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Movie Reviews

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    REVIEW | Almost a Masterpiece: "Four Lions" an Explosive Comedy

    In the opening scene of "Four Lions," a group of British would-be terrorists attempt in vain to make the ideal suicide tape. It's not the first time that such risqué bloopers have been depicted in narrative form - both "Paradise Now" and the short-lived Showtime series "Sleeper Cell" contained similar moments - but it's certainly the funniest. Chris Morris's tragicomic portrait of jihad gone awry zips along with many of these contemporary references points in the service of humor, yet pulls off an unlikely feat by avoiding any kind of outright spoof. The characters are no laughing matter; instead, their bumbling tendencies suggest a universal...

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    Waititi's Remarkably Insightful "Boy" Succeeds On Many Levels

    Editor's note: A version of this review originally ran at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. "Boy" opens in limited release this Friday.

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    criticWIRE This Week: "Creation" Does Not Make The Grade

    criticWIRE is back with an updated calendar of releases that takes on January and February's specialty films - including three films opening this weel. More than 100 film critics and bloggers have their own pages on the indieWIRE site. The criticWIRE section includes RSS feeds and links for the ind...

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    REVIEW | Lives in Motion: Andre Techine's "The Girl on the Train"

    There's a brilliant tension at the heart of the new film by the consistently challenging French director Andre Techine, "The Girl on the Train." This is a work about an ambiguity--its disturbing central event is an act fueled by mysterious motivation, and it's enacted by a character whom we only think we have come to know and understand, a young Parisian woman named Jeanne (Emilie Dequenne). Yet, as is the case with Techine, the film is shot with a searching, unceasing motion that digs deep into the images onscreen, looking for answers. Techine's cinema is tactile, penetrative; with the help of director of photography Julien Hirsch (the immen...

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    REVIEW | Missing Pieces: Amiel's "Creation" Lacks Sense of Awe

    EDITOR'S NOTE: This review was originally published as part of indieWIRE's coverage of the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.

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    REVIEW | The Girl Can't Help It: Andrea Arnold's "Fish Tank"

    Even after the advent of psychology, feminism, and the sexual revolution, female desire remains culturally discomfiting, a topic to be avoided or willfully mystified. Outside of hyper-hormonal slapstick, adolescent desire is just as taboo. Furthermore, female adolescent desire is so socially unsavory that even the dubiously chaste "Twilight" counts as a welcome corrective. Enter Andrea Arnold's "Fish Tank," a film so fearless, honest, and wise about emergent female sexuality that no grading curve is necessary. She approaches sex not as an aspect of politics but of experience, continuous with life's other impulses, bafflements, dangers, and j...

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    criticWIRE This Week: "Fish Tank" Leads Newcomers

    criticWIRE is back with an updated calendar of releases that takes on January and February's specialty films - including a notable duo opening this Friday. More than 100 film critics and bloggers have their own pages on the indieWIRE site. The criticWIRE section includes RSS feeds and links for the...

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    Reverse Shot's Best of 2009: "Summer Hours" and 9 More

    In the coming months, moviegoers will continue to be inundated by prestige piffle: films conceived with awards in mind and primped and preened by their studios and distributors for maximum Oscar impact. In the past decade, more Academy hopefuls have been squeezed into the final weeks of the year than ever before--more often than not films that will be forgotten mere months after the annual gold statuettes are passed out (when's the last time anyone discussed "Finding Neverland," "Ray," "Atonement," "A Beautiful Mind," et al with a straight face?). Perhaps that's why the end of the year is indeed a good moment to remind viewers of the very bes...

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    REVIEW | "Superbad" Meets "Fight Club": "Revolt" Hints At Cera's Versatility

    "Youth in Revolt" stars Michael Cera as a hyper-intelligent 16-year-old virgin desperate to escape his bubble of a boring life. If that description sounds familiar, it's because the "Arrested Development" star has done this routine before. But he does it well, and this charming romantic comedy offer...

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    REVIEW | Back to Tennessee: Jodie Markell's "The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond"

    First-time filmmaker Jodie Markell's "The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond," is based on a never-produced Tennessee Williams screenplay completed during his late 1950s heyday. Yet, surprisingly, the film's pedigree and source material isn't the sole reason to recommend this decades-late cinematic rendering. Far from perfect, "Teardrop" is at its best when it approximates Terence Davies territory: that is to say in those instances when it abandons the forward march of events in favor of mood and reverie. The film's wordless prologue, in which a group of men dynamite a levy for mysterious reasons late at night, fades into a lit-from-above introduct...

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