Merely announcing that this film is based rather faithfully on a Charles Bukowski novel probably says all that needs to be said about Factotum, but if you're unfamiliar with the late writer's work, the film concerns Bukowski stand-in Henry Chinaski (nicely played by Matt Dillon) as an unrepentant drunk who gets fired from job after job as he drinks, slacks,… read more!
Movie Titles: F
Moore's entertaining, emotionally-charged indictment of the Bush administration and its handling of the events of September 11, 2001, as well as the ensuing invasion of Iraq, will offer no surprises for those who have harbored suspicions about the administration's actions over the last four years (read: Moore's regular liberal audience). The film's true goal must instead be to convince those… read more!
Intriguing dramatization of the so-called "Valerie Plame Affair", in which covert CIA operative Plame (Naomi Watts) was publicly outed by enemies in the George W. Bush Administration after her husband, ex-diplomat Joe Wilson (Sean Penn), wrote an article declaring that his government-sponsored trip to Niger turned up no evidence of any sales of uranium to Iraq - even though the… read more!
Lengthy, endlessly depressing saga of infidelity written by film god Ingmar Bergman. On a remote Swedish island, a lonely old writer named "Bergman" (Erland Josephson channeling you-know-who) is visited by Marianne (Lena Endre), a 40-year-old woman who is a mixture of artist's muse, wandering ghost, and psychiatrist's patient. She proceeds to tell the old man the tragic tale of the… read more!
I have one regret about seeing The Fall: I waited too long, and so I caught it late in its run at the miserable Beverly Center, and the morons who staff the place started the movie about ten minutes early - whereas I showed up on time. So I missed the first few minutes of this thing, which is a… read more!
I've never been a huge fan of Wes Anderson's films: the more formalistic and stylized they got, the less they interested me. But I do enjoy stop-motion animation, and it seems to be a fine fit for Anderson's obsessively detailed visual sense, where he can finally have his characters do exactly as he pleases - because they are literally puppets.… read more!
Heartfelt re-creation of 1950s "women's pictures", those Technicolor melodramas made famous by the likes of Douglas Sirk, Far from Heaven delves deeper than the surface crises of those earlier films' well-to-do heroines, exploring racial and sexual issues that would have been unheard of in Hollywood films of the time. Set in 1957 Connecticut, the story centers around emotionally torn housewife… read more!
For the past few years, I've been convinced that the next generation of film geeks will revere the work of Brian De Palma just as their counterparts of today do that of Sam Fuller, because De Palma is one of the only people making studio films that feel like true "B movies". Though his films have big (well, semi-big) stars… read more!
Every once in a while, I'll see a pretty good movie spoiled by one really bad scene. Fight Club is such a movie. Edward Norton stars as an anonymous narrator who hates his job, his life, and the world around him. He is, in particular, profoundly angry and depressed by the rampant consumerism that surrounds him. Then he bumps into… read more!
Hollywood's love affair with Massachusetts continues with what is at least the fifth 2010 drama set in the Bay State, joining other prestige pictures such as The Social Network, The Town, The Company Men, and Shutter Island. The energetic Fighter heads upstate from Boston and unfolds its story mostly in the town of Lowell, home of boxer Micky Ward (Mark… read more!
Entertaining documentary about the rise and fall of the notorious Sex Pistols, a quartet of working class London lads who, in 1976, banged away on their instruments, offended a lot of "proper" people, invented punk rock, and arguably changed popular music forever. Director Temple's involvement with the band dates back to his 1980 mockumentary The Great Rock & Roll Swindle,… read more!
Who isn't ambivalent about the idea of a Pixar sequel? Sure, sometimes it works. But the studio is so adept at producing fantastic original material that I want to scream, You've got the talent, you've got the money, you've got the audience's good will – why waste time rehashing the old when you could be taking more risks? The answer, of course, lies within the Pixar/Disney… read more!
The annoying thing about living in the Hollywood area is that Walt Disney owns the El Capitan theatre on Hollywood Blvd. and whenever one of their animated features is released, they show it there - charging at least $15 for it - and make it otherwise unavailable in the vicinity. You have to travel out to the burbs to see… read more!
Curse you, Finding Neverland! Curse you for being a shamelessly manipulative tear-jerker! Curse you for every note of your sappy soundtrack coming in at just the right moment to reduce your audiences to a blubbering mess! Curse you for hauling out every old trick in the book and still turning me into a choking, sobbing idiot just like everybody else… read more!
If First Snow is too reminiscent of Memento, that may have to do mostly with the two films' shared star, Guy Pearce, but also to do with a similarly claustrophobic tone, a similarly deluded, pathetic lead character, and a similarly disappointing reach for profundity, ultimately sacrificing theme for story twists. If Memento is the better movie, it's only because of… read more!
A truly one-of-a-kind motion picture. In 2001, famed director Lars von Trier (Dancer in the Dark, Dogville) decided to submit his cinematic hero, Danish documentarian/experimental filmmaker Jørgen Leth, to a rather sadistic series of tests: Over the following two years, Leth was to take his own 1967 short The Perfect Human (which Trier loves so much that he calls it… read more!
An interesting history lesson of a movie, Flags of Our Fathers tells the behind-the-scenes story of the three surviving World War II servicemen from the infamous "raising the flag on Iwo Jima" photograph, who were plucked from the battlefield by a US government desperate to raise funds to continue fighting the Japanese, then put to work on the home front,… read more!
Proving that not all Danish directors are plying the "Dogme" style of filmmaking in their work, Flickering Lights (released in the US some 2 1/2 years after its Denmark debut), treads ground similar to that of In China They Eat Dogs, in that it's another low-key crime comedy about some gruff but lovable gangsters on the run from some gruffer… read more!
Flight is a mixed bag of a movie that mostly succeeds, but not without some major problems. Denzel Washington gives a solid, unsentimental performance as an alcoholic airline pilot who makes a miraculous landing after his jet starts falling apart, but does so while secretly drunk. After a particularly harrowing crash sequence - Robert Zemeckis sure knows how to direct… read more!
Severely flawed thriller about an airplane designer (Jodie Foster) who, after the sudden death of her husband, flies home to New York from Berlin with both his coffin and their 6-year-old daughter on the biggest jumbo jet you've ever seen. When Foster awakes from a nap in mid-air, she realizes the daughter has vanished - and yet nobody on the… read more!