Film Reviews Stories 1 to 10 of 159  
Film Reviews: Broken Heart Land, We Are The Best!, Yves Saint Laurent
Broken Heart Land* * * * Broken Heart Land is a poignant, inspiring documentary that shows how Nancy Harrington transformed the grief she experienced after her gay son Zack’s suicide into activism. The film chronicles efforts to speak out about her son, join a PFLAG-like group, MOM (Mothers of Many) and campaign for equal rights for LGBT citizens in Norman, Okla., including supporting a City Council race for the openly gay Jackie Farley. This incredibly moving film gets up close and personal with the Harrington family and their supporters—and detractors, as it even-handedly shows the impact one gay young ...
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Film Reviews: X-Men: Days of Future Past, Before You Know It, Godzilla, Remembering the Artist, Test
X-Men: Days Of Future Past* * * * When it comes to superheroes, I prefer mine messed up (Batman) or metaphorically wrought, like the X-Men. The latest installment, directed by the beleaguered Bryan Singer, is a time-traveling extravaganza, long on plot and fantastic effects, short on character development. This bothers me less than it does in, say, Godzilla, since we know these characters from the last six installments. The cast is good (though most are underutilized—sorry, again, Halle Berry), with the standouts being Michael Fassbender’s Magneto, Evan Peters’ Quicksilver, and, especially, James McAvoy’s Charles Xavier. The core theme—a plea ...
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Film Reviews: Filth, The Love Punch, Night Moves
Filth* * * This frenzied adaptation of a novel by Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting) has Bruce (James McAvoy, charmingly manic), a corrupt cop, exploiting his co-workers’ weaknesses—which includes a photocopied penis-guessing contest—to earn a promotion. The naughty Filth has wicked fun chronicling Bruce participating in erotic asphyxiation, prank call phone sex, cross-dressing and other “perversions.” It is more ironic-amusing than nasty, though there is one icky vomit scene. However, the depraved Filth cannot maintain its tricky high-wire act and also be sentimental and serious. As Bruce comes undone—haunted by guilt, he sees grotesque animal faces on people—so does ...
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Film Reviews: The Immigrant, Neighbors, Walk of Shame
The Immigrant Opens May 16** The Immigrant opens in 1921 as Ewa (Marion Cottilard) and her sister Magda (Angela Sarafyan) arrive at Ellis Island. Magda has tuberculosis, and Ewa is marked for deportation. Enter Bruno (Joaquin Phoenix), who gives Ewa a job in his burlesque house—as a prostitute. This grim, ponderous melodrama soon becomes a grim, ponderous love triangle when Bruno’s magician cousin Orlando (Jeremy Renner) falls in love with Ewa. The characters are mostly despicable, and jealous Bruno’s fights with Orlando over Ewa are ludicrous. Cottilard emotes while Phoenix over-emotes. Even with gorgeous cinematography and period sets, director ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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