An indie spin on Meet the Parents, this annoying comedy about an excessively neurotic American (Adam Goldberg) who spends two days in guess-where with his French girlfriend (Delpy, who wrote, directed, produced, edited, and even scored the picture) feels honest, but wears thin quickly. Dealing with the in-laws (played by Delpy's real-life parents, French acting veterans Marie Pillet and Albert… read more!
Movies Released in 2007 (in alphabetical order)
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
This chilling drama, set in 1987 Romania before the fall of the Iron Curtain and Ceausescu, concerns a college student seeking a then-illegal abortion. Her roommate decides to help her – and gets more than she bargained for. The story is all the more harrowing because of the film's quiet, matter-of-fact approach. At a time and place where everybody works… read more!
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
With a mouthful of a title that hints at the length of the film itself, this will, depending on your mood, hypnotize you or bore you to death. Writer/director Dominik, adapting Ron Hansen's historical novel, takes his cues from the work of Terrence Malick and creates a meditative look at the uncertain relationship between famed Western outlaw Jesse James and… read more!
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
Pitch black family drama about two loser brothers (Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke) who, both in desperate need of money, agree on Hoffman's plan to pull off a simple heist of a suburban jewelry store – a store owned and operated by their own parents. As we quickly find out, the robbery goes horribly wrong, and the brothers and… read more!
Black Snake Moan
Inherently weird, unclassifiable movie, set in rural Tennessee, about a former blues musician (Samuel Jackson) who takes a bloody, beaten white girl (Christina Ricci) under his wing, only to find out that she suffers from some sort of nymphomania. So he chains her to his radiator in order to "cure" her. What follows is a unique if awkward blend of… read more!
I really liked Billy Ray's first feature, the somewhat underrated Shattered Glass, a dramatization of the downfall of pathologically lying New Republic reporter Stephen Glass. Breach is the perfect follow-up: Like Shattered Glass, it explores a recent American scandal involving a corrupt, deluded, and possibly insane individual placed in a high position of trust, who exploited that position to his… read more!
When I saw Michael Winterbottom's 24 Hour Party People in 2002, a dramatization of the Manchester, England music scene from the late '70s to the early '90s, I liked the chapter on Joy Division and its front man Ian Curtis (who committed suicide at the age of 23, the day before the band was to embark on its first American… read more!
Flashy documentary about a nerdy but successful Bronx lawyer named Burt Pugach who, in the late 1950s, started dating a local beauty named Linda Riss, nine years his junior and initially unaware that he was already married. Finally weary of Pugach's increasingly obsessive behavior and his refusal to leave his wife, Riss dumped him and took up with another man.… read more!
Curse of the Golden Flower
Zhang Yimou has long been one of my very favorite directors, a expert at delivering both visual splendor and heart-rending tragedy. And even while recently adding action movies to his repertoire (Hero, House of Flying Daggers), he still showed a propensity for making great films. But Curse of the Golden Flower left me cold. Set in a corrupt imperial court… read more!
Steve Buscemi plays Les Galantine, an angry, lonely New York paparazzo who takes in Toby (pretty boy Michael Pitt), the nicest, cleanest homeless kid in the world, and makes the handy young lad his assistant – only to lose his sweet-natured protege into the very crowds of beautiful people that he photographs. Writer/director DiCillo and Buscemi have created a great… read more!
One dark night in London, a Russian teenager dies in childbirth. The midwife at the hospital (Naomi Watts), who is conveniently half-Russian herself, takes the teenager's diary and seeks to have it translated in order to find the baby's next of kin. In the first of many implausible moments, the midwife doesn't wait for her Russian uncle to translate, but… read more!
It's been a long time since I've seen a Hong Kong action movie in an American cinema. Back in the early '90s, with fanboys and cineastes alike going ape over the so-called "new wave" of Hong Kong filmmaking (thanks mainly to John Woo's legendary shoot-'em-ups), stateside distributors took more of a chance in putting HK flicks up on US screens.… read more!
If First Snow is too reminiscent of Memento, that may have to do mostly with the two films' shared star, Guy Pearce, but also to do with a similarly claustrophobic tone, a similarly deluded, pathetic lead character, and a similarly disappointing reach for profundity, ultimately sacrificing theme for story twists. If Memento is the better movie, it's only because of… read more!
Excellent if disturbing documentary about Patricia Douglas, a 20-year-old movie extra in 1937 who was hired to "entertain" at a rowdy convention of MGM studio salesmen, and wound up being raped by one of them. She defied conventions of the day and actually stood up and carried out a lawsuit against MGM, but in those days, the studios ran Los… read more!
God Grew Tired of Us
Poignant if not exactly profound documentary follows three of the former "Lost Boys of Sudan" - those thousands of young refugees who fled their war-torn country in the '80s only to wind up in a Kenyan camp, waiting for some kind of future. The subjects of the film - now grown men with the exotic names of John Bul Dau,… read more!
Gone Baby Gone
This film may be getting a better reaction than it deserves - even from me - because, let's face it, with Ben Affleck making his directorial debut, the automatic reaction is that it's going to stink. And because it doesn't stink - not at all, in fact - having one's expectations surpassed might make Gone Baby Gone a great movie… read more!
That Grindhouse fizzled at the box office may have something to do with the reality that most moviegoers don't have the same love for the exploitation films of the '70s and early '80s that Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez do. Still, while I am no big fan of either director, I got a visceral kick out of Grindhouse, their "double… read more!
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The fifth entry in the Harry Potter series, this is the shortest of the films, yet it's based on the longest of J.K. Rowling's books. Which is interesting, and I might have more to say about that had I actually read any of the books. But as I haven't, I can only review Order of the Phoenix on whether it… read more!
Entertaining if forgettable picture about Clifford Irving (Richard Gere, in a fine if obviously Oscar-hungry performance) who in 1971 convinced the top brass at publishing house McGraw-Hill that he had been called upon by reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes to work with him on his official autobiography – even though Hughes had no idea who he was. Using an elaborate system… read more!
When the first feature from director-cowriter Edgar Wright and star-cowriter Simon Pegg, Shaun of the Dead, came out in 2004, it caught everybody by surprise. Not only was this tribute to zombie movies funny, sharp, scary, and extremely well-made, it was also poignant and real – something nobody expected out of a zombie movie. The two set the bar sky… read more!