Film Reviews
Chris Pine and Keira Knightley prepare for a night on the town with the bad guys in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

Ryan’s Hope

The Jack Ryan reboot Shadow Recruit goes better than the last one.
KRISTIAN LIN
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is the fifth big-screen adventure of the all-American superspy invented by Tom Clancy, the second one that imagines Jack as a young man, and the first whose story isn’t taken directly from one of Cla...


Vanessa Hudgens searches for a purpose in her life in Gimme Shelter.

Apple and Tree

Gimme Shelter: Vanessa Hudgens as a ghetto kid? It works as well as you’d expect.
KRISTIAN LIN
For the first two minutes of Gimme Shelter, I thought this modestly budgeted drama was on to something. Crazier, I thought its star, Vanessa Hudgens, was on to something. We see her determinedly hacking off her hair in some cra...



Oscar Isaac squires a housecat around Manhattan while looking for work in Inside Llewyn Davis.

All Folked Up

In the well-crafted but sour Inside Llewyn Davis, even the music is overrated.
KRISTIAN LIN
When I ran my list of 2013’s best movies a couple of weeks ago, I left off one film that was on many other people’s lists, Inside Llewyn Davis. I had reservations about the Coen brothers’ latest film, but I also found so...


Julianne Nicholson, Meryl Streep, and Margo Martindale consult their family history in August: Osage County.

Letts Do It

An award-winning play becomes a nice actors’ vehicle in August: Osage County.
KRISTIAN LIN
I need to say this right off the bat: I haven’t seen Tracy Letts’ play August: Osage County on stage. I’ve heard that the play, which won every major prize available to it in 2007, boasts a level of story and character de...



Joaquin Phoenix and Samantha (in smartphone, left) enjoy lunch outdoors in Her.

Uh Huh Her

Samantha has achieved self-awareness in Spike Jonze’s treasure of a romance.
KRISTIAN LIN
Spike Jonze has always been brilliant, but lately he’s become something more. You can see it in the tenderness that pervades both his previous film Where the Wild Things Are and his current film Her, which wasn’t there in h...


Mark Wahlberg tries to make it out of Afghanistan in Lone Survivor.

SEALs on the Ground

Lone Survivor shows Peter Berg in need of a new act.
KRISTIAN LIN
I’m trying to figure out whether Peter Berg is a formerly promising filmmaker who has turned into a hack, or if that early promise was all in my head. I dismissed his critical and commercial flop from last year, Battleship, a...



Chiwetel Ejiofor stars in the best film of 2013, 12 Years a Slave.

Top 10 Movies of ’13

America comes back in a major way in this year’s list.
KRISTIAN LIN
Here’s how strong 2013’s movies were: Nebraska, Enough Said, The East, and The Wolf of Wall Street aren’t even cracking my honorable mention list, and they’re really good films. By the same token, the fact that Before M...


Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill try to keep it together after consuming lots of drugs in The Wolf of Wall Street.

Jordan Rules

Leonardo DiCaprio is really funny (wait … what?) in The Wolf of Wall Street.
KRISTIAN LIN
This I know about The Wolf of Wall Street: It’s not Martin Scorsese’s best movie, but it’s certainly his funniest. It really is a shame that this movie comes out one week after American Hustle, another period film about c...



the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-1

Daydream Believer

Ben Stiller searches for the essence of Life in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
KRISTIAN LIN
A highly likable movie that comes up short of its aims, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty bears little resemblance to the James Thurber short story that it’s based on and even less to the 1947 musical film starring Danny Kaye. ...


Tom Hanks stars as Walt Disney in "Saving Mr. Banks".

Making Mary

Saving Mr. Banks does a Mickey Mouse job with Disney’s history.
KRISTIAN LIN
Saving Mr. Banks is a lie. I don’t mean in the film-school sense that all movies (even documentaries) are fictions constructed by an author. No, this bland period drama is an aggressive attempt by the Disney Corporation to wh...