Jonathan Kiefer



Stop the Earth, we want to get on!

Stop the Earth, we want to get on!

Many decades ago, when the movies still were young and naive, and the original version of The Day the Earth Stood Still wasn’t even a gleam in the robot Gort’s cycloptic eye, a Russian director named Lev Kuleshov put on a famous series of cinematic experiments. He took one straightforward shot of a movie star’s […]

Capsule Reviews

Australia (PG-13, 175 minutes) Moulin Rouge! director Baz Luhrmann directs Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in a romantic historical western. Carmike Cinema 6 Bolt (PG, 96 minutes) In Disney’s 48th animated feature, a Hollywood dog who plays a canine superhero on TV, and thinks he actually is one, winds up in New York by mistake […]

Baby, you can drive my car

Baby, you can drive my car

So, apparently Chuck Berry did not get his sound from hearing Marty McFly substitute on guitar for Berry’s injured cousin, Marvin, at the November 12, 1955, “Enchantment Under the Sea” dance in Hill Valley, California. And apparently the birth of rock ’n’ roll has nothing to do with a time-traveling DeLorean, but instead with vintage […]

Capsule reviews

Australia (PG-13, 175 minutes) Moulin Rouge! director Baz Luhrmann directs Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in a romantic historical western. Playing at Carmike Cinema 6 Bolt (PG, 96 minutes) In Disney’s 48th animated feature, a Hollywood dog who plays a canine superhero on TV, and thinks he actually is one, winds up in New York […]

Holidazed and confused

Holidazed and confused

You’re wondering: Should Four Christmases have …and a Funeral in its title? Depends how exhausting you find holidays with the family to be. More exhausting than, say, movies about holidays with the family? Four-upping Meet the Parents, Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon play Brad and Kate, a childless, unmarried, mutually self-satisfied couple who’ve been together […]

Capsule Reviews

Australia (PG-13, 175 minutes) Moulin Rouge! director Baz Luhrmann directs Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in a romantic historical western. Opening Friday Bolt (PG, 96 minutes) In Disney’s 48th animated feature, a Hollywood dog who plays a canine superhero on TV, and thinks he actually is one, winds up in New York by mistake and […]

Vampire's plot is worse than his bite?

Vampire's plot is worse than his bite?

I didn’t need a strict press screening policy—no handheld devices with recording capabilities of any kind were allowed in the theater—to understand that the sacred purity of Twilight must not be corrupted. Adapted from Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling novel, which contains trace elements of Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë, not to mention a few archetypally ancient […]

Capsule Reviews

Australia (PG-13, 175 minutes) Moulin Rouge! director Baz Luhrmann directs Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in a romantic historical western. Opening Friday Bolt (PG, 96 minutes) In Disney’s 48th animated feature, a Hollywood dog who plays a canine superhero on TV, and thinks he actually is one, winds up in New York by mistake and […]

Worth looking at?

Worth looking at?

 This is not a holiday movie preview. Get that out of your head. Thank you. Yes, O.K., it is a movie preview. And it covers what’s coming to a theater near you (or annoyingly far from you) through the end of December. But this particular, peculiar, noncomprehensive list is not about “holiday” movies per se. […]

Sex, laughs and videotape

Sex, laughs and videotape

What if, one time, when Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney made one of those “Let’s put on a show!” movies, the show they put on was a sex tape? O.K., now imagine, instead of Garland and Rooney in a glossy, golden-age MGM musical, it’s Elizabeth Banks and Seth Rogen in one of writer-director Kevin Smith’s […]

Capsule Reviews

Beverly Hills Chihuahua (PG, 85 minutes) A pampered pooch finds herself lost in Mexico and far from home. Disney provides the funding and Drew Barrymore, Andy Garcia, George Lopez and Salma Hayek provide the voices. Playing at Regal Downtown Mall 6 Bolt (PG, 96 minutes) In Disney’s 48th animated feature, a Hollywood dog who plays […]

The Bond versus Bourne debate

The Bond versus Bourne debate

What red-blooded, fun-loving, popcorn-munching movie loyalist wouldn’t want Quantum of Solace to be good? After all, it reunites us with Daniel Craig’s bracing James Bond, this time (Bond’s 22nd on screen) with the great French actor Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) as his evil opponent. Sounds promising, right? And how about that […]

Capsule Reviews

Beverly Hills Chihuahua (PG, 85 minutes) A pampered pooch finds herself lost in Mexico and far from home. Disney provides the funding and Drew Barrymore, Andy Garcia, George Lopez and Salma Hayek provide the voices. Playing at Regal Seminole Square 4 Body of Lies (R, 128 minutes) Dude-tastic director Ridley Scott’s dude-heavy drama, based on […]

