This low-key, intimate Canadian film is in danger of passing by unnoticed. An anatomy of two relationships—a marriage and a courtship that overlap—the film is excitingly fresh and unconventional, and one of the few bright spots in a dim summer movie season.
Lit by the prodigious cinematographer Darius Khondji, Rome looks glorious in Woody Allen’s latest, an omnibus of four loosely connected comedies in different styles. The movie is a pleasant diversion, if rather clumsy in its construction.
Writer-director Joss Whedon, the creator of the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, saves the world from destruction yet again in the first of the summer blockbusters, Marvel’s The Avengers. The adventure is moderately enjoyable but rather exhausting.
Movies about education are seldom convincing; their depiction of what goes on in the classroom hardly ever tallies with our own experiences. So the sweet and poignant Quebecois film Monsieur Lazhar is a rare pleasure.
Lee Hirsch’s documentary Bully rings false from beginning to end. The film wants to sound alarm bells about the prevalence of bullying in public schools, which is certainly a very real problem. But like the recently completed trilogy of TV documentaries about the child murders at Robin Hood Hills and the young men who were evidently scapegoated for the crime, the movie has a tawdry, voyeuristic quality that keeps distracting you from its alleged agenda.
There’s no faster way for a movie to earn the disdain of critics than to rack up exorbitant costs and then fall on its face. And yes, John Carter, based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs fantasy A Princess of Mars, would be a better picture if it hadn’t cost $250 million, most of which is clearly visible in the overextended, dull Martian battle sequences.
The Hunger Games, Gary Ross’s film version of the first novel in Suzanne Collins’s young adult sci-fi trilogy, is a predictable hit after the biggest opening weekend since ancient Rome staged gladiatorial combats. But that doesn’t mean it’s any good.
It takes a tremendous amount of delicacy and tact to pull off a movie
about 9/11 without making the audience feel it's been strong-armed.
Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, based on the Jonathan Safran Foer novel of the same name, puts you through the wringer.
Man on a Ledge is a nifty little entertainment about an ex-cop
(Sam Worthington) framed for stealing a diamond owned by a ruthless
magnate (Ed Harris). He escapes from custody and stages a suicide
threat on the window ledge of Harris's hotel as a diversion while his
allies break into his accuser's vault to prove the theft was a hoax.
David Fincher's film of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo should please fans of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy. Fincher and his screenwriter, Steven Zaillian, remain faithful to the complicated plot of the trilogy's first book, and they reproduce most of its many characters. In truth they improve vastly on their source material.
The Iron Lady, which stars Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, is the worst biopic since Nixon. It's so cautious that it lacks a coherent point of
view, and it's so scattered that it tells you almost exactly nothing.
Documentarian Steve James has a journalist's nose for a great story. His beat is the
challenges faced by low-income city kids, in this case young Chicagoans whose lives are blighted by the cycle of violence.
Like Crazy is a love story about an American boy (Anton Yelchin)
and an English girl (Felicity Jones) who meet in their final year of
college in Los Angeles, fall in love and opt to spend the summer
together in the States before she returns to London.
War Horse is ideal material for Steven Spielberg. His adaptation
of the children's novel by Michael Morpurgo comes to the screen by way
of the celebrated National Theatre stage version, which has been
entrancing audiences of all ages on Broadway since last season.
Craig Brewer, the extraordinary young director of Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan,
brings his sharp ear for southern culture's tone and rhythms to this
remake of a 1998 pop musical (itself a remake of a 1984 film) set in a
small Georgia town. The problem is that the material is still Footloose.
50/50 is a balancing act: a comedy-drama about a
man who learns
he has a tumor and a 50 percent chance of surviving. Writer Will Reiser and director
Jonathan Levine pull off twin feats: they sustain a tone midway
between ironic and poignant, and they touch the audience without pushing
pathos at us.