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Moview Reviews, Movie Ratings, TV Show, Television Ratings

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    REVIEW | Book Smart: Joachim Trier's "Reprise"

    Norwegian Joachim Trier directs his debut feature, "Reprise," with such assured kineticism that it's only a matter of time before Hollywood gets his hands on him and turns him into an anonymous hack. That's not merely cynicism or a judgment call on Trier's foregrounded visual flair, which, unlike most other flashy films pitched at the speed of youth, actually contains more true invention than gimmick; it's just a sad fact of a ravenous industry that subsumes European directors the same way it snatches up the new foreign, art-house ingenue and plunks her down as the latest Bond girl--it only sees the surface sheen. Trier's considerable talents...

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    REVIEW | Father Figurines: Christopher Zalla's "Sangre de mi sangre"

    If writer-director Christopher Zalla's intent in "Sangre de mi sangre" was to sympathetically and realistically depict the plight of impoverished Mexican illegal immigrants trying desperately to eke out anonymous existences in urban U.S. areas, why does he litter his workmanlike debut film with char...

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    REVIEW | Embedded: Nick Broomfield's "Battle for Haditha"

    "What do you wanna know?" A young Marine casually utters this question at the outset of "Battle for Haditha," and it's a fitting epigraph to Nick Broomfield's blistering, ambitious film. The query prefaces the PFC's offhand account of his service and the conditions of his barracks in Haditha, Iraq, but it could easily be Broomfield's own inquiry to his audience: In a singularly brutal and cloudy episode of the war, a group of Marines is attacked by insurgents and retaliates by unleashing their notion of justice on a small residential enclave, killing some twenty-four people. What do you want to know about these events, and what means do you h...

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    REVIEW | Imagine That: Tarsem Singh's "The Fall"

    Playwright John Guare must have had Indian director Tarsem Singh (or as he's often simply known, Tarsem) in mind when he wrote about the increasing exteriorization of the term "imaginative": "Why has 'imagination' become a synonym for style?" Singh makes films that inspire a bevy of similarly misuse...

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    REVIEW | Changes: Lucia Puenzo's "XXY"

    Though it's as sullen and damp-grey as its morose 15-year-old protagonist, Argentinean filmmaker Lucia Puenzo's directorial debut "XXY" doesn't really get inside the mind of young Alex as much as watch her with an awkward combination of fascination and empathy. It's both a success and a failing on the new filmmaker's part; her intention in making "XXY," to humanely depict a character who might in other films or literature be relegated to oddball supporting status, is undoubtedly noble. Yet by focusing almost exclusively on Alex's differences (she was born with both female and male genitalia), rather than offering other facets of her life for ...

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    REVIEW | Let's Go to the Videotape: Garth Jennings's "Son of Rambow"

    There's rarely a moment in "Son of Rambow" that isn't polished or primped for prime demographic impact; a whirlwind for those who get nostalgic for British school-chum pictures, Sylvester Stallone actioners, early Eighties camcorders, and breakdance-era outre outfits, Garth Jennings's ingratiating lark would seem to court snorts of recognition more than active engagement. Yet this backward-looking pint-sized "Ed Wood" often sails by on the charms of its formula - it's an appealingly rambunctious boy's adventure in the guise of a paean to the artistic process (not the other way around). Along with "Be Kind Rewind," Jennings's film may be on th...

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    REVIEW | The Archaeologist's Dilemma: Jeremy Podeswa's "Fugitive Pieces"

    Nostalgic, deeply felt, and refreshingly astute, "Fugitive Pieces" is something of a rare bird these days -- a big-budget, transnational historical drama that actually justifies its scope and subject matter with more than visual opulence. On the surface, it looks like the kind of mainstream art-house fare that marries historical romance with a superficial exoticism; with its meandering sense of space and time and its rich sensual engagement, Anne Michaels's novel has drawn comparisons to Ondaatje's "The English Patient," and similarly Podeswa's adaptation will draw comparisons to Minghella's film. But what might have been an overly sentimenta...

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    REVIEW | Knock Off: Claude Lelouch's "Roman de gare"

    Sixties art-house standby Claude Lelouch is, as it turns out, alive and well and living in Paris. He's even directed a new film; the title, "Roman de gare," incessantly punned with in the film, apparently refers to those cheap paperback thrillers available at train stations, tawdry stuff good for a ...

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    REVIEW | Seeing Is Believing: Errol Morris's "Standard Operating Procedure"

    Often when it comes to Errol Morris, the more you see, the less you know. Some documentarians aim to answer and resolve, but Morris is almost too content to leave us adrift in ambiguity, regardless of the political, moral, and epistemological repercussions. After a New York Film Festival screening of his last film, the Oscar-winning "The Fog of War," the woman seated next to me was angry -- violently, vocally angry -- at what she perceived to be the film's sympathetic treatment of Robert McNamara (or should I say, its failure to unequivocally indict him?). I wondered then: why the vitriol? Was it because she disagreed with the film, or becaus...

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    REVIEW | I'll Be Seeing You: Vadim Perelman's "The Life Before Her Eyes"

    Diana and Maureen are in the girls' room, gossiping about boys and bio between classes, when shots ring out. It's the sound of an assault rifle wielded by Michael Patrick, the school nerd, on a violent, Columbine-like rampage. How do we know? "Yesterday in trig he told me he was going to bring a gun...

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