|12 Years a Slave (2013) |
November 3, 2013
12 Years a Slave is not a game.
A television ad promoting it declares, "Critics are calling 12 Years a Slave a 'Game-Changing Movie Event.'"
Critics never said that. One guy -who the studio has pro ... more
|28 Days Later (2002)|
|42 (2013) |
April 15, 2013
There are no violins in baseball.
At least that's what I thought.
In the movie 42, there are more violins than baseball bats. I never realized Jackie Robinson played baseball in the middle of an orchestra.
In sce ... more
|50/50 (2011) |
October 1, 2011
50/50 is a movie in which the protagonist is very human, and his best friend is obnoxious.
It's also an apt study in acting. One actor is human; the other is obnoxious.
50/50 is the story of 27-year old Ad ... more
|Albert Nobbs (2011) |
January 25, 2012
2011 was the year of the actress.
At least five or six female performances perhaps were superior to any male performance last year.
These were Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn, Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia, R ... more
|All Fall Down (1962)|
|American Gangster (2007)|
|Apostle, The (1997)|
|Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, The (1974)|
|Bad Seed, The (1956)|
|Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The (2012) |
May 29, 2012
Old folks like familiarity. For most of them, familiarity breeds comfort.
Seniors are a major reason why NCIS stays #1 in the tv ratings. They're also probably the reason that NCIS recently recruited Jamie Lee Curtis as a "romantic ... more
|Big Lebowski, The (1998)|
|Big Shave, The (1967)|
|Biutiful (2010) |
January 30, 2011
Biutiful is a harrowing, battering experience at the movies. Although titled with a word scrawled by a child on her drawing, the movie is steeped in ugliness.
In Biutiful, Mexican director/writer Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ( ... more
|Blood Work (2002)|
|Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story (2012) |
May 12, 2012
It drives me nuts when an interviewer doesn't follow up.
If Charlie Rose on tv was interviewing someone who said, "I have the secret of life," Charlie would look at his notes and say, "I see you were born in the Midwest. ... more
|Boys are Back, The (2009) |
October 9, 2009
The Boys Are Back is a poignant and rowdy celebration of a broken family dealing with grief and drastic change.
It has a lame title and a rambling story, but it also has an outstanding performance by Clive Owen and beautiful Austral ... more
|Bridges at Toko-Ri, The (1954)|
|Bridges of Madison County, The (1995)|
|Buck (2011) |
July 4, 2011
If I were a young colt, I'd sure try to keep my distance from Buck Brannaman.
Brannaman is the main figure in the documentary Buck, about a horse teacher who is able to accomplish wonders with difficult young horses.
|Bucket List, The (2007)|
|Carlito's Way (1993)|
|Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2011) |
August 5, 2011
Cave of Forgotten Dreams is a 30,000-year leap of faith.
Written, directed, and narrated by Werner Herzog, the intriguing documentary explores the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc cave in Southern France, which contains the oldest cave art ev ... more
|Charlie Wilson's War (2007) |
January 3, 2008
Few people know how our government works. Even fewer know how it is supposed to work.
Over the years I've received countless phone calls promoting a political candidate. I ask the caller: "Who is the Secretary of Agriculture?"
No o ... more
|Children of Men (2007) |
January 11, 2007
Children of Men is a glorious mess. It's a Frankenstein monster of a movie. Part sci-fi, part thriller, part action genre, part religious allegory, it flays and lumbers after meaning-- sending off occasional sparks of style.
Concocted by direc ... more
|City Island (2010)|
|Clear and Present Danger (1994)|
|Coco Before Chanel (2009) |
October 29, 2009
French biographical dramas are a mixed bag. Coco Before Chanel is a mixed Chanel bag.
French films of its ilk usually emphasize character, evocative settings, substantial performances, and often a sense of predestined foreboding. Th ... more
|Company Men, The (2010)|
|Da Vinci Code, The (2006)|
|Darling (1965) |
April 1, 1966
John Schlesinger's Darling is a film of excessive and self-defeating brilliance. Schlesinger is intelligent, but his approach is one-dimensional. His characters are fashionable types, his symbols are too often gimmicks; and Darling b ... more
|Dear Ruth (1947)|
|Defiance (2008) |
January 5, 2009
Defiance runs for 137 minutes, but that doesn't make it an epic. It just makes it long.
Near the beginning, we are informed on screen that Defiance is "a true story." It may be a true story, but it is not truly told.... more
|Departed, The (2006)|
|Dinner for Schmucks (2010) |
August 7, 2010
Rodents have often been the stuff of comedy. From Mickey and Minnie to Mighty Mouse to Remy the Rat to Despereaux, they've made us smile.
In Dinner for Schmucks they're the stuff that dreams are made of.
Barry (Steve ... more
|Duck, You Sucker (1971)|
|Edge of Darkness (2010) |
February 4, 2010
Edge of Darkness gives Mel Gibson's career a needed jolt, actually several jolts.
Every time the movie threatens to lag, there's a startling shock of violence -- and Gibson is usually right in the middle of it.
