For a film about mixed martial arts, it would have been cool of Gavin O’Connor’s WARRIOR to demonstrate some mixed martial arts. But maybe I’m projecting my own priorities onto a film more interested in showing us, ad nauseam, how this great whatsit is provoking the audience.
Gonzalo López-Gallego’s APOLLO 18 isn’t just a fun potboiler but an unlabeled conspiracy tape hiding in the wrong VHS sleeve, a straight-faced, paranoid political thriller spawned by the unholy union of THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and Wikileaks.
As CONAN THE BARBARIAN represents the nadir of chaos cinema with its unfocused camerawork evoking nothing but a lazy director, Olivier Megaton’s COLOMBIANA represents its potential, finding purpose in the rapid cutting and manic energy that defines the End of Cinema.
To call THE HELP caricature insults Aunt Jemima, but it’s difficult to define precisely how this grotesque sideshow operates without associating it with camp, melodrama, slapstick, Southern Gothic, and other broadly emotional modes
The only thing more tiresome than Marvel’s latest Shakespeare tragedy is the postmodern elevation of trash/pop/camp—a useful experiment, like shaving your head— so I won’t say Joe Johnston’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: WORLD-FRIENDLY SUBTITLE is a good film.
As half-films go, David Yates’ HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2, FILM 8: ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET VOLDEMORT lurches from scene to setpiece like it’s Daniel Radcliffe’s awkwardly effortful performance.
“Is he ignorant, or is he just plain evil?” Michelle Williams’ pioneer asks of hapless guide Stephen Meek as their wagon train of three loosely tied families winds up lost in the wasteland with depleting resources and a native prisoner in Kelly Reichardt’s MEEK’S CUTOFF.
The great joke of the title CONAN O’BRIEN CAN’T STOP is that I was wondering the whole time when he was going to start. It takes fifteen minutes for Rodman Flender’s topical documentary to find a funny scene
Speaking of pseudointellectuals, I’ve never—not even at SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE—seen a movie with an audience more vigorously engaged in the signaling to everyone else that, yes, old sport, they got the reference, they’re very smart, they had THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL over for dinner the other night
The problem with making an entire movie about the wonder and torment of lens flares is that the human eye is hardwired to detect artifice.
I guess X-MEN: FIRST CLASS was set in the ‘60s to better reflect Matthew Vaughn’s thoughtless patriarchal identification, because it damn sure wasn’t about civil rights, the Cold War, liberation, or the Holocaust, weighty abstracts whittled into icons, the better for Vaughn to pretend his film has some deep, world-historical meaning
While the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchise started with a fun, fresh take on a notoriously stale brand of box office poison, eight years and two directors later, the plastic surgery is finally catching up to it.
I’m shocked—shocked!—to find the big, dirty bone of contention with Paul Feig’s BRIDESMAIDS is the centerpiece gross-out scene, when whole mailing lists of people expecting a nice, polite feminist comedy were driven to conniptions
If you only see one small-town American story with an Oedipal skeleton enveloping space and time and prehistoric beasts this summer, please, for the love of all that is cinematically holy, make it Terrence Malick’s THE TREE OF LIFE, because Kenneth Branagh’s nominally Norse still-life THOR is so cosmically incompetent
If you’re wondering what horror tropes are left for Wes Craven, Kevin Williamson, and blonde TV starlets to skewer with the resurrected corpse of the SCREAM franchise, SCREAM 4 isn’t much help.
For a film about a singular meeting of minds, Cary Fukunaga’s JANE EYRE is kind of undistinguished. Now, the words remain delicious morsels straight from Charlotte Bronte’s novel, and the performances (Mia Wasikwoska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, and Judi Dench) embody three-dimensions like James Cameron never dreamed of.
In the grand tradition of Ingmar Bergman and Rainer Werner Fassbinder comes Todd Haynes’ television miniseries MILDRED PIERCE, which seems like a gray area for The Film Talk but such is the modern age: the difference between Michael Curtiz’ MILDRED PIERCE and Todd Haynes’ is one of degree, not kind, and if cinephilia embraces Youtube [...]
2011 in general and the weekly viewing of films in particular have taught me a valuable lesson: there are many different kinds of terrible movies. THE EAGLE may be incompetently scripted, but it’s degrees of quality better than the immoral (THE LINCOLN LAWYER), the amoral (THE MECHANIC), and the thunderously boring (BATTLE: LOS ANGELES).
I felt dirtier walking out of Brad Furman’s THE LINCOLN LAWYER than its idol THE LONG GOODBYE, and not just because all that hero worship makes us into peeping toms.
When will people learn? Mystery is greater than resolution. Curiosity lured us from hulking mouth-breathers into torture rationalizers—but torture-rationalizers who went to the Moon! Answers just remind us that George Nolfi’s THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU is a work of poorly planned screenwriting about half-forgotten ideas
After a good three minutes of pulling my hair out trying not to have to write about UNKNOWN (about which Jett and Gareth have already covered the full spectrum of my faintly entertained response), THE MECHANIC (aka The Boor and the Bore), or—Gwyneth-willing—COUNTRY STRONG, I realized that the best reviewed 2011 wide release is a [...]
You could blame the monumental waste of Kevin Macdonald’s THE EAGLE on CENTURION‘s release last year, which preemptively renders its successor both outclassed and unnecessary, if the bulk of its ineptitude didn’t reside in the script. Yes, Jamie Bell heroically tries to balance an ensemble led by a statue and filled out with Donald Sutherland’s paycheck [...]
Ironically, and here I’m talking about the artistic technique and not a pretend embrace of, say, Chuck Norris, Aaron Katz’s COLD WEATHER validates mumblecore by rejecting it. The first act is your standard mumblecore setup: a low-ambition young white male moves in with his sister, gets a routine job, meets an ex, all while making [...]