Custom Search






20th Century Women

January 5, 2017

Paterson (** ½) R

To state that the films of director Jim Jarmusch are slow going will probably be old news by now, at least to those familiar with the lauded filmmaker’s works. His films aren’t about plot. As such, the classic screenplay structure that’s been taught by film professors for eons is thrown out the window in the Jarmusch universe. His films are best described as being akin to watching life unfold as it would in real time, with a hidden camera capturing it for the viewer to behold.

The characters in Jarmusch’s latest film, Paterson, will fit nicely into the director/writer’s overall body of work when film scholars examine it in future years. They just go about the business of going through the motions of life, day to day, with little to no hope of growing or changing as human beings. If there is any change in the lives of the character you can’t help but feel it will be incremental, if at all. Yes, Paterson is that kind of film so those expecting some narrative filled with sweeping melodrama to carry them away should be forewarned that this is not that kind of film.

The main character in Paterson would be the aptly named Paterson as personified in the film by Adam Driver. Paterson is best described as a bus driver with the soul of a poet who also happens to live with his girlfriend in (surprise !) the city of Paterson, New Jersey.

Driver & Farahani in Paterson

He’s not just a figurative poet either. No, he’s the real deal, carrying a notebook with him at all times so as not to lose the poetic thoughts that swirl around in his head at any random moment. His girlfriend, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), who spends her days in artistic pursuits as well, encourages him to publish his work. Paterson, however, seems either too uninterested or lacking in energy to do anything of the sort and so on and on it goes.

The film’s basic structure is Paterson gets out of bed, writes down some poetry, drives a bus all day, takes the dog for a walk, grabs a beer at the local pub and then retires for the evening. This routine is then repeated for nearly two hours of screen time with no dramatic crises of any sort to enliven the proceedings. Needless to say, this isn’t the kind of material that lends itself well to most movies.

Admittedly, Paterson is obviously made with heart and contains some good performances but it’s too dramatically inert for my tastes. Those more forgiving may warm up it rhythms. It all depends on how important an actual story might be when investing two hours of one’s time in a film. That will definitely be the deciding factor.

At press time, this movie is playing in several theaters in Charlotte.
20th Century Women (***) R  

After a noticeable absence of over five years, director Mike Mills is back with 20th Century Women, the much-anticipated follow-up to his 2011 critical darling, Beginners. The latter film engendered lots of good will for the filmmaker upon its release and even netted an Oscar for its star Christopher Plummer as a man who declares his homosexuality after his wife dies. While Beginners was a tale of fathers and sons and coming to terms with their identity, Mills’ latest film could be described as his take on mothers and sons. In that respect it definitely has more than a passing connection to Mills’ previous film while also having its own unique identity.

The filmmaker isn’t retreading old ground here but instead spinning a new tale that’s as moving as Beginners and maybe even a bit more accomplished and satisfying.    

The film is best described as an ensemble piece but the glue that holds the whole thing together is Annette Bening in yet another luminous performance as the matriarch of a make shift family of sorts. Some of the people in her universe are related by blood and some are there by circumstance but it’s obvious that all are equally important in her world.   

Cast of 20th Century Women

The film takes place in 1979 and spins the tale of Dorothea Fields. Dorothea wants the best for her son, Jamie (Lucas jade Zumann) and it’s clear that she’s a bit conflicted. She’s both overprotective to a certain degree but also wants her son to be his own person. To make ends meet and partially because of her generous spirit, Dorothea rents out her house to an odd assortment of characters. These include a handyman (Billy Crudup), a social outcast with a penchant for punk rock/photography (Greta Gerwig) and her son Jamie’s secret crush, Julie (Elle Fanning). How they come touch each other’s lives and help Jamie come of age form the basis of the film.    

Mills must be commended for both his attention to period detail and the quirky directorial touch that he brings to the proceedings. These are only two of the positive attributes to be found in 20th Century Women. It’s a low key affair but quietly affecting. It will most assuredly be a nice alternative in the weeks to come, when the studios are busy dumping films into theaters that were too awful to release at any other time than the dead of winter. As such, this one is a bit of a beacon of light.

This film opens January 20, most likely on screens in Charlotte or Winston-Salem.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at




Fences • Sing • Rogue One

Nocturnal Animals • La La Land & Collateral Beauty

Why Him?

Manchester By The Sea Allied • Loving

Rules Don’t Apply • Moana & Bad Santa 2

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them • Moonlight

Arrival & Dr. Strange

Hacksaw Ridge

Inferno & Ouija: Origin Of Evil

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

The Girl On The Train & The Accountant

Masterminds • Deep Water Horizon • Birth Of A Nation

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

Snowden & The Magnificent Seven

Bridget Jones’ Baby & Blair Witch


The Light Between Oceans

Hell Or High Water & Don't Breathe

Sausage Party & Indignation

Florence Foster Jenkins & Pete's Dragon • Café Society

Eat That Question & Suicide Squad

Star Trek Beyond & Jason Bourne

Lights Out


The Purge: Election Year

Independence Day: Resurgence • The BFG

Free State Of Jones & DePalma

Now You See Me 2 & Finding Dory

The Conjuring 2 & Me Before You

X Men: Apocalypse Love And Friendship

The Lobster & The Meddler

Money Monster • The Nice Guys Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

Miles Ahead

Elvis And Nixon Green Room

Midnight Special Everybody Wants Some

The Jungle Book

I Saw The Light • The Boss

Hello My Name Is Doris & Krisha

Divergent: Allegiant & Batman v Superman

10 Cloverfield Lane & Brothers Grimsby

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot & London Has Fallen

Triple 9 & 45 Years

Eddie The Eagle• The Witch

Where To Invade Next & Son Of Saul

Deadpool • The Choice • How To Be Single

Hail Caesar & Fifty Shades Of Black

The Finest Hours & The 5th Wave

Mustang & The Lady In The Van

Anomalisa • 13 Hours: The & Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi

