Film Reviews

The Eagle: British Invasion

Rosemary Sutcliff’s novel comes to surprising life.
As it turns out, The Illusionist isn’t the only movie out this week that’s set in Scotland. If you go into this toga-and-sandals epic pumped for a fire-breathing piece of entertainment on the order of 300 or Gladiator, you...

The Illusionist: Scots Oui, Oui

A French animation genius returns to the screen at last.
Seven years ago, Sylvain Chomet captured the world’s attention with his animated feature film debut The Triplets of Belleville. At the time, many critics including me saw the influence of Jacques Tati, the great mid-20th-cent...

Another Year: If It Makes You Happy

A troubled Mary upstages Tom and Gerri’s show in this British drama.
Mary works as a secretary at a medical clinic in London. She’s somewhere in her 40s or 50s, it’s hard to say. However old she is, she’s still quite beautiful, full of energy, and a lot of fun at parties. That’s in small...

Oh, What a Biutiful Mess

This drama among Barcelona’s dispossessed is one long slog.
In December, the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association named Biutiful the best foreign language film of 2010. Last week, the movie picked up Oscar nominations for Best Foreign Language Film and for Javier Bardem’s lead p...

Rabbit Hole: Childless Parents

The drama is only above-average in this story of bereavement.
Whither the prestige picture? I’m talking about straightforward, visually handsome, modestly budgeted films that feature a few high-powered actors tackling weighty issues, usually working from a script with a literary or thea...

The Rite Is Wrong

Anthony Hopkins’ hamming is the scariest thing in this exorcism flick.
In the past I wondered whether they were running out of titles for movies that take place on submarines. Now I’m wondering whether they’re running out of titles for exorcism movies. This latest one is called The Rite, and i...

Phillip Morris: Liar Liar

Jim Carrey’s back on his game in this gay caper flick.
One of 2010’s most charming movies is I Love You Phillip Morris, the demonic gay bastard child of The Informant! and Brokeback Mountain. This madcap caper film played at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews that, a...

Evangelion: Dark Angels

The second film in this anime series is strictly for hardcore fans.
“By now, Seele must be aware of NERV’s ultimate goal.” “That won’t stop us from doing what we must do, even if it means opposing God’s Logos.” I heard that exchange early in the anime film Evangelion: 2.0 (cryptic...

Blue Valentine: Heartbreak Hotel

In love or at war, Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are magnificent.
Just as falling in love is a part of life, so too is breaking up. Yet most movies leave the subject of breakups in the background, if they address it at all. A breakup often happens to the heroine at the beginning of the movie,...

Country Strong: Let It Go

This music drama’s wasted potential is sad enough for a country song.
The pre-World War II film director Howard Hawks once said that a good movie consisted of three good scenes and no bad ones. Country Strong has two very good scenes and a ton of bad ones. It is, on balance, a bad movie, but it...