Moneyball has a slick, entertaining script by two pros, Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian, and it's briskly directed by Bennett Miller.
Depending on your tolerance or affection for epic morality plays, Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret may either feel too long and subplot-laden, with one too many plot twists, or a bit thin and sketchy (despite a running time of two and a half hours).
Sarah's Key is culled from a popular novel (by Tatiana de Rosnay) set during the Holocaust and the Nazi occupation of France. The main character, an American magazine writer (Kristin Scott Thomas) living in Paris, discovers that her husband's family acquired their home after the Jews who once lived there were sent to an abandoned stadium, where they endured three hellish days before the Nazis transported them to the camps.
In The Help, set during the civil rights era, an aspiring journalist decides to write a book about the African-American domestics in the small Mississippi town where she grew up. The movie, adapted by Tate Taylor from Kathryn Stockett's best seller, is a glossy Hollywood potboiler that uses a serious theme and historical context as cover.
When I walked into a screening of The Way, which opens today, I knew very little about the film; only that it stars Martin Sheen and is directed by his son, Emilio Estevez, and that it involves pilgrims hiking El Camino de Santiago, a 450-mile historical pilgrimage route across northern Spain.
This year's Sundance festival featured several films offering unflattering portrayals of evangelical Christianity. Alison Willmore raises a good question about independent cinema.
The Devil's Double seems destined for midnight screenings on college campuses, maybe on a double bill with Scarface.
Another Earth, a Sundance darling that has gained attention by word of mouth, follows the latest cinematic trend by combining two genres into one mysterious, if uneven, film.
Horse trainer Buck Brannaman is the sweet-souled star of Buck. Cindy Meehl's documentary begins as the portrait of a remarkable professional and turns unexpectedly into a Dickensian tale about the consequences of a turbulent childhood.
The latest of the Marvel comic book movies is smooth sailing from start to finish.
When Vittorio De Sica helped craft the cinematic movement known as neorealism, he was intent on finding lead actors who lacked experience. If you didn't know that Demián Bichir was a star in Mexico, you might assume that director Chris Weitz was following De Sica's blueprint.
Super 8, written and directed by J. J. Abrams of Lost and Alias fame, is a curious film that gets curiouser and curiouser as it goes along. It's the first time I have ever seen a cinematic homage to a filmmaker who is actually in the film's credits.
In The Trip, culled from a British TV miniseries, comedian Steve Coogan, ostensibly playing himself, is sent by a newspaper to tour England's finest restaurants, accompanied by his friend and fellow comic Rob Brydon.
There's never been anything quite like the Harry Potter movies. The finale, Deathly Hallows, Part 2, is all one might hope.