The Revenant • Youth

Carol • Joy • The Hateful Eight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens • The Big Short • Concussion

Daddy’s Home • Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Road Chip

In The Heart Of The Sea • Krampus

Creed • Brooklyn


‘Mockingjay Part 2’ • All Things Must Pass • The Night Before


Spectre & The Peanuts Movie

Steve Jobs & Our Brand Is Crisis

Crimson Peak & Room

Bridge Of Spies & Goosebumps

99 Homes

The Martian • Sicario & The Walk

The Intern • The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials • Everest

The Visit & Black Mass

Mistress America

The Diary Of A Teenage Girl A Walk In The Woods

American Ultra • No Escape • Sinister 2

Straight Outta Compton, The End Of The Tour, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Irrational Man & Fantastic Four

Ricki And The Flash & The Gift

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation • Southpaw • Vacation

Ant-Man & Trainwreck


Amy • Magic Mike XXL, Terminator: Genisys

Me & Earl & The Dying Girl, Ted 2

Inside Out & Dope

Love and Mercy & Jurassic World

Insidious Chapter 3

San Andreas & Aloha

Poltergeist &

Mad Max: Fury Road

Hot Pursuit

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Ex Machina

While We’re Young & Unfriended

The Longest Ride

Fast & Furious 7

It Follows




Focus & The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Fifty Shades Of Grey

Jupiter Ascending

Still Alice

The Imitation Game A Most Violent Year

American Sniper Inherent Vice

Selma & Taken 3


Big Eyes • The Interview

Night At The Museum The Secret of the Tomb • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Top Five • Wild • Annie


Whiplash & The Theory Of Everything

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 • Horrible Bosses 2

Dumb And Dumber To

Birdman & Interstellar




The Judge

Annabelle & Gone Girl

The Equalizer & Happy 75th, GWTW!

The Drop • A Walk Among & The Tombstones

No Good Deed

The Identical

As Above, So Below & November Man

If I Stay & Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

The Giver • Code Black & The Expendables 3

Boyhood • Into The Storm & Magic In The Moonlight

Get On Up & Guardians Of The Galaxy


Begin Again & The Purge: Anarchy

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Chef & Tammy

Transformers: Age Of Extinction

Jersey Boys

22 Jump Street & How To Train Your Dragon 2

The Fault Is In Our Stars & Edge Of Tomorrow

A Million Ways To Die In The West

X-Men: Days Of Future Past Maleficent

Godzilla • Summer Preview

Neighbors • Godzilla

The Amazing Spiderman 2 & Belle

The Other Woman & Brick Mansions

A Haunted House 2 & Heaven Is For Real

Oculus & Rio 2

Captain America: The Winter Soldier



The Grand Budapest Hotel & Veronica Mars

300: Rise of the Empire

Non-Stop & Son Of God

Three Days To Kill

Robocop & The Past • About Last Night

The Monuments Men

Labor Day

I, Frankenstein

Inside Llewyn Davis & Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Lone Survivor & August: Osage County

Her • Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom & The Wolf Of Wall Street

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Saving Mr. Banks, American Hustle, Anchorman 2

The Hobbit: The Desolation & Of Smaug • Nebraska

Dallas Buyers Club & Oldboy & Out Of The Furnace

Philomena & The Book Thief

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire & Delivery Man

About Time & All Is Lost

Thor: The Dark World & 12 Years A Slave

Ender’s Game & Last Vegas

Bad Grandpa &The Counselor

Carrie & The Fifth Estate

Captain Phillips, Enough Said & Machete Kills

Gravity & Runner Runner

Metallica: Through The Never , Rush & Don Jon

Prisoners & Rush

Insidious: Chapter 2 • The Family & The Spectacular Now



The World’s End You’re Next

Lee Daniels’ The Butler • Jobs • Blue Jasmine

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters & Elysium

2 Guns

Blue Jasmine • The Wolverine & Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station • The Conjuring & The Way Way Back

Pacific Rim & Grown Ups 2

The Lone Ranger & Despicable Me 2

The Heat & White House Down

Monsters University, World War Z, Before Midnight & The East

Man of Steel & This Is The End

The Internship & The Purge

After Earth, Now You See Me & Frances Ha

The Hangover Part III Before Midnight

Star Trek: Into Darkness & Fast and Furious 6

The Great Gatsby & Frances Ha

Iron Man & Peeples

Pain and Gain & Mud

Oblivion & Lords of Salem

42 and Scary Movie 5

Evil Dead & Jurassic Park 3-D

G.I. Joe: Retaliation Tyler Perry’s Temptation

Spring Breakers Admission

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone • The Call

Oz: The Great And Powerful West Of Memphis

Jack the Giant Slayer The Last Exorcism, Part II

Dark Skies & Snitch

A Good Day to Die Hard & Safe Haven

Side Effects & Identity Thief

Bullet To The Head Warm Bodies




BannerEventAd-01.jpg   fanjoylabrenz.jpg

PO Box 1721 | Hickory, NC 28603 | 828.322.1036 | Office Hours: Mon. - Fri. 9am - 5pm |

Home • Reviews: MoviesAdam Long • Editorials: FocusHave Chainsaw Will TravelSid On SportsBobbi GSara MawyerPeople PicturesPlaces/PeopleExtra Events Listing
Out Of Focus • News: Local NewsNational NewsHoroscopes • Info/Links: Staff/ContributorsList Of AdvertisersOnline AdvertisingOnline ClassifiedsContact UsFocus BLOGStoreLinks

© 1978 - 2018 Tucker Productions, Inc.