Whiplash has been earning raves ever since it debuted at Sundance 2014, where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award. All these months later, is it worth the hype? Yes, it's worth the hype. Miles Teller, who resembles a young John Cusack, only infinitely more focused, stars as Andrew Neyman, an aspiring jazz drummer who, in… read more!
Movie Titles: W
Austrian writer/director Haneke's stark, troubling drama about the miserable souls in a small German village in the year before World War I opens with a voiceover by its lead character, the village's soft-spoken teacher, who speaks as an old man, presumably during or after World War II, in which he claims that the story we are about to watch may… read more!
Reese Witherspoon showed such promise in the 1990s. If you look at her filmography from that time, you'll see a genuine "what the hell" approach to her roles and films. As a result, she delivered at least two bold and hilarious performances (in Freeway and Election). Then came box office success with 2001's Legally Blonde, and Witherspoon quickly became a… read more!
I love Crispin Glover. So as soon as I heard that there was going to be a remake of the cult 1971 B-movie Willard, and that Glover would play the title role, I knew I'd be there. My field report: fellow Glover fans are in for a treat. Our hero delivers a full-throttle performance, uncontrollable screaming and all, as the… read more!
Writer/director (and sometimes actor) McCarthy's third feature, after indie hits The Station Agent and The Visitor, is another mild-mannered dramedy about unexpected friendships. Paul Giamatti stars as Mike, a down-on-his-luck New Jersey lawyer whose business is struggling almost as much as the high school wrestling team he coaches. After he makes a shady decision to become the "guardian" of a… read more!
First, a confession: I have never been a fan of Japanese animation. It's a stylistic thing. I simply cannot understand Japanese animators' insistence against smooth-flowing movement. They're capable of producing visuals that are haunting, surreal, even horrifying. And yet the walk cycles are still herky-jerky and the mouths are still basically small holes that are either open or shut. In… read more!
All right, it's ninety minutes of birds flying around. But what makes Winged Migration so much better than your ordinary nature documentary is its painterly cinematography and its jaw-droppingly awesome camerawork. Using a number of remote-controlled cameras, Perrin actually takes the audience right up into the air with migratory birds in flight. The cameras fly along inches from the beaks… read more!
When I first heard of Winter's Bone, I figured it was one those gloomy Sundance movies that are like homework: watching it would be more of a duty than a pleasure. But then, that's what I thought Frozen River and The Visitor would be like, and so I skipped them when they were theatrically released, only to realize upon seeing… read more!
This 1997 feature by the German director of the rocket-fueled international hit Run Lola Run finally got a US release in 2000, but those expecting to see the later film's energy, spirit or brief length will be disappointed by Wintersleepers. Which isn't to say that this is a boring or worthless film. However, it is far more meditative and, I… read more!
A year after receiving incredible buzz at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, Robert Eggers' first feature hits US movie theaters, and proves to be an imperfect but wholly self-assured horror/art film hybrid. The events of The Witch unfold in New England sometime in the early 1600s. A family of English pilgrims is banished from a Puritan plantation in the opening scene, owing to the father's "prideful… read more!
There are lots of reasons why I should not have liked The Wolf of Wall Street. For starters, it's three hours long. And as it's an anecdote-heavy memoir of debauched Wall Street swindler Jordan Belfort that plays out over the course of ten years, there's no strong dramatic storyline. It's filled with lengthy scenes of actors screwing around, yelling a lot… read more!
In 1984, Joel and Ethan Coen made their auspicious debut with the mean, dirty noir Blood Simple, set in rural Texas. Newcomer (and eventual Coen regular/spouse) Frances McDormand played the abused wife of a rich bar owner (Dan Hedaya), who finds love in the arms of her husband's employee (John Getz). The husband hires a sleazy private detective (the great… read more!
Michael Douglas puts in a very rare sympathetic role as an uninspired, pot-smoking university writing professor who's notable for his acclaimed novel The Arsonist's Daughter. Unfortunately, that novel is seven years old, and he has yet to follow it up with anything, though he continues to work on a rambling new book that's already hit the 2000-page mark. Meanwhile, he… read more!
First, the good news: World War Z is an exciting, suspenseful zombie/end of the world movie. If you just want some thrills and a compelling enough mystery - what is turning billions of people into zombies, and how can we stop it before it kills us all? - then you'll have a good time. Otherwise, it may be hard to… read more!
Gary King (Simon Pegg), a 40-year-old drunken mess of a man, gathers together his four best pals from high school to relive what he still considers the best night of his life: The time when the five of them, in their late teens, tried to hit 12 pubs in their hometown, got ridiculously sloshed in the process, and never quite… read more!
Outstanding crowd-pleaser about a crusty old character named Burt Munro (Anthony Hopkins), a poor tinkerer and motorcycle enthusiast in Invercargill, New Zealand, who in 1962, at the tender age of 63, made the perilous trek from his small town home to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah to participate in the annual Speed Week, where car racers gather to break… read more!
Much has been said about Mickey Rourke's "comeback" performance as a battered, aging professional wrestler in this film. Those critics who rave about this have forgotten Rourke's wonderful work in Sin City, the only bit of substance in a movie that was nothing but style. Maybe they think that one doesn't count because Rourke was buried under tons of makeup.… read more!