An indelible American story about the cycle of poverty

Andrew is 13 years old and lives in rural Missouri, in a town an hour or so from Kansas City. He is a handsome kid, articulate and wise beyond his years. He’s also often cheerful, and I found this surprising and endearing. In Andrew Droz Palermo and Tracy Droz Tragos’ extraordinary documentary about three adolescent [...]

Movie review: ‘Calvary’ — a fascinating and heartbreaking film

I cannot pretend to be an expert on Catholicism, let alone Irish Catholicism. My entire experience of the Catholic Church has been created by history classes I took more than 20 years ago, a few masses I attended out of curiosity and a large number of movies about priests and nuns, which run the gamut [...]

With its nonstop action ‘Guardians’ is hugely entertaining

I must admit that the biggest reason I was so excited to see Guardians of the Galaxy was Chris Pratt. I’ve been a fan since he guested as trustafarian college student on The OC in 2006, and I developed a silly school boy crush on him in Parks & Recreation, on which he’s played adorable [...]

Movie review: ‘Magic in the Moonlight’

One of the problems Woody Allen faces when he is trying to defend himself against charges of pedophilia is how often the male protagonists in his films, usually well into middle age, pursue and win the affections of much, much younger women. Most notoriously, he cast himself, at age 42, as a man dating 17-year-old [...]

Presenting the bleakest of this summer’s dystopias

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Few film franchises have been rebooted as successfully as Planet of the Apes. When Rise of the Planet of the Apes arrived in 2011, audiences were still smarting from Tim Burton’s bloated and boring remake of the eponymous 1969 film that started the series. No one had very [...]

A monument to the power of art, film and family

Richard Linklater filmed Boyhood over 12 years. This is what you hear when the movie is discussed, and it’s an important fact. In 2002, he cast a boy (Ellar Coltrane), his sister (Lorelei Linklater) and their mother (Patricia Arquette) and father (Ethan Hawke). Both Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater were eight years old at the time, [...]

A monument to the power of art, film and family

Richard Linklater filmed Boyhood over 12 years. This is what you hear when the movie is discussed, and it’s an important fact. In 2002, he cast a boy (Ellar Coltrane), his sister (Lorelei Linklater) and their mother (Patricia Arquette) and father (Ethan Hawke). Both Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater were eight years old at the time, [...]

Movie review: ‘Begin Again’ belongs to Keira Knightley

In the first scene of Begin Again, a blond Brit named Steve (James Corden) finishes his song at an open mic night in New York’s Lower East Side and coaxes his friend Greta (Keira Knightley) onto stage. She reluctantly, almost begrudgingly sings “A Step You Can’t Take Back,” which she claims is new, and the [...]

An astonishing, visually breathtaking film

For the last year, much of the discussion of Snowpiercer focused on the public fight between director Joon-ho Bong and Harvey Weinstein, the independent film mogul and owner of the Weinstein Company, which has the distribution rights to the film in the United States. Weinstein wanted the acclaimed version of the film seen overseas cut [...]

Eastwood’s ‘Jersey Boys’ lacks the thrill of the stage show

A few weeks ago, I was hanging out with one of my best friends, a musical theater composer who has impeccable and refined taste. I had mentioned that I was going to review the Jersey Boys movie and he told me that when he saw the stage musical, it was so thrilling, “I wanted to [...]

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