Movie Titles: B

The Babadook

The Babadook

If there's such a thing as "Australian Gothic", this is it. Essie Davis, who looks like a cross between Laura Linney and Isabelle Huppert, plays a young widow named Amelia. Noah Wiseman, an amazing little actor who could be Damien from The Omen as played by Mick Jagger, plays her son Samuel, days away from his seventh birthday – which… read more!

Babel

Babel

The third feature by Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu closely follows the same theme and structure of his first two, Amores Perros and 21 Grams: A tragic accident has occurred, and Iñárritu follows the various strangers whose lives have been affected by it. Amores Perros played with different characters who never meet; 21 Grams plays with time. Babel plays with… read more!

Babies

Babies

This documentary about four newborns from around the world is about as cute as you would expect it to be. It's also an essentially pointless movie. Balmès took his camera and crew to four different countries to track the first year of life, from birth to walking, of two boys and two girls. The boys – one from Namibia, one… read more!

Baby Driver

Baby Driver

Two years ago, it was hard to guess where Edgar Wright's career might be heading: he had wrapped up his trilogy of UK parodies, burned out retinas with his fun if overdone VFX orgy Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and got booted off Ant-Man after years of prep. It's a relief to see him emerge from this limbo with his… read more!

Bad Education

Bad Education

I should learn a few publicity tips from Pedro Almodóvar. When I put out a film, I tend to downplay it, saying "I just hope you like it" and such. Comparatively, Almodóvar raves about Bad Education as "my darkest film since [1986's] Matador." I love his self-confidence, but his previous feature Talk to Her is much darker, on many more… read more!

The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans

The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans

This is one of those movies that, on the surface, sounds like one of those straight-to-video sequels of hit movies that feature none of its original stars. Except that this in-name-only sequel/remake of Abel Ferrara's infamous 1992 release Bad Lieutenant, which starred Harvey Keitel as a dirty cop and fallen Catholic, stars an A-list cast headlined by Nicolas Cage, high… read more!

Bad Santa

Bad Santa

Billy Bob Thornton plays a mall Santa who, along with his "elf" (Tony Cox), robs department stores blind each Christmas Eve. Bad Santa! But if that weren't bad enough, this Santa is an alcoholic misanthropist who, other than booze and anal sex, has nothing to live for. Enter a lonely little boy, the sort you usually see in these "sad… read more!

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Netflix sure has turned film distribution on its ear, and the trickle down effect has now reached even my humble website. When I began reviewing films here, back in early 2000, I abided by one rule: that I would only review new films that I saw in theaters. The idea, delusional as it may have been, was that people would… read more!

The Batman

The Batman

Ever since Frank Miller revitalized the shopworn Batman character in 1986 with his four-issue comic book series The Dark Knight Returns, filmmakers of various stripes have tried to replicate its brooding, nihilistic tone. Tim Burton was first out of the gate but his 1989 Batman now seems as cartoonish as Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy, released a year later. Christopher Nolan's… read more!

Batman Begins

Batman Begins

At first, it seems surprising that this would be one of the few actual successes during Hollywood's worst box office summer on record. First of all, there hasn't been much interest in the Batman character after Joel Schumacher's horrible Batman and Robin frittered away the goodwill that Tim Burton's Batman movies earned. (In retrospect, Burton's films weren't that good either.)… read more!

Battle of the Sexes

Battle of the Sexes

This dramatization of the titular 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King (Emma Stone), then the top female tennis player in the world, and washed-up but entertaining former champ/eternal hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) adheres closely to the real events that led up to that famous night, where chauvinism squared off against feminism in front of 90 million viewers. The… read more!

Battle Royale

Battle Royale

Veteran crime director Fukasaku's sixtieth(!) feature has been met with great controversy in its native Japan for its subject matter, and with good reason: The story takes place in an alternate-reality Japan where, as a response to growing teenage violence, the government has set up a system wherein high school students chosen at random are sent to a remote island… read more!

The Beach Bum

The Beach Bum

A companion piece, of sorts, to 2013's Spring Breakers, The Beach Bum finds writer/director Harmony Korine back amongst Florida's wealthy lowlifes. This time the focus is on a fictitious Miami/Key West legend named Moondog, played to the breezy hilt by Matthew McConaughey. By all appearances, Moondog is an obnoxious mess, drunk and/or stoned 24/7 and doing whatever he feels like,… read more!

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild

On the surface, an indie movie about an adorable little moppet named Hushpuppy living in a tight-knit Southern community known as The Bathtub sounds twee beyond repair. But Beasts of the Southern Wild, a drama about what happens to this girl, her father, and their community after a Katrina-like storm floods them out of their ramshackle homes, has a lot… read more!

Beautiful Boy

Beautiful Boy

An earnest, relatively no-nonsense portrait of drug addiction, as seen through the eyes of both the addict (Timothée Chalamet) and his loving father (Steve Carell). Based on separate memoirs by journalist David Sheff and his son Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy is a thoughtful but ultimately routine family drama. It lacks the usual drug movie hysterics, but do we really need another… read more!

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

As the crowd-pleasing documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor? was a surprise box office hit just last year, I was skeptical about the need for a biopic on Mr. Rogers, especially so soon, and especially one starring Tom Hanks, whose casting seemed simultaneously too on-the-nose (he's America's sweetheart) and too unlikely (he doesn't look or sound a thing like Fred… read more!

A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind

This was one of those movies I wasn't excited about seeing, but I'd seen everything else, and it was a boring Sunday afternoon, so I thought "what the hey". I'd already heard some critics call this film lyrical and moving; others, mawkish and manipulative. In the end, I should have listened to that latter group. Okay, A Beautiful Mind isn't… read more!

Before Midnight

Before Midnight

When Before Sunrise came out way back in 1995, I skipped it. Even though I was part of the film's so-called target demographic, it just didn't seem like my cup of tea. Two young actors saying clever things to each other for a whole movie? I gave it a pass. In 2004, I gave Before Sunset a pass as well… read more!

Before Night Falls

Before Night Falls

A biopic about the dissident Cuban novelist Reynaldo Arenas (Javier Bardem), who alternately triumphed and suffered through Fidel Castro's revolution because of his homosexuality, Before Night Falls is entertaining if shapeless, with Spanish actor Bardem's convincing, low-key performance agreeably dominating the film. Of course, there are problems. For one, director Schnabel's notorious arrogance seeps into his film. Though Before Night… read more!

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

Pitch black family drama about two loser brothers (Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke) who, both in desperate need of money, agree on Hoffman's plan to pull off a simple heist of a suburban jewelry store – a store owned and operated by their own parents. As we quickly find out, the robbery goes horribly wrong, and the brothers and… read more!