|3:10 to Yuma (2007)|
|Almost Famous (2000)|
|Animal House (1978)|
|Animal Kingdom (2010)|
|Apartment, The (1960)|
|Artist and the Model, The (2013) |
February 18, 2014
Four months ago, on October 9, 2013, film critic Stanley Kauffmann died in New York City. He was 97.
A month later on November 8, The New Republic published Kauffmann's three final reviews. One was his positive assessment of ... more
|Artist, The (2011)|
|Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The (2007)|
|Ballonatic, The (1923)|
|Berberian Sound Studio (2013)|
|Blue Jasmine (2013)|
|Breaking Away (1979)|
|Brokeback Mountain (2005)|
|Captain Phillips (2013)|
|Cinderella Man (2005)|
|Color of Money, The (1986)|
|Cowboys & Aliens (2011)|
|Dear Frankie (2004)|
|Deep Blue Sea, The (2012) |
July 30, 2012
The Deep Blue Sea is a fitful, poignant film about failed love. It's a movie that casts a harrowing spell.
Adapted from the play written by Terence Rattigan, The Deep Blue (1952) is set "around 1950."
It focus ... more
|Deer Hunter, The (1978)|
|Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The (1972)|
|Django Unchained (2012)|
|Don't Pave Main Street: Carmel's Heritage (1994)|
|Downhill Racer (1969)|
|English Patient, The (1996)|
|Erin Brockovich (2000)|
|Fahrenheit 451 (1966)|
|Far from Men (Loin des hommes) (2015) |
April 18, 2015
A movie based on an Albert Camus story. Now that's existential.
In Far from Men (Loin des hommes), French writer/director David Oelhoffen enhances a spare Camus short story originally titled "The Guest," published ... more
|Fly, The (1986)|
|G.I. Jesus (2006)|
|Game Change (2011) |
March 11, 2012
Game Change, in a way, is more potent than its political sources. Based on the book by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann (who has one line of dialogue as a reporter in the movie), Game Change was adapted for HBO by Danny Strong.... more
|Gangs of New York (2002)|
|Ghost Writer, The (2010)|
|Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)|
|Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)|
|Heaven Can Wait (1978)|
|History of Violence, A (2005)|
|Hot Fuzz (2007)|
|Hunger Games, The (2012)|
|King's Speech, The (2010)|
|Lambert & Stamp (2015) |
May 17, 2015
In contemporary film, there's a genre that is original, bracing and memorable. It's also vastly underappreciated. Most people miss it.
In recent years, the documentary about modern music and musicians has offered a wonderful bounty ... more
|Lookout, The (2007)|
|Magnificent Ambersons, The (1942)|
|March of the Penguins (2005)|
|Mean Streets (1973)|
|Melvin and Howard (1980)|
|Men in Black 3 (2012) |
June 2, 2012
1968 was the year both Will Smith and Josh Brolin were born.
Now Smith and Brolin get together on screen for about an hour in Men in Black 3 - set when? 1969.
It's a serendipitous uniting. Smith again plays Agent ... more
|Miss Potter (2006)|
|Mission, The (1986)|
|Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015) |
August 5, 2015
So much entertainment in movies and television so far this year has been harrowing, crude, or clumsy.
It's time to escape.
Mr. Hunt, here's your assignment. Help me escape. If you accept, I'll be very grateful.
|Motorcycle Diaries (2004)|
|Muppets, The (2011) |
December 26, 2011
The "Rainbow Connection" is reconnected in 2011. It's a dazzling reunion.
The Muppets is a joyful mix of the nostalgic past and a vibrant present. It tops the list of family movies for the holidays.
