Posted in: Review

Under the Skin

Under the Skin burrows its way into the psyche with a controlled visual and aural onslaught that dazzles and unnerves in equal measure. It’s accessibly abstract, a collection of stunning images and sonic cues that beg for exhaustive analysis while remaining coherent cogs in an efficient storytelling machine. The fantastical story of an extra-terrestrial masquerading […]

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Nymphomaniac: Volume II

It might not be entirely fair to judge the two volumes of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac separately, since they were produced and originally planned as a single entity. But whether by design or by chance, Volume I and Volume II are split in a way that shows obvious contrasts, and while their story isn’t complete […]

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Alan Partridge

Steve Coogan has been portraying Alan Partridge for more than two decades, introducing the character on BBC Radio, then moving on to television shows, specials, and web series. There was even a fake autobiography, I, Partridge, published a few years ago. A film featuring the narcissistic radio host was inevitable and Alan Partridge works largely […]

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Afflicted (2014)

Just when you think a cinematic genre gimmick is all worn out and not worth mentioning ever again, along comes something like Afflicted to totally mess up your misgivings. No, this otherwise above-average horror flick won’t find favor with most non-fright types, especially since it uses the by now passé found footage trope to try […]

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Dom Hemingway

It’s a shame such a spirited performance from Jude Law is wasted in such an unpleasant movie. There’s potential in Dom Hemingway the sociopathic character, fueled by Law’s hyper boorishness, but Dom Hemingway the film doesn’t know what to do with him. It seems the strategy of writer-director Richard Shepard is to toss the brute […]

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The 10 Best Films About Greed

Money makes the world go round. It’s also been called the root of all evil, the answer to everyone’s prayers, and the barometer of social virtue (whatever that means, Ayn Rand). Sure, it doesn’t buy happiness, but like a spoonful of sugar, it can sure help the misery go down much, much easier. We hear […]

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Noah

Noah is what we would call a “problem solving” movie. Within its simple Bible story (a man of faith has a vision of the Earth’s destruction by flood and builds an ark to save the creatures on it) are so many modern plot holes that all director/co-writer Darren Aronofsky and collaborator Ari Handel can add […]

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Sabotage

There’s a perfectly serviceable idea at the core of the otherwise convoluted drug cartel vs. DEA action effort Sabotage. The notion of a ragtag group of degenerate, out of control government agents, led by a legitimate law enforcement legend — the best ever at taking down well armed and aggressive Mexican mobsters — is enough […]

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Breathe In

Three solid performances aren’t enough to lift Breathe In above its triteness and well-worn subject matter. With a restrained approach in portraying the decay of a stereotypical family on autopilot, director and co-writer Drake Doremus positions his film as high-minded, but there’s nothing here that’s enlightening. When we see the trapped husband and father, and […]

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Anita

Anita is a functional film about an astounding person who faced the whirlwind and didn’t blink. It doesn’t do meaningful service to the larger story of persecution and discrimination and never scratches the surface of the poisonous vituperation that swirled around it. None of these things may have been necessary, though. Director Freida Lee Mock […]

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Enemy

It makes sense that movies about envious doppelgangers should also arrive in pairs; one more impressive than the other. Later this year will see Richard Ayoade’s The Double, an impressively unnerving take on the Dostoyevsky novella about a man running into a double who looks just like him but is his spiritual opposite. Until then, […]

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The Lunchbox

The sweet and savory epistolary romance The Lunchbox spins a variation on the adage about getting to a man’s heart through his stomach. In this case, the man in question’s heart is certainly touched, but the food he’s illicitly feasting on serves as a wakeup for something else: his soul. It’s more than the woman […]

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The Rise of the Faith Film

Sex and violence have been marketable commodities since the dawn of cinema. They aren’t everyone’s bag, though. Some folks desire entertainment that’s more wholesome and reflective of their personal spirituality. Religious movies — also known as “faith films” — have fulfilled that role for decades. Once upon a time, they were super low-budget productions that went from […]