Posts Tagged Nick Hornby

STEELE PICKS: Best Films of 2015

I’m not a film critic although when I worked at Harvard Business School I was the film critic for The Harbus and it was great fun going to screenings and interviewing actors such as Claire Danes, Rose Byrne, Donnie Wahlberg, Rose McGowan, Aidan Quinn, Andie MacDowell and David Cronenberg.

I’m a music critic and a book critic. That’s my focus. I can’t do everything. Yes, I cover the occasional television program.

I love film. I love indie film. I try to see a new film in the theater each week and my Netflix account [both streaming and DVD] remains quite active. I saw about 200 films this year. I don’t always pick the award winners but I pick what truly moved me. 5/20 of these films directed by women. 9/20 written or co-written by women. Many strong, intriguing female protagonists in these films.

Far from the Madding Crowd
directed by: Thomas Vinterberg
screenplay by: David Nicholls
starring: Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen


directed by: John Crowley
screenplay by: Nick Hornby
starring: Saorsie Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson


directed by: Todd Haynes
screenplay by: Phyllis Nagy
starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler


The Diary of a Teenage Girl
directed by: Marielle Heller
screenplay by: Marielle Heller
starring: Bel Powley, Kristen Wiig, Alexander Skarsgaard

The Diary of a Teenage Girl_Key Still-0-2000-0-1125-crop

directed by: Tom McCarthy
screenplay by: Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer
starring: Mark Ruffalo, John Slattery, Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton


directed by: Sean Baker
screenplay by: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch
starring: Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian


directed by: Sarah Gavron
screenplay by: Abi Morgan
starring: Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep


directed by: Lenny Abrahamson
written by: Emma Donoghue
starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers


While We’re Young
directed by: Noah Baumbach
screenplay by: Noah Baumbach
starring: Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Driver


Love and Mercy
directed by: Bill Pohlad
screenplay by: Oren Moverman, Michael A. Lerner
starring: Paul Dano, John Cusack, Elizabeth Banks

love and mercy

directed by: Paul Weitz
screenplay by: Paul Weitz
starring: Lily Tomlin, Sam Shepard, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden

grandma f

directed by: Denis Villeneuve
screenplay by: Taylor Sheridan
starring: Emily Blunt, Benecio Del Toro, Josh Brolin

sicario film

Mistress America
directed by: Noah Baumbach
screenplay by: Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach
starring: Greta Gerwig, Lola Kirke


Steve Jobs
directed by: Danny Boyle
screenplay by: Aaron Sorkin
starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen

steve jobs film

Infinitely Polar Bear
directed by: Maya Forbes
written by: Maya Forbes
starring: Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky


McFarland, USA
directed by: Niki Caro
screenplay by: Christopher Cleveland, Bettina Gilois, Grant Thompson
starring: Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Ramiro Rodriguez, Carlos Pratts , Johnny Ortiz


The Age of Adaline
directed by: Lee Toland Krieger
screenplay by: J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz
starring: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford


directed by: Jennifer Phang
screenplay by: Jacqueline Kim, Jennifer Phang
starring: Jacqueline Kim, James Urbaniak, Freya Adams


Digging for Fire
directed by: Joe Swanberg
written by: Jake Johnson, Joe Swanberg
starring: Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Brie Larson, Rosemarie DeWitt, Sam Rockwell, Orlando Bloom


I Smile Back
directed by: Adam Salky
written by: Paige Dylan
starring: Sarah Silverman, Josh Charles


directed by: Spike Lee
written by: Spike Lee
starring: Nick Cannon, Teyonah Parris, Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett, Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack


notable performances: Bryan Cranston in Trumbo; Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road; Will Smith in Concussion; Amy Schumer in Trainwreck

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February Boston-area Book Readings of Note

replacement life

Boris Fishman
A Replacement Life
Brookline Booksmith
Tuesday, February 3 at 7pm

funny girl

Nick Hornby
Funny Girl
Harvard Book Store/ First Parish Church, Cambridge
Tuesday, February 3 at 7pm

where the dead pause

Marie Mutsuki Mockett
Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye: A Journey
Harvard Book Store
Thursday, February 5 at 7pm

deeper dating

Ken Page
Dating Deeper
Brookline Booksmith
Friday, February 6 at 7pm

jam on the vine

LaShonda Katrice Barnett
Jam on the Vine
Harvard Book Store
Wednesday, February 11 at 7pm

how to grow up

Michelle Tea
How to Grow Up
Brookline Booksmith
Thursday, February 12 at 7pm

missing one

Lucy Atkins
The Missing One
Newtonville Books
Thursday, February 12 at 7pm

find me

Laura van den Berg
Find Me: a Novel
Newtonville Books
Tuesday, February 17 at 7pm

ice cream star

Sandra Newman
The Country of Ice Cream Star
Harvard Book Store
Wednesday, February 18 at 7pm

physics for rock stars

Christine McKinley
Physics for Rock Stars
Porter Square Books
Saturday, February 21 at 7pm


Vladimir Pistalo
Tesla a Portrait with Masks: a novel
Porter Square Books
Monday, February 23 at 7pm

models of influence

Nigel Barker
Models of Influence
Brookline Booksmith
Monday, February 23 at 7pm

half brother

Holly LeCraw
The Half Brother
Newtonville Books
Tuesday, February 24 at 7pm

green on blue

Elliot Ackerman
Green on Blue: A Novel
Harvard Book Store
Wednesday, February 25 at 7pm

find me

Laura van den Berg
Find Me: a Novel
Harvard Book Store
Friday, February 27 at 7pm

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An Education: mini-review

I saw a screening of  An Education  several months ago –before THA in Boston decided I did not “deserve” the “privilege” of being on the press screening list.


That’s the point of an Oxford education isn’t it Dad? It’s the expensive equivalent to a dinner dance.


An Education has several things going for it:
–Nick Hornby [About a Boy, High Fidelity], proving he can write about young women as deftly as he can write about young men, penned the screenplay.
–The story is based on the memoir of well-known British journalist Lynn Barber.
–Female director Lone Scherfig.
–Relative newcomer Carey Mulligan [Pride and Prejudice, Bleak House] plays the radiant, book-smart Jenny and indie favorite Peter Sarsgaard plays the older man.

In An Education, Jenny is an extremely focused, brilliant 16-year-old girl who wants to study at Oxford University. She’s sweet and innocent but also intensely inquisitive. Jenny is mature beyond her years due to her intelligence and goals. She wants to remain a virgin until she’s 17. She’s growing up in the 60s, a volatile time throughout the world. She meets David [Sarsgaard], a charming older man [of questionable reputation] who even wins over her parents. When Jenny starts to question the point of women getting degrees [to be stuck in careers that only make them unhappy– she has a bit of a point] and makes a decision that I completely disagreed with, I lost interest in her story. An Education is an affecting film about  first love and scholastic goals coming into conflict with each other and ending rather tragically for young eyes. During the entire film I wasn’t sure that I saw the appeal in David but I definitely saw the appeal in Jenny. And for that Mulligan deserves special recognition and praise. Carey Mulligan turns in a remarkable, illuminating performance.

[PS. Who decided that coming of age stories mean that one lose one’s virginity? That means I did not “come of age” or grow up until I was 23-years-old!]

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