If you're ... more
|Neil Young Journeys (2012)|
|Of Gods and Men (2010)|
|Pirate Radio (2009)|
|Prime Suspect (1995)|
|Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, The (1970)|
|Prophet, A (2009)|
|Reuben, Reuben (1983)|
|Road to Perdition (2002)|
|Roman Holiday (1953)|
|Rookie, The (2002)|
|Save the Tiger (1973)|
|Shakespeare in Love (1998)|
|Short Cuts (1993)|
|Shut Up and Sing (2006)|
|Sleepless in Seattle (1993)|
|Social Network, The (2010)|
|Stanno tutti bene (1990)|
|Station Agent, The (2003)|
|Stuey (aka High Roller: The Stu Unger Story) (2003)|
|Take Shelter (2011)|
|Tender Mercies (1983)|
|Thank You For Smoking (2006)|
|Time of Thier Lives, The (1946)|
|Toy Story (1995)|
|War of the Worlds (2005)|
|We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)|
|Winter Light (1962)|
|Winter's Bone (2010)|
|Wolf of Wall Street, The (2013)|
|20 Feet from Stardom (2013)|
|3 Women (1977)|
|40 Year Old Virgin, The (2005)|
|Ace in the Hole (1951)|
|Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)|
|Alice In Wonderland (2010) |
March 14, 2010
Maybe I'm not as jaded as I should be. Maybe I'm still too wide-eyed. But I found Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland to be a treasure trove full of delight and near-amazement. The imagery is bold and ravishing. Alice in Wonderl ... more
|Amazing Spider-Man, The (2012) |
July 6, 2012
The Amazing Spider-Man shouldn't work. It's a reprise of a movie that was released only ten years ago. Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst couldn't be replaced, could they? There was a lasting charm to their relationship. And Maguir ... more
|Appaloosa (2008) |
November 27, 2008
I give thanks for westerns.
Every time they seem to be about to gasp their last, dusty breath, one comes along to give them a bit of renewed life. Bless it, the western genre will not die. Last year it was the excellent remake 3:10 to Yuma< ... more
|Avengers, The (2012) |
May 5, 2012
Although it takes a while to hit its stride, once it does Marvel's The Avengers is a razzle-dazzle, rip-roaring entertainment.
It introduces its various characters without much panache, then they bicker, and one begins to wonder ... more
|Bad Habits (2007)|
|Bad Words (2013) |
April 3, 2014
After seeing Bad Words, I'm trying to set up a swearing bee between Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jason Bateman.
Louis-Dreyfus (Selina Meyer in HBO's Veep) and Bateman (Guy Trilby in Bad Words) both take cursing to a ... more
|Bank Job, The (2008)|
|Beauty and the Beast (1991)|
|Beowulf (2007) |
November 29, 2007
700 A.D. is now 21st Century American 3-D. It's a hell of a transformation.
As a would-be litterateur, I should be aghast at what has become of Beowulf, which was once the bane of English majors. At least some of us. But as a film fan ... more
|Best Man, The (1964)|
|Best Offer, The (2014) |
February 3, 2014
In The Best Offer, director/writer Giuseppe Tornatore feasts at the Hitchcock table.
It's intriguing to see how directors still channel Hitchcock. Tornatore's first English-language feature The Best Offer could be tit ... more
|Better Life, A (2011) |
July 16, 2011
A Better Life is steeped in decency.
But how does decency survive in an indecent world?
Carlos Galindo (Demian Bichir) is an undocumented, Mexican day laborer, who works as a gardener in the posh neighborhoods of Los Angeles ... more
|Big Red One, The (1980)|
|Blade Runner (1982)|
|Bliss (2007) |
July 14, 2009
Bliss is a provocative voyage across the exotic landscape and placid waterways of Turkey.
Set in an intriguing locale, based on an important novel, Bliss is the tale of diverse culture and sharp -- sometimes brutal -- confli ... more
|Blood and Wine (1996)|
|Bob Roberts (1992)|
|Born to be Wild (2011) |
April 23, 2011
Born to be Wild is a 40-minute return to innocence.
The documentary is so engaging and affirmative, the viewer may have a smile on his or her face for the entire showing.
Unfortunately many potential viewers probably will mi ... more
|Bottle Shock (2008) |
September 4, 2008
Movie ads in the newspapers are a great barometer of … nothing. Except perhaps gullibility.
