When I found out what The Debt was really about, I greeted it with a sense of relief. Here’s what this movie is not: some hectoring documentary about Congress figuring out its financial super committee. After a strong showing at film festivals, and chatter that it may be a 2011 awards contender, The Debt, starring [...]
Its ending reportedly tampered with since Sundance, the indie-scented dysfunctional-family comedy Our Idiot Brother winds up flattering its complacent middle-class audience, but not for any real reason—there’s no medicine going down with this sugar. To try and imagine what the Weinstein Company might have worried about is to find oneself quoting the movie’s own doofus parolee hero: “You know what? You know what? Wow.”
By modern movie standards, the polite action comedy of bumbling criminals seems awfully quaint. Might some refreshment be had from the rude slacker comedy of utterly imbecilic criminals? Aziz Anasari (left) and Jesse Eisenberg star in the chuckle-worthy bank heist flick 30 Minutes or Less. Not from this one. Given the actual 2003 incident in [...]
As a title, Beginners sounds a note of humility, albeit self-consciously. Certainly that makes it the right name for writer-director Mike Mills’ touching, autobiographical new film. In it, a commitment-phobic graphic artist is supportive but bewildered when his father comes out of the closet at 75—just in time to face a terminal illness.
Once in a while, even the most tried and true narrative formula needs to be repackaged. Or so it seemed to the people at DreamWorks, who must’ve said while brainstorming Cowboys & Aliens, “So how about this: a thing meets another thing, but not the other thing you might expect! It’s so crazy, it might work!”
Terrence Malick, the Rhodes scholar-turned-reclusive-director and extreme partisan of The Big Picture, returns this summer with only his fifth film in 38 years.
Actually, yes, the United States did flirt with eugenics for a while, and Nazi Germany did try to vaporize whole populations. But the end results of those experiments were a lot less wholesome than the plot points in Captain America: The First Avenger. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a schmoe too wimpy to serve [...]
This week affords a unique opportunity to come in from the cold of the multiplex. You know what’s playing on the big screens. Did you also know that Thai writer-director Apichatpong “Joe” Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, the top-prize winner at last year’s Cannes, has arrived on DVD? Uncle Boonmee Who [...]
Buck Brannaman is no ordinary horse trainer, which is unfortunate for some. Thanks to Cindy Meehl’s film about him, ordinary horse trainers now have a lot to live up to.
This must begin with a shameful confession, which is that the trailer for Larry Crowne made me want to see some horrible fate befall Julia Roberts. Look, I know it’s terrible. I barely even know how to hurt another person, let alone a balloon animal like the one Roberts plays in Larry Crowne. But if movies starring Tom Hanks have taught me anything, they have taught me that it’s important to do the right thing.
Regular readers of this column know that Super 8 left me cold. That film had been billed as one of the good ones. But that’s in a world—to borrow the blockbuster-trailer parlance—where “good” means predictably “shallow and sentimental.” As a grudging habitue and tiny-paycheck-collecting parasite of Hollywood excess, I know all too well that the [...]
“From writer-director J.J. Abrams,” the poster says in big letters, “and producer Steven Spielberg,” in letters just as big. That triumph of dual brand-identity marketing is the first thing people talk about, and Super 8’s salient feature.
Maybe it’s to Woody Allen’s advantage that his golden age is presumed to be behind him. It makes it easy to accept this 75-year-old writer-director as a good-humored nostalgist who understands the basic problem with nostalgia: There’s no future in it.
We have the X-Men franchise to thank for the last decade’s numbing proliferation of comic book superhero movies. And so we should hold it to a higher standard.
It’s not the worst, as group-of-dudes comedy sequels go. We’re not talking Ghostbusters II here. But of course we weren’t talking Ghostbusters to begin with. We’re talking The Hangover. So this is a little weird: It’s like expecting more and expecting less at the same time. Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis take the [...]
You would not be wrong to wonder if it’s even possible to get fired up for a new movie version of Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel
Bridesmaids arrives at a grim moment in the history of filmed entertainment, when people are actually asking whether women can be funny in American movies—and whether big studios will let them. At such a low moment, there may be no choice but for women to reclaim the gross and raunchy comedy of bodily functions formerly [...]
Prior to assuming its throne, Thor gets banished from his kingdom—too much arrogant warmongering—via intergalactic wormhole and winds up in small town New Mexico.
With Win Win, the character actor and occasional writer-director Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor) continues his run of charming, slice-of-life films for grown-ups.
It would help if we could actually feel Redford yearning for the good old days of big-screen didacticism, but it’s more like he’s on auto-pilot.
The director David Gordon Green started in tastefully muted art-house fodder. Then he made Pineapple Express. With his latest film, Your Highness, now he seems to be imitating the sort of Mel Brooks movies that make you wonder what happened to Mel Brooks. In the old-world stoner comedy Your Highness, Danny McBride (right) plays the [...]
Screenwriters Seth Lochhead and David Farr seem to enable Wright’s wandering and squandering, as shapeless supporting roles allow for an overacting Blanchett and an underused Olivia Williams.
It’s not always enough for a man to coast on his credentials. That’s what Wells’ characters learn when the Great Recession comes to their Boston-based multinational transportation conglomerate.
A young man, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, awakens abruptly on a Chicago-bound commuter train. He’s not sure how he got here, or why the pretty stranger across from him, played by Michelle Monaghan, is acting so familiar and calling him by someone else’s name.
This Illusionist has all the elements of a Tati movie: the nearly wordless austerity, the wistful piquancy, the affectionate and meticulous attention to the details of a landscape that overwhelms the characters that populate it.