'B Movie Bombs' come to Camera 3

New monthly film series highlights the guilty pleasures of B movies. Read More

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A film doesn't exist that's large enough to take in all of India, but Richie Mehta, director, writer and location manager for Siddharth, got a good portion of it. His nigh-completely melodrama-free quest film is in the neo-realist trad taken from Italian models like The Bicycle Thief. The story tells of an unimaginable tragedy, yet it's not an ordinary expose of a dysfunctional society. You can focus on the individual reactions and take in a sense of hope and endurance. » Read More


Reviewing the first Narnia movie, critic Anthony Lane mulled over the mixed-metaphor of making Aslan the Lion a leonine Jesus. Conditioned like every ex-Catholic to tear up at The Passion, I still snickered when the time came. "Let him be shaved!" ordered the ice queen Tilda Swinton. Elton John's hit "Someone Shaved My Lion Last Night" came to mind, but Lane put the problem more coherently. Is it better to have a lion representing the Divine, persecuted by humanity? Would such a Christian critter be more like the abused, patient Balthazar the donkey in the 1966 Robert Bresson classic? » Read More

'Alive Inside'

Michael Rossato-Bennett's documentary Alive Inside is inspirational, but part of what it inspires is suspiciousness-and one should be suspicious of any documentary marketing a solution, particularly a documentary that is both emotionally manipulative and claims an easy treatment for a disease. Some 5 million Americans suffer from senile dementia; that number is expected to double in a few short years. Rossato-Bennett follows Dan Cohen, a former tech worker who is now urging the use of iPods in nursing homes through his Music and Memory non-profit. » Read More

'Guardians of the Galaxy'

It's a maltese falcon kind of thing, explains the outer-space burglar/salvage man Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). He longs to be known as "Space Lord" because of his boot jets and his helmet with lighted red eyes. Here, then, another lost orphan who is now man-sized, if slightly douchey. (Listening to some bad '80s music on a Walkman-his last legacy of his home on Earth-he shuffles around an archaeological site, kicking cat-sized velociraptors out of his way.) Quill sets up the play. Guardians of the Galaxy is a ball game in which a valuable space orb keeps slipping out of the hands of the home team, ending up in enemy territory. » Read More

'Magic in the Moonlight'

A Sentimental attachment to Woody Allen's movies and a disgust at trial-by-Twitter make me want to consider Magic in the Moonlight outside all the Internet racket of Dylangate. Unfortunately, it's all about a middle-aged man trying to expose a young girl as a liar. This stuffy, creaky comedy, photographed in a runny pastel by Darius Khondji, concerns misanthrope British stage magician Stanley Crawford (Colin Firth). » Read More

'Get On Up'

The model for the Tate Taylor (The Help) biopic of James Brown, Get On Up is Walk the Line: the influence is there from the opening murky backstage roar of an off-screen audience waiting to be fed, to the easy diagnosis of childhood trauma to explain its subject's drug-abuse and coldness. (It's a little wrong to blame the crimes committed by a man pushing 70 on his inner child.) If Walk the Line saw the past as a sunny idyll, here Georgia is in the permafrost of the Depression and WWII—it's full of the fallen leaves and fog of a Civil War movie. » Read More


Like all really first-rate movies, Boyhood has many facets to admire. Just one of them is the unusual way it was made. Richard Linklater followed a small group of actors during the course of 13 years as an experiment. Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) live with their mother, Olivia (Patricia Arquette), with father Mason Sr., known as Dad (Ethan Hawke), dropping in for visits-and we see the actors age in their roles over the course of a decade. » Read More

'Venus in Fur'

A female friend who did a little bit of role-playing said that the important thing was not to let the mask drop. If you came in the room wrapped in leather, you had to continue to look like you meant business. By contrast, Roman Polanski's pervy and very fun two-character film Venus in Fur lets its marvelous star Emmanuelle Seigner drop and reapply the mask, and still be a redoubtable female avenger. Seigner is Vanda, an actress who reverses the flow of power coming from her would-be director. » Read More

'Life Itself'

The touching and well-built Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself isn't as varnished as you might expect. Having very close access to Ebert, director Steve James caught sometimes brutal footage of a death from cancer. The steadfastness of Ebert's wife Chaz amazes. Everyone speaks of the courage of a dying patient, but Ebert's illness forces him to remain where he is. His mate stays by choice. That may be tougher. » Read More

'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'

As a parable of evolution, devolution and revolution, of nuclear holocaust, viral plagues and time streams so twisty that characters become their own ancestors, there is nothing in cinema quite like the Planet of the Apes series. The phenomenon continues July 11 with the release of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The series is safe as an entertainment for older children—2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes had deft, kid-pleasing sequences of Caesar the chimp in his Curious George phase, brachiating around a Victorian house in San Mateo. » Read More

'Begin Again'

John Carney's follow up to his 2006 hit Once, played at Toronto 2013 under the fatal title Can A Song Save Your Life? It has been retitled Begin Again. It is slight and caramel-hearted, but it made me a new fan of items I thought I was over: New York, popular music and Keira Knightley. And unlike Once, Begin Again isn't in love with hopeless pathos. Nothing here is as fulsome as that street-singer's chipped-up guitar in Once—Glen Hansard was so sincere that his guitar was disintegrating. » Read More


John Waters said that fat was the last screen taboo-strange, in a country with skyrocketing obesity levels. The Melissa McCarthy vehicle, Tammy, directed by her husband Ben Falcone, is Waters-lite: a quite funny, warm, lackadaisical road comedy. Tammy (McCarthy) is an overgrown kid from the Midwest; she busts up her old Toyota on the same day she loses her burger-parlor job; arriving home unexpectedly, she catches her husband with the next-door neighbor lady. On the spur of the moment, Tammy decides to cut out for Niagara Falls with her drunken, bawdy granny, Pearl (Susan Sarandon), whom she barely tolerates. So: Thelma and Louise,the next generation. » Read More