One of the joys of my experience watching 10 Cloverfield Lane is that I knew almost nothing about it going in, since über-producer J.J. Abrams kept the movie's very existence something of a secret until mere weeks before its release. In this spirit, I won't say much about it here. That said, you remember Cloverfield, the 2008 found-footage-style movie about a giant, probably alien… read more!
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Michael Cuesta's debut feature L.I.E. was such a critical darling that I suppose it's only to be expected that his followup, 12 and Holding, would get a drubbing by those same critics for not being as auspicious as its predecessor (which raised eyebrows as its most likable character was a pedophile). Thus when walking into 12 and Holding, advance critical… read more!
With 12 Years a Slave already touted as 2013's Best Picture Oscar frontrunner just days after its premieres at Telluride and Toronto, such dazzling hype may be unfair to something better discovered quietly. For it is a very good film, excellently performed and more or less faithful to the memoirs of Solomon Northup, a free black man in New York… read more!
Boyle's followup to his Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire is the true story of hiker Aron Ralston (James Franco), who was trapped in a Utah canyon, his right hand pinned by a fallen boulder, for five days until he took extreme measures to get himself out. It should be no surprise that the two reasons to see this film are Franco's honest… read more!
Skimming other reviews of 1917, I have seen critics refer to it, time and time again, as a "piece of filmmaking". The term is entirely apt. For what sets 1917 apart from other war movies – indeed, from most movies in general – is its stagecraft. Arguably a higher priority than story, character, or theme, 1917's strength is its well-known… read more!
An indie spin on Meet the Parents, this annoying comedy about an excessively neurotic American (Adam Goldberg) who spends two days in guess-where with his French girlfriend (Delpy, who wrote, directed, produced, edited, and even scored the picture) feels honest, but wears thin quickly. Dealing with the in-laws (played by Delpy's real-life parents, French acting veterans Marie Pillet and Albert… read more!
This year's go-to documentary crowdpleaser – tailor-made for those who enjoy "musical underdog" docs like Searching for Sugar Man and Standing in the Shadows of Motown – 20 Feet from Stardom takes a reverent look at the talented black women who sang backup vocals on hit songs, from the early '60s through modern times. There are revelations: behold Merry Clayton's… read more!
Wong Kar Wai is one of the few directors whose films are actual events: as it's been almost five years since the release of his masterpiece In the Mood for Love, the excitement over his next project has been palpable. In this context, some critics can't be blamed for finding Wong's ambitious follow-up, 2046, a bit of a let-down. It's hard not to… read more!
A muscularly-edited nonlinear structure is the main draw here, and it's important, for the story at the core of 21 Grams is simple: Three strangers are drawn together in the wake of a horrible car accident. Iñárritu and his writer Guillermo Arriaga would rather you be unable to figure out anything during the first 15 minutes or so, until the fragmented… read more!
Falling somewhere between the Sex Pistols documentary The Filth and the Fury and This Is Spinal Tap, Winterbottom's doc-like comedy/drama chronicles 16 years of the music scene in Manchester, England, from the moment the Pistols played their first gig in town (with an audience of 42) to the closing of the legendary nightclub the Hacienda. It's all seen through the… read more!
This chilling drama, set in 1987 Romania before the fall of the Iron Curtain and Ceausescu, concerns a college student seeking a then-illegal abortion. Her roommate decides to help her – and gets more than she bargained for. The story is all the more harrowing because of the film's quiet, matter-of-fact approach. At a time and place where everybody works… read more!
Though I heard nothing but good things about this film, I only finally went to see it when my old friend Rob caught it – the day after his own fortieth birthday, in fact – and told me that the main character struck him as a combination of both of our own personalities. I'm not a 40-year-old virgin, but I… read more!
Cute if sometimes overly precious romantic comedy about Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a young writer at a greeting card company, who falls madly in love with his new coworker Summer (Zooey Deschanel), an inscrutable loner who doesn't want to get serious. The 500 days of the title indicates the length of their turbulent relationship, and the script (by Scott Neustadter and… read more!
Peter Greenaway's films are an acquired taste. I've never been to one where I haven't seen people walking out of the theatre in disgust. So look, here's what to expect: erudite examinations of sex, death, and revenge, with copious amounts of violence, corpses, sex, nudity (male and female), witty dialogue, and excellent acting by England's finest. You will also be… read more!
Not since Kurt Cobain has there been a male recording artist as fetishized as Eminem. Is it the controversy surrounding his music? His dangerous attitude? His checkered past? Or is it just that he's beautiful to look at, and the macho hip-hop crowd won't admit it? Say what you will, there's a reason why more people paid to see 8… read more!