Studios often get pseudo-reviewers who are their lackeys to trumpet praise over the least deserving of movies. These dupers get their names in ... more
|Bourne Legacy, The (2012) |
August 12, 2012
When a very successful movie franchise makes some major changes, it is likely that it will face a deluge of rejection and preconception.
"They changed it. OMG, they made changes!"
The Bourne Legacy comes with a lot o ... more
|Broken Arrow (1950)|
|Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)|
|Capitalism: A Love Story (2009) |
September 25, 2009
Michael Moore titled his most recent film Capitalism: A Love Story, probably because in Capitalism you never have to say you're sorry.
And Moore never says he's sorry as he trashes Capitalism in America.
An assault o ... more
|Casino Royale (2006)|
|Catch Me If You Can (2002)|
|Cement Suitcase (2014) |
May 3, 2014
Cement Suitcase is an indie with flair and heart.
It probably shouldn't work as well as it does, but writer/director J. Rick Castaneda also has an active intelligence. He is a smart, imaginative filmmaker.
What separates ... more
|Compliance (2012) |
January 8, 2013
We live in a world of spam and religion.
Once the seed is planted, it may take root. Whom do you trust?
It's not implausible that one might give credence to a phone call from someone who says he is a policeman and has the voice ... more
|Conspirator, The (2001) |
April 12, 2011
The Conspirator marks a return for Robert Redford as a director. If not triumphant, at least serious.
Like director Clint Eastwood -- who made several important movies in his 70s -- Redford has made a significant one in The Consp ... more
|Contagion (2011) |
September 15, 2011
Don't touch that computer screen!
You don't know where it's been -- or who has coughed on it. Or who has made contact with it.
In Contagion, plain surfaces are deadly. And -- like governments -- computers lie. < ... more
|Conversation, The (1974)|
|Cool Hand Luke (1967)|
|Coraline (2009) |
February 19, 2009
Coraline is a mesmerizing tale with macabre stitching.
There's no blood, but Coraline is a haunting horrorfest located in a weird wonderland.
Coraline is the animated story of Coraline Jones (winningly voic ... more
|Coriolanus (2011) |
February 5, 2012
Ralph Fiennes has created a slashing, sprawling version of Shakespere's Coriolanus.
It's muscular Shakespeare. It's trimmed down - but has themes and a sensibility that fit into today's society and world.
|Cove, The (2009)|
|Cover Girl (1944)|
|Crazy Heart (2009)|
|Crimson Tide (1995)|
|Croods, The (2013) |
March 26, 2013
DreamWorks' The Croods is like an animated Reality TV show about a dysfunctional cave family. It's cartoon mayhem.
It's Croods in Stone - the Stoned Kardashians. It's Honey Crood Crood. It's prehistoric Snook ... more
|Dallas Buyers Club (2013)|
|Damned United, The (2009)|
|Danny Collins (2015) |
April 1, 2015
For much of the film Danny Collins, Al Pacino - as the title character - sails along at his effervescent best, cracking wise. He's vibrant and engaging.
Pacino plays an aging rock star who is doggy-paddling through the s ... more
|Dark Knight, The (2008)|
|Days of Heaven (1978)|
|Dick Tracy (1990)|
|Dirty Dancing (1987)|
|Dirty Dozen, The (1967)|
|District 9 (2009)|
|District B13 (2004)|
|Disturbia (2007) |
April 26, 2007
"Disturbia" is a well-made, very entertaining thriller.
It shouldn't be. Reflecting Alfred Hitchcock, it should be just another in a long line of Hitch wannabe retreads.
But it's much better than that. "Disturbia" -- a contrivance ... more
|E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)|
|Eagle, The (2011) |
February 9, 2011
The Eagle is what an action-adventure should be -- gripping, literate, and entertaining.
It's a volatile tale that transports us to a faraway place and a faraway time. Although rooted in tradition, it avoids most of the cliches, ... more
|Eastern Promises (2007)|
|Edge of Tomorrow (2014) |
June 8, 2014
Edge of Tomorrow is an ebullient melee of an action film.
