Hymn and Awe

The Tree of Life

In distinguishing between pretentious, inaccessible, pseudo-artistic prattle and actual works of genius, audiences ultimately wind up relying on Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart’s infamous method of determining what is and isn’t pornography: “I know it when I see it.” At the precise moment when writer/director Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life becomes transcendent for some, it becomes...

entered on 07/01/11 at 11:57 PM | read more »



Headline Blues

Page One

I won’t feign objectivity. Although director Andrew Rossi’s documentary Page One may center on The New York Times’ ongoing fight for survival, it’s more than that. The film is a snapshot of the collision between new media and mainstream journalism…with the latter as the bug, and the former as the windshield. Because there’s a chance you risked smudging your fingers to read this review, you know...

entered on 06/25/11 at 06:04 PM | read more »



Out of the Past

Midnight in Paris

The rosy-hued vision we often have of that always-intangible past is a fitting subject for Woody Allen, a director with a large segment of fans who pine for the kind of movies he made during his own vaguely defined “golden age.” His new picture, Midnight in Paris, is about a man with a similarly frustrated relationship with the present, and despite its handful of problems, it ranks among his...

entered on 06/20/11 at 07:40 AM | read more »



It’s Not Easy Seeing Green

Green Lantern

Green Lantern courts a niche audience: insomniacs and the recently lobotomized. This will one day be recognized as “patient zero” in the disease pandemic known as “cinematic superhero fatigue.” In honor of its dogged devotion to a yawn-inspiring storytelling formula, here’s an algorithm: Four writers (Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg) minus one...

entered on 06/17/11 at 11:19 AM | read more »



Committed and Curious

Last Night

Last Night, the directorial debut from Massy Tadjedin, is a flawed but ambitious little drama focusing on a stylish, successful pair of New Yorkers. Joanna (Keira Knightley) and Michael (Sam Worthington) have been married for three years and have been together for longer. Despite separations due to Michael's frequent business trips, they seem happy and healthy in their relationship and...

entered on 06/13/11 at 07:50 AM | read more »


Strangers with Candy

Beautiful Darling

Several recent documentaries have mined a vein of nostalgia for New York City’s East Village art scene of the ‘70s and ‘80s. For example, with its obligatory still photos of the artist chillin’ with a number of as-yet-undiscovered artists (Madonna being one of them), The Radiant Child shed light on Jean Michel Basquiat’s life and career. Iconic NYC fashion photographer Bill Cunningham...

entered on 06/10/11 at 03:36 PM | read more »



Turn on Your Heart Light

Super 8

To quote beloved Romantic thinker William Wordsworth, the origin of poetry is “emotion recollected in tranquility.” To quote online movie critic Devin Faraci, “Nostalgia is the sad condition of disliking yourself and your life right now.” If you agree with the latter, have fun saddling genuine, joy-filled entertainment with insipid, cynical labels like “nostalgia porn.” If you agree...

entered on 06/10/11 at 03:26 PM | read more »


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Transcendence

A wildly average film that thinks it is brilliant.

GRADE
C


Ernest & Celestine

A kids movie for kids with kid jokes and kid themes.

GRADE
B+


Captain America: Winter Soldier

A kinetic crash of conspiracism and costumed crusaders!

GRADE
A-


Noah

Bible school by way of JRR Tolkien and Stephen King.

GRADE
A


The Grand Budapest Hotel

This madcap caper proves Anderson can do things (kinda) different!

GRADE
A


Need for Speed

If you're the "dumber" version of Fast and Furious, you lose.

GRADE
F


300: Rise of an Empire

A prequel, side-quel and sequel with the same style and carnage.

GRADE
B


The Wolf of Wall Street

DiCaprio crackles but the movie fizzles without taking a clear stance on Wall Street excess.

GRADE
B-


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