Tuesday, October 29, 2013

American Promise

In the documentary "American Promise," filmmakers Joe Brewster and Michѐle Stephenson train the camera on their son Idris and his friend Seun, two of the few African-American boys in their class at Manhattan's prestigious Dalton School.

Il Futuro

Alicia Scherson's "Il Futuro" stars Manuela Martelli as Bianca, one of two children left orphaned when both parents perish in an automobile accident.

Blue is the Warmest Color


Abdel Kechiche's "Blue is the Warmest Color" arrives in American cinemas trailing the Palme D'Or from Cannes and tabloid headlines, but it's really nothing special. You've seen gay and lesbian themes - and first love in general - handled with far greater nuance and effect in many other films, and at half the running time. 

The Counselor

“The Counselor” is not only the title of Ridley Scott’s new film but the only name by which Michael Fassbender’s character is ever addressed.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Spinning Plates

Joseph Levy's "Spinning Plates" bills itself as a documentary about three extraordinary restaurants, but it's actually about two extraordinary restaurants and an ordinary one.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Escape Plan

As 2013 dawned, Arnold Schwarzenegger bombed with "The Last Stand" and Sylvester Stallone with "Bullet to the Head." Their new collaboration, "Escape Plan," is better than those pictures - good enough to kill a couple hours if you come across it on the tube.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kill Your Darlings

One can only watch others "eat life" for so long, and director John Krokidas tests the limits in his new Beat Generation piece "Kill Your Darlings," with Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg.

Let the Fire Burn

Even if you don't have a connection to Philadelphia, I think you'll find Jason Osder's MOVE-bombing documentary "Let the Fire Burn" completely captivating.

Monday, October 21, 2013

God Loves Uganda

Documentarian Roger Ross Williams (whose short "Music by Prudence" beat out the better choice "The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant" for the 2009 Oscar) returns with "God Loves Uganda," about the efforts of fundamentalist Christian missionaries to proselytize in the highly religious African nation, and in particular the disturbing effects of their anti-gay rhetoric on Ugandan society and politics.

All is Lost

It's possible to overstate how gripping the Robert Redford one-man survival show "All is Lost" is, but it's pretty gripping.

The Fifth Estate

The would-be Wikileaks thriller "The Fifth Estate" pales by comparison to Alex Gibney's documentary from earlier this year called "We Steal Secrets."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Muscle Shoals

"Muscle Shoals" is the third terrific music documentary of the year, behind "Sound City" and "Good Ol' Freda."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A.K.A. Doc Pomus

William Hechter's and Peter Miller's biodoc honors the life of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame songwriter Jerome Felder, a.k.a. Doc Pomus, who during a half-century-long career penned such classics as "A Teenager in Love," "This Magic Moment," and "Viva Las Vegas."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Escape From Tomorrow

Randy Moore's shot-on-the-sly Disney World nightmare "Escape From Tomorrow" is the kind of movie a high school kid might rave about to her friends, but when she sees it again as an adult, she's likely to wonder what the hell she was thinking.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Captain Phillips

Paul Greengrass' "Captain Phillips" is the latest in a long string of seafaring films this year, from the piracy documentary "Stolen Seas" to the Danish import "A Hijacking" to two new "Kon-Tiki"s (one English, one Norwegian) to the upcoming Robert Redford one-man show "All is Lost."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


That the terribly titled "A.C.O.D." (which stands for adult children of divorce) merits even the mildest recommendation is tribute to the comic genius of Catherine O'Hara and especially Richard Jenkins.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Runner Runner

"Runner Runner" makes "21" look like "Rounders." Here's a movie about an offshore poker website that knows almost nothing about offshore business, poker, or the Internet.


Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity" is something to see - yes, you should see it - but, a few days later, I'm surprised how infrequently I've thought of it.