Movies

'The Skeleton Twins'

Everything Kristen Wiig touches is comic in The Skeleton Twins. Read More

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'God Help the Girl'

I must admit that Belle and Sebastian gave me a pleasurable if inch-deep depression—even the very title of their album Fold Your Hands, Child, You Walk Like a Peasant made me want to sit someplace shadowy and think about things. But the sort-of musical God Help The Girl, written and directed by Stuart "Sebastian" Murdoch evaporated before I could watch it all the way through. Based (remotely) on how the Scots band formed, it's the anti-adventures of a quartet of idling young Glaswegians. » Read More

'The Drop'

Dennis Lahane's short story "Animal Rescue" published in the 2009 anthology Boston Noir, is the source for The Drop; it's been transplanted from Dorchester to Brooklyn, and it's graced with some powerful acting by the late, ever-authentic James Gandolfini. He's the namesake of a neighborhood bar called Cousin Marv's. Marv used to own the place, but he got indebted to some Chechen gangsters. The bartender is Marv's own placid, soft-witted cousin Bob (Tom Hardy), a quiet lug in a dingy sheepskin-collared denim jacket. » Read More

'The Last of Robin Hood'

Ronald Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland's The Last of Robin Hood is an enjoyable specimen of the low-budget Hollywood biopic. Errol Flynn's movies have aged badly, but we can still remember the purpose for a rogue with a talent to amuse, demonstrating the invaluable function of wastrels. Flynn was a courtly, lazy, irresistible character; such an agnostic about the gods of good behavior that he made a question mark his personal monogram. » Read More

Fall Film Preview

The noticeable trend this fall seems to be adaptations—sturdy books and page turners alike. Jason Reitman adapts Chad Kultgen's novel Men, Women and Children (October) about the Internet's caustic effect on a family—stars Judy Greer, Ansel Elgort and Adam Sandler in a small character part. Kill the Messenger (October) stars Jeremy Renner as Gary Webb, a San Jose Mercury News reporter chased out of his job by editors and maybe even shadier characters than editors, after having discovered that the CIA was in bed with cocaine sellers. » Read More

'If I Stay'

Gayle Forman's best-sellers are the kind of thing that should make Young Adult authors feel uneasy about their craft; the work reads like someone describing what they've been watching on television. (Forman won an award once for "writing for reluctant readers." It's as if literature contained gluten.) If I Stay preserves the essence rare. The "ex-riot grrl" mommy Kat (Mireille Enos) consoles her child: "Life is this big fat gigantic stinking mess, and that's the beauty of it." Director R. J. Cutler visualizes the azure televisionistic glow of the book as a Thomas Kinkade view of alternative Portland, Oregon. » Read More

'B Movie Bombs' come to Camera 3

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

'Siddharth'

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

'Cavalry'

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