Any biopic about one of the twentieth century's most notorious serial killers, homosexual necrophiliac cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer, is going to be disturbing. But writer/director Jacobson's quiet, low-budget account takes the high road, avoiding both movie-of-the-week melodrama and slasher exploitation by focusing on a couple of nights near the end of Dahmer's final killing spree, as the lonely psychopath flashes back… read more!
Movie Titles: D
There are few American filmmakers as idiosyncratic as Whit Stillman. Known for a trio of drily witty independent movies he made during the 1990s – Metropolitan, Barcelona, and The Last Days of Disco – Stillman disappeared from filmmaking for more than a decade. He has finally returned with his fourth feature, Damsels in Distress, a comedy that is both quintessentially Stillman-esque and… read more!
Maybe it's the Scandinavian connection, but I have long been a big fan of both this film's writer/director Lars von Trier and its composer/star Björk, so I was really looking forward to their first (and no doubt last) collaboration. I'm also one of the first to say that neither artist is for everyone. Trier warns you enough by describing this… read more!
A so-so drama about a group of miserable strippers in LA's San Fernando Valley, this film stands out not only for giving you the chance to see several well-known actresses take their tops off, but for being that rare and risky bird: the workshop film. The actresses created their characters themselves, working with director Radford over several weeks of improvisation… read more!
I don't like writing reviews for movies like The Dark Knight, because what can I add to the conversation? What can I do other than agree with all the other raves? Yes, Christopher Nolan and his cowriter brother Jonathan have matched the excellence of their earlier Batman Begins. Yes, it's good that they got rid of Katie Holmes, the only… read more!
I admired Batman Begins because it rejuvenated a tired superhero franchise with a first-rate cast and an entirely new look and feel for the characters. Its sequel The Dark Knight was so strong because, well, it had the Joker – one of the most iconic villains in pop culture brought to life by Heath Ledger's sensational performance. (Even if the actor had… read more!
Todd Haynes seems a strange choice to direct a routine David vs. Goliath legal drama. The crossover king of postmodern and queer cinema, Haynes is renowned for reference-heavy period pictures like Velvet Goldmine and Carol, not for contemporary – or at least relatively contemporary – investigative thrillers. Dark Waters' opening scene at first suggests that Haynes is up to his… read more!
This sequel to the, uh, prequel (to what, exactly?) Rise of the Planet of the Apes - and in retrospect, they should have named the previous film "Dawn" and this one "Rise", but no matter - is a satisfying blend of storytelling, action and Motion-Capture/CG effects, a blockbuster that may be even smarter than its predecessor. The story picks up… read more!
Before 2016, Ryan Reynolds really only had one box office hit: 2009's The Proposal, the success of which relied more on costar Sandra Bullock's rom-com rep than on Reynolds. Thirteen films later – most of them flops, including the unjustly abhorred Green Lantern – Reynolds finally makes good on his A-list potential. Deadpool works because it takes Reynolds back to the days of 2002's Van Wilder, the raunchy comedy… read more!
It's funny: I remember enjoying the first Deadpool, but I can only really remember its "essence", if you catch my drift. I recall the raunchy humor, the over-the-top fight scenes, the meta commentary, and Ryan Reynolds being his snarky self. But I completely forgot its story. As a result, I went into Deadpool 2 not particularly excited. Yet I walked… read more!
A genuine emotional roller coaster, this documentary was made entirely by one person, Kurt Kuenne, and was intended as a home movie to be given to the infant son of Kuenne's lifelong friend Andrew Bagby, who was murdered in cold blood by his monstrous ex-girlfriend when he was only 28. After a stunning series of twists and turns, Kuenne's "letter"… read more!
Humor's knife cuts deepest, and this coal-black comedy about Joseph Stalin's 1953 demise paints an absurd – and absurdly accurate – picture of Soviet bootlicking and backstabbing. It's hilarious, until it's not. Writer/director Iannucci, the Glaswegian TV mogul best known for his BBC series The Thick of It and his HBO series Veep, returns to the big screen for the… read more!
When I was 18 years old, I felt compelled to go watch Terence Davies' first feature, Distant Voices, Still Lives, on the basis of one incredible slow-motion shot that I saw on TV. I was disappointed that the rest of the film was not nearly so visually unique, and found the whole thing artful but rather miserable. I have avoided… read more!
I really enjoyed the first film by these two directors, Suture, a sleek film noir about twin brothers, with the novel twist of having one twin played by a black actor, and the other by a white actor, and only the audience is in on the joke: all the other characters can't tell them apart. That the film worked -… read more!
Steve Buscemi plays Les Galantine, an angry, lonely New York paparazzo who takes in Toby (pretty boy Michael Pitt), the nicest, cleanest homeless kid in the world, and makes the handy young lad his assistant – only to lose his sweet-natured protege into the very crowds of beautiful people that he photographs. Writer/director DiCillo and Buscemi have created a great… read more!
The tone of this documentary, about an Irish-born Catholic priest who molested and raped scores of children in central California throughout the '70s and '80s, instantly brings to mind the incendiary Capturing the Friedmans. However, whereas Friedmans forced audiences to come to their own conclusions through morally ambiguous storytelling, Deliver Us from Evil isn't ambiguous about anything. Director Amy Berg… read more!
I shouldn't be able to get away with calling Gangs of New York and The Aviator overly ambitious projects, for if Martin Scorsese can't be ambitious about making a movie, then who can? Nevertheless, both films were overlong; stuffed with good ideas and at least one amazing performance, but not as great as the sum of their parts. So while… read more!
I'm a big fan of Alexander Payne. Ever since his brilliant sophomore effort, 1999's Election, I've found him to be a filmmaker whose work consistently rewards viewing. Okay, I didn't totally adore Sideways, but I could still appreciate it. Payne has a fondness for exploring the petty and banal aspects of human behavior, but even in his films' more outrageous… read more!
I'm ambivalent about Texas-based singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston, who achieved cult fame despite – or, more likely, because of – his mental illness. On the one hand, you can tell that there is a brilliant if cracked mind at work. On the other, his music is so shrill and unlistenable that I've often wondered how many of his hipster fans genuinely… read more!
You may snigger at the title, but Dick Johnson Is Dead is an earnest documentary about the filmmaker's father, an 85-year-old widowed psychiatrist recently diagnosed with dementia. In order to help herself come to terms with her dad's unavoidable passing, the younger Johnson decides to stage several hilarious death scenes, in which the good-natured Dick plays himself in his own… read more!