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Thursday, January 9 2014

The Line Between Past and Present Is Forever Blurred in ‘Grey Gardens’

Withdrawn from a world that has changed around them so steadfastly that coping would be an embarrassment too ghastly to imagine, the Beales stay put in Grey Gardens.


Wednesday, January 8 2014

‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’ Is a Simple Story with a Larger Truth

Ain't Them Bodies Saints has been compared to Terrence Malick’s work, because both display a keen eye for capturing the beauty of nature. That’s where the similarities end.


‘Renoir’ Is Beautiful but so Uninteresting It’s Like Watching Paint Dry

Everything in this film is right there on the surface for us to see. Nothing is left to the imagination.


Tuesday, January 7 2014

It’s the Same Ol’ Jack Ryan, and I Guess That’s OK

This new box set of all four Jack Ryan films features proves it's hard to resist everyone's favorite CIA analyst turned field agent.


‘Robin Redbreast’ and the Creeping Horrors of a Rural Idyll

Released for the first time on DVD, the BBC's 1970 drama is a disturbing film concerning the grim underbelly of sinister rural rituals, and those that adhere to them.


Monday, January 6 2014

‘Elysium’ Has a Ton of Underutilized Ideas

Elysium's ambitions are undeniable. It's just a shame the same can't be said for the plot or characters.


‘The Berlin File’ Has Moments of Deliberate and Effective Action

The Berlin File bogs down its moments of expressive filmmaking with long stretches of talk, talk, talk.


Friday, January 3 2014

Yasujiro Ozu Explores the Cost of Eliminating Conflict

Criterion's Blu-ray re-release of Tokyo Story situates it in the context of Yasujiro Ozu's life and career, his most accessible work, yet one which still holds back secrets.


Thursday, January 2 2014

‘Prisoners’ Visual Craft Is Impeccable and Electric in High Definition

The cinematography by Roger Deakins turns ordinary sights like rainy streets, car-following shots, and rain-streaked windows into recurring visual motifs, and he paints beautifully with the light and shadow of cars in the rain.


Tuesday, December 31 2013

To a Cemetery Go!

Taken as the silly farce that it is, Zombie Hamlet can be a very funny film about what not to do in a Shakespeare adaptation.


Monday, December 30 2013

Altman’s ‘Nashville’ Is a Microcosm of America Set in One of Its Very Specific Milieus

Politics and art collide in Robert Altman’s dense tapestry, showing that part of American’s beguiling promise is the inevitability of commodification.


Friday, December 27 2013

David Gordon Green Fashioned a Small Gem in ‘Prince Avalanche’

Prince Avalanche isn't mined for cheap laughs any more than Green's '80s influenced studio comedies were self-conscious throwbacks.


Thursday, December 26 2013

Scratch Beneath the Surface of ‘Dead of Night’, If You Dare

If you are patient you will be rewarded with intellectual stimulation, and a tone of general strangeness that will creep insidiously under your skin.


Tuesday, December 24 2013

‘Mea Maxima Culpa’ Exposes the Catholic Church’s Most Grievous Sin

Although abuse had been regularly covered since the '90s, Gibney’s film delivers convincing proof that the Vatican had known about it for decades, and refused to take action against the offending priests.


Monday, December 23 2013

Charlie Chaplin Created Beauty through Understatement

In City Lights, Chaplin introduced parody and satire to a moment that was supremely serious, and we owe him more than we realize for the saving power of modern irony.


‘The Great Muppet Caper’ and ‘Muppet Treasure Island’

Even in this tech-dominated age, the fixed eyes and features of the Muppets remain expressive and alluring.


Friday, December 20 2013

The Domestic Drama and Emotional Claustrophobia of ‘Breathe In’

Drake Doremus continues to mature as a striking young writer and director, showing in this latest film that he is still preoccupied with the fallibility of human relationships.


Thursday, December 19 2013

Ultimately, the Weirdness of Both Johnny Depp and ‘The Lone Ranger’ Is Engaging

Depp riffs on Buster Keaton, performing ridiculous feats of derring-do (including riding a horse through a train, which Verbinski makes look about as believable as possible), and train cars hurtle past each other with perfect timing.


The Passionate Objectivity of ‘Le joli mai’

The rare documentary that captures its subjects honestly while revealing the filmmakers' intentions with candor and humor, Le joli mai continues to charm and enlighten a half-century on.


Wednesday, December 18 2013

‘Frances Ha’ Is Like the Short, Sad-Yet-Happy Pop Song the Director Intended

The best sequence follows Frances running, leaping, and dancing down the streets of Manhattan to the tune of David Bowie's "Modern Love".


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