Film Reviews

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...

Tolstoy Finds The Last Station

The Last Station has two Oscar nods, but it ain't Tolstoy.
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.
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?