And, beneath the surface it percolates. It has evocative layers.
Basically, Edge of Tomorrow is the story of Major William Cage (Tom Cruise), a callow publicis ... more
|El Cid (1961)|
|Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me (2014) |
March 9, 2014
In the marvelous documentary Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, the title figure is a pistol.
She has some misfires, a few blanks, but she's still a straight shooter. She has a canny sense of her target audience, developed over more than ... more
|Emperor of the North Pole (1973)|
|Europa Report (2013) |
August 6, 2013
Europa Report is one of those films that may not meet some expectations.
There are some allusions to Alien (1979) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - including the Strauss waltz - but there's no belly buster ... more
|Exorcist, The (1973)|
|Exterminating Angel, The (1962)|
|Family Plot (1976)|
|Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) |
November 22, 2009
Everybody's Fine is a nice picture about a dysfunctional family which keeps secrets. It should appeal to nice, dysfunctional, secretive people in the audience -- which probably is the majority.
One wonders why Robert De Niro wou ... more
|Felony (2014) |
September 20, 2014
Australia has been an unending source of major movie stars.
Hugh Jackman, Mel Gibson, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Toni Collette, Geoffrey Rush, Jacki Weaver, Guy Pearce, Chris Hemsworth, et al., have called Australia home.
The m ... more
|Finding Vivian Maier (2014) |
April 19, 2014
Recently I was reminded of the value a critic can have when I received a passionate email from critic David Elliott.
David spent his career in Chicago and San Diego writing film reviews for major papers. He was with the San Diego Un ... more
|Force Majeure (2014) |
January 5, 2015
Force Majeure is the film that probably caused more intense discussion by viewers leaving the theater in 2014.
Not just Swedish viewers - universal viewers.
Force Majeure is a battle of the sexes, and a battle be ... more
|Forgiveness of Blood, The (2012) |
March 7, 2012
The Forgiveness of Blood ends with the image of the expressionless face of a young woman. If audiences demand resolution, this does not provide it.
Is she stuck in the past or looking forward to the future? It is open to interpretat ... more
|Gambler, The (1974)|
|Get Low (2010) |
August 14, 2010
Robert Duvall is an acting treasure.
The 79-year old actor has had some of the most memorable roles in American movie history -- often as a supporting actor.
He played Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), Major Frank ... more
|Getaway, The (1972)|
|Ghost Catchers (1944)|
|Girl in the Cafe, The (2005)|
|Gone Baby Gone (2007)|
|Good the Bad and the Ugly, The (1966)|
|Goon (2012) |
April 8, 2012
Goon is based on chutzpah.
At the beginning of the movie, it says, "Based on a true story." That's usually the kiss of inauthenticity.
The movie Goon has a connection, often frayed, with the nonfiction ... more
|Grand Budapest Hotel, The (2014) |
April 23, 2015
Most people go to a movie with preconceptions. Expectations.
Sometimes critics go to a movie with only dire preconceptions. A director or actor has burned him or her badly in the past.
I have been avoiding writer/director Noah Baum ... more
|Grand Hotel (1932)|
|Greatest Show on Earth, The (1952)|
|Guard, The (2011) |
September 5, 2011
The Guard is a vulgar, Irish treat.
You may not understand Gaelic, but if you understand Familiar-Usage-Concerning-Kilkarney, you'll at least understand every other word in The Guard.
The Guard is the bo ... more
|Guns of Navarone, The (1961)|
|Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)|
|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (2011)|
|Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) |
July 22, 2009
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is an intoxicating potion of teenage hormones and evil spirits. Both are raging.
In the sixth movie in the Potter series -- one of the best -- about Harry's exploits at Hogwarts School of W ... more
|Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)|
|Heiress, The (1949)|
|Hoax, The (2007) |
April 12, 2007
The Hoax is the real thing.
