Latest Theatrical Reviews
Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant (2009)
Gothic pop...a ripping yarn for the big screen...
Where the Wild Things Are (2009)
A fine conversation piece for gifted kids—assuming parents willing to talk to their kids about their feelings...also a fascinating psychological study for adults looking back on the roiling emotions of childhood.
The Boys Are Back (2009)
Mawkish...Owen is forced to go the sackcloth-and-ashes route with multiple crying scenes, conversations with a dead spouse, and overcooked scenes of despair, anger, and unfettered joy spent with troubled offspring.
The Invention of Lying (2009)
Succeeds in being a daring satire by positing Mark as a Messiah...It’s a shame that the comedy tends to be repetitive, and more funny clever than funny ha ha.
Love Happens (2009)
Pure Hollywood hokum, with plotting that’s practically impossible...graceless product placement, cutesy situations, and neatly tied bows.
At least 10% more exciting than correction fluid.
One senses Acker stretching his eleven-minute short rather than containing bigger ideas and characters who have taken on lives of their own:
too clearly puts style over substance.
Taking Woodstock (2009)
On balance...like Teichberg—takes after its immigrant American father, evincing a quiet humility in offering its rambling 'little perspective' of an emblematic happening that was almost everything it was cracked up to be.
It Might Get Loud (2009)
[A] sideways glance at the electric guitar by way of profiling three generations of guitarists: Jack White of The White Stripes, the Edge of U2, and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin.
World's Greatest Dad (2009)
An amusing, cynical black comedy about our national addiction to tragedy, and our commoditization of grief...
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
A whole lot of movie, but it’s also technically mature filmmaking to a thematically juvenile end.
Lorna's Silence (2009)
The Dardenne brothers have seemed infallible, but their signature style begins to show strain in
An admirable dramatic investigation into life with Asperger's and a story with the intelligence not to insult ours.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)
Very nearly everything that's wrong with Hollywood, but darn if it won't give an action-hungry audience its money's worth. It's ridiculous, it's stoopid, and it puts its planes in the air like it just don't care.
The Cove (2009)
Informative, exciting, and surprisingly emotional...its goal is to alert the world to the abuse and consumption of dolphins.
Julie & Julia (2009)
Together the film's parallel stories do make slightly more than the sum of their ingredients, cooking up undemanding summer fun.
In the Loop (2009)
With a bite that’s going to leave a mark,
In the Loop
is the year’s best comedy to date.
The Hurt Locker (2009)
With the help of a well-informed screenplay by journalist Mark Boal, Bigelow dispenses with the red-wire/blue-wire lies Hollywood told you and replaces them with a heady brew of documentary realism and action poetry.
The Girl From Monaco (a.k.a. La fille de Monaco) (2009)
The French comedy-drama
The Girl from Monaco
demonstrates how an excess of liberté and fraternité can be hazardous to the health, especially where there is an absence of egalité.
There’s still much to admire in the visual craft and offbeat cultural sampling Coppola heroically brings to a homogenized cinema, but
rides off the rails.
Public Enemies (2009)
True-crime story or romantic myth-making? This was the question I brought in to Michael Mann's
...and, though seemingly an either-or proposition, the question still on my mind when I walked out.
Doesn’t so much get anything wrong; it just fails to go oh so right.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
Never in the field of blockbuster movies has so much been spent on so little.
Waltz with Bashir (2008)
The most artful film of the year,
Waltz with Bashir
works equally well as a potent anti-war film and as a creative examination of the psyche and the nature of memory.
Land of the Lost (2009)
It’s all mildly entertaining in an incredibly stupid, borderline coherent way...But in banishing formula, the film ends up, well, lost.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
With splashy digital effects and punchy stuntwork, the solid
slides along enjoyably, but doesn't have the impeccable story and visual design of the previous entry.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Pulls out the stops, setting the gold standard for expensive, explosive summer blockbusters.
Taking Lives (2004)
Willfully stupid and obvious for most of its running time, this serial-killer thriller lulls the audience into one gasp-worthy, rug-pulling moment that, while stupid, isn't exactly obvious.
Star Trek (2009)
's greatest stroke of genius to conceive of Kirk and Spock as two rebels looking for a cause...
Every Little Step (2009)
That ultimate vulnerability of putting it all on the line through and for their art...is the beating heart of Bennett's work and
Every Little Step
's fine return to it.
Most of all,
serves as a reminder of the ultimate responsibility one can take, for a human life. As Arthur Miller might have said, these men deciding the fate of a teenage boy are all his fathers.
Monsters vs Aliens (2009)
coup de grace
comes in the form of Ginormica, a clever metaphor of figurative and literal female empowerment...Plus there’s lots of explosions.
Any film that depicts a 'superheroic' rapist-brute as a self-styled parody of America's 'true face' can hardly be accused of thematic squeamishness, and any film that sends readers back to the comic for Moore (and Gibbons) has served the public interest.
Two Lovers (2009)
Heartbreakingly explores our romantic delusions, and the tragedy of always wanting more than we can have.
If you want to hear characters talk to each other in
dialogue, I've got a couple of trilogies for you.
America the Beautiful (2008)
The film's examination of our beauty-obsessed culture—however familiar—remains unfortunately necessary.
Wendy and Lucy (2008)
America is about to see a sharp upturn in hard-luck stories, which makes Kelly Reichardt’s small-scale drama
Wendy and Lucy
New in Town (2009)
The recipe of
New in Town
isn't secret, and it tastes like pablum to me.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)
The hero is named for a disgusting bodily function that's hardly PG material, but the movie itself seems to be aimed at grade schoolers.
A complex production mounted, with confidence and a scrupulous eye for detail, by one of our great American filmmakers.
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