Tuesday, July 30, 2013



The British heist movie "Wasteland" aspires to the level of good Guy Ritchie - say, a crowd-pleaser such as "RocknRolla." It's well below that standard - it would need more humor and a much tighter plot - but a passable evening's entertainment, preferably on the tube.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The To Do List

"The To Do List" is the first teen comedy in a good while to possess the humor, truthfulness and heart of the better works of John Hughes.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Act of Killing

If there’s anything worse than a dumb documentary, it’s a dumb pseudo-documentary, and that’s what Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing” is.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Blue Jasmine

Please don’t be put off by hearsay that “Blue Jasmine” is one of Woody Allen’s “serious” films. Rest assured that while “Jasmine” offers a breathtakingly credible portrayal of a woman on the verge, it also provides copious quantities of huge laughs.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


An observant 11-year-old girl nicknamed Skunk (Eloise Laurence) occupies the centre of the vignettish London drama "Broken."

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Only God Forgives

In 1956, Frank Sinatra released an instrumental album of twelve pieces he called "tone poems of color," and that's what "Only God Forgives," the newest collaboration between "Drive" director Nicolas Winding Refn and star Ryan Gosling is, a tone poem of the color red.

Girl Most Likely

"Girl Most Likely" isn't anywhere near as bad as its 15% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes would suggest.

Monday, July 22, 2013


No movie this year has had a stronger emotional effect on me than Gabriela Cowperthwaite's devastating documentary "Blackfish," about orcas held in captivity by Sea World and its ilk, an industry founded on inhuman cruelty, avarice without limit, and lies, lies, lies.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

R.I.P.D., Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim

The best double feature of my life came on the last day of my junior year of high school.

Red 2

“Red 2” is yet another sequel that’s better than the original, though in this case not quite enough better to recommend running out and paying movie-theater prices. You won’t be upset, though, if you rent it.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

In the Fog

Sergei Loznitsa's "In the Fog" takes place early in WWII, in the Belorussian forest at the western edge of the Soviet Union.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Crystal Fairy

Chilean director Sebastián Silva ("The Maid") brings us a hallucinogenic road comedy that's slight and nearly formless but rings true and contains the funniest line of any movie yet this year.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Hunt

Mads Mikkelsen stars as Lucas, a popular kindergarten teacher falsely accused of wrongdoing, in “The Hunt,” the latest film by celebrated Danish director Thomas Vinterberg.

Still Mine

There’s not a lot of blood coursing through the veins of “Still Mine,” which stars James Cromwell and the rarely-seen-anymore Geneviève Bujold as one of those couples who’ve been married since the dawn of time.

Fruitvale Station

“Fruitvale Station” begins with cellphone video footage of the notorious homicide of young ex-con Oscar Grant on a BART platform on New Year’s Day 2009 by a typical police officer – that is to say, an idiot, coward and thug – who couldn’t figure out how to stop a fistfight that was already over without killing somebody.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Look of Love, You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet!

The Look of Love
You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet!

Props to director Michael Winterbottom and his production design for evocatively recreating the London of the mod 1960's for "The Look of Love," the new biopic about the English porn king Paul Raymond. Unfortunately, his movie never swings.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Lone Ranger

I wonder what went through Johnny Depp's mind the moment he realized "The Lone Ranger" was going to be this generation's "Ishtar."

The Way Way Back

I call bullshit on every frame of "The Way Way Back," the kind of ersatz coming-of-age comedy that wants to be petted like a dog but makes you want to kick it instead.

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

"Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me" is Drew DeNicola's and Oliva Mori's nearly two-hour tribute to the early-70's power-pop band Big Star, whose three albums bombed spectacularly upon release but have gained cult followings in the ensuing decades, all three making Rolling Stone's list of the top 500 of all time.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Despicable Me 2, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain

Despicable Me 2
Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain

The directors of “Despicable Me 2” are Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud. The names do not surprise me. This franchise is based on that inimitable Gallic sense of humor – that everybody hates.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Attack

Director Ziad Doueiri frames "The Attack" through the lens of Dr. Amin Jaafari (Ali Suliman), a highly accomplished surgeon of Palestinian descent living and working in Tel Aviv where, as the movie opens, he is to receive a prestigious award for his medical practice.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

White House Down, I'm So Excited!, The Heat, The Stroller Strategy

White House Down
I'm So Excited!

The Heat
The Stroller Strategy

"White House Down" is the most preposterous movie of the year. "I'm So Excited!" is by far - and I mean this in the best possible way - the faggiest. "The Heat" has some of the biggest laughs. And "The Stroller Strategy" may be the most witless. Each sits on the cusp of the next lower star rating but reaps the benefit of my Wimbledon-induced, sleep-deprived laxity.