The Criterion Collection Stretches the Boundaries of Classic Cinema
Published 10/10/2012 at 12:24 p.m. 0 comments
What makes a classic film a classic? Landing on some critic’s list? Currency among cinephiles over time? One possible definition is inclusion in the Criterion Collection, the movie-nerd benchmark for quality and erudition.
'Beyond the Black Rainbow' Is More Than Just a Stylish Tribute to ’80s Horror and Sci-Fi
Published 9/19/2012 at 11:06 a.m. 0 comments
The stark, chromatic décor and the pulsing synth score telegraph the days when future visions were transmitted via VHS cassette, or maybe expensive laserdisc. But then this isn’t quite like any 1983 that ever existed on film, much less anything ...
Two Different Approaches To Murder: 'The Snowtown Murders' and 'Kill List'
Published 9/5/2012 at 9:47 a.m. 0 comments
Poverty, broken windows, broken family structures, substance abuse—you know the story. As The Snowtown Murders unfolds, this based-on-actual-events tale takes an even more disturbing turn. Casual murder as a fact of life gets an altogether more facile rendering in Kill ...
Two New Documentaries Look at the Dramatic Lives of Bob Marley and Bobby Liebling
Published 8/22/2012 at 11:25 a.m. 0 comments
Bob Marley remains one of the best-known people on the planet, even 31 years after he left it. But all the namechecks and merchandising have left him seeming like more of an icon than a mere mortal, or even an ...
Dog Days: Our Critic Suffers Through the Late-Summer Dregs of Home Video So You Don’t Have To
Published 8/8/2012 at 11:08 a.m. 0 comments
There comes a time every summer when the home-entertainment enthusiast finds him- or herself at a loss, surveying the options for a wind-down flick and finding them wanting. Or maybe this only happens to home-entertainment enthusiasts who write biweekly columns ...
Kenneth Lonergan Gives Viewers Plenty to Talk About With Two Cuts of His Long-Awaited Indie Drama 'Margaret'
Published 7/25/2012 at 11:42 a.m. 0 comments
Margaret is a masterpiece. Margaret is a debacle. It’s the follow-up from hell, the vindication of an exacting filmmaker, a potential career-crippler. It’s indulgent and “arty,” and it’s brisk and disciplined. And none of these judgments are necessarily dependent on ...
Two Rare Spaghetti Westerns Exemplify Gritty Italian Filmmaking of the ’60s
Published 7/11/2012 at 5:44 p.m. 0 comments
The stylistic legacy of director Sergio Leone and his less-celebrated muchachos extends into the present day, not least in Quentin Tarantino’s forthcoming pasta-faux-zool Django Unchained. But there are still plenty of treasures left unexplored by most quick-draw cinephiles, and niche ...
'My Joy' and 'Once Upon a TIme in Anatolia' Detour Around Road-Movie Cliches
Published 6/27/2012 at 11:25 a.m. 0 comments
Funny how often driving scenes in movies don’t really take you anywhere. They bring characters into two-shot-friendly proximity and provide the semblance of action while dialogue plays out, but what you see out the windshield is sometimes just backdrop. Even ...
Hockey Comedy 'Goon' Tries to Rise Above Sports-Movie Cliches
Published 6/13/2012 at 10:51 a.m. 0 comments
Goon wishes badly that it weren’t a typical sports movie. Co-written by Evan Goldberg and Jay Baruchel, the hockey comedy clearly emulates/aspires to Slapshot, the profane, cynical 1977 flick that remains the unimpeachable gold standard for sports comedies to this ...
Subtle Undercurrents Run Through Arthouse Dramas 'Domain' and 'Certified Copy'
Published 6/6/2012 at 11:46 a.m. 0 comments
Domain, Patric Chiha’s debut feature, has its facile moments, but Beatrice Dalle’s forceful yet contained performance runs like a third rail through the director’s patient storytelling, unobstrusively energizing everything around it.
HBO's 'Girls' Isn't the New 'Sex and the City' (Yet)
Published 5/23/2012 at 3:03 p.m. 0 comments
Mumblecore Sex and the City—that’s an easy way to describe HBO’s new series Girls, but it’s also an accurate one. Critics can talk about the show’s creator, 25-year-old Lena Dunham, as being the new voice of her generation, but the ...
New Documentary Celebrates the Low-Budget Art of Exploitation Maestro Roger Corman
Published 5/2/2012 at 10:46 a.m. 0 comments
By the mid-’50s, Corman was scraping up tiny budgets for lurid horror films such as It Conquered the Earth and Attack of the Crab Monsters, which he would shoot in days (usually less than a week) and then dump into ...
'House of Pleasures' and 'Sleeping Beauty' Consider the World's Oldest Profession
Published 4/18/2012 at 11:47 a.m. 0 comments
If there’s anything the movies love more than a hitman, it’s a hooker. It sometimes seems that the oldest profession is one of the most common professions onscreen, a blank canvas for filmmakers to smear with their notions about women, ...
Men Obsessed: Three New Documentaries Demonstrate the High Price of Excellence
Published 4/4/2012 at 11:16 a.m. 0 comments
Everybody knows Elmo. Everybody loves Elmo. (C’mon, even if he gets on your nerves, you can’t really hate him.) But nobody knows anything about the man behind Elmo, or at least they didn’t until filmmaker Constance Marks’ documentary Being Elmo: ...
Lars Von Trier Destroys the World in 'Melancholia'
Published 3/21/2012 at 11:14 a.m. 0 comments
As is typical of the Danish writer/director Lars Von Trier's mature work, Melancholia is masterful, visually sumptuous, surprising, and provocative. But as has been typical of Trier’s work all along, it boasts its share of distracting idiosyncrasies.