|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
|Pan's Labyrinth (2007) |
February 1, 2007
Pan's Labyrinth is a punishing, evocative poem. It is part ferocious reality and part fearful fantasy.
Endangered children is a staple of television, but it's still somewhat of a rarity in major movies. But three successful movies in 2006 ... more
|Paranormal Activity (2009)|
|Paris 36 (2008)|
|Passenger, The (1975)|
|Passion of the Christ, The (2004)|
|Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973)|
|Patriot Games (1992)|
|Paul (2011) |
April 2, 2011
Paul is E.T.'s crude twin.
Paul smokes, jokes, and pokes. He's the antithesis of naivete.
Paul has a terrific concept -- an affectionate send-up of the sci-fi genre. Paul has it ups, but it also has unfortuna ... more
|Paul Blart, Mall Cop (2009)|
|Pete Kell's Blues (1955)|
|Pianist, The (2002)|
|Pink Panther 2, The (2009)|
|Pink Panther, The (2006)|
|Pirate Radio (2009)|
|Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007) |
June 7, 2007
Pirates of the Caribbean: at World's End is a hearty, bumpy sea marathon. For some, it will be a fun ride; for others, it will be an ordeal. I'm somewhere in between.
It's surely an endurance test. At the length of two hours and 47 minutes, it ... more
|Place in the Sun, A (1951)|
|Planet of the Apes, The (1968)|
|Play Misty for Me (1971)|
|Player, The (1992)|
|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
|Postman, The (1997)|
|Prairie Home Companion, A (2006)|
|Prime Suspect (1995)|
|Prince and the Showgirl, The (1957)|
|Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, The (1970)|
|Prometheus (2012) |
June 9, 2012
Prometheus is no odyssey. It's more a slog through space glop.
The characters are sketchy, and the plot is scrawny. It goes where a lot of filmmakers have gone before.
However, despite the lack of originality in Prome ... more
|Promised Land (2012) |
January 2, 2013
Promised Land is no Good Will Hunting (1997).
It brings back director Gus Van Sant and actor Matt Damon, but it's another example of you can't go home again.
Who knew Ben Affleck was so crucial? He's missi ... more
|Proof of Life (2000) |
December 14, 2000
The unconvincing Proof of Life is a missed opportunity
There is something major missing in Proof of Life. When Director Taylor Hackford decided to cut a steamy sex scene out of the film, he emasculated it. What is left of the romantic r ... more
|Prophet, A (2009)|
|Public Enemies (2009)|
|Pulp Fiction (1994)|
|Punch-Drunk Love (2002)|
|Pursuit of Happyness (2006)|
|Quantum of Solace (2008)|
|Queen Kelly (1929)|
|Queen, The (2006)|
|Quiet Man, The (1952)|
|Rabbit, Run (1970)|
|Rachel Getting Married (2008)|
|Racing Dreams (2010) |
May 13, 2010
Racing Dreams -- or Chariots of Tire -- is a niche documentary about three young Kart race drivers who aspire to some day be NASCAR champions.
The more addicted you are to going round and round, the more you'll relate to Raci ... more
|Raging Bull (1980)|
|Raising Arizona (1987)|
|Rambo (2008) |
February 7, 2008
Rambo and Stallone
Do you want disembowelment and decapitation with your popcorn? Is gore glorious? Is brutality orgasmic? Is spurting blood the fountain of fun?
If so, Rambo is 4 U.
There is an audience that goes to the mo ... more
|Reader, The (2008)|
|Rear Window (1954)|
|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
|Red Dragon (2002)|
|Red River (1948)|
|Reign Over Me (2007) |
March 29, 2007
Reign Over Me is like spending two hours with a shrink.
Self-absorbed and repetitive, it has an occasional moment of truth, and a lot of hot air.
Actors Don Cheadle and Adam Sandler provide the occasional moments of truth and writer-di ... more
|Requiem for a Dream (2000)|
|Resident Evil (2002)|
|Resurrecting the Champ (2007) |
September 6, 2007
Resurrecting the Champ is a movie I was going to recommend. It was contrived and dopey, but it seemed like pleasant entertainment. Then came the terrible last ten minutes when it casts itself on the rancid junk heap of hokum.
Resur ... more
|Return of Martin Guerre, The (1982)|
|Reuben, Reuben (1983)|
|Revolutionary Road (2008)|
|Ride the High Country (1962)|
|Righteous Kill (2008) |
September 25, 2008
Imagine this conversation
A phone call between actor Bob De Niro and director Marty Scorsese
Bobby: Hello, Marty. I've been calling and texting, but you never answer.
