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Movie Reviews

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    REVIEW | Lingua Romania: "Police, Adjective" Makes for Arresting Tour-De-Force

    While the pay-off in this anti-police procedural comes very late, it caps a minimalist and sardonic tour-de-force from Corneliu Porumboiu, whose "12:08 East of Bucharest" won the award for best first film at Cannes in 2006. This worthy follow-up shows an even more discerning and confident eye from t...

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    REVIEW | Low on Luster, Gilliam's "Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" Winds up a Sideshow

    Marred by shoddy special effects and half-formed fantastical conceits, Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" has the feeling of a comic fantasia desperately seeking to find its rhythm. Nearly abandoned after the sudden death of leading man Heath Ledger prior to completing production ...

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    REVIEW | Flight of Fancy: François Ozon’s “Ricky”

    “Ricky,” the latest film by François Ozon to receive release in the United States, is so chock full of tonal and generic shifts that it makes for a handy little guide to its French director’s scattershot career. Opening with a punishing long-take close-up of young mother Katie (Alexandra Lamy) crying to an off-screen police officer that she and her child have been abandoned by her husband, the film is introduced as domestic melodrama, not unexpected territory for the once upstart Ozon (as seen in his “5x2,” “Under the Sand”). Soon, through many temporal elisions, we’re watching Katie living alone with her now seven-year-old daughter, Lisa (Mé...

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    REVIEW | Figurines in a Landscape: Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar’s “A Town Called Panic”

    The joy of watching “A Town Called Panic” lies in its uncanny evocation of adolescent invention. It’s an overturned toy box of a movie, complete with mismatched action figures, improvisatory effects, and stream-of-consciousness storytelling. It invites you to plop down on the shag carpet, ignore you...

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    criticWIRE This Week: "Nine," "Heart" and "Victoria" Hit Screens

    This week, Rob Marshall's "Nine," Scott Cooper's "Crazy Heart," and Jean-Marc Vallée's "The Young Victoria" will each open in limited release in an attempt to prove a viable alternative to the wide opener "Avatar." To make your decision as to which option might be your best bet (that is, if you fi...

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    criticWIRE This Week: "A Single Man" Leads Anticipated Field of Debuts

    A super low budget entry from Werner Herzog, a not-so-low budget Alice Sebold adaptation care of Peter Jackson, the directorial debut of Tom Ford, and Clint Eastwood taking on Nelson Mandela. Only in December would we get all of these films coming at us on a single Friday. And to make your decisio...

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    REVIEW | Ready, Set, Heal: Clint Eastwood’s “Invictus”

    Clint Eastwood, who deals in a variety of subjects yet often gives his films recognizable authorial stamps, would seem to be prime evidence of the strength of auteurism: the dulcet-toned romantic weepie “The Bridges of Madison County” feels as much like an “Eastwood film” as the shadowy political thriller “Absolute Power” or the boxing tragedy “Million Dollar Baby.” Yet in recent years, Eastwood’s films have begun to seem like they were made by committee, even the almost parodically self-mythologizing “Gran Torino,” which appeared as though it might have plausibly been half-directed by a second unit crew (anytime the Hmong kids were onscreen ...

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    REVIEW | Depth in Beauty: Tom Ford's "A Single Man"

    Directed by former Gucci creative director Tom Ford, "A Single Man" has a few of the qualities you’d expect from a fashion designer’s first film. On a superficial level, nearly every frame is highly styled to the point where it would not seem out of place printed in Italia...

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    criticWIRE This Week: "Up In The Air" Leads December's First Batch (UPDATED)

    Jason Reitman's "Up In The Air," Jim Sheridan's "Brothers," Michael Hoffman's "The Last Station," Cheryl Hines' "Serious Moonlight," Kirk Jones' "Everybody's Fine" and Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Madeline Ivalu's "Before Tomorrow" mark December 2009's first five releases, an eclectic group that featu...

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    REVIEW | Gag Order: Cheryl Hines's "Serious Moonlight"

    The enormous groundswell of sympathy and support surrounding the release of Adrienne Shelly's "Waitress" blinded most viewers to its clear deficiencies. It might be unfair to conjecture what the critical reception for the good-natured if contrived and shabbily visualized romantic comedy might have been if actress-turned-director Shelly hadn't been horrifically murdered before its release, but it's safe to assume the processed-cheesy Keri Russell vehicle wouldn't have been the subject of quite as many think pieces. Interest in Shelly's auteurist potential will inevitably end with the release of "Serious Moonlight," based on a script of Shelly'...

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