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.
Questioning Reality With 'World on a Wire' and 'Martha Marcy May Marlene'
Published 3/7/2012 at 10:07 a.m. 0 comments
In 1999, The Matrix wowed audiences with its action, its futuristic look, and its vision of the world as a controlling digital construct put in place by a superior power. If critics and viewers failed to make the connection between ...
'Project Nim' and "The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence): Two Grim New Portraits of Our Species
Published 2/22/2012 at 11:35 a.m. 0 comments
In 1973, a linguist named Herbert Terrace adopted an infant chimpanzee from a research lab in Oklahoma. “Adopted” is perhaps too neutral a term, though. As director James Marsh’s recent documentary Project Nim (Lions Gate DVD and streaming) reveals, he ...
'Higher Ground' Offers Sensitive Drama About Faith; 'The Woman' Serves Up Cheap Thrills
Published 2/8/2012 at 11:12 a.m. 0 comments
If you’re Meryl Streep, you get asked to play Margaret Thatcher. If you’re one of the tens of thousands of other actresses in Hollywood, you most often get asked to play a wife, a mom, a girlfriend, a best friend, ...
'Essential Killing' and 'Hell and Back Again' Tackle a Tricky Subject: America's Wars in the Middle East
Published 1/25/2012 at 10:24 a.m. 0 comments
More reactionary American viewers will no doubt have a hard time with aspects of Essential Killing. Not only are a number of Americans/Westerners killed, but live Americans are typically portrayed as callous brutes fond of drugs and thudding bro metal—the ...
'Blackthorn' and 'Warrior' Revive Classic Hollywood Genres
Published 1/11/2012 at 10:56 a.m. 0 comments
The Western has been dying for more than 40 years, and maybe as a result, many of the best films in the genre in that time have an elegiac quality. Spanish writer/director Mateo Gil extends the long swan song with ...
Best of 2011: DVD
Published 12/28/2011 at 12:00 p.m. 0 comments
Our critic picks the best home video of the year.
Going Out on a Limb With 'The Future' and 'Tucker and Dale vs. Evil'
Published 12/14/2011 at 10:21 a.m. 0 comments
The Future is an intimate drama as well as a quirkfest. Miranda July captures the frustration of finding yourself in an ordinary life, and for all the film’s magic realism, the relationships feel real.
'Bellflower' and 'Putty Hill' Announce a New Generation of Indie Filmmakers
Published 11/30/2011 at 11:58 a.m. 0 comments
If you pay attention to the flood of little movies that spew forth from smaller distributors every year, sifting through the shameless exploitation, self-impressed indies, and genre rehashes, every now and then you spot something new. Not just newly released, ...
'Magic Trip' and 'Going Places': On the Road With Ken Kesey and Gerard Depardieu
Published 11/16/2011 at 10:43 a.m. 0 comments
Magic Trip manages the neat trick of offering a scrupulously coherent narrative of an unhinged time, while also visually exemplifying that deranged quality.
You Won’t Forget 'A Serbian Film' and 'The Island of Lost Souls,' No Matter How Hard You Try
Published 11/2/2011 at 10:39 a.m. 0 comments
It would be something of a comfort to be able to dismiss A Serbian Film as exploitation trash. But like recent outrage-cinema sensations Martyrs and The Human Centipede (First Sequence) before it, it’s a bit too smart and well-crafted for ...
Modern Horror: A Handy Guide to the Best 21st-Century Horror Movies You Probably Haven't Seen
Published 10/26/2011 at 12:57 p.m. 1 comment
If you like your monsters bare-chested and angsty, you’re in luck—Hollywood has defanged the vampire, neutered the werewolf, and served both up on a whiny silver platter. Those of us who would rather our monsters be, well, monstrous can have ...
'Amer' and 'Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams' Give Shape to the Dark Side of Dreams
Published 10/19/2011 at 11:17 a.m. 0 comments
Projecting dreams and visions onscreen for mass consumption is a big part of the point of movies, period, and dreams—not to mention nightmares—are a standard device/lens for even the most prosaic cinema.
Three New Documentaries Provide Surprising Insight Into Their Subjects
Published 10/5/2011 at 10:56 a.m. 0 comments
As director Richard Press’ new documentary Bill Cunningham New York (Zeitgeist DVD) shows, turning the camera around on the photographer proves every bit as fascinating as the people he’s documented over the past 50 years.
Lee Chang-dong’s 'Poetry' and 'Secret Sunshine' Illustrate South Korea’s Quietly Intriguing Film Exports
Published 9/21/2011 at 9:45 a.m. 0 comments
South Korea boasts perhaps the most interesting film scene in the world right now, and part of the reason it’s so interesting is that, on the surface, it’s not that interesting.