what those words mean. It may not be grounded enough to be emotionally effective, but another strong performance from the stellar Mia Wasikowska and a consistency to its vision make “Restless” worth a look.

Sofia Coppola’s Lyrical ‘Somewhere’ Nearly Finds Meaning in Nothing

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere” is her most lyrical film, a work that feels not unlike Gus Van Sant’s “Last Days” or “Elephant” in its liberal use of long takes, huge gaps in dialogue, and real-time scenes that seem to go nowhere. It is a minimalist mood piece and that mood is the melancholy that comes with the realization that you’ve accomplished very little of real significance and your daily routine is nothing more than varying cycles of self-fulfillment.

Sean Penn’s Oscar-Possible Harvey Milk Puts Face to Gay Rights in ‘Milk’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Just as Tom Hanks put a face to AIDS in 1993’s “Philadelphia,” Sean Penn has now put a face to gay rights as Harvey Milk in the new Gus Van Sant true-story film “Milk”.

Skater Boy Culture Takes Center Stage in Cult Director Van Sant’s ‘Paranoid Park’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5CHICAGO – For “Paranoid Park,” cult director Gus Van Sant returns to high school, which is the setting of his previous chilling look into the Columbine incident in 2003’s “Elephant”. Though not as successful as “Elephant,” “Paranoid Park” evokes a dream-like meditation on the trials and extreme tribulations of a skateboarding teenage boy trying to find his way.

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