I'm not into baseball, I'm only marginally more interested in economics, and I enjoy enjoy looking at statistics when they're about something fun. So a movie about the business of sports and the formulas of geeky statisticians should have kept me away. Why, then, did I like Moneyball? Because it's intelligent. Because it shines a light on an industry I… read more!
Movie Titles: M
Is Mira Nair an Indian filmmaker or an American filmmaker? Or both? Born in India, Nair moved to the US and learned her craft after graduating from Harvard. Her features reflect her mixed cinematic lineage: apart from the realism of her excellent debut feature Salaam Bombay! and the gloss of her unremarkable Hollywood effort The Perez Family, the director seems… read more!
Tired of being known as merely a pretty face in Hollywood, actress Charlize Theron decided to put her money where her mouth was, not only by thoroughly deglamorizing herself to portray real-life convicted serial killer Aileen Wuornos, but by co-producing the much-anticipated Wuornos biopic as well. It paid off: Theron disappears into her role completely, giving us a spot-on interpretation… read more!
A super-downer of a drama starring Billy Bob Thornton as a guard on Georgia's death row and Halle Berry as the widow of the prisoner (Sean "Puffy" Combs) most recently sent to Georgia's electric chair. You can tell even from the ads that Thornton and Berry are going to hook up eventually, so it's a little to the story's detriment… read more!
Pixar's computer animated films are always easy reviews for me, because all I have to do is tell you how great they are, and leave them at that. Employing some of the most talented animators and story people in the industry, they have yet to make a dud, and even if Monsters, Inc. - about the secret world of the… read more!
It's been twelve years since Monsters, Inc. was released, and I must admit that I'd forgotten pretty much everything about it, other than it's about monsters and the two main characters are voiced by Billy Crystal and John Goodman. And frankly, this prequel about how this mismatched duo met in college seemed to be a part of Pixar's recent slump… read more!
Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell, an astronaut assigned to man a lunar station all alone for three long years, in a future where 70% of the earth's energy comes from something called "Helium 3" mined on the moon itself. His only company is a computer named Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey and an obvious homage to HAL in 2001). And… read more!
Although 2016 kicked off with the underwhelming The Birth of a Nation poised as the "great black hope" of indie film, this gentle drama about a closeted gay man – showing him as a child, then as a teenager, and finally as an adult – came out of nowhere to blow everyone away, subverting all preconceptions about both black and gay cinema in the process. Moonlight's wisp… read more!
I soured on the non-stop whimsy of Wes Anderson's output shortly after The Royal Tenenbaums. But he won me back with his charming stop-motion comedy The Fantastic Mr. Fox, so I dared to take a chance on his latest, Moonrise Kingdom. The good news is that I think it's his best, most honest live action film since Bottle Rocket. The… read more!
Another wild ride from Bong Joon-ho, the talented writer/director best known for his monster movie The Host but also the helmer of the equally impressive detective thriller Memories of Murder. This is, to some extent, a return to the mystery genre for Bong, starring Kim Hye-ja in a go-for-broke performance as an older woman in a smallish Korean town whose… read more!
I was lucky to catch The Mother at a film festival in 2003 without knowing much about it ahead of time. Now that it's been released in the US, most reviews are already giving away plot twists that aren't revealed in the story until about halfway through the film, which is mean. So I'll leave the synopsis at this: A… read more!
It took me all of four months to get around to seeing this film. Frankly, the notion of sitting through a biopic of the pre-revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara as he wandered around South America didn't appeal to me, and that's not because I have anything against Communists. But it was a rainy day, and my girlfriend's a big fan of… read more!
Here it is, folks: the love-it or hate-it motion picture event of the year. I'll come right out and align myself with those who love it, though I was skeptical at first. Moulin Rouge! is a dizzying ride, a ridiculously melodramatic love triangle set against the infamous Parisian nightclub at the turn of the 20th Century. Penniless writer Christian (Ewan… read more!
In the middle of Bill Condon's erratic career, which has veered from Dreamgirls to Kinsey to the last two Twilight movies to the Oscar bait misfire The Fifth Estate, the director reunites with Ian McKellen for a sort of bookend to his 1998 entry Gods and Monsters, the film that put both men on Hollywood's A-list. Like Gods and Monsters, Mr. Holmes is a low-budget… read more!
Harmony Korine was one of those names you couldn't escape during the '90s, if you were following art house cinema or art snob culture. Debuting, barely 20 years old, with his screenplay for Larry Clark's incendiary Kids, Korine followed with his own auspicious directorial debut, the highly divisive Gummo (which I personally like very much). He had an interesting misfire… read more!
Just as writer/director Mike Leigh took a deliberately paced, extraordinarily detailed look at the lives of Gilbert and Sullivan in Topsy-Turvy back in 1999, so too does he here with the great 19th century English painter Joseph Mallord William Turner – "Billy" to his friends – played with aplomb by Leigh stalwart Timothy Spall. The key difference is that Topsy-Turvy's… read more!
I won't spend much time defending David Lynch. By this point, most folks have already decided whether they love his work or hate it. Me, I admire him for his artist's eye and his tireless imagination, though I don't always find an emotional connection to his increasingly opaque dream dramas. Such was the case with Lost Highway and such is… read more!
Good, not great, political thriller about a quintet of Jewish assassins (led by former Mossad agent Avner Kauffman, played by Australian actor Eric Bana) who have been assigned by the Israeli government to track down and kill the Palestinian men behind the kidnapping and murder of eleven Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Munich's tense set pieces alternate… read more!
1930s France was shocked by one of the most scandalous stories to hit in the pre-war years: two sisters, Christine and Lea Papin, working as chambermaids, suddenly turned on two of their employers and murdered them brutally - tearing out their eyeballs, slicing them up, and smearing the floor of the house with their blood. To add even more punch… read more!
In 2001, when filmmaker Morgan Dews's grandmother passed away, he discovered hours and hours of secret audio recordings that she and his grandfather had made during the 1960s, revealing some startling revelations about their relationship and the problems they were having with their four children, whom they had rather late in life. Dews decided to marry this audio to benign… read more!