Movie Review: Only Lovers Left Alive — a slow, thoughtful character study

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For a good number of people, I could convince them to see a movie with a review one sentence long: “Tilda Swinton plays a vampire.” Though she’s been starring in films for nearly three decades – her first role was in Derek Jarman’s queer masterpiece Caravaggio in 1986 – it has only been since she [...]

See this wonderful movie while you can

Among the United Kingdom’s greatest exports – including Downton Abbey, Cadbury Eggs and the Magna Carta – is the underdog feel-good comedy. Where would world culture be without The Full Monty, Billy Elliot, Little Voice and Bend it Like Beckham? In a terrible place, I reckon. (This is as long as you don’t think about [...]

Captain America: The Winter Solider: a fun and surprisingly political thrill-ride

I am a member of the strong minority that believes that Captain America: The First Avenger is the best of the recent crop of Marvel movies. Joss Whedon’s The Avengers is great fun, but the Captain America story is much more emotionally rich. During World War II, an incredibly scrawny, sickly Steve Rogers tries over [...]

Woodley impresses in this futuristic fantasy

The similarities between the Divergent trilogy and The Hunger Games trilogy are impossible to ignore, so let’s get them out of the way. Both are about preternaturally capable teenage girls who help lead rebellions in dystopian futures, and both have been turned into big budget tent-pole movies with starry casts and Oscar-anointed leads. The Hunger [...]

Another grand film from Wes Anderson

I struggled to start writing this review because I wanted to communicate as powerfully and as effectively as possible how much I loved Wes Anderson’s eighth feature film The Grand Budapest Hotel. Luckily, I don’t have the same degree of difficulty when I write a review as Wes Anderson has when he makes a movie. [...]

Characterizing the power of lust

Apparently, one of the reasons Stranger by the Lake has been of such interest to film writers and culture bloggers is the sex. Alain Guiraudie’s extremely French sex thriller is being listed along with Blue Is the Warmest Color and Interior. Leather Bar as part of an art film trend of explicit and not always [...]

Elaine Stritch: always giving herself to her audience

I first discovered Elaine Stritch on the original Broadway soundtrack to Company, the classic 1970 Stephen Sondheim musical about then-modern love in New York. The plot revolves around perennially single Bobby and his married friends; Stritch played Joanne, the oldest of the group. At the end of the second act she sings “The Ladies Who [...]

This latest iteration of ‘Pompeii’ bombs

It’s pretty easy to imagine how Pompeii got made. Some screenwriter said, “Gladiator crossed with Titanic. In 3-D.” And I can imagine that if I were a producer with a few boatloads of cash and a throbbing desire to get a few more boatloads that sort of pitch would give me a tingling, ecstatic thrill. [...]

‘Winter’s Tale:’ a muddle of cliched platitudes

When I told another critic at the screening of Winter’s Tale that it was adapted from a novel many consider to be one of greatest of the last quarter of the 20th century, I was given a blank stare. As in: Really? Are you kidding me? I don’t know this factoid because I’ve read Mark [...]

Lord and Miller construct a surprisingly engaging movie

The Lego Movie The Lego Movie could be the greatest advertisement ever made. I mean this in two ways: First, after I saw the movie, I walked immediately to Target and bought Legos, the first time I’d given myself and not a child Legos since I was a child myself. I’m sure that the sales [...]

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