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Friday, February 28 2014

‘The Bag Man’ Is Another Low-Budget Thriller Set in New Orleans

"Over and over" is a good way to sum up The Bag Man, a movie that runs perilously close to two hours, and uses most of its bad ideas at least twice.


Scenes from the Deadpan Life: Aki Kaurismäki’s ‘La Vie De Boheme’

This deadpan gem betrays a surprising warmth beneath its wry exterior. Simply put, it's one of cinema's richest and most compassionate tragicomedies.


Thursday, February 27 2014

‘Haunter’ Delivers for Ghost Story Inversion

While many horror films are carried by deftly composed cinematography, Haunter benefits from a thoughtful script, with complicated turns that keep the audience guessing.


Tony Leung’s ‘The Grandmaster’ Is Beautifully Alone

Wong Kar Wai’s overkill kung fu epic about Bruce Lee’s teacher doesn’t cohere even as well as his more esoteric work, but its assembled shards make for a brooding, sumptuous experience.


Wednesday, February 26 2014

‘A Great Day in Harlem’ Is the Story of a Great Photograph and Much More

On that particular long day, the musicians were surprised and glad to see each other, recognizing in each other a fraternity that didn't see much daylight, that "lived hard".


Tuesday, February 25 2014

Watching ‘Nebraska’ Is Like Taking a Road Trip Through the Twilight Years

Nebraska is a bittersweet film that will hit you between the eyes if you're like me: middle-aged and in a mood to reflect on where life has taken you and where you will go next.


‘Thor: The Dark World’ Brings the Hammer (and the Enthusiasm) Down

Thor worked due to its surprisingly-effective Shakespearean framework. Thor: The Dark World follows conventional Hollywood tropes and suffers for it.


Monday, February 24 2014

Palestine’s Oscar Nominee, ‘Omar’, Is Remarkable

The kids' romantic naïvete is compounded by their forever-war surroundings. This is made vivid at film's start, when Omar first appears scaling the graffitied wall between his neighborhood and the Israeli territor


The Metaphysics of Isolation in Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Gravity’

Gravity is not just a visual feast in the CGI age; it also interrogates humankind's desire to plant feet on the final frontier by confronting it with its metaphysical implications.


A Little Ominous Noir Music Makes Jules Dassin’s ‘Rifif’ Nearly Perfect

This benchmark of the heist genre shows that for the criminal, elegance and brutality go hand-in-hand, never more vividly depicted than in this tightly structured ode to Paris.


Friday, February 21 2014

‘Pompeii’, Slaves and Their Short-Lived Payback

On one hand Atticus, the most awesome slave-gladiator in Pompeii, is smart and splendidly charismatic. On the other, he's tormented.


‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ Is an Omnibus Tribute to a Bizarre Array of Comic Talent

Stanley Kramer's widow notes that this movie was made more or less on a dare. Apocryphal or not, the origin makes sense.


Ooh La La, ‘The Prey’ Is a Nail-Biter

The Prey bounces along from one suspense-building setup to the next, erupting in a flurry of running, shooting, driving very fast, and occasionally falling from great heights.


Thursday, February 20 2014

Drones and Robots and ‘Robocop’

Scenes inside Murphy's dreaming brain give way to a real-life nightmare, and for a few brief moments, Robocop hums with disturbing sci-fi possibilities.


The Chequered History of Nuns in Film

Guillaume Nicloux's 'The Nun' has a translucent woman at its centre; her face at first a budding rose becomes increasingly drawn and bruised over the course of the film.


Wednesday, February 19 2014

In ‘About Last Night’ Kevin Hart Plays Kevin Hart

About Last Night is intriguingly refashioned as a vehicle for a quartet of black actors, many of them veterans of predominantly black ensemble comedies.


A Queer Reading of Truffaut’s Masterpiece, ‘Jules and Jim’

Jeanne Moreau is a bewitching temptress; but what about the men?


‘Battle of the Damned’ Will Leave You a Bit Skeeved Out

Battle of the Damned is almost incredibly fun, but winds up as bad as you anticipated.


Tuesday, February 18 2014

‘Darkman’: The Face of Revenge

Darkman, the darkest hero (an amalgam or classic horror monsters) versus the criminal underworld... in broad daylight.


Monday, February 17 2014

‘Gloria’ Has Dark Melancholy and Bright, Getting-On-with-It Playfulness

Sebastián Lelio’s melodrama about a woman’s determined search for love and meaning is hilarious and disquieting, sometimes within the same moment.


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