‘Warrior’ pulls its punches

Posted by · 10:57 pm · August 19th, 2011

I have to say, even though the pieces were there and I tend to respond overwhelmingly to father/son dramas, I was really surprised at how little I felt emotionally while watching Gavin O’Connor’s “Warrior.” And O’Connor really excels at this stuff, in general, for me. But it didn’t come together this time. I feel pretty […]

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REVIEW: “One Day” (***)

Posted by · 6:41 pm · August 19th, 2011

“I love you, Dexter, I just don’t like you anymore,” a radiantly moist-eyed Anne Hathaway tells a radiantly plastered Jim Sturgess at a crucial emotional juncture in “One Day,” Lone Scherfig’s attractive, involving and curiously unmoving attempt to replicate the cosy, literate-but-not-too-literary British comforts of her 2009 “An Education.” Cribbed by screenwriter David Nicholls from […]

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‘50/50’ draws laughs and tears, but Gordon-Levitt owns it

Posted by · 8:44 am · August 18th, 2011

It’s probably a bit ridiculous that I haven’t seen Jonathan Levine’s “The Wackness” yet. I have the screener somewhere around here and it’s just one of those films I keep forgetting to watch, despite constant encouragement to do so. Therefore, “50/50,” a dramedy from writer Will Reiser based on his own experience being diagnosed with […]

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SHORT TAKE: “Senna” (****)

Posted by · 8:56 am · August 10th, 2011

It seems perverse to begin a review of a documentary — one about a well-known, latter-day sports legend, at that — with something as mundanely cautious as a spoiler alert. Until recently, if general knowledge hadn’t already acquainted a viewer with the outcome of a non-fiction feature, or if the laws of real, unheightened life hadn’t […]

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‘The Help’ and the year’s best ensemble performance…so far

Posted by · 2:49 pm · August 3rd, 2011

Now that I’m done crying my eyes out, a few words on Tate Taylor’s “The Help,” which I caught this afternoon. It’s a beautiful film, safe, sure, but it knows where to lay the emotional hammer down and where to let the rock keep skipping on the surface. Most striking is the ensemble, as there […]

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COMIC-CON: Refn’s ‘Drive’ is a bullet of vision

Posted by · 11:40 am · July 23rd, 2011

I’ve had to sit on my feelings on Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive,” which had a special screening here Thursday night, because I haven’t found a window to write about it. That’s either good or bad, I don’t know, because the film has just continued to grow in my mind, but I don’t want to over-inflate […]

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‘Captain America’ keeps the summer sizzling

Posted by · 12:00 am · July 20th, 2011

So, “Captain America: The First Avenger” wraps up the summer’s superhero slate this week. Yes, we have “Cowboys & Aliens” on the way to keep the general comic book flow going, but Marvel’s other bookend to the summer hits Friday, and, well, I thought it was just (yankee doodle) dandy. “Robust” is the word that […]

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My only friend, the end

Posted by · 10:41 am · July 12th, 2011

I’ll make this brief. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” hits this weekend. It will be massive. The devoted will turn out and love it. The sense of grand closure will settle for many. But I’ll just have to cop here at the beginning to the fact that I cannot connect the dots […]

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‘Green’ means go see it

Posted by · 9:17 am · June 15th, 2011

It didn’t really hit me how excited I (still) was for “Green Lantern” until the lights dimmed and the green hit the screen. It can’t be understated how much of a long-time-coming type of thing this is, a theatrical version of such a vast cosmic comic book creation. And given the mechanics of the world, […]

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POST-CANNES: “Martha Marcy May Marlene” (****)

Posted by · 5:28 pm · May 27th, 2011

[Apologies for leaving my Cannes coverage in limbo as I unwound in Paris before returning to London housekeeping. A handful of films from my festival viewing roster are still owed some discussion in grouped capsule form, and I’ll get to those this weekend — hey, the films aren’t going anywhere, so why stick to the […]

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REVIEW: “Drive” (****)

Posted by · 8:40 pm · May 22nd, 2011

Cannes Film Festival It’s not often that opening credits as hideous as the ones in “Drive” — hot-pink cursive squiggles of the kind favored these days only by nail bars in suburban strip malls — are a reassuring omen for the film to come. But Nicolas Winding Refn’s beautiful, bolt-from-the-blue genre trip is a kind […]

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SHORT TAKE: “The Skin I Live In” (***)

Posted by · 8:24 am · May 21st, 2011

Cannes Film Festival Pedro Almodóvar’s new feature opens with a pause: a beautiful young woman holds a tricky yoga position, her already fine-lathed physique vacuumed into a nude body stocking, stretched across a couch like a pale side of meat hung out for curing. So so taut, so fragile, it seems a simple tap on […]

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REVIEW: “Melancholia” (***1/2)

Posted by · 5:32 am · May 19th, 2011

Cannes Film Festival It’s the end of the world as we know it, and Lars von Trier feels fine. Well, not “fine,” exactly: he feels as despairing and sceptical and faithless as he usually does, but that’s clearly where he’s comfortable, and where his creative faculties thrive most actively. They’re certainly in rude health in […]

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CANNES: ‘The Kid With a Bike,’ ‘House of Tolerance,’ ‘Michael,’ ‘Footnote’

Posted by · 11:42 am · May 17th, 2011

Perhaps lulled by the twin effects of the Côte d’Azur sun and copious amounts of cheap rosé between screenings, I’ve fallen behind somewhat on the reviewing front — but lest you think I’ve only seen one film a day before heading back to the swimming pool at Villa Romance, it’s time for a bit of a Competition […]

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REVIEW: “The Tree of Life” (***)

Posted by · 4:51 am · May 16th, 2011

Cannes Film Festival Landscape has always been character in the films of Terrence Malick. The even, rolling fields of “Days of Heaven,” the sweatily green hill ladders of “The Thin Red Line,” even the dry-toast mesa of “Badlands”: all expansive, overwhelming environments that dictate the behavior of the films’ human occupants through sheer force of […]

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SHORT TAKE: “The Artist” (***1/2)

Posted by · 8:00 am · May 15th, 2011

Cannes Film Festival “Please be silent behind the screen,” requests a sign in the cinema where silent movie star Georges Valentin’s latest work is screening, near the beginning of “The Artist,” Michel Hazanavicius’ semi-sweet paean to pre-talkie cinema. It’s a witty clue as to how Hazanavicius is going to run the ship in his own […]

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CANNES: ‘Polisse,’ ‘Habemus Papam’

Posted by · 9:10 am · May 14th, 2011

“Polisse” (***) That the title for “Polisse” reportedly derives from writer-director-star Maïwenn’s misspelling of the word “police” aptly summarises both the charms and weaknesses of her third feature, a garrulous, chaotic, intermittently hot-wired ensemble soap braiding the personal and professional lives of officers in the Paris police department’s Child Protection Unit.No doubt the product of […]

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SHORT TAKE: “Restless” (*1/2)

Posted by · 6:53 pm · May 13th, 2011

Cannes Film Festival Un Certain Regard “What can you say about a 25 year-old girl who died?” Written by Erich Segal before being plaintively voiced by Ryan O’Neal, this presumably rhetorical question is the opening gambit of “Love Story,” the simple but phenomenally successful weeper in which a young couple’s relationship is prematurely halted when […]

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