Much has already written about A.I.'s legendary past: it was a pet project of the late Stanley Kubrick, who for years tried to get it made, without luck. You'd think he would have been able to just call up Steven Spielberg while he was alive and ask, "Hey, could I have $100 million to do this?" but instead Spielberg waited… read more!
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I liked this film a lot more than I thought I would. First, I must confess to having a soft spot for Hugh Grant. I remember his earlier, less cutesy performances in such films as Lair of the White Worm and Remains of the Day and longed to see him doing something more interesting than the stuttering, lovable token Brit… read more!
Longtime Omaha, Nebraska resident Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) is an ordinary old man who, finding himself retired and widowed, discovers that he had only defined himself by his job and his marriage. With them gone, he fears his life is meaningless. Eventually he decides on an impromptu road trip out to Denver, ostensibly to revisit the places of his past… read more!
When Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were shopping around their Good Will Hunting screenplay in the '90s, a fair portion of it had Damon's math genius on the run from the NSA. The thriller elements were ultimately cut from the script, which allowed the story to focus on human drama. Years later, although Affleck didn't write The Accountant – one Bill Dubuque did that – it's as though he's finally… read more!
When I saw Being John Malkovich, I felt like the movie was smarter than I was. I knew it was saying something about power, celebrity and identity, but I couldn't exactly figure out what. And usually when I don't get something, I suspect that there's genius at work. Well, here comes Adaptation, the second collaboration between director Jonze and writer… read more!
Imagine True Romance as directed by deadpan filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and starring an all-Japanese cast, and you'll have a good idea of what Adrenaline Drive is like. A shy, rather geeky young couple - a slacker rental car employee and a studious nurse - bump into each other and into about $2 million of stolen Yakuza money, which after a… read more!
I went to see this middling, though not unlikable, seriocomic coming of age story for two reasons: First, it got surprisingly strong reviews from critics across the board, announcing it as something special. Second, I've been a fan of costar Martin Starr ever since seeing him as Bill Haverchuck in the lamented Freaks & Geeks TV series. He hasn't found… read more!
Allow me to wax nostalgic for a moment - probably not an unusual thing to do when discussing Tintin. For I discovered the beloved graphic novels when I was a wee lad visiting my grandparents in Norway. At the local general store - they really lived in the middle of nowhere, some 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle -… read more!
At a run-down way station in a nondenominational afterlife, the recently deceased are told by a small group of case workers that each has three days to choose exactly one memory from his or her life to take into eternity. The staff then works with them to re-create those memories using rickety low-budget props on a shabby soundstage, and then the memories… read more!
In the early nineties, Nick Broomfield set out to do a documentary on Aileen Wuornos, the first female serial killer on America's death row. He soon found that Aileen's murder trial was a circus of publicity, with greedy hangers-on, from police officers to her lover to her recently-adopted Christian "mother", all trying to sell her story to Hollywood. Broomfield instead… read more!
A British oddity that finally won theatrical distribution after over a year on the festival circuit, AKA is a rather ordinary story about a young con artist pumped up by a novel visual style, in which the screen is divided into thirds, the entire film playing out across the three mini-screens. This gimmick is, happily, neither confusing or pointless. Your… read more!
An old teacher of mine once said that if you were to dramatize a famous person's life (i.e. make a "biopic"), it would be most effective to stage your story on one day - preferably a critical day of that person's life - rather than try to recount the entire cradle-to-grave scope of their existence. That's a bit extreme, but… read more!
This film isn't really all about Lily Chou-Chou, a fictional Asian pop star with a rabid following to rival Björk's, but about two of her fans: a pair of junior high school boys in a depressed, semi-rural district in Japan. The story follows two years of the boys' lives and is divided into three sections: the first follows the growth… read more!
Though I disagree with reports that this is the best foreign film of the year, it is still quite a treat. A warning to sniggering hipsters: this is 100% pure, unironic melodrama. You get your shocking plot twists, your wild coincidences, your emotional outbursts. However, Almodóvar's tastes being what they are, it is a melodrama peopled by the likes of… read more!
Watching All Is Lost is a bit like reading an Ernest Hemingway or Jack London short story: In this literal one-man show, Robert Redford stars as a nameless protagonist (he's cheekily credited as "Our Man") who wakes up on his sailboat in the Indian Ocean one morning to find that a loose shipping container has severely damaged it, with seawater… read more!
After years of struggle, writer/director Crowe finally got studio money to make his dream project: His life story. Uh-oh! Now, many good writers have autobiographical elements in their work; by drawing on their own experiences, they can make their characters more real. But when somebody comes out and makes the grand announcement that "This is essentially my autobiography", you know… read more!
Morgan Freeman reprises his Kiss the Girls role as Alex Cross, police detective and criminal profiler. After losing his partner in a wild chase (which is loaded with bad special effects but is fun to watch), Cross goes into semi-retirement, emerging only after the young daughter of a state senator is kidnapped by a crazed teacher (Michael Wincott). Cross is,… read more!
Ingratiating documentary about the protest songs that kept the dream alive for black South Africans as they slowly but successfully managed to topple the oppressive Apartheid regime. The music is great, of course, but director Hirsch spends too much time on the talking heads (all African musicians who were very active in the cause - thankfully, there are no white… read more!
Set in a romanticized Paris where nobody smokes, there is no dog doo on the sidewalks, and famous landmarks are devoid of obnoxious tourists, Amélie is nevertheless a delightful modern-day riff on Jane Austen's Emma, wherein the optimistic daughter (Audrey Tautou) of an eccentric widower takes it upon herself to better the lives of those around her, even while denying… read more!
Wacky low-budget indie that lucked out by obtaining brief theatrical distribution in the US; writer/director/star McAbee must be on cloud nine. A black and white sci fi musical that some might describe as Eraserhead meets Flash Gordon (the old serial, not the campy '70s rehash), The American Astronaut's closest relative is actually the execrable '80s cult film The Forbidden Zone,… read more!