Peter Jackson’s concluding chapter is both thrilling and emotionally fulfilling, especially for moviegoers who have already invested more than 15 hours over the past 13 years in the first five installments.Full Story
The Dallas-Forth Worth Film Critics Association announced its annual critics poll this morning, and Birdman came out on top as the best film of the year.Full Story
Few readers flipping the pages of the Bible might have imagined Moses as a buffed-up Old Testament action hero, but Exodus: Gods and Kings isn’t concerned with such details. It’s content to emphasize spectacle instead of substance. In fact, the film’s casual disregard for passages of its source material might anger some viewers, even if […]Full Story
The best few minutes of Top Five come late, when movie star Andre (Chris Rock) returns to his roots by taking the stage for a set at New York’s Comedy Cellar. Andre (and, by extension, Rock) is immediately back in his comfort zone, rattling off a couple of hilarious bits that only serve to remind us that most of the previous hour-and-a-half has been wasted. We would’ve been much better served watching a Chris Rock stand-up set.Full Story
As his resume suggests, and The Homesman reinforces, when it comes to Westerns, Tommy Lee Jones feels at home on both sides of the camera. In just his second feature as a filmmaker, Jones (The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada) certainly brings conviction to this otherwise uneven story of redemption and gender politics on the […]Full Story
When Theo Love began making Little Hope Was Arson, he knew geography would be a key. His documentary about a string of 10 church fires in three East Texas counties during the first six weeks of 2010 would need to not only recall the facts of the crimes and the ensuing investigation, but how they […]Full Story
John du Pont was a millionaire and wanted to be a wrestler. Mark Schultz was a wrestler and wanted to be a millionaire. Their strange and tragic relationship forms the basis for Foxcatcher, a fascinating character study from director Bennett Miller (Moneyball). It’s based on an obscure true story that — considering one of them […]Full Story
Recently I’ve been working my way through all the John le Carré novels featuring spymaster George Smiley. The stories depict the bureaucratic maneuvering of officials in London as sharply as they do the undercover work of agents in the field. The result is what appears to be a complete picture of how a government intelligence service operates. It’s as equally frightening for its frequent ineptitude as for its operational ruthlessness. One takes comfort in the notion that it’s all just fiction.
Only it’s not, is it? The reams of classified documents taken by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and released to journalists have painted a portrait of an establishment that’s operated far beyond previously established legal boundaries in its fight against terrorism since September 11, 2001. American leaders have been exposed for having lied to the people, as well as to the people’s representatives in Congress.
Those who have carefully followed the reporting of Glenn Greenwald and others since Snowden came forward in June 2013 won’t be surprised by any of the revelations about the NSA’s operations discussed in Laura Poitras’ documentary, Citizenfour.Full Story
No, Comedy Central’s Daily Show shouldn’t be anybody’s sole source of news, but frequent viewers know that Jon Stewart and his crack team of fake journalists often do a better job of pointing out the hypocrisy of leaders and a more cogent job of elucidating key points of a controversy than do most of the mainstream TV news channels.
So it shouldn’t be surprising that Stewart’s feature-film directorial debut is a clearly articulated tale of the political uprising that erupted in Iran following an almost certainly fraudulent election result in 2009. Rosewater is based on a memoir by Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, who was imprisoned in Tehran following his coverage for Newsweek magazine of the protests that followed the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.Full Story
Stephen Hawking has spent decades teaching us about the vast reaches of the universe. Now the biopic The Theory of Everything allows the rest of us to learn a little about him. While it might lack focus and depth in spots, the film serves not only to pay tribute to its subject, but to provide […]Full Story