Who's the sex machine? Not this John Shaft - he's a killing machine! And so it goes with this very '90s update of the '70s blaxploitation classic. Whereas the audience for the 1971 Shaft wanted a strong, sexy, no-nonsense black man of the streets, here Hollywood believes today's audiences prefer a sexless black Terminator with an endless supply of bullets… read more!
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I never thought I would be a fan of the Farrelly Brothers back in the days of Dumb and Dumber, but they have grown on me. Though best known for their gross-out gags (of which Shallow Hal is mostly bereft), what I find remarkable is the brothers' sense of humanity. They do more for the acceptance of people's differences than… read more!
Something akin to American Psycho only with murder replaced by sex, Shame is the sophomore feature from British artist-turned-filmmaker Steve McQueen - no relation to the late movie star. The suddenly ubiquitous Michael Fassbender stars as Brandon, a wealthy Manhattan corporate nobody who has a sex addiction. (Or so the film wants us to believe - for much of its… read more!
Jackie Chan plays a member of the Chinese Imperial Guard who, in 1881, races to the Old West, where he and a reluctant cowboy (Owen Wilson) team up to save a princess - and each other - from an array of bad guys. I hadn't seen Jackie Chan in an American film up until this point, and while his charm… read more!
Writer/director LaBute adapts his four-character play about a college nerd (Paul Rudd) hooking up with an an arrogant art student (Rachel Weisz) who immediately sets to improving his appearance, affecting his relationship with his former roommate (Fred Weller) and the roommate's fiancee (Gretchen Mol). The results of this adaptation reveal why most plays fall flat when brought to the screen:… read more!
Smart, absorbing drama about Stephen Glass, a 25-year-old reporter for the esteemed political news magazine The New Republic who was fired in 1998 for partially or completely fabricating 27 of the 41 stories he had written for the publication. Hayden Christensen does an amiable job as the opaque Glass, an ingratiating nobody who deflects suspicions with self-deprecating comments like "Are… read more!
A slovenly Londoner (cowriter Simon Pegg) decides to win back his uptight girlfriend and make amends with his poor fretful mother - and darn it if it doesn't happen on the eve of the End of the World, where everybody in London is turning into flesh-eating zombies! What starts off as a silly, even one-note comedy - it takes poor… read more!
There seems to be new trend in studio blockbusters based on popular franchises: saving the best-known villain for the sequel. It's a risky move - and any risky move is unusual for Hollywood - because if the first movie flops, then the fans will never get to see how that series will handle their favorite bad guy. But if the… read more!
Bumped from its original release date of October 2009 (earlier that year, the film's advance pedigree may have been one of the reasons why the Academy optimistically increased its number of Best Picture nominees from five to ten), Scorsese's latest is a freakshow thriller set in 1954 where an obviously disturbed young Federal Marshall (Leonardo DiCaprio) is sent to a… read more!
Emily Blunt stars as a Phoenix-based FBI agent who joins a federal task force to go after a Mexican drug lord. Once the team (led by a smug Josh Brolin, perfectly cast) takes her out of legal jurisdiction, however, and over the border into Juarez, Mexico, this squeaky-clean cop smells a C.I.A. plot. And guess what? She's not wrong. Sicario has a tremendous… read more!
More entertaining, angering, depressing agitprop from Michael Moore. This time he takes aim at the US health insurance industry. No surprises there: Almost every American has had some sort of nightmare story in terms of dealing with their insurance company, so it's an easy target. Yet while this is an important film to see - especially for those who mindlessly… read more!
The first film I know of that can be called a "wine lover's movie", Sideways is a simply told but morally complex comedy about two fortyish Southern California men - Miles (Paul Giamatti), a stifled writer, and Jack (Thomas Haden Church), a floundering actor - who spend the week before Jack's gloomy-looking wedding to explore Santa Barbara County's wine region,… read more!
In the 1970s, Steven Spielberg had the market cornered on films about ordinary middle Americans put into extraordinary situations - usually involving sharks or aliens. Then he got caught up in his obsessions with special effects and World War II, leaving the field wide open for a successor. Enter M. Night Shyamalan, a young film student who grew up on… read more!
Bradley Cooper plays Pat, an apparently nice guy whose everyman personality has been tainted by bipolar disorder. Finally released from a psychiatric hospital into the custody of his parents (Robert De Niro, whose superstitious Pat Sr. is almost as crazy as his son, and Jackie Weaver), Pat is completely manic, and obsessed with one thing only: reconciling with his wife,… read more!
Not to be confused with the other recent art film Simon Magus, an English-language fantasy starring Noah Taylor and Ian Holm, this is yet another intriguing - and kooky - feature from one of Europe's most interesting filmmakers, Ildikó Enyedi, who also made the better-known My Twentieth Century and the hard-to-find Magic Hunter, one of my favorite films of recent… read more!
Possibly the most amazing thing about The Simpsons Movie is that The Simpsons has been on TV since the late '80s, meaning that there are legal adults today who literally do not know what a life without The Simpsons is like. So it's funny that it should take so long for America's favorite dysfunctional cartoon family to hit the big… read more!
You won't get any argument from me that Sin City, pseudo-iconoclastic filmmaker Robert Rodriguez's adaptation of Frank Miller's cult comic book series, isn't "eye popping". Part Dick Tracy, part Pulp Fiction, part Rumble Fish, part Batman, this film is a fanboy's delight. Rodriguez even found so much inspiration in Miller's stark black and white visuals that he apparently used the… read more!
A couple of years ago, fashion designer Tom Ford was given the unlikely task of guest-editing Vanity Fair's annual Hollywood issue. The openly gay Ford infamously put himself on the cover, cavorting with a nude Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightly after Rachel McAdams backed out as the third unclothed muse. (Ford kept his suit on for the shoot.) Little did… read more!
First, a funny story: I had arranged to go out one Friday night with my friend and her fiance. We were discussing what movie to go see. This new Bruce Willis flick called The Sixth Sense was opening that weekend. No one was yet talking about it. It sounded intriguing. But my friend decided that we should see this new… read more!
The Skeleton Twins opens with Maggie (Kristen Wiig) and Milo (Bil Hader), twins who live 3,000 miles apart yet who haven't been in contact for ten years (for reasons that are never explained), both attempting suicide. So despite the comedic reputations of these two Saturday Night Live alumni, the film makes no bones - pun intended - about what you're… read more!