Don’t Laugh at Tiny Projections

Oscar pleasure is usually reserved for grouches or award show addicts. As both, one of my favorite weekends has finally arrived: Film Streams at the Ruth Sokolof Theater (FilmStreams.org) presents its annual screening of the year’s Oscar-nominated short films. These proud members of the itty-bitty cine committee are pint-sized powerhouses proudly packaged together for ease-of-viewing on the big...

entered on 02/08/11 at 04:08 PM | read more »



Heartbreak Motel

Blue Valentine

Last year’s indie relationship flicks mostly kept the mood light. Both Jack Goes Boating and Cyrus tempered their weighty moments with socially awkward central characters who were good for a tension-breaking chuckle. Viewers loved these characters at arm’s length, not because they weren’t real or wonderfully crafted, but because we like to think of ourselves as too sophisticated to make the...

entered on 02/01/11 at 04:10 PM | read more »



The Murderer’s Apprentice

The Mechanic

Things you’ll never hear: “I want to see that new Victorian-era romance starring Oscar-winner Jason Statham.” J-Stat is so synonymous with cinematic violence, someone should update the Wikipedia entry for “action movie” so it’s just a picture of his grimacing, bald cabeza covered in blood. In an ever-changing world, the only constant is Jason Statham’s movie murder spree.

The...

entered on 02/01/11 at 04:06 PM | read more »



Tchai-Kafka-sky’s Swan Lake

Black Swan

Director Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan is just your run-of-the-mill “girl haunted by doppelgangers while turning into a human/swan hybrid” ballet movie with elements of bisexual experimentation. In other words, writers Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz and John McLaughlin are a collective Dr. Frankenstein, standing over a creation that is part horror, part pure beauty. Firmly entrenched in...

entered on 01/28/11 at 09:32 PM | read more »



Fact and Diction

The King's Speech

Remarkably unremarkable and tonally mundane, director Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech was seemingly genetically engineered by a mad scientist named Juan Tan-Oscar. Quasi-historical and wholly predictable, the film would have been dismissible as icky chum for suit-wearing Academy sharks were it not for Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth. Their tête á têtes are more frosty diction than Frost/Nixon...

entered on 01/26/11 at 11:12 AM | read more »



Falling in Lust

No Strings Attached

Director Ivan Reitman is best known for ridiculous, male-dominated comedies like Ghostbusters and Stripes, but his latest, No Strings Attached, is like a romantic-comedy masterclass. Not that it’s a masterpiece of the genre, but it so expertly strikes all the right nerves that it’s still a little irresistible.

One drunken night and one impulsive morning are all it takes to bring former...

entered on 01/26/11 at 08:42 AM | read more »



DVD Discovery: Mama’s Family

DVD Discovery: Animal Kingdom

Let’s give it up for the ladies. Once the purview of mustachioed men with Italian last names, the “cops and crooks” movie genre has flung open the doors to the clubhouse. Last year gave us several films in the genre with strong female leads instead of damsel-in-distress love interests. Playing an Aussie-accented version of The Godmother in the under-appreciated Animal Kingdom, Jacki Weaver...

entered on 01/26/11 at 08:31 AM | 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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