Carnage plays out entirely in a New York City apartment, where two couples are trying to deal with a playground incident involving their 11-year-old sons, one of whom struck the other in the mouth with a stick. In the process, the film—directed and coscripted by Roman Polanski, based on Yasmina Reza's play God of Carnage—peels back the skin of each supposedly caring parent, revealing the person beneath the civilized facade.
February 7, 2012

We Need to Talk About Kevin

The primary reason to im­merse yourself in the jagged world of We Need to Talk About Kevin is the towering lead performance by Tilda Swin­ton, an actress of continuing spontaneity who traveled a circuitous route through experimental and art cinema before embarking on a second career in the mainstream.
February 5, 2012

The Iron Lady

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.
January 24, 2012
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.
January 23, 2012

Young Adult

Judging by the ads, you might think that this tale of a former high school prom queen who returns to her small Minnesota town to reclaim her old boyfriend is a light story filled with big yucks and a happy ending. But director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody are serving up a dark story about wasted lives and shattered dreams that coyly takes a few cheap potshots at the clueless folks who populate a small town.
January 17, 2012

The Descendants

Alexander Payne's film fancies itself a tragicomic story of spiritual redemption. But despite the many characters and subplots employed to help build the tale, it is a house of cards.
January 8, 2012

Like Crazy

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.
December 28, 2011

War Horse

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.
December 25, 2011

Martha Marcy May Marlene

This first feature by writer-director Sean Durkin, a big hit at the 2011 Sun­dance Film Festival, centers on an enigmatic character with a minimal back­story. Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) is a 22-year-old who has spent the past two years living in a cult community in upstate New York.
December 15, 2011