When I first saw the trailer to this movie, something did not compute: avant garde Iranian filmmaker Kiarostami helming a Tuscany-set romance, starring Juliette Binoche, and pitched to audiences as kind of a middle-aged Before Sunrise? Huh? Well, it's true that the movie consists of Binoche, as alluring as ever, strolling around picturesque Italian villages with a handsome older English… read more!
Movie Titles: C
Ben Affleck is an amoral and strangely incompetent hotshot lawyer who, one busy morning when on his way to court (where he's finagling a deal for his bosses to wrest the deeds to a dead benefactor's multi-million-dollar charitable trust from the deceased's granddaughter), scrapes his car against that of Samuel L. Jackson, an honest but short-tempered insurance salesman who is… read more!
Critics, fanboys, and audiences alike have been very fickle about Neill Blomkamp – adoring his out-of-nowhere debut District 9, predictably dismissing his inevitable Hollywood follow-up (Elysium), and now writing off Chappie, a return to the gritty Johannesburg of District 9, as derivative. In truth, Chappie is not a bad film at all, and the problems that many are having with it… read more!
For two months I worked on the DVD for this film (should you ever buy it, I designed all the "Search for the Golden Ticket" games). While that doesn't make me biased in favor of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it definitely got me interested. I'm not sure if I would have otherwise gone to see it. But staring at… read more!
A guilty pleasure if ever there was one. Charlie's Angels is, of course, based on the popular '70s TV series, which featured three sexy women doing detective work for their forever unseen boss Charlie (voiced, then as now, by John "Blake Carrington" Forsythe). Charlie's Angels was American TV's first true jigglefest, where viewers were less interested in the thwart-the-bad-guy plots… read more!
Back in ye olden days, you'd have a nice little movie that becomes a hit, and then a couple years later they'd follow it up with an uninspired and completely unnecessary "Part II". (Think Ghostbusters, Romancing the Stone, Crocodile Dundee, City Slickers, etc.) These days, most of the original films aren't that great in the first place, so the sequels… read more!
This low-budget indie is an understated look at the romantic ins and outs of four Asian-Americans living in Los Angeles: of the first three characters, Michael is a man of few words who secretly desires his tenant Lori; Lori in turn is involved with her yuppie boyfriend Justin. It's obvious that Michael and Lori are - more likely than not… read more!
I'm late to the table - culinary joke! - to this sleeper hit, but after Chef received enough recommendations from trustworthy friends, I caved in and caught a matinee. If writer/directer/star Jon Favreau had never made huge Hollywood films like Iron Man and Elf, one might have expected Chef to be a reasonable directorial debut for the guy who wrote… read more!
One sharp cookie of a movie. Adapted from the catchy Kander-Ebb musical that Bob Fosse brought to Broadway in 1975 (from a 1927 play by Maurine Watkins, based on actual events) - can you follow all this? Anyway, Chicago is a fun, whip-smart musical about the allure and fleetingness of fame. Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger) is a struggling singer who,… read more!
I was shocked the other day when a friend of mine said she'd never heard of Aardman Animations, their Wallace & Gromit series of clay animated shorts, or their three(!) Oscars. So for those of you living in that cave with her, Aardman are these clever British folks who've been making excellent clay animations for over a decade, and now… read more!
Chicken With Plums is the live action followup to Paronnaud and Satrapi's first feature, the black and white animated beauty Persepolis. Like its predecessor, the film is based on one of Satrapi's graphic novels. Admittedly, her ideas translate more shakily to live action than they do to animation, though Chicken With Plums still offers a lot of visual flair. We… read more!
Children of Men takes the classic Nativity story, adds a dash of Casablanca and a pinch of Brazil, then revs up the engine and lets it fly out of the gate at a hundred miles per hour. This tense nail-biter masquerading as a sci fi movie is set in 2027 England, some nineteen years after all the women of Earth… read more!
That this film garnered five Oscar nominations - including Best Picture - says more about Miramax's aggressive marketing campaign than it does the film's quality. Forgettably slight, this shallow tale of a free-thinking woman who invades a small French town in 1959 with her addictive chocolate recipes, and upsets the town's frumpy powers-that-be, is a predictable and pointless bore. Miramax… read more!
As suggested by its title, Chop Suey is an exotic mixture of many things. Something of a documentary, something of an autobiography, something of an essay about the relationship between photographer and model, famed shutterbug Bruce Weber's third feature (his previous work was Let's Get Lost, the moody documentary about late jazz trumpeter Chet Baker) is a wonderful mess. The… read more!
The first title screen of this biopic about the notorious Australian criminal Mark "Chopper" Read states: "This is not a biography." It's a cheeky foreshadowing of the film's attitude towards its titular character, a real-life thug who may or may not have killed many people, definitely went to jail a few times, wrote an entertaining if barely truthful autobiography which… read more!
Inventive teen movie about three Seattle high schoolers - nerdy, troubled Andrew (Dane DeHaan), popular Steve (Michael B. Jordan), and somewhat undefined Matt (Alex Russell) - who sneak off during a party to investigate a mysterious cave in the woods, discover some giant, alien-looking crystal, and voila! all wind up with spectacular telekinetic powers. Shot in the "found footage style"… read more!
One of the most memorable scenes from the disturbing but uneven Australian film Bad Boy Bubby involved a woman with severe cerebral palsy (played by a genuinely afflicted actress) who lusted after the main character. It was a brave, even dangerous move, as it reminded uneasy audiences that the mentally handicapped can and do have libidos. With Chuck & Buck,… read more!
Cannily released by its American distributors to arrive in the wake of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, here we have yet another lavish Asian period drama, only this time without the martial arts. Set in feudal Korea, Chunhyang tells the simple story of the son of a provincial governor who falls for - and then secretly marries - the title character,… read more!
Well-intentioned 1940s-era tear jerker about a young orphan (Tobey Maguire, voice cracking as always) who has been trained as a doctor at the New England orphanage where he's lived all his 20 years, and what happens when he decides to finally split and explore the world - which in this case means picking apples at an orchard near the coast,… read more!
The Circle opens with a shot of an elderly Iranian woman at a maternity ward, deeply saddened by the news that her daughter has given birth to a girl, not a boy. The camera follows her downstairs as she bumps into another of her daughters and gives her the grim news to pass on. Then the camera follows that woman… read more!