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Movie Reviews

  • Indiewire
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    REVIEW | For the Love of Movies: Federico Veiroj's "A Useful Life"

    In "A Useful Life," director Federico Veiroj assembles a patient character study around the impact of curatorial work on individual experience. Shot in expressive black-and-white and using the Academy ratio, this is a movie about movies that could seem awkwardly familiar to some devout cinephiles.

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    REVIEW | A Life Overwhelmed: Paul Giamatti Elevates Mess of Plot in "Barney's Version"

    “Barney’s Version” is a bloated, confused movie—first a black comedy, then a distended family drama and never fully committed to either possibility. Adapting Mordechai Richler’s 1997 novel, director Richard J. Lewis aims for a sweeping narrative encompassing three decades in one man’s troubled world...

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    Small Screen (Blu-ray/DVD) | "Alamar," "Heartbreaker," "Raging Bull" Revamped & More

    This week two film festival darlings hit DVD shelves alongside a sexy French comedy and two classic titles.

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    REVIEW | Familial Disconnect: Jeff Lipsky’s “Twelve Thirty”

    Jeff Lipsky struggles to find a tricky balance in “Twelve Thirty,” a supremely dense coming-of-age drama steeped in weighty blather at the expense of emotional validity. Physically graphic and verbally frank, Lipsky’s talky portrait follows a virginal twenty-two year-old and the promiscuous family t...

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    Big Screen | This Week's Top 5: From "Barney" To Skarsgård To "The Green Hornet"

    Each week indieWIRE offers five recommendations for theatrical viewing, tackling new releases, film festivals, curated series and events. This week, some expanding December releases, Richard J. Lewis's "Barney's Version," and the curious case of "The Green Hornet" top the list.

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    Animation Marvels—In Print And On DVD

    A spectacular new book about Ray Harryhausen is cause for celebration—but more about that later. The estimable Mr. H was inspired to pursue his art, and craft, by the films he saw as a boy, especially The Lost World (1925) and King Kong (1933). But the man who created the stunning animation in those films, Willis O’Brien, wasn’t the only person experimenting with the wonders of stop-motion. Steve Stanchfield, Stewart McKissick and Ken Priebe at Thunderbean Animation have compiled a dizzying DVD collection of rare short subjects appropriately titled Stop-Motion Marvels! and it’s a must for anyone interested in this f...

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    REVIEW | United Absurdity: Kenneth Price's "Americatown"

    From the shaky production values to its cast of grinning newcomers, the bizarro satire “Americatown” reeks of amateurism. Yet despite all odds working against it, director Kenneth Price’s second feature with the Wilmington-based comedy group Superkiiiids! sustains a uniquely goofy charm. Set in an i...

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    film review: Blue Valentine

    Two daring performances make Blue Valentine a standout, even if the film’s reach somewhat exceeds its grasp. Director and co-writer Derek Cianfrance attempts to explore the beginning and end of an intimate relationship, hopscotching back and forth in time from the couple’s first meeti...

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    REVIEW | Border Town: Suleiman Returns to Israeli-Palestinian Strife With "The Time That Remains"

    Elia Suleiman is among the few living filmmakers to employ slapstick comedy in his work, and the only one to politicize it. But where his 2002 feature "Divine Intervention" decried his Palestinian family's oppression at the hands of Israeli troops in Nazareth with a caustic, angry satiric bent, "The Time That Remains" strikes a decidedly mournful tone. The third entry in a trilogy preceded by the aforementioned Cannes winner and 1996's "Chronicle of a Disappearance," Suleiman's newest movie about Palestinian suffering (which is actually around two years old) maintains his personalized blend of autobiography and surrealistic polemics while vie...

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    REVIEW | Romanian Redemption: Strong Debut in Prison Drama "If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle"

    A minor entry from the Romanian New Wave, the dreary prison drama "If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle" nevertheless exhibits many of the stronger aspects of social observation present in the films that have emerged from the region. Set in a barren juvenile detention center, the movie works as a gruelin...

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