The Aviator Review

The Aviator Review

RATING: (3 STARS) When you sit down for a Martin Scorsese film, it would be fair to expect some fast-talking Italians, profanity laced-tirades, extremely violent killings, and of course, The Rolling Stones. But in “The Aviator,” we get the glamorous stars of old Hollywood, some beautifully photographed flying sequences, a sweeping romance, and the music […]

Avatar Review

Avatar Review

RATING: (4 STARS) James Cameron’s “Avatar” is unlike any experience I’ve ever had at the movies. It’s the kind of movie I expect people will feel like they need to see in order to be part of the popular culture. In ten years, when people look back on the films of 2009 (and of this […]

Fantastic Mr. Fox Review

Fantastic Mr. Fox Review

RATING: (4 STARS) I’m not the biggest Wes Anderson fan. Other than “The Royal Tenenbaums,” I’ve found his work to be one-note and somewhat pretentious. With that said, “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” was anything but. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, full of wit and charm. In a year when animation seems to be one-upping […]

Magnolia Review

Magnolia Review

RATING: (4 STARS) After the critical and financial success he had with “Boogie Nights,” New Line essentially gave P.T. Anderson the freedom to do anything he wanted. The result is “Magnolia,” a picture that wouldn’t have been made, couldn’t have been made, without such freedom. This is a bold motion picture, a 3-hour tale about […]

Marnie Review

Marnie Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) I’m not familiar enough with Hitchcock’s entire body of work to say where “Marnie” would rank, but I have to imagine it would be near the bottom. This is half a good movie, but the deeper we get into the past of the title character, the less successful it is. Of course, […]

An Education Review

An Education Review

RATING: (4 STARS) “An Education” is a brilliant coming-of-age story in 1960’s England. A clever, pretty young girl named Jenny (Carey Mulligan in a star-making performance) learns the true value of a woman’s education and the heartbreaking consequences of taking shortcuts. It’s a fascinating film that’s well-written and brilliantly acted and should be in line […]

Brothers Review

Brothers Review

RATING: (3 STARS) “Brothers,” a remake of a 2004 Danish film from director Susanne Bier, continues the trend started earlier this year with “The Hurt Locker” of solid war-themed movies that thankfully do not hinge on the viewer’s political beliefs. That’s not to say this is a pro-war film; it isn’t. However, the message here […]

The Bridge on the River Kwai Review

The Bridge on the River Kwai Review

RATING: (4 STARS) “The Bridge on the River Kwai” is a fascinating look at war, its rules, and the madness often required to follow them. What is the responsibility of a prisoner-of-war? Should he follow the orders of his captors and work to assist their cause? Or should he sabotage their efforts by any means […]

Sunset Blvd. Review

Sunset Blvd. Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Sunset Blvd. is a bold picture outlining the destructive nature of the film industry. Director Billy Wilder reportedly made a lot of enemies with this film, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a film noir/character study/cautionary tale that doesn’t pull many punches. But the central performance by Gloria Swanson is […]

Double Indemnity Review

Double Indemnity Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Everyone knows film noir. Film fans have enjoyed (or been subjected to, depending on your tastes) its conventions for decades. From Humphrey Bogart’s famous line, “It’s the stuff dreams are made of” in The Maltese Falcon through the present day’s machinations of film noir, like the twisted noir-comedy Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, […]

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Review

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Review

RATING: (4 STARS) It easy to understand how some people can view Mr. Smith Goes to Washington as overly idealistic and cheesy. It is in so many ways. But despite that (or perhaps because of it), most regard it as an American classic and one of the finest films to come out of the 1930s. […]

All Quiet on the Western Front Review

All Quiet on the Western Front Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) War movies have been staples of the film industry and the Academy Awards seemingly forever, but it all began with Lewis Milestone’s anti-war tale All Quiet on the Western Front. When it was released in 1930, the world was a very different place. Much of American history had not yet been written. […]

A Serious Man Review

A Serious Man Review

RATING: (4 STARS) A Serious Man is the latest film from the masters of the unconventional—Joel and Ethan Coen—and it certainly lives up to expectations (if there are such things as expectations from these two). Here, they take a turn toward more personal filmmaking and tackle questions that relate to God, fate, and consequence. Of […]