Bobby: I'm talking to you. Are you ... more
|Rio Bravo (1959)|
|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
|River Runs Through It, A (1992)|
|Road to Perdition (2002)|
|Road, The (2009) |
November 4, 2009
Alaska has its Bridge to Nowhere. The movie The Road has its Bridge to Less Than Nowhere.
One wonders why it was made. It's misery, misery, misery. It's misery for The Man (Viggo Mortensen), The Boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and t ... more
|Roadie (2011) |
February 24, 2012
Roadie shows the gulf that at times separates critics and general viewers.
The audience User Rating of Roadie on Rotten Tomatoes is a feeble 28% positive. Critics have been much more tolerant. Amidst the movie's liabiliti ... more
|Robin and Marian (1976)|
|Robin Hood (2010) |
May 20, 2010
Prequel, prequel, prequel.
After remakes and sequels, what is left? Originality. Hell, no.
Let's go back and back, ad nauseum. We want our genre back! Unfortunately for those who yearn for a 3-color past -- just red, white, and ... 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
|Rock of Ages (2012) |
June 26, 2012
Were Ken and Barbie rockers?
Rock of Ages seems to think so. Its version doesn't have a speck of dirt or an iota of grit. It makes the dancing gangs in West Side Story (1961) authentic in comparison.
I knew we wer ... more
|Rocky Balboa (2006)|
|Roger Dodger (2002)|
|Roman Holiday (1953)|
|Rookie, The (2002)|
|Rosemary's Baby (1968)|
|Royal Tenenbaums, The (2001)|
|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
|Runaways, The (2010) |
April 2, 2010
The Runaways is not a potent cherry bomb. It's more a sputtering candle.
While not quite a dud, it's not the movie it should be. It's a packaged cake with vanilla icing and a Cherie on top. A maraschino Cherie, at that. ... more
|Rundown, The (2003) |
June 22, 2009
The box office success of The Hangover puts into interesting context another movie about a bachelor party that goes wrong in Las Vegas. The other brutal bachelor blast is 1998's Very Bad Things.
The Hangover is an ... more
|Rush Hour 3 (2007) |
September 23, 2007
This has been a great summer for movies -- one of the best ever.
Some movies that have excelled in one way or another are The Bourne Identity, Ratatouille, Live Free or Die Hard, The Transformers, and Harry Potter
and the Order of th ... 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
|Safe House (2012) |
February 18, 2012
Why would you cast Denzel Washington, and then cut his performance to ribbons?
Daniel Espinosa, director of Safe House, either has a severe, spasmodic problem or a huge ego - or both. He slices and dices like a crazed butcher. ... more
|Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) |
June 25, 2012
Safety Not Guaranteed is an indie flight of fancy.
As an indie, it might crash on the shoals of self-indulgence, but it doesn't. It's fresh and imaginative. It doesn't reach the stars (the creators obviously are fans of ... more
|Salt (2010) |
July 28, 2010
They can get you to identify with a character or root for an action.
Alfred Hitchcock, with stylistic aplomb, was the master of manipulation. Hitch could play on his audience's expectations. He could even get ... more
|Samson and Delilah (1949)|
|Sarah's Key (2011) |
September 2, 2011
Sarah's Key is elevated by luminous performances by two actresses -- veteran Kristin Scott Thomas and 10-year old Melusine Mayance.
Fortunately their talent often is able to transcend the contrivances that mar the plot.
|Savages, The (2008)|
|Saving Private Ryan (1998)|
|Scent of a Woman (1992)|
|Schindler's List (1993)|
|Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) |
August 19, 2010
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a film full of sound and fury signifying WTF. It's slick shtik.
It begins with 22-year old Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) dating a high school girl named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), as he's trying ... more
|Searchers, The (1956) |
|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
|Secretariat (2010) |
October 15, 2010
Secretariat is the Galloping Gospel According to a Horse. Granted the horse is the equine king of kings.
Secretariat was directed by Randall Wallace who majored in religion at Duke. He was born in Tennessee, raised in the Sou ... more
|Semi-Pro (2008) |
March 12, 2008
Will Ferrell's Semi-Pro is a dreadful comedy. It's lazy and slipshod. On RottenTomatoes, it received 24 percent favorable from critics, and, even more notable, 49 percent of viewers thought it was rotten.
If Semi-Pro is so la ... 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
|Sergeant York (1941)|
|Serious Man, A (2009)|
|Sessions, The (2012) |
November 13, 2012
The Sessions is another movie about a man on a journey. Destination: Ejaculation Junction.
In 1990 Mark O'Brien, journalist and poet, had his article, "On Seeing a Sexual Surrogate" published in Sun Magazine.
|Seven Pounds (2008)|
|Sex and the City (2008) |
June 13, 2008
There are some places men just don't belong:
1) In a pink Cadillac going to a shopping shindig -- yes, I know Clint was in a movie called "Pink Cadillac," but there was no Mary Kay decal in the window.
