Film Reviews

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...



Love Is All Around

Big movie stars outnumber big laughs in Valentine's Day.
KRISTIAN LIN
Even before Valentine’s Day has reached the theaters, gimlet-eyed observers are already comparing it to the 2003 British film Love Actually, both movies being scattershot omnibus comedies that tell multiple romantic stori...


Need a Lift?

Frozen won't give you one, just thrills and chills.
KRISTIAN LIN
The Sundance Film Festival may be known for earnest, small-scale dramas, but it also has been the launching pad for some brutally simple low-budget thrillers as well. Hollywood’s good at entertaining you with the unreal; ...



Letters to Savannah

Yet another sodden Nicholas Sparks adaptation: Dear John.
KRISTIAN LIN
In her recent, cautiously positive review of Extraordinary Measures, film critic Dana Stevens advanced the idea on Slate that the movie world’s new guilty pleasure is pablum rather than pulp. In other words, slasher flick...


One-Part Drama

Another British import loses its flavor in America: Edge of Darkness.
KRISTIAN LIN
The key to understanding what’s right and what’s wrong with Edge of Darkness is knowing that it’s based on a British TV miniseries. Our friends across the Atlantic regularly make intelligent multiple-hour opus...