Movies

'Gone Girl'

Ben Affleck plays a husband who quickly falls under suspicion when his wife disappears. Read More

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'Last Days of Vietnam'

The saga of ruin and futility is painful enough for Americans to remember. The finale is even more humiliating, and that explains the sometimes tiptoe approach documentary maker Rory Kennedy (RFK's daughter) takes in Last Days in Vietnam. The primarily American interviewees here include the ever-exculpatory Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State during the end of the war in 1975, former CIA agent Frank Snepp (the sharpest character among these analysts) and Juan Valdez and Mike Sullivan, two of the last 11 Marines airlifted off the roof of the American embassy in Saigon. » Read More

'The Boxtrolls'

There's a myth that keeps the city of Cheesebridge obedient. The Boxtrolls takes place in Cheesebridge. It's a strange crooked city on a hill, and it looks like someone pulled Mont Saint-Michel straight up out of Prague. It's a gaslit pile with looming streets, crooked drainpipes and deep gutters. Here, once upon a time, "the Trubshaw Baby" was kidnapped and taken by the trolls who live under the streets. Lord Portley-Rind (voiced by Jared Harris), a proud non-entity with a chest full of medals, has accepted the offer of a freelance exterminator to rid the city of these unseen monsters. » Read More

'David Bowie Is'

If David Bowie had died yesterday, my response would be something like the one Frederick Exley proposed in A Fan's Notes for what he'd say about football great Frank Gifford: "I owe more tears to this dead man than you shall see me pay" Bowie is still around, thank God, so you can watch the one-night-only film David Bowie Is with a little amusement for the extremity of the personality cult. » Read More

'Wetlands'

Essentially benign and yet one of the grossest movies ever made, David Wnendt's Wetlands adapts a scandalous (and apparently very episodic) German semi-autobiographical coming of age novel. YA lit means a whole different thing over there, God bless them. It's a series of daydreamy anecdotes in the life of Helen (Carla Juri). She's spending some down time in the hospital; prone to the piles already, Helen gave herself a rectal injury from shaving herself too fast. » Read More

'The Skeleton Twins'

Craig Johnson's pretty much perfect The Skeleton Twins is about the reunion of a brother and a sister: a pair of small town messes still trying to look suave under duress. When they were young, their father committed suicide. Shortly afterward, their mother (Joanna Gleason) fled the wreckage to become a New Age charlatan in Sedona, Arizona. » Read More

'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