It's a breezy, engaging caper. It's like a heist film of the 1970s, but the pilferers are literary men not bank robbers.Set in the early '70s, The Hoax rediscovers one of the essential themes of that era -- it ... more
|Home at the End of the World, A (2004)|
|How to Train Your Dragon (2010)|
|Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The (2013) |
December 1, 2013
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire probably shouldn't work. It's a sequel - the second of four films adapted from Suzanne Collins' literary trilogy.
The film is padded to a length of two hours and 26 minutes. It adds a ... more
|I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story (2015) |
May 21, 2015
In the present contemporary era of video games and an increasingly militarized society, gentleness is going the way of humility. It's hard to find. But Big Bird still has it. He's an 8-foot tall, yellow bundle of joyful sweetness; he alway ... more
|I'm Not There (2007)|
|Iceman Cometh, The (1973)|
|In the House (2013) |
May 31, 2013
In the House is a clever, cluttered, and transcendent film.
Director/scriptwriter Francois Ozon knows his Hitchcock well. He employs him effectively, but the clutter is his own.
Many of the French have always exalted Hitchc ... more
|In the Valley of Elah (2007)|
|Inherent Vice (2014)|
|Inside Out (2015) |
June 22, 2015
Film Critics can be like Riley in Inside Out.
Our core memories are precious.
When a character in Pixar's Inside Out makes an allusion to "Jake," it jogs the Chinatown core with aplomb.
I ... more
|Iron Man (2008)|
|Joan of Arc (1948)|
|Julie & Julia (2009)|
|Jungle Book, The (1967)|
|Knight and Day (2010) |
June 27, 2010
Knight and Day is a hoot.
It's a doozy. It's Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote teamed up. By the end, Wile E. has become wily Wonder Woman.
If you think Road Runner cartoons are silly, you probably won't like Kni ... more
|La Femme Nikita (1990)|
|La Vie en Rose (2007)|
|Last Chance Harvey (2008) |
January 29, 2009
Last Chance Harvey is an easygoing trip abroad.
It features two relaxed pros playing acting tennis -- hitting graceful lobs to each other, and then artful returns.
The two acting aces are Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, wh ... more
|Last King of Scotland, The (2006)|
|Last Temptation of Christ, The (1988)|
|Laurel Canyon (2002)|
|Layer Cake (2004)|
|League of Their Own, A (1992)|
|Left Handed Gun, The (1958)|
|Leon the Professional (1994)|
|Life Itself (2014) |
July 11, 2014
Life Itself is a profile in criticism. It's a profile in courage. And it's a profile in ego.
Movie reviewer Roger Ebert plays the lead role of the courageous, driven egotist in the documentary of his own life [now on VOD]. ... more
|Life of Pi (2012)|
|Live Free or Die Hard (2007) |
July 13, 2007
Live Free or Die Hard is an over-the-top, fun rampage.
Moviegoers often have to suspend their disbelief to relate to a movie. They have to accept the unbelievable, even, at times, the ridiculous, to enjoy themselves. But the movie has to e ... more
|Lost in Translation (2003)|
|Love Crime (2011) |
October 9, 2011
Love Crime is a slick French cinema croissant filled with sweet and sour revenge.
Part way through, you wonder what is going on. You simply aren't sure where it's going.
It all falls into place at the end -- perhaps ... more
|Magic in the Moonlight (2014)|
|Man on Wire (2008)|
|Margin Call (2011)|
|Medora (2013) |
April 8, 2014
Medora is a poignant gasp at the devastation of small town America.
The sometimes-fascinating documentary - ably shot by cinematographer Rachael Counce - is a bleakly elegiac glance at a disappearing rural Indiana small town ... more
|Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 (2010) |
October 27, 2010
The late Swedish author Stieg Larsson is the literary darling of 2010. His Millennium trilogy -- three novels published posthumously -- has caused an international sensation. I admit that I am among the smitten.
Larsson's novels are en ... more
|Messenger, The (2009)|
|Midnight Cowboy (1969)|
|Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008) |
March 27, 2008
People often complain, "they don't make movies like they used to." But on occasion a film is made for that audience.
