Film Reviews

I Can See Cleary Now: Ramona and Beezus

A brave pest finally gets her movie, and it does some good things.
The shadow of America’s recession hangs heavily over Ramona and Beezus. Wow, that’s a portentous opening sentence. It’s true, though — the very first film adaptation of Beverly Cleary’s beloved kids’ books shows the...

Inception Puts You in a Sleeper Hold

Christopher Nolan and his dream team melt your mind.
It’s often said that movies don’t obey the logic of the real world but the logic of dreams. Take Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight — the movie falls apart if you think of the Joker as operating by the same rules as al...

Your Mom Loves You Too Much, Cyrus

A boy’s best friend is his mother in this indie comedy.
If you’ve had your fill of comedies that feature men who are unable or unwilling to grow up, you should really check out Cyrus. This lo-fi comedy with big-name stars takes that notion to a logical extreme and does so in a dis...

Winter’s Bone: Welcome to the Dolly House

A frigid, flavorful Ozark thriller gives us the shivers.
Certain movies inspire my fellow film critics to throw the word “authentic” around. This is a wobbly concept to begin with when talking about works of fiction (and it’s even more loaded when talking about documentary film...

Despicable Me: One to Gru On

A supervillain isn’t so bad, and neither is this animated film.
The trailer for Inception has caused a stir in movieland by being mysterious and not giving away too much of the movie’s plot. Well, the trailers for the animated 3-D kids’ movie Despicable Me have been playing in theaters ...

Eclipse: Lady Ante Bella

The third Twilight movie is the best so far, for what that’s worth.
The Twilight movies have frustrated me, not because they’re made out of junk but for the opposite reason. Stephenie Meyer’s mega-selling series of novels gets unfairly knocked because the fan base is mostly teen and pre-tee...

A Solitary Man Goes Back to School

Michael Douglas tries to hold back the years in this mild comedy.
Since the turn of the new century, Michael Douglas has gradually been phasing himself out of the stardom that he enjoyed in the late ’80s and early ’90s, when he often played angry white men under siege. These days, he’s ...

Knight and Day: Up in the Air

Cruise and Diaz star in this action-comedy. What’s it about, again?
I’m not in the habit of using the word “piffle.” Yet that sprang to mind as I was watching Knight and Day, and the more I thought about it, the more appropriate the outdated word seemed. This plush escapist thriller/roman...

Dragon Tattoo: I Love Playing with Fire

Revenge is Swede in this film version of the hot detective novel.
It’s not every week that a Swedish novelist who’s been dead for six years makes the cover of Entertainment Weekly. Such is the engrossing power of Stieg Larsson’s posthumously published Millennium trilogy of Swedish-langu...

Pixar Re-Opens Its Toy Chest

Toy Story 3 can’t match the first two, but it’s fun.
The following statement is true –– and also pretty much meaningless: Toy Story 3 is the weakest Pixar movie in the last 10 years. It’s true, because the movie never achieves the emotional weight of so many of its fellow P...