Yes, this is a granny movie. But I have a soft spot for granny movies. Proceed with this review accordingly. First of all, I'd like to point out the sub-classification of Meryl Streep movies that could be called "Lighter Streep for Older People", which have been rolling out in August for several years now: Julie & Julia in 2009, Hope Springs in 2012, Ricki… read more!
Movie Titles: F
It's not an overstatement to say that Errol Morris has changed the face of documentary filmmaking. Known for a string of slick, absorbing docs (The Thin Blue Line, Mr. Death, A Brief History of Time, et al), Morris once was the bane of other nonfiction filmmakers who accused him of cramming too much artsiness into his movies. But as time… read more!
Intentionally troubling documentary about the American food industry, and why we're eating what we shouldn't be eating, will be eye-opening for many - at least for those who, unlike me, haven't already seen other recent documentaries about food, such as King Corn, The Future of Food, The Real Dirt on Farmer John, and so on. (What can I say? I'm… read more!
A bourgeois Swedish family - attractive thirtysomething parents (Johannes Kuhnke and Lisa Loven Kongsli) and their two young children - check in at a posh French ski resort for a five-day holiday in the snow. Early in the trip, the family is surprised by a terrifying but nonlethal avalanche during lunch. How the father reacts during those few snowblind seconds… read more!
My wife Miki is vegan. Years ago, before I started dating her, like most people I treated veganism as a joke: What a bunch of kooks! Meat's great! Nowadays, although I still eat meat once every two weeks or so, my own diet has become primarily vegan simply because Miki is an excellent cook. So I have a rare vantage… read more!
I'm a little envious of anyone who might see Foxcatcher without knowing anything about the events surrounding millionaire John du Pont in 1996. I thought it was fairly common knowledge, but in the event that it's not, I won't reveal how Foxcatcher ends, even if it's almost immaterial to the bulk of the film's story, which unfolds across 1987 and… read more!
Greta Gerwig stars as the titular Frances, a struggling dancer in Brooklyn who, at 27, isn't ready to accept that she's too old to be chasing this particular dream, and even too old to be living hand-to-mouth like the archetypal - and obsolete - New York bohemian she is. Though primarily a character study, Frances Ha is also a breakup… read more!
Domhnall Gleeson plays Jon, a naive would-be songwriter who rather abruptly - and randomly - is asked to join an avant garde band called "Soronprfbs", led by a friendly but thoroughly mysterious frontman named Frank (Michael Fassbender in a bit of surprise casting) who hides his face behind an enormous paper mache head. Does this sound like insufferable quirk? At… read more!
Back in 1984, Tim Burton was a wunderkind animator at Disney whose success with his black and white stop-motion short Vincent got him the chance to make something a bit bigger: a 30-minute live action horror/comedy called Frankenweenie. Burton allegedly had hoped to make it stop-motion as well, but Disney's budget didn't allow for it. (The film still cost a… read more!
Frequency is the perfect example of a "high concept" movie. This particular high concept creates a series of unusual solar flare-ups that somehow enable 1999 cop Jim Caviezel to communicate, via shortwave radio, with his late fireman father (Dennis Quaid) back in 1969. After he gives Dad some information that winds up saving the old man's life, Caviezel realizes that… read more!
Great-looking but bland biography of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Apparently this film was a real labor of love for its star Salma Hayek (she's also credited as a producer). Which makes me wonder if the reason she hasn't been in many films lately is because she'd been so focused on getting this one off the ground, or if the reason… read more!
Much has been made of the "surprise" that Albert and Allen Hughes, two African-American filmmakers who made the urban crime dramas Menace II Society and Dead Presidents, would helm a film set in Victorian London, working with an all-white cast. As if they were only allowed to make "black" films! Some critics tried to justify it by saying the Hugheses… read more!
Tense retelling of the historic televised interviews between British talk show host David Frost and recently resigned US president Richard Nixon is not at all the talkfest you might suspect, but is actually structured like a boxing movie, with each contender training, honing his strategy, entering the ring, taking his blows, then retreating to the corner to confer with his… read more!
I am, it appears, the last person on Earth to see Frozen. I avoided it at the start because it just seemed like another cloying Disney princess movie. And also because, despite Pixar's disappointing product post-Toy Story 3, I remain stubbornly and stupidly skeptical about any CG animated films that don't come out of the Pixar factory. (This needs to… read more!
This dramatization of the final day in the life of Oscar Grant III, a young black man who was accidentally shot by a transit cop at the titular BART station in Oakland in the early hours of New Year's Day, 2009, certainly has good intentions. Writer/director Coogler, who hails from nearby Richmond, sought to help audiences see Grant as a… read more!
Remember when everybody was going nuts over Hong Kong action pictures some 10 years ago? Well, they're still cranking them out, even if American film geek faddists have moved on. Case in point: Fulltime Killer, a wild drama about two dueling hit men - one Chinese (played by tireless Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau), one Japanese (Takashi Sorimachi) - and… read more!
July's long-awaited followup to her wonderful debut Me and You and Everyone We Know is every bit a proper Miranda July work, in that it explores her usual obsessions with communication, loneliness, guilt, sexuality, and repulsive '80s fashion. But it takes a murkier, gloomier path than her last film. July once again stars, this time as a woman in an empty… read more!