Mel l ... more
|End of Watch (2012) |
September 29, 2012
If you leave before the end of End of Watch - about 3/4 of the way through - you'll see a much better movie.
For much of its length, End of Watch is one of the stronger movies of the year. It's a taut, human d ... more
|Father of the Bride (1991)|
|Fifth Estate, The (2013) |
October 19, 2013
The Fifth Estate is a film about audacity made without audacity.
In trying to show the different sides of Julian Assange - the audacious founder of WikiLeaks - it doesn't take a side. It's muddled, uncertain, and som ... more
|Fistful of Dollars, A (1964)|
|Flight (2012) |
November 4, 2012
Flight is a bumpy ride. It swoops and sputters.
Denzel Washington has to hold it together as it dives and spirals. The one constant in the film is the provocative performance of Denzel as pilot Whip Whitaker, who is severely addicte ... more
|Fortune, The (1975)|
|Frozen River (2008)|
|Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)|
|Ghost Rider (2007) |
March 1, 2007
Seeing Ghost Rider is like going to Saturday matinee serials at the Rialto eons ago.
It's a fanciful, puerile experience -- a fun day out for 9-year olds. Ghost Rider is a ridiculous melange of cheesy effects, talentless extras, corny plot a ... more
|Ghost Town (2008) |
October 2, 2008
Ricky Gervais has become a major international star. The British comic created and was the lead actor in the original British TV version of The Office (2006) and Extras (2007). He has won two Emmys and a Golden Globe. Now after a few bit parts h ... more
|Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, The (2010)|
|Girl Who Played with Fire, The (2010)|
|Godfather, Part III, The (1990)|
|Great Debaters, The (2007)|
|Green Zone (2010) |
March 19, 2010
Green Zone is one depressing movie.
It's well-acted, well-directed, and well-written. So what's the problem?
The problem is that it's a political film about the snipe hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, ... more
|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) |
November 27, 2010
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 plunges into a very dark, foreboding, disorienting vision.
It furiously teleports us to various bleak and alienating mise-en-scenes, to prepare us for the big finale of Part 2 next summer ... more
|Haywire (2011) |
February 5, 2012
What does a director do when the star of his movie is not an accomplished actress?
Director Steven Soderbergh faces that obstacle in Haywire, which stars Gia Carano, the Mixed Martial Arts star. He goes to great lengths to protect h ... more
|Headhunters (2012) |
June 14, 2012
Headhunters (Hodejegerne) is a roiling Norwegian mix of Hitchcock and Wile E. Coyote, with a generous dose of feces and blood.
If that sounds like a strange, absurd concoction, it is.
Headhunters starts slowly ... more
|Help, The (2011) |
August 11, 2011
The Help is Mississippi-lite. It's certainly not Mississippi Burning (1988); it's Mississippi on Low Heat.
This doesn't mean it's not an entertaining movie: it is quite enjoyable. It just means it avoids authe ... more
|Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The (2012) |
December 13, 2012
Seeing The Hobbit is like going to a timeshare presentation. First you have to sit through the boring stuff before you can take advantage of the spectacular benefits.
"This is the shire here. Please sign on the dotted line, and ... more
|Horse Whisperer, The (1998)|
|In a Better World (2010) |
May 2, 2011
How does a pacifist prevail in an ugly, hostile world? How do children grow up in a world of isolation, alienation, grief, and bullying?
The Danish film In a Better World won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film dealing ... more
|Incendies (2011) |
June 7, 2011
Incendies is a grueling, harrowing trek in search of identity.
In French and Arabic, it was a Canadian nominee for the Best Foreign-Language Oscar. Director Denis Villaneuve based the movie on a play by Wajdi Mouawad.
Inc ... more
|Incredible Burt Wonderstone, The (2013) |
March 21, 2013
At one point in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Jim Carrey (street and web magician Steve Gray) says, "Sorry. Guilty pleasure."
Those three words capture the fitful, sometimes engaging entertainment.
Jay Mohr (anoth ... more
|Incredible Hulk, The (2008)|
|Incredibles, The (2004)|
|Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)|
|Inglourious Basterds (2009)|
|Iron Man 3 (2013) |
May 5, 2013
I want my 4D.
I'm an American, and I should have 4D.
I've got 3D, but I want 4D. And 5D when it is concocted.
Who do the Asians think they are?
Iron Man 3 is in 4D only in Japan, China , and South Kor ... more
|It Should Happen to You (1954)|
|Joshua Then and Now (1985)|
|Kids are All Right, The (2010) |
July 16, 2010
The Kids Are All Right is a sudsy soap opera. It's a concoction of lilac water and spermatozoa -- with lots of wine and whine.
The Kids Are All Right is the story of a contemporary lesbian family. When the two children -- ... more
|King of Kings (1961)|
|Kites (2010) |
May 29, 2010
Kites is an aromatic, cinematic Indian mutton stew -- if that sounds different from usual movie fare, it is.
It's a Bollywood mixture of romance, violence, action, music, and differing cultures and languages. Sometimes it's ... more
|L.A. Confidential (1997)|