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Movie Reviews

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    SXSW REVIEW | Duncan Jones' "Source Code" Messes With Your Head and Your Heart

    Drawing on time-shifting concepts reminiscent of "Groundhog Day" and "Run Lola Run," Duncan Jones' "Source Code" inhabits the spirit of old-school sci-fi while effectively providing a measure of pathos. As he did in his prior film, "Moon," "Source Code" showcases Jones' ability to provide ample ente...

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    REVIEW | "Black Death" is "The Seventh Seal" Meets Eli Roth

    Since the heyday of Cecil B. DeMille, the sword-and-sandals epic has been defined by brawny men dressed in skimpy armor shouting orders to the wind. More recently the genre has been resurrected in excessive terms ranging from the CGI-enhanced virility in "300" to less successful entries like "Centur...

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    REVIEW | "The Soft Skin" is the Truffaut Masterpiece You Haven't Seen

    Barely released in the U.S. upon its initial completion in 1964, Francois Truffaut's masterfully engaging "The Soft Skin" was the New Wave director's first effort to tackle mature frustrations. That's not to say Truffaut's first three features lacked depth: "The 400 Blows" tapped into the innocence of youth, "Shoot the Piano Player" successfully deconstructed the gangster genre and "Jules and Jim" studied the fragility of lifelong friendships. Nevertheless, the travails of lonely professor Pierre Lachenay (Jean Desailly), compelled to cheat on his wife (Nelly Benedetti) with capricious stewardess Nicole (Francoise Dorleac), convey much darker...

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    Small Screen (Blu-ray/DVD): "Four Lions," "Inside Job" & More

    This week on DVD and Blu-ray a group of British jihadists act like a bunch of clowns, the financial meltdown gets a thorough examination and Bansky gets the high-def treatment.

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    REVIEW | The Drama of Ambiguity: Kiarostami's "Certified Copy"

    If the couple featured in Richard Linklater's "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset" got married, grew old, divorced and reunited, the resulting confrontation would probably look a lot like Abbas Kiarostami's "Certified Copy." Possibly the Iranian director's most accessible work, this elegant, stream-...

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    Kevin Smith and "Red State" Preach to the Converted at Radio City Music Hall

    At the Sundance Film Festival in January, Kevin Smith spent roughly half an hour telling a packed room that he planned to self-distribute his new horror movie, "Red State." On Saturday, in a much bigger room, he spent twice as long getting the enthusiastic reaction he wanted in the first place.

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    Critics Notebook | Film Comment Selects Closes With John Landis and James Wan

    The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s annual Film Comment Selects series cycled through several tones on its opening weekend last month, with a lineup ranging from Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s tragic “I Only You Want You to Love Me” to the grindhouse tribute “Hobo With a Shotgun.” For Thursday’s closin...

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    REVIEW | "I Saw the Devil" is Bloody Good Revenge

    "Severely Damaged Souls" -- the title of a retrospective on the work of Korean director Kim Ji-woon currently running at the Brooklyn Academy of Music easily describes the two deranged characters at the heart of his latest feature, "I Saw the Devil." The BAM program derives its name from the language used by Korean censors when trying to justify their decision to remove about 90 gruesome seconds from this tense serial killer story. Alleging that a mere seven shots "severely damage the dignity of human values," the censors' efforts are not only misguided but hilariously ineffectual. Lifting that bit of material from this nearly two-and-a-half ...

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    REVIEW | Claude Lanzmann Revisits Jan Karski in "The Karski Report"

    A single interview unfolding more or less in real time, "The Karski Report," a 49-minute cinematic essay cribbed from the cutting room floor of Claude Lanzmann's sprawling 1985 documentary "Shoah," imbues one monologue with tremendous historical weight. Having previously aired on French television, ...

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    REVIEW | Impenetrable Fantasy: "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives"

    Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul has made a career out of directing movies that seem like dense visual riddles, matching poetry with mysterious cinematic designs. However, while his earlier features often felt primarily energizing as intellectual exercises rather than creative pursuits, his l...

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