Posted in: Review

Hyde Park on Hudson

You may remember King George VI, if not from history than from the Oscar-anointed Best Picture of 2010, The King’s Speech. He’s the charming, low-key fellow (Colin Firth) who inherits the throne quite reluctantly after his brother abdicates for love, and must overcome his lifelong stammer in order to deliver an address as England declares […]

Posted in: Review

Mama

Is there room for overt sentimentality in a scary movie? That’s the main question one encounters after sitting through the Guillermo Del Toro-produced/Andres Muschietti-directed fright film Mama. While the aforementioned Mexican auteur has himself included fantasy and romanticized elements in his own movie macabre (The Devil’s Backbone, Pan’s Labyrinth), it appears his penchant for turning […]

Posted in: Review

Silver Linings Playbook

Though hamfisted at times and ultimately predictable, Silver Linings Playbook still manages to bring some real brio to a genre long since sodden with platitudes and empty humor.  And despite some serious errors in judgement, Silver Linings Playbook is one of those rare love stories with actual heart. After coming upon his wife in flagrante delicto having shower-fun-time with […]

Posted in: Review

The Guilt Trip

Whenever Oscar-winning chanteuse and defiant diva Barbra Streisand decides to grace us with her presence on the silver screen, it’s an event. From her initial musical work in the ’60s to the screwball comedies and romances of the ’70s, her career choices have always attempted to match her well known in-studio perfectionism. So how does […]

Posted in: Review

Broken City

The movies love sleaze in high places. From the posh offices of world leaders to the local political scandal, film enjoys tales of absolute power corrupting absolutely-and those who would bring such despots down.  So it’s no surprise when an effort like Broken City comes around. It has all the components for a competent thriller. […]

Posted in: Review

The Details

A couple of years back, the brilliant Coen brothers unleashed A Serious Man on unsuspecting movie audiences. The masterpiece of faith and fate, the film featured a physics professor nebbish whose own growing Anti-Semitism is tempered by a cosmic design to make his life as unlivable as possible. Within the dark comedic core was a […]

Posted in: Review

Promised Land

Dealing with the hot button environmental issue of fracking (otherwise known as the hydraulic fracturing of the Earth’s bedrock in order to release trapped natural gas), and featuring a wealth of talent in front of and behind the scenes, Promised Land should be better. In fact, it should be great, especially when you consider the […]

Posted in: Review

Killing Them Softly

Andrew Dominik’s first film with Brad Pitt, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, was an unusually reflective movie about outlaws, a languorous and beautiful western by way of Terrence Malick. (Pitt would go on to star in the actual Malick film The Tree of Life, as if having graduated from an […]

Posted in: Review

A Monster in Paris

By now, the family film genre has become a bit of a cinematic cliche. Either every effort is measured against Pixar’s presumed perfection, or cast off as commercial claptrap from studios which understand little beyond marketing and the elementary school zeitgeist. Walking somewhere in between both is the fun, flawed A Monster in Paris. Produced […]

Posted in: Review

Save the Date

In the aftermath of so many wedding-centric romantic comedies, an alternative vision of the subgenre seems to be building: first Kristen Wiig and Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids appeared with a messier, raunchier take on a best friend’s wedding, then Leslye Headland’s Bachelorette went even darker; even The Five-Year Engagement focused more on its central relationship than […]

Posted in: Review

I Wish

No writer/director is better at mining big human truths from the seemingly trivial details of daily life than Hirokazu Kore-eda, whose jewel-box like movies — Nobody Knows and Still Walking are two stellar examples — offer intimate slices of life in contemporary Japan that teach us about life anytime and anywhere. In I Wish, Kore-eda […]

Posted in: Review

Stand Up Guys

It’s boring, hacky, pandering, maudlin, pleased with itself, and vacant of almost any believable human moment, but at least it’s also stupendously sexist. This could have been a good movie, that’s what kills me, and not just because it’s got good actors in it because, frankly, Pacino misses the mark by quite a lot in […]

Posted in: Review

John Dies at the End

It’s been a long time since we’ve heard from horror film director Don Coscarelli. When last he darkened a Cineplex with his dangerous visions, it was in service of the wonderful Elvis-as-ghostbuster classic Bubba Ho-Tep. Unfortunately, since then, his post-Phantasm career has been stalled. He’s tried to get a sequel, the vampire-inspired Bubba Nosferatu, off […]

Posted in: Review

Lincoln

It’s difficult to determine whether Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln plays as earnest historical drama or straight-up Oscar bait. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. Lincoln is the type of big-budget film that has “epic” written all over it, filled with an overabundance of speaking roles, period set design, and dramatic conflict — satisfying all […]