Thursday, June 27, 2013
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
On a day of historic gay-rights rulings, it seems especially apt to recommend "Call Me Kuchu," Katherine Fairfax Wright's and Malika Zouhali-Worrall's eye-opening documentary about the baby steps being taken by the handful of gays and lesbians who have come out in Uganda.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
"Monsters University" joins a long line of second films better than the firsts in their respective series: "Back to the Future Part II," "Die Hard 2: Die Harder," "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows."
Monday, June 24, 2013
Westsiders of a certain age (deceased) who found the sugar-pill sentimentality of Dustin Hoffman's "Quartet" too subtle and nuanced will want to chug from the large bottle of syrup labeled "Unfinished Song" that hit theaters this weekend.
At one time, Tomi Ungerer was the most popular children's book author in America, until his other books - of pornographic art - got his kids' stories banned from libraries and taken out of print.
Saturday, June 22, 2013
Friday, June 21, 2013
"Fame High," Scott Hamilton Kennedy's documentary about the L.A. County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), introduces us to four talented young people: Brittany Hayes, a blonde harpist and singer whose mother has come with her to L.A. while the rest of the family (Dad and her two sisters) remain in Baraboo, Wisconsin; Ruby McCollister, the flowing red-haired daughter of a theater producer who's been trying to sneak onto stages all her life; Zak Rios, a jazz pianist whose father channels his unfulfilled dreams of boxing glory into his son's hundreds of hours of monthly practice and the hope of one day making the cover of Jazz Times magazine; and Grace Song, a ballerina whose Korean parents own a yogurt shop and wish she would pursue a professional career outside the arts.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
It's a generous two stars for the mixological documentary "Hey Bartender," which traces the history of the cocktail and its place in the American beverage industry, and introduces us to most of the key figures and dozens of the top practitioners fashioning craft cocktails today.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Monday, June 17, 2013
I have no problem with in-jokes, or humor about how fabulous it is to be a Hollywood celebrity and not one of the poor saps in the paying audience.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
A number of critics have complained that Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring” lacks depth and point of view. My criticism is just the opposite: I wanted even less depth and less perspective.
Director Zack Snyder’s approach to the Superman saga in “Man of Steel” is probably the smartest: to pretend none of the other movies had been made.
There are a lot of big laughs – more at him than with him – in Seth Kramer’s and Daniel A. Miller’s biodoc “Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie.”
Friday, June 14, 2013
"Man on Wire" and "Project Nim" documentarian James Marsh resumes the feature director's chair for "Shadow Dancer," a quiet and understated - and modestly effective - thriller set in Belfast.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
To some extent a biographical documentary such as Tom Bean's and Luke Poling's "Plimpton!" (to which they've added the unnecessary subtitle "Starring George Plimpton as Himself") will always be a referendum on the subject.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Margarethe von Trotta's biopic "Hannah Arendt" stars veteran German actress Barbara Sukowa as the philosopher and political scientist who in 1961 travelled to Jerusalem to cover for The New Yorker the war crimes trial of the Nazi Adolf Eichmann.
Kieran Darcy-Smith's Aussie import "Wish You Were Here" introduces us to Dave (Joel Edgerton) and Alice (co-writer Felicity Price), a happily married Sydney couple with two kids and a third on the way.
Monday, June 10, 2013
Joss Whedon's "Much Ado About Nothing," filmed (between other projects) in less than two weeks at his palatial Westside estate and starring friends who've appeared in other productions of his, has the feeling - for better and worse - of a one-off throwaway.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Regular readers know how I feel about Brit Marling, the talented writer and actress who's made my honorable mention list the last two years with "Another Earth" and "Sound of My Voice."
Monday, June 3, 2013
The Four Horsemen are three magicians (Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco) and a mentalist (Woody Harrelson) of indeterminate connection who perform a series of stage spectaculars.