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is such a film. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is a well-acted comedy with en ... more
|Mission Impossible II (2000)|
|Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011) |
December 18, 2011
Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol was was made for IMAX. Be sure to see it on the huge screen.
It's MI - Maximum. It blows up the Mission Impossible Force's stature. It also blows up part of of the Kremlin. As well as reason and l ... more
|Mississippi Burning (1988)|
|Monsieur Lazhar (2012) |
July 5, 2012
Maybe the best thing about Monsieur Lazhar is that the school children in it really seem to care about education.
Of course, it's in Canada.
Set in a middle school in Montreal, the French-language Canadian film is the st ... more
|Most Violent Year, A (2014) |
November 29, 2014
A Most Violent Year is the American Dream in winter.
Long ago the American Dream lost its spirituality and turned into the American Success Story.
In A Most Violent Year, set in 1981, Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) is try ... more
|Mr. Holmes (2015) |
July 13, 2015
It's been a long time since I had dinner with Basil Rathbone. We argued about modern theatre. To my eternal regret, we didn't talk about Sherlock Holmes.
Now, decades later, in Mr. Holmes, Sherlock is in his dotage. It's ... more
|My Week with Marilyn (2011)|
|National Treasure (2004)|
|Ordinary People (1980)|
|Outlaw Josey Wales, The (1976)|
|Pacific Rim (2013) |
July 16, 2013
Pacific Rim vaults our 12-year old selves into two universes. It's a vigorous ride into the past -- and the future.
Once again we sit with our Raisinettes and Tootsie Rolls in front of the magical screen, awaiting adventure and exci ... more
|Page One: Inside the New York Times (2011) |
July 22, 2011
Page One: Inside the New York Times is a sometimes fascinating, unsettling, and informative look at a venerable institution that has to cope with a rapidly changing world.
Can it survive a brave, new world in which information and ... more
|Paranormal Activity (2009)|
|Please Give (2010) |
June 17, 2010
Go East 50-year old woman. Go East.
Director/writer Nicole Holofcener goes back east for Please Give. It is an auspicious move.
Her last two movies were set in Los Angeles. Friends with Money (2006) was dreadful, even ... more
|Pulp Fiction (1994)|
|Punch-Drunk Love (2002)|
|Queen Kelly (1929)|
|Queen, The (2006)|
|Quiet Man, The (1952)|
|Raising Arizona (1987)|
|Recount (2008) |
June 5, 2008
The first five months of 2008 at the movies have been a distressing period. Iron Man had its moments as did The Bank Job and Street Kings, but only The Visitor will make my ten best list. It's been a tepid time for ... more
|Return of Martin Guerre, The (1982)|
|Rewrite, The (2015) |
February 16, 2015
Hugh Grant has the best facial expression of bemusement in films. Probably ever.
Even in negligible comedies, such as The Rewrite, that expression is gold. What makes it special is the intelligence behind it. Despite being baffled, ... more
|Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) |
August 7, 2011
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a gripping test of anxiety.
Those who have seen the previews know that the apes launch an attack on the Golden Gate Bridge in California. How far will they go? What will set them off? When is it al ... more
|Robot & Frank (2012) |
September 8, 2012
Robot & Frank is an airy, engaging flight of fancy.
It's also part caper film, part character study, and part allegory about aging. Robot & Frank shouldn't work, but it does.
It has the potential to be ... more
|Rocky Balboa (2006)|
|Roger Dodger (2002)|
|Ruby Sparks (2012)|
|Rudo y Cursi (2009) |
May 31, 2009
Rudo y Cursi is a kicky movie about the giddy heights and crushing lows of the sporting life.
It's the tale of two half-brothers -- Tato (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Beto (Diego Luna) -- from a village in Mexico, who work on a banan ... more
|Rush (2013) |
September 29, 2013
Rush is a slick movie based on an actual rivalry in Formula One racing in the 1970s.
The two fierce competitors were England's James Hunt and Austria's Niki Lauda.
