2010

Somewhere Review

Somewhere Review

RATING: (1 STAR) Somewhere is a very inaccurate title for Sofia Coppola’s latest film for it begins nowhere, goes nowhere, and ends nowhere. I’d love to sit down with the director and ask her why she felt this was a necessary film to make because after sitting through nearly two hours of just nothingness, I […]

Rabbit Hole Review

Rabbit Hole Review

RATING: (4 STARS) John Cameron Mitchell’s Rabbit Hole takes you to an emotional place no man or woman ever wants to experience, but it does so with such unflinching honesty that it’s hard not to admire it. Is it a film I love? That’s a tricky question because I love what the filmmakers accomplish. I […]

Countdown to Zero

Countdown to Zero

When the Academy’s documentary branch released its short list for Best Documentary contenders in 2010, a few titles were surprisingly omitted. Catfish fascinated many, but its questionable veracity likely prevented some members from wholly embracing it. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work was a startlingly honest look at fame and one woman’s determination to keep […]

Tangled Review

Tangled Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Tangled, like The Princess and the Frog in 2009, is a send-back to the Disney animation of old. It looks modern, but it has films like The Little Mermaid and The Lion King at its heart. It’s not as good as those films—few animated movies are—but it’s a worthwhile adventure. It might […]

The King’s Speech Review

The King’s Speech Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) The King’s Speech has all the pieces necessary to be a masterpiece. The ensemble is as good as any this year. The writing is spot-on. The cinematography, art direction, and score are all fantastic. And Tom Hooper’s direction is confident and smart. The only thing missing is that little extra umph—the quality […]

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Review

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Review

RATING: (2 STARS) To be perfectly blunt, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is a mess. The frustrating thing is that there’s a good film in there somewhere, but it’s bogged down by a slew of dull subplots, jarring shifts in tone and pace, and an ending that’s a total cheat. I didn’t care for Oliver […]

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole Review

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Despite having one of the worst titles of 2010, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is quite a fun ride. If you can let yourself escape to a place full of evil owls and babysitting snakes, you’ll probably be thoroughly entertained with director Zack Snyder’s animated adventure fantasy. It’s a […]

True Grit (2010) Review

True Grit (2010) Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) If the Coen Brothers’ trademark is unpredictable and unexpected, True Grit is another solidly Coen-esque film. Why? Because it’s such a straight-forward well-told Western that we keep waiting around for some standard Coen twists and turns. But they don’t arrive. I didn’t have a problem with that per se, but it did […]

Unstoppable Review

Unstoppable Review

RATING: (3 STARS) I don’t think Tony Scott gets enough credit as a director. His films, I guess, are somewhat disposable, but he knows how to make an old-school action flick. I didn’t care for his 2009 entry, The Taking of Pelham 123, but Man on Fire, Déjà Vu, and his latest, Unstoppable are fun, […]

The Fighter Review

The Fighter Review

RATING: (3 STARS) In this corner, weighing in at approximately 700 pounds—the dynamic acting foursome of Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, and Mark Wahlberg. And in this corner, weighing in at a whopping 2,000 pounds—a ton of dysfunctional family- and boxing-movie clichés. David O. Russell’s The Fighter was a real slugfest between these two […]

Mother and Child Review

Mother and Child Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) Those of you who found Crash—or Clint Eastwood’s clunker Hereafter—unwatchable should stay far, far away from Rodrigo Garcia’s Mother and Child. It’s the kind of film that starts in several very different places and seeks to weave all of its threads together. But while I thought Paul Haggis’ film was engaging (if […]

TRON: Legacy Review

TRON: Legacy Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) TRON: Legacy is a film essentially devoid of any surprises. Anyone who has seen the original TRON will likely go in expecting something great-looking, great-sounding, and incredibly goofy. And that’s precisely what this film is. The plot is laughable, but there is some fun to be had. The visual effects, however, are […]

Black Swan Review

Black Swan Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Black Swan represents the kind of ambitious, stylish filmmaking that’s easy to admire, tough to love, and impossible to forget. It’s a very visceral film that gets under your skin and stays there. Comparisons to director Darren Aronofsky’s last film—The Wrestler—are apt, though where that film was a quiet contemplation on a […]

Restrepo

Restrepo

When I was in journalism school, I had a professor who just fawned over Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington. He said they were among the elite in the profession, that these were men we should strive to emulate in our careers. Their war documentary, Restrepo, shows the kind of journalistic ambition and integrity that I […]

Agora Review

Agora Review

RATING: (2 STARS) You certainly can’t fault Agora director Alejandro Amenabar for not being ambitious. His sword-and-sandals drama tries to connect stories related to religious intolerance, the alignment of the universe, and the love of a slave for his master. He isn’t wholly unsuccessful—the film has some very powerful moments—but there are far more misses […]

How to Train Your Dragon Review

How to Train Your Dragon Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) For the most part, I find Dreamworks animation quite underwhelming. Maybe the tendency to compare their films to Pixar’s far-superior efforts clouds my objectivity, but other than the first Shrek and, to a lesser extent, Kung Fu Panda, I can’t even say I enjoy their films. It’s hard to say whether How […]