Picking at a Mole

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

You can tell that Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, an adaptation of the classic John le Carré novel, is a more accurate depiction of British espionage than James Bond films because instead of rippling abs and shaken martinis, it’s potbellies and comb-overs.  Set in the Cold War, director Tomas Alfredson’s film suggests all that stood between England and the Russkie menace were men who looked like...

entered on 01/14/12 at 09:06 PM | read more »



Modern Times

Playtime

Whenever I'm asked what my favorite film is, Jacques Tati's Playtime is the title I blurt out. And when all's said and done, that's for one simple reason: there's just no other movie experience like it.

Playtime is a lot of things. It's a virtually wordless movie that's inconceivable without its sounds. A razor-sharp reproach of reckless modernization, delivered almost invisibly, with a touch...

entered on 01/11/12 at 04:40 AM | read more »



Pedestrian Equestrian

War Horse

Steven Spielberg is an unrepentant schmaltz addict, and War Horse may represent his biggest binge to date. Crammed with comforting cliches and overstuffed with sentiment, this lifelessly dangling chunk of Oscar bait feels purely calculated to prey on the emotionally vulnerable. The rest of us calloused souls are forced to endure a pretty looking but ultimately shallow journey of a...

entered on 01/09/12 at 01:47 AM | read more »



High School Confidential

Young Adult

Even if you don't feel you really know the main character in Jason Reitman's Young Adult, you've probably seen her. Maybe at the grocery story, or in a gas station. She's obviously very pretty, even though she's disheveled, with baggy sweatpants on, and remnants of last night's makeup visible behind the grimace and the big sunglasses.

In this movie, Charlize Theron plays one such girl. And...

entered on 12/28/11 at 05:01 AM | read more »



Physics Schmysics

Mission impossible: Ghost Protocol

Action movies have long played fast and loose with the laws of physics, largely eschewing logic in favor of spectacle. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol doesn’t just play footsie with fantasy: it is a two-hour middle finger to Sir Isaac Newton, a love letter to physical deeds that can’t be done. And it is so much stinkin’ fun.

Unlike the previous entries in the franchise, which have either...

entered on 12/19/11 at 05:04 PM | read more »



Revenge of the Baby-sat

The Sitter

For a movie that judiciously “borrows” from a marginally beloved 1980s Elizabeth Shue movie, The Sitter somehow feels like a Vh1 countdown special on “overused comedy beats from the 2000s.” This is “kitchen sink” comedy at its most uninspired, as writers Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka empty out their reserve of go-to staples such as “white nerd impresses cool black folks,” “running from...

entered on 12/12/11 at 04:27 PM | read more »



Armageddon It?

Melancholia

Writer/director Lars von Trier hates earth and everyone on it. Don’t believe it? See Antichrist.

Maybe that’s why Melancholia, a film that eventually gets around to pondering the end of the world, feels a bit more like a fantasy than a nightmare. As one of his characters ponders the extinction of the planet, she sums it up in von Trier’s patented lyrical nihilistic minimalism, stating simply...

entered on 12/02/11 at 11:32 PM | read more »


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Dear White People

The type of smart, ballsy satire that comes along all too rarely.

GRADE
A



War is hell, but this movie is just hella slow.

GRADE


Dracula Untold

What if Dracula was a superhero?!

GRADE
C


Gone Girl

This thriller has many twists, the biggest of which is that it's kind of a satire.

GRADE
A


The Boxtrolls

A stop-motion romp with near-nekkid trolls and a cross-dressing villain.

GRADE
B-


The Skeleton Twins

A dramedy about suicide elevated by its stars.

GRADE
B


Frank

A band that has a lead singer with a fake head will win your heart.

GRADE
A-


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