2010

The Way Back Review

The Way Back Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Though it’s certainly not the most exciting movie in recent memory, The Way Back represents accomplished filmmaking at its best. Made for just $30 million, the film looks like it cost three times that. The scenery is gorgeous, and the way the film is photographed helps you forgive some of its narrative […]

Barney’s Version Review

Barney’s Version Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Barney’s Version is probably one of the most problematic films you’ll ever see me fully recommend. Narratively, it’s a bit of a mess. It’s a biopic about a fictional man, which allows it to essentially do whatever it wants (within the framework, of course, of the novel upon which it’s based). Screenwriter […]

Another Year Review

Another Year Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) If you’ve ever read this blog before, you probably know how much I adore the films of Mike Leigh. He has an uncanny ability to take seemingly mundane material and make it supremely insightful and emotionally involving. The director’s latest, Another Year, is no different. On the surface, it’s a hodgepodge of […]

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger Review

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger Review

RATING: (1.5 STARS) There’s nothing worse than a film that feels like a total waste of time. Even the worst films I’ve seen recently (like Somewhere, from last year) have some redeeming qualities. Woody Allen’s latest, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, is not only pointless, but also the worst Allen film I’ve ever […]

Biutiful Review

Biutiful Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) Calling Biutiful challenging is a major understatement. It’s easily one of the most difficult pictures of 2010. It’s just a brutal look at a man trying to survive—and barely succeeding. Javier Bardem completely disappears into the role of Uxbal—our modern-day Job. He’s as good as he’s ever been, as is director Alejandro […]

Casino Jack Review

Casino Jack Review

RATING: (3 STARS) I’m not sure any actor last year had more fun with a part than Kevin Spacey seemed to in Casino Jack. His performance is larger than life, and appropriately so, for this true story is just too crazy to believe. During the height of the Bush administration, lobbyist Jack Abramoff took a […]

Never Let Me Go Review

Never Let Me Go Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Not having read Kazuo Ishiguro’s beloved novel Never Let Me Go, I wasn’t sure how I’d react to Mark Romanek’s polarizing film adaptation. Fans of the novel seemed taken with the film’s deeply tragic themes. Others reported being unfazed, even bored, by the proceedings. I guess I fell somewhere in the middle. […]

The Company Men Review

The Company Men Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) John Wells’ The Company Men is a film I wanted to like more than I actually did like it. Where 2009 masterpiece Up in the Air looked at mass firings from the corporate point-of-view, this film takes a look at the personal difficulties that come as a result of being fired. What […]

The Illusionist (2010) Review

The Illusionist (2010) Review

RATING: (3 STARS) The Illusionist is an odd little film that doesn’t do much but is charming enough to get away with it. The film is Sylvain Chomet’s follow-up to The Triplets of Bellville, and anyone who’s remotely familiar with that film won’t be surprised to hear that this features some unique animation. Even more […]

Red Review

Red Review

RATING: (3 STARS) It’s hard to watch Red and not smile at least a little. Of course, it’s absolutely ridiculous, but it never takes itself too seriously. Is it as funny as it could have been? Probably not (I think an R-rating would have done the film wonders), but you’ll almost certainly have a good […]

Nowhere Boy Review

Nowhere Boy Review

RATING: (2 STARS) Nowhere Boy is about as unremarkable as films get. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it; It’s just entirely forgettable. Take away the lead character’s name, and this wouldn’t be a story worthy of the cinema. Even Beatles aficionados would likely agree that their hero’s, John Lennon’s, personal history has to be more […]

Blue Valentine Review

Blue Valentine Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine is a minor miracle of a film. Like John Cameron Mitchell’s Rabbit Hole, the film attacks a familiar subject matter (a breakup) with uncommon emotional honesty. What sets Blue Valentine apart from other similarly themed films is that we become invested without even necessarily wanting this couple to […]

Buried Review

Buried Review

RATING: (1.5 STARS) I’ve made my love for 127 Hours plain enough around here, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Buried was pretty high on my most-anticipated list. After sitting through Rodrigo Cortes’ film, however, I can say the two bear little resemblance. Besides the obvious “lone man trapped and fighting for his […]

Animal Kingdom Review

Animal Kingdom Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Last April, I spoke to Nash Edgerton, director of The Square, about his film and the state of Australian cinema. He told me to keep an eye out for Animal Kingdom, a gangster thriller in the vein of Goodfellas that would be coming out a few months later. I finally caught up […]

I Love You Phillip Morris Review

I Love You Phillip Morris Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Anyone who knows me knows my issues with Jim Carrey as a comedian. He’s not a bad actor—Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind showed us that. But his comedic style is way too spastic and over-the-top for my tastes. I Love You Phillip Morris features perhaps the first such performance from Carrey […]

127 Hours Review

127 Hours Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours is an absolute triumph on every level imaginable. It’s difficult to sit through, but Boyle gives it the magic touch and turns this dark, disturbing story into something that’s ultimately hopeful and inspiring. It’s spectacularly directed—Boyle deserves another Oscar for his work—and brimming with the same energy that […]

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