2) At Girls' Night Out at Thunder F ... more
|Sex and the City 2 (2010) |
June 9, 2010
Films that are aimed at a particular target audience can cause a critic dyspepsia.
The latest Target movie -- actually more Saks Fifth Avenue or Bergdorf Goodman -- is Sex and the City 2, which is erratically slung toward middle-age ... more
|Shakespeare in Love (1998)|
|Shattered Glass (2003)|
|Shaun of the Dead (2004)|
|Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) |
January 14, 2012
Dear Guy Ritchie:
My name is Robin Hood.
I desperately need your help. I need you as a director to do for me what you did for Sherlock Holmes.
I need to be brought into today's world of short attention spans, nonreading ... more
|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
|Shining, The (1980)|
|Short Cuts (1993)|
|Shrek the Third (2007)|
|Shut Up and Sing (2006)|
|Shutter Island (2010)|
|Side by Side (2012)|
|Side Effects (2013) |
February 11, 2013
Several reviewers have mentioned Hitchcock in their reviews of Side Effects, as though somehow Stephen Soderbergh has successfully channeled the master in his direction of Side Effects.
This is bunk.
Hitch used illogi ... more
|Silence of the Lambs, The (1991)|
|Silence, The (1963)|
|Silver Linings Playbook (2012)|
|Singin' in the Rain (1952)|
|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
|Six Degrees of Separation (1993)|
|Sixth Sense, The (1999)|
|Skyfall (2012) |
October 26, 2012
Here I go again.
Wanting better and unwilling to settle for less. It's a curse. Why can't I just sit on the edge of my seat or stand up and cheer?
At the end of the screening of Skyfall for critics and reviewers, the ... more
|Sleepless in Seattle (1993)|
|Sleepless Night (2012)|
|Sling Blade (1996)|
|Slumdog Millionaire (2008)|
|Smart People (2008)|
|Smokey and the Bandit (1977)|
|Snake Eyes (1998)|
|Snake Pit, The (1948)|
|Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) |
June 7, 2012
What's next - Bambizilla?
Snow White and the Huntsman turns the once Disneyfied fairy tale upside down. In fact, in one scene, Snow White (Kristen Stewart) and the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) are literally hanging upside down ... more
|Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)|
|Social Network, The (2010)|
|Soloist, The (2009) |
May 1, 2009
Just because The Soloist is about a homeless person doesn't mean it should have pedestrian direction. But it does -- pedestrian and clodhopping.
When it was announced that Steve Lopez's book The Soloist was going to b ... more
|Some Came Running (1958)|
|Some Like It Hot (1959)|
|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
|Space Cowboys (2000)|
|Spanish Prisoner, The (1997)|
|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
|Squid and the Whale, The (2005)|
|Stand by Me (1986)|
|Stanno tutti bene (1990)|
|Star Trek (2009)|
|Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) |
May 19, 2013
At its best, Star Trek Into Darkness is majestic and thrilling. At its worst, it is conventional and repetitive.
Director J.J. Abrams takes us on a rowdy thrill ride through bumpy space.
At its best, Star Trek Into Darkne ... more
|Starship Troopers (1997)|
|Starting out in the Evening (2008)|
|State and Main (2001) |
December 17, 2001
David Mamet tones it down a second time in the relaxed State and Main
When one has proven himself, he has earned his right to go his own way -- even if its less adventuresome than his past route. Director/screenwriter David Mamet has ... more
|State of Play (2009)|
|State of Play - TV Series (2003)|
|Station Agent, The (2003)|
|Stay Hungry (1976)|
|Stella Days (2012) |
July 17, 2012
Move over Scientologists.
Who says there aren't movies for 60-year old Roman Catholics? Stella Days is making room for a pewful of moviegoers.
Stella Days - set in Tipperary, Ireland - in 1956 and 1957, is ... more
|Step Brothers (2008) |
August 7, 2008
“Step Brothers” is a rowdy, rambunctious, fitful, against-the-wall comedy. Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, and director writer Adam McKay heave comedy, like spaghetti, against the wall. About half sticks; the other half makes a real mess.
|Sting, The (1973)|
|Strange One, The (1957)|
|Strangers on a Train (1951)|
|Straw Dogs (2011) |
September 21, 2011
If Sam Peckinpah were alive today and read that director Ron Lurie had remade his Straw Dogs, he would have scowled his famous scowl.
