Film Reviews

It’s Not a Wonderful After.Life

Or even the best movie set at a funeral home this week.
KRISTIAN LIN
Eleven years ago, a great Japanese film came out in American theaters under the title After Life, a joyful meditation that imagined all of us going to a Buddhist temple/studio after our deaths to have our favorite memories made...


Film Shorts

KRISTIAN LIN
OPENING: After.Life (R) Christina Ricci stars in this supernatural thriller as a young woman who may or may not have died in a car accident and may or may not get buried alive by a sinister funeral director (Liam Neeson). Also ...



Ragged Date Night for Carell and Fey

The Fosters go bananas in this underwhelming comedy-thriller.
KRISTIAN LIN
You’re probably going to see Date Night because of Steve Carell and Tina Fey. And why not? They seem like a terrific match because they’re so similar. They’re both intelligent, straightforward types whose comic stylings s...


A Faulkner Story

A local doctor turns writer and star of a low-budget film.
KRISTIAN LIN
This is the sort of thing that happens to first-time filmmakers working on a shoestring budget: While shooting his drama Between Heaven and Hell, lead actor/screenwriter Marvin Faulkner was playing a scene in which his characte...



Three Films and Change: Mother, Chloe, The Last Song

A roundup of movies already playing, plus a new entry.
KRISTIAN LIN
Fittingly, the main character of the volatile, uproarious, and deeply disturbing Mother has no proper name, so she’s pretty much defined by her role as a mother.


Greenberg: Roger That

Ben Stiller is a bastard in this excellent drama about a failure.
KRISTIAN LIN
Two things you should know off the bat about Greenberg. First, it’s a deeply unlikable movie. Second, I liked it. You see, most movies have main characters who are nice people, because moviegoers tend to prefer the company of...



Crouching Vikings, Hidden Dragon

A kids’ book series becomes … an Iraq war allegory?
KRISTIAN LIN
The new animated movie How to Train Your Dragon takes its title and the names of its characters from a successful series of novels by Cressida Cowell, but otherwise you’d have a hard time recognizing the books as the source o...


The Runaways: Jett Trail

The queens of noise make rock history. Kristen Stewart rocks out.
KRISTIAN LIN
She can’t get away with it forever, but for now, Kristen Stewart can play the living crap out of these awkward, unpolished adolescent girls who don’t yet know what to do with themselves. That’s what I thought while watchi...



School Sucks for Wimpy Kid

The preteen hero of this movie is uncool. Sadly, so is the movie.
KRISTIAN LIN
The clunky family movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid shares its title with a successful series of novels by Jeff Kinney, though the plot comes only from the first book. The wimpy kid in the title is Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon), an 11...


The Ghost Writer: A Real Roman à Clef

Polanski’s thriller happily skewers the war on terror.
KRISTIAN LIN
We’ve had examples of prison literature throughout history, but The Ghost Writer may be the closest we’ve ever had to prison filmmaking. Roman Polanski shot the footage prior to his arrest last year, after which he proceede...