Director Ron Howard, screenwriter Peter Morgan, and ... more
|Rust and Bone (2012) |
January 15, 2013
What makes us identify with characters in a movie? Do they have to be likeable? Or are they flawed beings caught in a human condition which in some way we share?
How much does plot matter?
The French-Belgian film Rust and Bone ... more
|Saving Private Ryan (1998)|
|Scent of a Woman (1992)|
|Secret in Their Eyes, The (2009) |
June 3, 2010
It's very rare when a movie's ending surprises me. No Way Out (1987) is my barometer for a movie whose credible ending surprised -- and therefore delighted -- me. Also, I never figured out The Sixth Sense (1999) as I was seei ... more
|Separation, A (2011) |
February 13, 2012
Separation is an active international phenomenon. Cultures and societies are at war with themselves.
A Separation is about one of these cultures and societies.
A Separation was written and directed by Iranian Asghar F ... more
|September Issue, The (2009) |
September 17, 2009
Film can transport you into a world where you are an alien. It can enchant, bewilder, and inform.
The documentary film The September Issue is enchanting, bewildering, and informing.
My fashion sense begins and ends with the ... more
|Seven Pounds (2008)|
|Shaun of the Dead (2004)|
|Shifty (2008) |
October 18, 2012
Shifty is low-key, low budget, but high grade. It's a film about sitting and talking. And drug dealing.
It builds slowly - some may want more action, but it has a surprisingly satisfying conclusion.
Shifty is ... more
|Side by Side (2012)|
|Silver Linings Playbook (2012)|
|Single Man, A (2009) |
February 13, 2010
There's still a place in movies for small, literate, well-acted niche movies that focus on character.
In the cinema of explosions and rampant CGI, occasionally character still matters. A Single Man has character.
Based o ... more
|Sleepless Night (2012)|
|Sling Blade (1996)|
|Smart People (2008)|
|Snake Pit, The (1948)|
|Song of the South (1946)|
|Sophie's Choice (1982)|
|Source Code (2011) |
April 6, 2011
Ah, product placement.
It's obviously a reason to take a train ride over and over.
At first upon seeing the movie, I thought Source Code might be some new kind of doughnut at Dunkin' Donuts. There's a well-placed ... more
|Southpaw (2015) |
July 29, 2015
Southpaw is MMA.
Mixed Movie Arts, with the emphasis on mixed.
It goes from the highs of Eminem's music to the lows of Jim Lampley's and Roy Jones's boxing analysis.
Southpaw breaks into two parts ... more
|Space Cowboys (2000)|
|Spider-Man 3 (2007) |
May 3, 2007
You know that the third Spider-Man had to be bigger. The third movie in a franchise goes for broke.
And Spider-Man 3 is bigger, if not better. It's overdone, overlong, and overplotted. It's all over the place.
This does not mean Spider-Man 3 ... more
|Stand by Me (1986)|
|Stay Hungry (1976)|
|Straight Outta Compton (2015) |
August 16, 2015
When one goes to see Straight Outta Compton, he knows he's going to experience violence, police harassment, gang conflict, vicious hostility, and appalling destruction.
What is surprising - despite the galling downbeats - ... more
|Street Kings (2008)|
|Subject Was Roses, The (1968)|
|Sunshine Cleaning (2009) |
April 17, 2009
Independent films are the stepchildren of cinema.
They often lack the sustenance of normality. They are hit-or-miss offspring.
Because they are outside the immediate family of Hollywood, they lack conventional discipline. But they ... more
|Superman Returns (2006)|
|Swing Time (1936)|
|Taking of Pelham One Two Three, The (1974)|
|Talledega Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)|
|Taxi Driver (1976)|
|Tell No One (2008) |
April 3, 2009
A lot of people have stopped going to movie theaters. Going out to the movies is a habit. It's a great habit, but it's a habit.
Today many people wait until a movie comes out on DVD, so then they can watch it at home.
On oc ... more
|Terminal, The (2004)|
|That Guy... Who Was in That Thing (2012)|
|The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012) |
May 16, 2012
Question: When is a pirate a lark?
