Eight Below

More dogs! Fewer people! In fact, how about no people at all? Then this two-plus hour slog could be transformed into a nice hour of lovely nature photography and cute fluffy pups fighting adversity. I hope Disney makes it clear this is a PG film not for the really little ones, for there’s a scene […]

The 40 Year Old Virgin

Like Something About Mary and American Pie, sometimes the most well-observed character-based comedies come in disguise as crass gross-outs. They also have a tendency towards saccharine sweetness, but there are worse crimes.

La Cité des enfants perdus (The City of Lost Children)

After having my mind blown by Delicatessen in college, I managed to catch The City of Lost Children in the 1995 Cambridge, England film festival. Any bits of my brain left over were blown out again.

Lord of War is a Nicolas Cage treasure hidden in plain sight

I initially dismissed Lord of War when the trailers and posters first appeared. In other words, it got caught in the crude mental filters that routinely handle my first-pass “ignore” of all the crap that flows through my eyes and ears all day every day. But when my regular email newsletter from Amnesty International endorsed […]

Red Eye

I had heard Red Eye was a refreshingly unpretentious thriller that played on Americans’ changed relationship with air travel in a post 9/11 world. While technically true, it’s actually a very disappointing runaround decidedly lacking in the most routine pleasures that come with thrillers. Where’s the expected third-act twist? Is the twist that there actually […]

Woody Allen’s Match Point plays with your sympathies

Woody Allen’s Match Point is fantastic. Brilliant. Morally complex. Almost unbearably intense. It plays with your sympathies in way I haven’t seen since Hitchcock’s Frenzy (which I personally found cruel and sadistic, unlike Match Point).

Manhattan

Amazingly, upon a second viewing I didn’t care for Woody Allen’s Manhattan nearly as much as I remembered. Perhaps its status in the canon has retroactively enhanced my opinion. But it still inspires as a big, fat, sloppy kiss to my city, and a poster of Woody & Diane beneath the Brooklyn Bridge hangs on […]

King Kong (1976)

About the only saving graces of this piece of gorilla dung are: A) Jessica Lange actually does a pretty good Marilyn Monroe, and B) Seeing the movie now provides some unintentional emotional oomph: Kong is actually drawn into Manhattan by the primal lure of the World Trade Center. Whose idea was it for Kong to […]

The New World

Why didn’t I know better? Although I stand apart from nearly all (it seems) critics and fellow cineastes, I hated Terrence Malick’s Badlands, Days of Heaven, and Thin Red Line. And The New World is, of course, more of the same. The problem isn’t necessarily the pacing, although it is indeed punishingly slow. It’s partly […]

Nine Songs

Explicit in more ways than one: surprisingly, the theme is pretty much spelled out in voiceover in the first sequence. A man reflects on a past relationship in terms of concerts they went to together and the arc of their sexual life. I can only speak for myself, but those are exactly the kinds of […]

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