Film Reviews

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...



Remember Me: An Affair to Forget

Robert Pattinson is stranded in this cheap romance.
KRISTIAN LIN
Oscar Wilde once wrote, “All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.” I’m not sure to what extent that applies to movies, but one reason sincerity doesn’t carry a lot of currency with me is that I’ve seen so many bad...


Not the Finest Anything

They may be Brooklyn’s Finest, but this cop drama is a routine stop.
KRISTIAN LIN
As boilerplate as its title would suggest, Brooklyn’s Finest is no different from any other gritty New York City cop thriller made in the past 35 years. If you took away the characters’ cell phones, this could be a movie fr...



Oscar’s Hidden Gold

And the Oscar goes to … that guy. An analysis of the awards’ not-so-major categories.
KRISTIAN LIN
Hey, look! It’s an Oscar ceremony in March, just like we used to have every year. With all the attention on the Best Picture and acting races as usual, I’m running my third annual rundown of some of the lesser-known categor...


Tolstoy Finds The Last Station

The Last Station has two Oscar nods, but it ain't Tolstoy.
KRISTIAN LIN
When he died, Leo Tolstoy was basically an old hippie. Immensely rich and famous from authoring War and Peace and Anna Karenina, the Russian count had turned his considerable energy to social causes and essays delineating his i...



Butterscotch Isn’t Sweet

North Texas teachers turn a dark story into a funny movie.
KRISTIAN LIN
Bart van Bemmel talks quickly, and I’m not sure whether that’s how he usually rolls or whether it’s because he’s eager to tell me about his film project during his 50-minute free period. (It’s prob...


Unhappy Haneke

Funny Games tortures you to make a point. This review will save you some pain.
Kristian Lin
When you watch slasher flicks and other movies that kill off innocent characters like ants, do you feel bad for those onscreen victims?



North Carolina Burning

A chapter in the civil rights struggle becomes an overly polite movie.
KRISTIAN LIN
It all started with a casual remark. In 1970, Timothy Tyson was an 11-year-old white boy growing up in Oxford, N.C., when one of his friends said, “Pa and Roger and ‘em shot ‘em a nigger.” Just like that...


GasLand Drills for Answers

A Pennsylvania filmmaker visits North Texas to get the dirt on gas drilling.
DAN MCGRAW
In December 2008, live-theater producer and filmmaker Josh Fox (his 2008 film, Memorial Day, was based on the Abu Ghraib prison scandal) was approached by several landmen who wanted him to sign a deal to lease mineral rights fo...