Latest Film Reviews
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)
Except as a tool for pediatric grief counseling,
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
amounts to a fetishization of its own trappings (the boy, NYC, 9/11) more interested in Oscar than Oskar.
Finds Soderbergh keeping it simple, stupid, by filling the story's hollowness with kick-butt action and elements of style.
The Moment of Truth (a.k.a. Il momento della verita) (1965)
This fable of the disposable performer rising above his class transcends ordinary fiction to be an expressive visual record of the art of bullfighting: primal, brutal, repellent and magnetic in equal measure.
A stylish genre exercise...one might just as well say the L.A. story unfolds at the corner of Michael Mann and David Lynch.
plays cleverly with the arcane mysteries of game theory, and if it's only a game, happily, it's one worthy of exhibition.
The Whistleblower (2011)
Condurache and Weisz’s 'small corrections' make a big difference in steering the movie right, enough to make
a decent entry in the genre of political passion plays.
What's Your Number? (2011)
[Faris] and Evans deserve better than a string of rom-com clichés, including the surprise date in a closed sports arena. Unless you’re Justin Beiber and Selena Gomez, it couldn’t happen to you.
A slow disintegration of the thin veneer of social niceties, revealing the human animalism underneath. Like Reza's equally popular
God of Carnage
isn't as deep as it would have you believe, but both plays are catnip for actors.
isn’t interested in defeatism, except as one inevitable way station of the film’s appealing emotional ramble.
Sid and Nancy (1986)
Oldman's mid-film music-video performance of 'My Way' before a neon staircase compares favorably—as a revelation of character through performance—to Robert De Niro's framing monologues in
Killer Elite (2011)
never manages is to convince us of its sociopolitical import...or its emotional resonance.
Fright Night (2011)
While it's unspooling, it has enough visual snap, narrative tension, and humor for a satisfying 'drive-in movie' diversion.
Glee: The 3D Concert Movie (2011)
An orgiastic celebration of
concocted by its own creators...sort of like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but with more hot air.
Archer: The Complete Second Season (2011)
roughly the same ratio of silliness and satire, which is to say heavy on the former and light on the latter.
Justified: The Complete Second Season (2011)
remains one of the most satisfying hours on television, creating a illusion of the social margins of Southern life that's convincing enough that we want to believe in it.
The Guard (2011)
The film's self-conscious gestures in the direction of fish-out-of-water comedies, buddy-cop movies and Westerns don't amount to much in and of themselves, but they tie together as a functional clothesline for character comedy and left-field drama.
The Rocketeer (1991)
A charmer in its gee-whiz, irony-light resuscitation of the movie serials of the '30s.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
Whether coolly dispatching a fly or eating a Wimpy burger with knife and fork, Oldman carefully makes every gesture part of his quiet revelation of character.
Dolphin Tale (2011)
In the hands of actor-turned-director Charles Martin Smith, this kid-centric drama provides a welcome family option with positive values and a minimum of frantic, noisy CGI. It's a tale told on a human (and animal) scale.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Fincher is perfectly suited to the material, with its voluminous clues to be organized and parsed, its emotional austerity, and its serial murder, rape, and sundry sick plot twists.
Young Adult (2011)
What ultimately makes
worth the trip is Theron’s uncompromising performance, which dares to make Mavis unlikeable and, in the process, earns our pity and, more disturbingly, our identification.
West Side Story (1961)
A landmark screen musical that left its own indelible stamp on popular culture.
New Year's Eve (2011)
I tell ya, I haven't heard this much talk about ball-dropping since the junior high locker room.
The Help (2011)
accepted more of Davis’ help, we might have a work of art on our hands instead of another condescending, half-baked history lesson.
The Artist (2011)
Though this pastiche has been crafted by film nerds and largely for them, Michel Hazanavicius' feature has an emotional generosity that speaks louder than words.
The Descendants (2011)
If you see
, see it for Clooney (and Woodley), but don’t believe the hype that it’s one for the ages.
The Muppets (2011)
Muppet News Flash! Your friends in felt are back on the big screen, ready and waiting to charm a new generation of…moppets.
Our Idiot Brother (2011)
Little Miss Sunshine
-y...a sunny sitcom of family dysfunction...
Sarah's Key (2011)
Strong work from Mayance and Thomas keeps
from rusting amid the sometime soddenness of the script.
Three Colors Trilogy (2012)
Unsparing character studies, using the specific to illuminate the universal.
Into the Abyss (2011)
The interviews that make up the balance of the film yield plenty of oddities of modern American life.
Blue Velvet (1986)
Works brilliantly as an allegory of American repression and willful illusion of order, Lumberton's forced-smile '50s sensibility unable to keep down the anarchic, raging id that is humanity's primal drive.
Winnie the Pooh (2011)
A back-to-basics charmer evoking the Pooh short films from the '60s and '70s.
When they're not risking their lives with exciting spy maneuvers, Blaster works out to Lady Gaga and Juarez updates her Facebook page. Okay, so maybe
is just a tad self-consciously 'hip.'
Are your kids ready for an existential movie? Turns out they are: Disney's CGI-animated action comedy
is, at its core, a story of one individual's discovery that his sense of reality...has been seriously skewed.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 (2011)
Thematically, like any good myth, the Harry Potter story comes full circle, with a heroic homecoming and the promise of more adventures, if only in our imaginations.
The director's emotional sadism and laughable bluntness in his symbolic approach leave us in the cold, to pick through the art-auction catalog of Manuel Alberto Claro's cinematography and contemplate Dunst's award-winning suffering.
Tower Heist (2011)
Has the perfect 'generic brand' title to match its Teflon blandness.
Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)
At least, though the insights here aren't as plentiful as Durkin seems to think, Olsen's fine work as the off-balance, paranoid anti-hero helps to create that illusion.
Cars 2 (2011)
Director John Lasseter pushes the credo 'Story is king,' but the sequel to the 2006 hit
unwittingly abdicates the throne.
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