Posted in: Review

The Fifth Estate

Irony of ironies – the much-anticipated “WikiLeaks Movie,” which dramatizes the inception of an organization responsible for some the most incendiary and controversial information leaks in recent history, turns out to be a rote, by-the-numbers thriller. The Fifth Estate, director Bill Condon’s re-entry into the land of serious filmmaking (after a psychotropic stint on the […]

Posted in: Review

Captain Phillips

With measured satisfaction, I can report Captain Phillips is a solid thriller. Satisfaction is “measured” because, with the filmmaking talent behind the film, it could’ve been so much more. Director Paul Greengrass has made a career out of twisting expectations, taking straight thrillers like the Bourne films and infusing them with geopolitical subtext and emotional […]

Posted in: Review

Don Jon

Two things are readily apparent on the basis of Don Jon. First, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is clearly a talented filmmaker and a thoughtful, empathetic storyteller. Second, the guy has obviously never been caught in the grip of true addiction. In this, Gordon-Levitt’s debut as a writer-director, addiction — specifically, porn addiction — is the force  that […]

Posted in: Review

Jug Face

As Jug Face begins, it toes the line between thoughtful indie thriller and B-movie schlockfest. Very quickly, it fully crosses over into the latter category. Not merely because the film is amateurish, though it unfortunately is — there are only so many legitimate thrills that can be created by shaking the camera and layering cheap […]

Posted in: Review

We’re the Millers

First there was The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, which imported the tame style of 1990s comedy into 2013. Then there was The To Do List, which mocked ’90s culture in order to fulfill its decidedly post-millennial comedic mindset. Now there’s We’re the Millers, another in the trend of old-fashioned comedies in 2013, though its chief inspiration […]

Posted in: Review

The Bling Ring

As the soundtrack booms with an onslaught of undeniably body-grooving alt-funk and the camera obsessively pans from one overstuffed collection of prestige “valuables” to the next, Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring announces itself with the sort of too-cool, Gen-Y hipster gusto that exemplifies its vapid, villainous characters. The ensuing film functions as a window into […]

Posted in: Review

This Is the End

It simultaneously does and doesn’t seem right to use lofty superlatives to describe This Is the End, since the film is so determined to be reckless and crass, but it is also, frankly, ingenious. So I shall let the superlatives fly: This Is the End is a blissfully anarchic blast of inside Hollywood barbs, blood-curdling ultra-violence, and gut-busting […]