Latest Film Reviews
Burn Notice: Fall of Sam Axe (2011)
A reasonably fun double-episode of
...Who doesn't love Bruce Campbell?
Soul Surfer (2011)
Faith-based...With its sports-movie structure and Hollywood production values,
is a creditable crossover picture; it just could've done with more nuance.
The Name of the Rose (1986)
For labyrinth-lovers...a thoughtful and entertaining murder mystery predicated on intellectual debate.
Despite it all, just try to take your eyes off this movie: skillfully crafted by Levinson,
is eminently watchable, deeply emotional, and populated with top acting talent.
[Gives] Weaver equal billing with everyone's favorite Southern spitfire, Holly Hunter. Teaming up these heavyweights is the genius notion of
, a solid serial-killer thriller elevated by phenomenal acting.
Better Off Dead... (1985)
Full of...goofy ironies, and while it ain't Molière, it is a pretty great entry in the teen-comedy genre.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2011)
Fits neatly into Weerasethakul's cinema-shaking oeuvre of beautiful experimentation.
Life During Wartime (2010)
A typically horny-thorny Solondzian dramedy...Solondz's is a universe of limitless disappointment.
Beauty and the Beast (1946)
Forbidding images of forbidden people and places delineate the edges of an otherwise simplistic fable...in its languid romance,
Beauty and the Beast
is about the irrepressible, exciting rightness of the 'wrong.'
High and Low (1963)
One of the all-time-great 'procedurals'...the devilish fun is in the details for Kurosawa.
Burger plunges into the material at such a headlong pace and with sufficient adrenalized style as to propel this essentially trashy thriller and distract from the abundant loose ends.
Be Cool (2005)
As loosely adapted from Elmore Leonard's
sequel novel, the sequel movie
tastes like a watered-down drink.
Winter in Wartime (2011)
Spielbergian touches...a good enough mainstream drama, but one can't help but feel it's a missed opportunity to give Terlouw a more textured treatment.
Morris compellingly unfolds the story and clearly means for us to see our own untoward qualities writ large in Joyce and the circus surrounding her.
The Music Room (1958)
A surprisingly sympathetic elegy for the feudal class, or at least one of its sad representatives...the notion of lost legacy informs the film's distraught last word: 'blood.'
Leigh's extensive use of improvisation in rehearsal led to a razor-sharp final script, endlessly blooming with memorable dialogue that—while never less than credibly naturalistic—proves thematically fertile.
Source Code (2011)
is philosophical science fiction and not just 'sci fi,' there's something to chew on here about consciousness: when it begins and ends, and that old chestnut of what constitutes reality.
Das Boot (1981)
Few war films are more potent than
...the ultimate submarine movie.
Captain America (2011)
The most noticeable motif Johnston plays with is the use of a garbage-can lid as a shield: more important than $140 million dollars worth of toys is Johnston’s childlike sense of play.
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Figgis puts a desperate drunk front and center and demands we deal with him and the Jungian shadow he casts.
The Horse Soldiers (1959)
Though flawed, John Ford's
The Horse Soldiers
has a fair amount going for it: the well-oiled partnership of Ford and star John Wayne (and an assist from William Holden); Ford's vivid visual style; and large-scale action.
The Manchurian Candidate (2011)
Set the standard for cinematic paranoid thrillers and stands as the quintessential John Frankenheimer film.
Project Nim (2011)
Fascinating characters...inescapably provokes consideration of the human animal’s primal nature.
Hobo With a Shotgun (2011)
The screenplay plays like the result of a 'Write the Most Vile Line Ever' contest, which in itself will be a huge draw for cinematic dumpster divers.
Louie: The Complete First Season (2011)
Seemingly conceived on the fly as much as it's shot on the fly,
cultivates the unexpected.
More interested in melancholy wryness than belly laughs, and the low-key results have a pleasant fizz.
Both Buck and
endorse sensitive care for the voiceless, whether they be horses or cowed children.
Zazie dans le métro (1960)
Jazzy and daring...takes Raymond Queneau's novel—the sort generally considered 'unfilmable' and makes a film so cinematic as to appear
Original Sin (2001)
Though written and directed by a Pulitzer Prize winner,
is better known as the picture in which a naked Angelina Jolie (by then a certified Oscar winner) and Antonio Banderas do the horizontal mambo.
People on Sunday (a.k.a. Menschen am Sonntag) (1930)
People on Sunday
regards people lazing about, its legacy is that of filmmakers proving their industriousness.
The Long Riders (1980)
Hill's lean, mean approach never had a more appealing texture than it does here...
Larry Crowne (2011)
Has the consistency of an individually wrapped slice of Velveeta.
Of Gods and Men (2011)
Loses some power by letting the central debate fizzle out...but rallies in the end with an eloquent post-climactic testament by Christian, an attempt to respond rationally to the irrational.
benefited from the creative freedom of '70s cinema...at its best when it's most creatively subversive...
New York, New York (1977)
Ultimately a very personal film about how Scorsese views a genre of film and, as such, has a much more coherent vision than its reputation would suggest.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
The latest workmanlike entry in what must be regarded as an unprecedented film series has plenty of flaws, but also the franchise's reliable draws.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Emerson said, 'A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,' but in this franchise--where you’re likely to spot a hobgoblin or two--the consistency isn’t foolish but miraculous.
Spectacle: Elvis Costello With... - Season Two (2011)
Features the leading light of popular music today, Elvis Costello, as host and regular perfomer.
Reflects Roeg's views of the absurdity of American history and our compulsion to destroy beauty.
The Makioka Sisters (1983)
Well acted by a strong ensemble,
The Makioka Sisters
quietly, steadily (and almost imperceptibly as it happens) endears us to these women, investing us in their varied fates.
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