Film Reviews Stories 1 to 10 of 155  
4/16/2014
Film Reviews: Finding Vivian Maier, Proxy, Young and Beautiful
Finding Vivian Maier* * * * *The late Vivian Maier was an amateur Chicago street photographer who left an unbelievable legacy—hundreds of thousands of outstanding images. John Maloof (who co-directed with Charlie Siskel) just happened to purchase a box of Maier’s negatives at an auction and was astonished by his discovery. Viewers will be as well. This extraordinary documentary uncovers the secretive Maier’s true story. An inveterate hoarder, she was extremely private, never exhibiting or sharing her work, and many interviewees emphasize that Maier would be very unhappy about all the attention being paid to her now. ...
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4/2/2014
Film Reviews: Divergent, 10 Rules for Sleeping Around, Nymphomaniac: Volume II
Divergent * * * If we’re to believe the rash of young adult novels that have become popular over the last decade, America’s youth (young women, especially) should just give up now, because in the near future life will suck. Based on Veronica Roth’s trilogy Divergent and starring Shailene Woodley and the amazingly sexy Theo James—those lips!—this is basically The Hunger Games set in post-apocalyptic Chicago. Future dystopia, check. Warring factions, check. Brooding hotties and girls coming of age, check. That said, it’s a well-done adaptation, less engaging than The Hunger Games’ first installment but brisk popcorn entertainment. —D.L. 10 ...
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3/20/2014
Movie Reviews: Nymphomanic, Grand Budapest Hotel, Bad Words
Nymphomaniac ***** Lars von Trier’s latest provocation is less an erotic epic and more an elegant meditation on good and evil. Seligman (Stellan Skarsgaard) finds Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) lying in the street. He takes her home, and she confesses her sins to him. Curiously, Seligman compares Joe’s losing her virginity and seducing men on a train to fly-fishing. More curiously, while Nymphomaniac showcases genital montages and some explicit sex, the best vignettes are a darkly funny sequence featuring Mrs. H. (Uma Thurman) visiting her husband at Joe’s, and a tender episode involving Joe’s hospitalized father (Christian ...
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2/27/2014
Film Reviews: Bethlehem, Better Living Through Chemistry, Le Week-End, UWANTME2KILLHIM
BethlehemStarring Shadi Mar’i, Tsahi Halevi, Hisham Suliman* * * * Bethlehem is an urgent and gripping drama about Sanfur (Mar’i), an Arab teenager working as an undercover asset for Razi (Halevi), an Israeli Secret Service officer. When Razi’s brother, Ibrahim (Suliman), takes responsibility for a suicide bombing in Jerusalem, various double crosses and betrayals occur. The dramatic tension builds as Sanfur and Razi’s relationship is possibly compromised. Director Yuval Adler keeps the characters and their motivations clear, and he moves the action along nimbly. A sequence in which Ibrahim is chased and killed is particularly intense. There are ...
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2/18/2014
Film Reviews: Alan Partridge, Almost Human, Child's Pose, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me
ALAN PARTRIDGEStarring Steve Coogan, Colm Meaney, Felicity Montagu* * *Alan Partridge, released as Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa in the U.K., fits firmly in a long line of shambolic, ludicrous and fitfully hysterical film comedies. It opened at number one in August in Britain, and though he has his rabid fans here in the United States, Steve Coogan’s latest foray playing this narcissistic gloryhound of a title character will be strictly for his cult or Anglophiles. Partridge, a failed TV host and now radio personality on a local station in Norwich, is beyond self-involved, and whether you respond ...
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1/20/2014
Film Reviews: Stranger by the Lake, 24 Exposures, The Pretty Ones, Somewhere Slow
Stranger by the LakeStarring Pierre Deladonchamps, Patrick d’Assumçao, Christophe Paou***** The mesmerizing erotic thriller Stranger by the Lake depicts a love triangle that develops at a cruising area in France. Franck (Deladonchamps) befriends Henri (d’Assumçao), but he lusts after Michel (Paou). Even though Franck spies Michel drowning the latter’s boyfriend, Ramière (François-Renaud Labarthe), he can’t resist coupling up with the murdering hunk. However, he is frustrated that their relationship is limited to their lakeside assignations. Curiously, both men lie to Inspector Damroder (Jérômre Chappatte), who is investigating Ramière’s death. This seductive film, which is shot in a series ...
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1/6/2014
Film Reviews: G.B.F., Interior. Leather Bar., The Rocket, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
G.B.F.Starring Michael J. Willett, Paul Iacono, Megan Mullally**** Turning the drama of coming out into high comedy, G.B.F. is a bright—and brightly colored—high-energy romp. Tanner (the adorable Willett) is a high school senior inadvertently outed. Rather than becoming a social pariah, he is wooed by the school’s three teen queens who want him as their “sexless accessory,” even though he wants to maintain a low profile. His newfound status as the ‘gay best friend’ happens at the same time he has a fight with his BFF, Brent (Iacono). Yet bigger problems occur when Tanner is denied the right ...
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12/9/2013
Film Reviews: American Hustle, August: Osage County, Narco Cultura, Saving Mr. Banks
American HustleStarring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer LawrenceOpens Dec. 13*** American Hustle is a bad hair Lollapalooza of a movie. David O. Russell’s fictional take on the 1970s ABSCAM scandal is a fitfully entertaining sting flick elevated by some stellar performances (and bad hairstyles), yet sprawling and flat for long stretches. It takes a good hour to get all the players into place—Irving Rosenfeld (Bale), a lifelong con man; Sydney Prosser (Adams), his conniving mistress; Richie DiMaso (Cooper), a rogue FBI agent; and Rosalyn Rosenfeld (Lawrence), Irving’s impetuous wife. There are scams, double-crosses and betrayals, ...
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11/22/2013
Film Reviews: The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza), Bettie Page Reveals All, Here Comes the Devil, Philomena
The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza)Starring Toni Servillo, Carlo Verdone, Sabrina Ferilli***** Three-quarters of the way through Paolo Sorrentino’s thrilling new movie, the main protagonist, 65-year-old writer Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo), visits an art installation on the grounds of a spacious palazzo. The middle-aged artist, whose father has taken of photo of him every day of his life since he was 14, arranges the photos in a mosaic-like tableau. Gambardella wanders the space, a witness to the physical and emotional transformation of the subject. It’s perfect visual poetry that encapsulates the beauty and mystery of Sorrentino’s film—a reflective, ...
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10/24/2013
Dallas Buyers Club, God Loves Uganda, Running From Crazy, Sal
Dallas Buyers ClubStarring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner**** Ron Woodruff (McConaughey), the protagonist at the center of the powerful Dallas Buyers Club, is an unrepentant Texas redneck—a homophobic, racist womanizer whose only concerns are bull-riding, hard partying and keeping his dick wet (we meet him in the middle of a threesome in a bull pen). It’s early 1985, and soon we learn along with Woodruff that’s he’s HIV-positive with 30 days left to live. ‘Denial’ is too soft a word to describe what he goes through, yet he rallies, determined to live, and the film is a ...
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