Film Reviews

A Faulkner Story

A local doctor turns writer and star of a low-budget film.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...