Answer: When he's composed by the Aardman Animations production company and voiced by Hugh Grant.
When Grant is at his best - as he was in About a Boy (2002) - there's nobod ... more
|Thelma & Louise (1991)|
|There Will be Blood (2008)|
|Thieves Like Us (1974)|
|Three Caballeros, The (1944)|
|Through a Glass Darkly (1961)|
|Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)|
|Time to Kill, A (1996)|
|Toy Story 3 (2010)|
|Train, The (1965)|
|Two Faces of January, The (2014)|
|Two Women (1961)|
|Tyson (2009) |
May 8, 2009
Mike Tyson is thoughtful.
The documentary movie Tyson reveals a Mike Tyson I can almost guarantee you haven't seen before.
Hardly anyone thinks of former boxer Tyson as articulate and sincere. But director J ... more
|Undefeated (2011) |
February 4, 2012
At its best, Undefeated is a Hail Mary TD pass. It recently received an Oscar nomination as Best Documentary feature. Other times, it's a routine punt.
Undefeated is an anthem of decency and empathy. It's also about l ... more
|Under the Same Moon (2008) |
April 3, 2008
Lou Dobbs will hate Under the Same Moon (la Misma Luna). In the past Dobbs has debunked his roots.
He said, "I have no idea who in the heck or where in the heck my grandparents came from. I don't even care."
Some who are not so dismi ... more
|V for Vendetta (2006)|
|Venus in Fur (2014)|
|Very Bad Things (1998)|
|Vincent and Theo (1990)|
|Waltz with Bashir (2008) |
March 5, 2009
The Israeli film Waltz with Bashir looked like a sure thing to win the Oscar as Best Foreign Film.
It had received raves; it had garnered more than 90% favorable reviews. It had better distribution than any of the other candidates. ... more
|War Horse (2011) |
January 8, 2012
Every once in a while, one needs unbridled sentimentality.
Director Steven Spielberg and War Horse fill that need. War Horse is a combination of The Wizard of Oats and Gone with the Whinny.
Sentimentality is ... more
|Way We Were, The (1973)|
|Way, The (2011)|
|We Are the Best! (2014) |
October 24, 2014
We Are the Best! is as unique as chips and chocolate sauce. It's also as universal as cosmic pubescence.
Set in Stockholm and environs in 1982, We Are the Best! is the story of three girls who join together to create a pu ... more
|West Side Story (1961)|
|What's Up, Doc? (1972)|
|Where Eagles Dare (1968)|
|While We're Young (2015) |
April 23, 2015
Most people go to a movie with preconceptions. Expectations.
Sometimes critics go to a movie with only dire preconceptions. A director or actor has burned him or her badly in the past.
I have been avoiding writer/director Noah Baum ... more
|White Ribbon, The (2009)|
|Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)|
|Wild Grass (2010) |
August 29, 2010
In Wild Grass 87-year old director Alain Resnais sows his wild oatmeal.
Born in 1922 (now 88), Resnais was a paragon of the French New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague) in the late 1950s and 1960s.
His latest film Wild Grass i ... more
|Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)|
|Win Win (2011)|
|World War Z (2013)|
|Wrecking Crew, The (2015) |
June 15, 2015
And the beat goes on.
One of the latest in an auspicious line of recent documentaries about music that are informative and extraordinary is The Wrecking Crew.
The Wrecking Crew is kind of a home movie - not cinema ... more
|Wrestler, The (2008)|
|X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) |
May 25, 2014
X-Men: Days of Future Past is one of the best movies of the year - until it Xs out.
In its climactic last 1/4, it loses its nerve and settles for blowing everything apart. At that point, it becomes just another action movie. It& ... more
|X-Men: First Class (2011) |
June 3, 2011
On the surface, prequels may seem to be the final attempt to drain the last dregs from a franchise.
But, on occasion, a prequel can not only revive a franchise; in some cases, it can enhance it.
X-Men: First Class brings fre ... more
|X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)|
|Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001)|
|You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010)|
|Zero Dark Thirty (2012)|
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