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Film Review

Dream On

by Shawn Stone May 15, 2013


  This is not the “hip-hop Great Gatsby.” Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “great American novel” is remarkably faithful to the spirit of the original. Yes, Luhrmann takes certain liberties with the text and adds ...

Pain Without Gain

by Laura Leon May 8, 2013


  To say that the role of Iron Man fits Robert Downey Jr. like a glove is groan-worthy, but apt. How this actor, so nimble both physically and intellectually, uses his unique skill set to imbue ...

Pale Portraits

by Ann Morrow May 8, 2013


  In his ripe old age, Auguste Renoir, the titan of impressionism, was still creating masterpieces while bravely facing the infirmities of severe arthritis. Successful during his own lifetime, he bought a sun-ripened farmhouse estate on ...

Motion Sickness

by Shawn Stone May 8, 2013


  Suddenly, the long-reclusive film artist Terrence Malick, the fellow who went decades without releasing so much as a foot of film, is a whirlwind of activity. Following up on his 2011 Oscar-nominated epic The Tree ...

Swamp Things

by Laura Leon May 1, 2013


  In much the spirit of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, Mud, a new movie written and directed by Jeff Nichols, explores the lives of its protagonists while limning a way of life lived ...

The Germinator

by Ann Morrow May 1, 2013


  It starts with a lone astronaut narrating the apocalypse that turned Earth into a wasteland. “We won the war but lost the planet,” explains Jack (Tom Cruise), as he patrols the cracked-rock surface. After a ...

Shout, Sister, Shout

by Shawn Stone April 24, 2013


  It turns out that it wasn’t just Bob Hope and Ann-Margret putting on shows for the American troops in Southeast Asia in the 1960s. The Sapphires tells the story of four young Australian aboriginal women ...

Sins of the Fathers

by Laura Leon April 18, 2013


  There are compelling reasons to see The Place Beyond the Pines, and not just the fact that it was filmed in and around Schenectady. Chiefly, these are Ryan Gosling’s performance as a carnival stunt rider ...

Doctor Who?

by Ann Morrow April 18, 2013


  Trance is the slick new crime thriller from Danny Boyle, and though the director is a recent Oscar-winner for Slumdog Millionaire, Trance harkens much more to his first movie, Shallow Grave. Though almost all of ...


by Shawn Stone April 18, 2013


  A roomful of clients wait with anticipation for a presentation. A young executive, Rene Saavedra (Gael García Bernal), gravely speaks of what they about to see. It represents, he says, an exact reflection of the ...

Apocalypse, Now

by Shawn Stone April 10, 2013


  Sally Potter’s film about the decline and fall of an intense lifelong friendship is funny, engaging, wrenching and, ultimately cathartic. In other words, it’s very good. It’s set in 1962 England, a time and place still ...

Super Soldiers

by Laura Leon April 10, 2013


  Those of you who saw GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, take heart. Don’t be afraid. That sorry excuse of a movie based on a beloved Hasbro toy is in no way, shape or form ...

True Jack

by Rick Marshall April 4, 2013


  Jack Kerouac’s work has always had a rough trip through the Hollywood machine. Beginning with 1960’s adaptation-in-name-only The Subterraneans, many filmmakers have attempted to bring Kerouac’s work to the screen, but few have captured the ...


Two Hearts, One Body, Oy Vey

by Shawn Stone April 4, 2013


  Stephanie Meyer turned the vampire-werewolf mythology inside-out in her Twilight books, transforming vampires from undead sexy beasts into smug, well-dressed members of the one-percent, and giving werewolves an unearned aura of Native American cool. In ...

Unicorn Gangster Sex Candy

by Shawn Stone March 28, 2013


  “Sperrring brayke . . . spering brayke for-evah!” Drawling these incantory lines with a Southern accent that’s as thick and baroque as any this side of Matthew McConaughey’s, James Franco neatly sums up the meaning of ...

The Talking Wounded

by Ann Morrow March 28, 2013


  This year’s Oscar nominees for Best Documentary were some of the hardest-hitting in memory, including, oddly enough, two on the issue of Palestinean statehood. The Gatekeepers, by Israeli filmmaker Dror Moreh, concerns Shin Bet, Israel’s ...

It’s Academic

by Laura Leon March 28, 2013


  With the hard-surface crackle and interior mushiness of some sort of overpriced gourmet candy, Admission promises wacky comedy, hints at cogent social satire, and delivers only a few chuckles and some nice moments between Tina ...

Nothing Up Their Sleeves

by Ann Morrow March 20, 2013


  There are moments in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone that capture the enchantment of “real magic” (magicians’ term for a trick or illusion performed to perfection), and there are a few scenes that are truly satirical, ...

Still Feels Like Kansas

by Shawn Stone March 13, 2013


  It could have been worse. But it’s still pretty bad. This fantasy epic is riddled with problems: James Franco is a terrible Wizard of Oz; the film plods along to an extent that it would have ...

Grim Tale

by Ann Morrow March 13, 2013


  Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace are dead together, and it’s not just because the characters they play in Dead Man Down are dead inside. The two stars, who would seem to be well-matched, have nothing ...

With a Whimper

by Laura Leon March 13, 2013

  That a movie based largely on the personality of larger-than-life Douglas MacArthur, who is played by legendary screen presence Tommy Lee Jones, could be so small is like finding out that the big man on ...

The New Yorker

by Ann Morrow March 6, 2013


  In the documentary Koch, much is made of the former New York City mayor’s love of the spotlight: As one friend notes of the ailing 88-year-old, “If there are cameras in the hospital, he will ...

Big Fun

by Laura Leon March 6, 2013


  Hollywood keeps churning out modernist revisions of classic fairy tales, some better than others, while pundits declare the form dead in the water based on the lack of success of, say, Hansel & Gretel: Witch ...


by Shawn Stone February 20, 2013


  The Twilight Saga is over. Until the inevitable reboot comes along, what will fill the void left in teenage hearts? Moviegoers could do worse than Beautiful Creatures, a Southern Gothic teen romance (with magic) that’s ...

Romance By Numbers

by Laura Leon February 20, 2013


  A dark and stormy night. A scared young woman running desperately through the rain, seeking shelter even as her hand still grips a bloody knife. A fraught escape by bus to somewhere else, even as ...