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Reviews

Monday, December 1 2014

‘Venus in Fur’ Blurs the Lines Between Character, Actor, and Director

Roman Polanksi's adaptation of David Ives' play is a layered film where the true identity of its characters, including Polanski himself, is constantly being interrogated.


Friday, November 28 2014

‘Horrible Bosses 2’ Goes for the Laughs, Not the Anger

The sequel skips the original’s workers' fury and lets its comedy all-star trio play to their strengths, with mixed results.


Wednesday, November 26 2014

‘The Imitation Game’ Doesn’t Pretend to Solve the Enigma That Is Alan Turing and His Machine

As visible as the Turing machine may be on screen -- and it is gorgeous, strange, and haunting, as well as sublimely mechanical and daunting -- it remains unfathomable.


Tuesday, November 25 2014

The ‘Penguins of Madagascar’ Is Terminally Cute and Cuddly

It seems right that Werner Herzog narrates the start of Penguins of Madagascar, concerning the overwhelming cuddly cuteness of penguins and the absurd value humans attribute to them.


The Postal Service: Everything Will Change

Surprisingly, a bunch of sentimental laptop pop songs from ten years ago (Give Up) make for a dynamic and engaging live show.


Monday, November 24 2014

DOC NYC 2014: ‘Enquiring Minds’ + ‘The Last Impresario’

Two documentaries about surprising success stories: the men behind the National Enquirer and Rocky Horror Picture Show.


‘The Vanishing’ Tells the Horror of Privileged Lives in Prosperous Counteries

The evil is both banal and terrifying in George Sluizer's 1988 labyrinthine thriller.


A Newsroom in an Apocalypse: ‘The Day the Earth Caught Fire’

Val Guest's newsroom drama take on the apocalypse is a product of its nuclear war-obsessed times and a prescient commentary on the present day.


Saturday, November 22 2014

‘Foxcatcher’ Is Another Tale of Men Being Men

None of the men in this telling of John du Pont's murder of Dave Schultz are able to say what's going wrong -- they might not even know themselves.


Friday, November 21 2014

In ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1’, Propaganda Wins

This penultimate installment of The Hunger Games film saga is all about perception, the film frequently has you watch someone watching someone while being watched by someone.


In ‘Extraterrestrial’, Cliché Counts as Comedy

Extraterrestrial's "formula-as-purpose" style doesn't make it the "meta" movie it wants to be; instead, it's just grating and mired in cliché.


‘To the Ends of the Earth’ Is a Metaphor for Benedict Cumberbatch’s Career

The timeless adventure of Edmund Talbot, who undertakes a journey from England to Australia to find a new life is also part of the career adventure of the Benedict Cumberbatch.


Thursday, November 20 2014

DOC NYC 2014: ‘The Great Invisible’ + ‘Tales of the Grim Sleeper’

These two excellent documentaries examine failed state systems: an unresponsive police department and a negligent oil safety regime.


TCM Classic Film Festival 2014

Unlike Sundance Channel or IFC, Turner Classic Movies' original manifesto remains as solid as Gibraltar.


‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition’ Is a Movie Outstripped by Its Extras

The extended edition of Desolation of Smaug turns the film into a flabby affair, but the ten-plus hours of bonus features could still make this purchase worthwhile for Tolkien fans.


Wednesday, November 19 2014

DOC NYC 2014: ‘Citizenfour’

Citizenfour is exquisitely filmed and carefully reported, but its greatest effects have to do with what you don't see, such as the plans and ambitions that underlie surveillance.


‘Walesa: Man of Hope’ Is a Beacon of Hope for Future Conflicts

Wałęsa: Man of Hope is a reminder that out of the Soviet shadow emerged a heroic and powerful story of the individual capable of being a force of change to reshape the future.


Tuesday, November 18 2014

DOC NYC 2014: ‘The Hand That Feeds’ + ‘Little White Lie’

Workers at a Manhattan deli fight for their most basic rights, and a woman who believed herself to be Jewish discovers a shocking truth about her paternity.


Although Almost 100 Years Old, ‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’ Is Surprisingly Modern

Deliberate artificiality and horror based in human psychology make this horror classic, first released in 1920, feel remarkably fresh today.


Monday, November 17 2014

DOC NYC 2014: ‘Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere’ + ‘A Murder in the Park’

A lyrically surreal investigation into the mysterious disappearance of a professor in Nebraska and an exposé on the case an innocent man that might have been a huge mistake.


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