When he heard that Lurie had supposedly tweeted, "one of the reasons for remaking was to turn ... more
|Street Kings (2008)|
|Stuey (aka High Roller: The Stu Unger Story) (2003)|
|Subject Was Roses, The (1968)|
|Sugar and Spice (2001) |
January 25, 2001
Sugar and Spice is more like snips and snails and puppy dog tails
Director Francine McDougall thinks of her film Sugar and Spice as "a sophisticated black comedy." Yeah, right. Its as sophisticated as a Twinkie, and as black as a marshm ... more
|Sun Also Rises, The (1957)|
|Sunset Boulevard (1950)|
|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
|Super 8 (2011) |
June 14, 2011
Like Silly Putty, Super 8 is silly fun.
It stretches, snaps, and bounces. It's as elastic as pubescent imagination.
It may be something of a metaphor for the younger days of the two major filmmakers involved in S ... more
|Superman Returns (2006)|
|Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)|
|Swing Time (1936)|
|Synecdoche, New York (2008) |
December 4, 2008
Writer Charlie Kaufman is the pseudo-intellectuals' "intellectual." He's pompous, self-flagellating and pretentious. So they love him.
Kaufman makes Sarah Palin seem humble.
Kaufman wrote Being John Malkovich, which was a diverting ... more
|Take Shelter (2011)|
|Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, The (2009)|
|Taking of Pelham One Two Three, The (1974)|
|Taking Woodstock (2009)|
|Talk to Me (2007)|
|Talledega Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)|
|Taxi Driver (1976)|
|Ted (2012) |
July 2, 2012
I'm taking over for Macklin - he can't handle the truth about bears.
But I can. I'm a bear named Teddy. I live with Tony and his honeypot Judy. They named me - clever name, huh?
So this review of Ted is a ... more
|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
|Ten Commandments, The (1956)|
|Tender Mercies (1983)|
|Terminal, The (2004)|
|Thank You For Smoking (2006)|
|Thanks to Gravity (2006)|
|That Guy... Who Was in That Thing (2012)|
|The Girl from Monaco (2008)|
|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
|The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) |
March 30, 2013
The Place Beyond the Pines is ten pounds of film stuffed into a five-pound movie.
It's an action film. No, it's a police corruption film. No, it's a political film. No, it's a broken-family film. No, it's a teen druggie film.< ... more
|Thelma & Louise (1991)|
|There Will be Blood (2008)|
|There's Something About Mary (1998)|
|Thieves Like Us (1974)|
|Thin Ice (2012) |
March 15, 2012
Thin Ice is in the tradition of movies that were filched from their directors, recut, changed, and then released in a different, more "commercial" version from what their creative directors intended.
Probably the most notorious case ... more
|Thin Red Line, The (1998)|
|Three Caballeros, The (1944)|
|Through a Glass Darkly (1961)|
|Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)|
|Time of Thier Lives, The (1946)|
|Time to Kill, A (1996)|
|Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)|
|Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - TV Series (1979)|
|To Be or Not to Be (1983)|
|To Catch a Thief (1955)|
|To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)|
|To Rome with Love (2012) |
June 20, 2012
In his latest endeavor, To Rome with Love, Woody Allen goes on a scooter, weaving his way through Rome on a sputtering vehicle.
His bumpy trip hits some potholes on a well-worn road. He's certainly not in the fast lane. To Ro ... more
|Tomcats (2001) |
March 29, 2001
The zipper, the apple pie -- and now, Tomcats' runaway testicle
Tomcats is a raunchy, rambunctious, crowd-pleasing film. It has a scene with our hero chasing after a bouncing, runaway testicle through a hospital that will define the ... more
|Town, The (2010)|
|Toy Story (1995)|
|Toy Story 3 (2010) |
June 29, 2010
Toy Story 3 is a Mr. Potato Heady assemblage of nostalgia, excitement, and danger. It flies in all directions, but Woody keeps it pleasurably intact.
17-year old Andy is heading for college, and he has to put away childish things. E ... more
|Transatlantic Coffee (2011)|
|Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) |
July 3, 2011
Animator Chuck Jones was a brilliant master of comic destruction. It had wit, style, and grace.
Director Michael Bay is a master of destruction. It is witless, styleless, and graceless.
Jones's movies went "beep, beep." ... more
|Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) |
July 1, 2009
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is a popular mixture of absorbing adventure and clattering claptrap. Unfortunately, the latter dominates way too much.
It's machines on Viagra. I'm happy for the machines -- less so for th ... more
|Transporter 2 (2005)|
|Transporter, The (2002)|
|Tree of Life, The (2011)|
|Tropic Thunder (2008)|
|Trouble with the Curve (2012) |
September 24, 2012
Trouble with the Curve should be titled Trouble with the Cliche.
It was not written by a hitter; it was written by a hacker.
It's depressing to think that Clint Eastwood's final screen appearance may be in thi ... more
|True Grit (1969)|
|True Grit (2010)|
|Truth About Charlie, The (2002)|
|Twelve Angry Men (1957)|
|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
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