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 »



Coma Cuckold

The Descendants

As far as settings go, Hawaii is about as far from the Omaha metro area as can be imagined. So in that sense, writer/director Alexander Payne has moved on. That said, his shuffle from America’s contiguous confines marks only a radical departure in terms of geography, as The Descendants is the exact type of muted semi-drama we’ve come to expect. Chock full of quirky quiet moments and populated...

entered on 11/28/11 at 06:13 PM | read more »


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Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Half of what promises to be an epic conclusion to a fabulous series.

GRADE
B+


Birdman

A delirously fun satirical send up of artistic pretension. 

GRADE
B+


The Overnighters

"The Grapes of Wrath" in documentary form set in North Dakota.

GRADE
A-


Interstellar

If this was humanity's last hope, give up.

GRADE
D


Nightcrawler

A condemnation of crime pornography with a chilling central character.

GRADE
A


John Wick

You kill his dog, he kills a million people. You've been warned.

GRADE
B


Dear White People

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

GRADE
A


Fury

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

GRADE
C+


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