Law and disorder in Eastwood’s latest

Law and disorder in Eastwood’s latest

As he’s aged and moderated his public image, Clint Eastwood has taken to directing movies with a certain unhurried, chivalrous confidence. When it charms, people call it “classical.” Otherwise, maybe the word they’re looking for is “fogeyish.” In the clunky, overlong Changeling, a true tale of child abduction, authoritarian corruption and maternal indignation in late-’20s […]

Capsule reviews

Beverly Hills Chihuahua (PG, 85 minutes) A pampered pooch finds herself lost in Mexico and far from home. Disney provides the funding and Drew Barrymore, Andy Garcia, George Lopez and Salma Hayek provide the voices. Playing at Regal Seminole Square 4 Body of Lies (R, 128 minutes) Dude-tastic director Ridley Scott’s dude-heavy drama, based on […]

Pride and Glory leads to the grave

Pride and Glory leads to the grave

Not to be confused with Pride and Prejudice or with Hope and Glory, probably to be confused with many police thrillers of years and decades past, Pride and Glory is the new movie about a few of New York’s finest who fall from fineness. A drug bust gone fishily wrong leaves four cops dead and […]

Capsule Reviews

Beverly Hills Chihuahua (PG, 85 minutes) A pampered pooch finds herself lost in Mexico and far from home. Disney provides the funding and Drew Barrymore, Andy Garcia, George Lopez and Salma Hayek provide the voices. Playing at Regal Seminole Square 4 Body of Lies (R, 128 minutes) Dude-tastic director Ridley Scott’s dude-heavy drama, based on […]

Win, ‘loosa or draw?

Win, ‘loosa or draw?

What we have with Appaloosa is a faithful adaptation of Robert B. Parker’s 2005 novel, directed by Ed Harris and co-scripted by him and Robert Knott. It’s Harris’ second film as director and certainly a departure from his first, 2000’s Pollock. Harris and Viggo Mortensen play two transient 1882 lawmen, Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, […]

Capsule Reviews

An American Carol (PG-13, 83 minutes) Director David Zucker of Airplane! fame and Scary Movie 3 infamy helms this tale of a Michael Moore-ish filmmaker (Kevin Farley) who crusades to abolish our July 4 holiday and is visited by spirits who try to persuade him that he’s an idiot. With Jon Voigt as George Washington […]

Ridley Scott’s man’s man’s world

Ridley Scott’s man’s man’s world

“Solid. Macho. Ridley Scott.” That’s what I said, with a shrug, to the expectant movie publicist on my way out of the Body of Lies press screening. The shrug wasn’t dismissive; I just couldn’t come up with anything else. I wasn’t even sure anything else needed to be said, by me or anybody.  “Perfect,” she […]

Capsule Reviews

An American Carol (PG-13, 83 minutes) Director David Zucker of Airplane! fame and Scary Movie 3 infamy helms this tale of a Michael Moore-ish filmmaker (Kevin Farley) who crusades to abolish our July 4 holiday and is visited by spirits who try to persuade him that he’s an idiot. With Jon Voigt as George Washington […]

Love is a Michael Cera mixtape

Love is a Michael Cera mixtape

First, it must be understood that the Nick and Norah, proprietors of this infinite playlist, are of no discernible relation to Nick and Nora Charles from Dashiell Hammett’s novel The Thin Man, which became a series of six boozily banter-intensive movies starring William Powell and Myrna Loy in the ’30s and ’40s. This has be […]

Great vengeance and furious anger

Great vengeance and furious anger

Is it weird that so many fall movies are turning racial charges into high concepts? Gary Fleder’s The Express could be just another college-football drama, except it’s about the first black man to win the Heisman Trophy. Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna could be a standard-issue World War II movie, except it’s about black […]

Dark comedy that goes down easy

Dark comedy that goes down easy

One thing that may not have occurred to you about the Heimlich Maneuver is that, during a crisis, it is at the very least a reliable way of being held. That’s how Choke’s Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell) sees it, anyway. And just because Victor is a fatherless, sex-addicted med school dropout who solicits bankable pity […]

Burnin’ down the house

Burnin’ down the house

You can take the movie’s title in a number of ways. As spy jargon, of course—an order to protect top secret information by ensuring that no eyes but your own ever will see it. Or as a spectacular critical rebuke, to a document so aggressively disposable that the disposal itself should be aggressive, punitive, scorching. […]

Capsule reviews of movies playing in town

Babylon A.D. (PG-13, 90 minutes) It’s the dystopian future. Michelle Yeoh is a nun looking after a young woman who might have a deadly virus, and Vin Diesel is a mercenary looking after himself. Many explosions may change that. Playing at Carmike Cinema 6 Bangkok Dangerous (R, 110 minutes) Danny and Oxide Pang remake their […]

Girls’ night out?

Girls’ night out?

Admit it: Sometimes it’s hard to know what wave of feminism we’re in. So let’s take a break from trying to figure out whether John McCain’s choice of running mate makes him seem shrewdly progressive or just a degree less insultingly desperate than if he’d attended the RNC in blackface. Let’s step away, once more, […]