Matt Damon

The Martian Review

The Martian Review

RATING: (3 STARS) In Stanley Kubrick’s epic space saga, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Strauss’ “Blue Danube Waltz” plays over a famous docking sequence. In Ridley Scott’s The Martian, a critical docking sequence is scored by David Bowie’s “Starman.” The differences go on, but perhaps it’s this one that best demonstrates what Scott is going for […]

Interstellar Review

Interstellar Review

RATING: (4 STARS) I want to talk about how well-made Interstellar is. I want to talk about Hoyte Van Hoytema’s cinematography in director Christopher Nolan’s ambitious, awe-inspiring film; it’s remarkable. Stepping in for regular Nolan contributor Wally Pfister, Van Hoytema establishes an old-fashioned aesthetic full of shots of a decaying Earth and a quietly wonderous […]

Behind the Candelabra Review

Behind the Candelabra Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) For his feature film swan song, director Steven Soderbergh has elected to tell a sordid tale about sex, drugs, plastic surgery, possible incest, and shattered dreams. Behind the Candelabra also happens to be a biopic chronicling the latter years of music legend Liberace. Dubbed (by himself and those around him) “Mr. Showmanship,” […]

Promised Land Review

Promised Land Review

RATING: (3 STARS) When it comes to an issue like fracking, it’s hard to find middle ground. Those in favor of it cite the need to source energy more locally, while the anti-fracking crowd has Gasland and flaming water (among other things) to prove its points. Gus Van Sant‘s latest film, Promised Land, is ostensibly […]

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Margaret

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Margaret

Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret is both a film you’ll want to kiss and a film you’ll want to kill. Ditto its lead character, Lisa Cohen, an upper-middle-class New York teen played so expertly by Anna Paquin. If she seems a bit riper than on HBO’s True Blood, it’s for a good reason; Lonergan filmed Margaret way […]

Contagion Review

Contagion Review

RATING: (4 STARS) By staying away from the familiar conventions of most thrillers, Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion manages to reach a level of believability and natural tension that I thought impossible out of a film like this. There are no chases, nor are there any heroes and villains. In fact, the characters in Contagion take a […]

The Adjustment Bureau Review

The Adjustment Bureau Review

RATING: (3 STARS) There was plenty of reason to worry about George Nolfi’s The Adjustment Bureau. The film was originally slated for a late summer 2010 release. It was then bumped back to the fall, and again to this March. But besides the delays, the film’s trailers hinted at a slightly off-putting mixture of heady […]

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 […]

Inside Job

Inside Job

Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job is the kind of film that gets under your skin and stays with you. That’s not something I normally get out of documentaries (though 2009’s The Cove certainly stayed with me for quite some time), but this one, a searing expose on the current financial crisis freaked me out. It explains […]

Hereafter Review

Hereafter Review

RATING: (2 STARS) Director, actor, and all-around bad-ass Clint Eastwood has rattled of an unprecedented number of hits in the last few years. Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Letters from Iwo Jima, Gran Torino, and Invictus were all, on one level or another, successful. His latest, Hereafter, is a major bust on almost every level. […]

The Bourne Identity Review

The Bourne Identity Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) It was old-fashioned and a new breed of spy film at the same time, and it ended up being one of the most influential films of the past decade. Doug Liman’s The Bourne Identity is a great action film that feels very cold but still manages to engage on a number of […]

Green Zone Review

Green Zone Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) “Green Zone” is a rare hybrid of political thriller and full on actioner. The film, which is very loosely based on the nonfiction book “Imperial Life in the Emerald City,” mixes facts with fiction to tell a compelling story of the lies and misinformation surrounding the supposed WMDs in Iraq. Director Paul […]

The Departed Review

The Departed Review

RATING: (4 STARS) “The Departed” is director Martin Scorsese’s best work since “Taxi Driver.” Yeah, I said it. I think this film is better than “Goodfellas” and “Raging Bull.” In fact, for a long time, this film was my standard answer for the dreaded “What’s your favorite movie?” question. I no longer hold it in […]

The Ten Best Performances of 2009

The Ten Best Performances of 2009

Below are my ten favorite performances of the year. I wouldn’t dare say they were the ten best, but for one reason or another, I preferred these above any others in 2009. Some will be nominated for Oscars; others won’t be. But these actors and their outstanding work helped make 2009 such a strong year […]

Invictus Review

Invictus Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Clint Eastwood’s career this decade has followed an interesting trajectory. He started out with the pure popcorn “Space Cowboys” and the instantly forgettable thriller “Blood Work.” His next two trips behind the camera, however, resulted in two of the finest films of the decade, “Mystic River” and “Million Dollar Baby.” Those hoping […]