Film Reviews

Also-Ran

In case you haven’t noticed, the indie dramedy formula won’t be going away anytime soon, thanks to movies like Dan.
Cole Williams
Of all the young, male comedic actors who have recently been in or directed movies that don’t hew to formula, Steve Carell is arguably tops of the class.


Amanda Alert

Ben Affleck comes up aces directing the missing-girl mystery Gone Baby Gone.
Kristian Lin
It probably didn’t happen this way, but I can easily imagine Ben Affleck in the midst of his 2003 Gigli-induced purgatory, taking time out to watch Mystic River and thinking to himself, “Hell, I can do that” (or words to ...



Blood and Snow

Even after 30 Days of Night, this film can’t put a new twist on the vampire genre.
Kristian Lin
Since Bram Stoker’s Dracula was published 110 years ago, doing something new with vampires in any storytelling medium has gotten to be extremely difficult.


Mr. Bagman

The flawed legal thriller Michael Clayton still wins favorable judgment.
Kristian Lin
You shouldn’t be surprised that Michael Clayton is currently being overrated by America’s film critics. The movie practically begs for it.



The Other Elizabeth

Cate Blanchett returns for a royally disappointing sequel about England’s queen.
Kristian Lin
In 1998, an Indian director and his Australian leading lady collaborated on Elizabeth, a chilling historical drama that brought their largely unknown names to the world’s attention.


Blood Sausage

A Euless acting teacher gives his students their own grisly horror film as a class project.
Kristian Lin
I’ll bet that relatively few people have ever watched a movie while sitting in one of the locations where it was shot.



Not a Novelty

This week’s discussion topic: The Jane Austen Book Club, which falls into a cozy trap.
Kristian Lin
When I reviewed Becoming Jane two months ago (“Conduct Unbecoming,” Aug. 8), I mentioned how certain movies and books imagine a romantic life for Jane Austen, when history indicates that none existed.


Arabesque

The politically aware action thriller The Kingdom has something for everyone.
Kristian Lin
The Kingdom is the fourth movie directed by Peter Berg, and it’s obviously his bid to join that elite club of filmmakers whose action thrillers appeal to both the popcorn-eating masses and the socially conscious moviegoers.



Half-Baked Alaska

Sean Penn’s Into the Wild sure runs long, but it never seems big enough.
Kristian Lin
In a fitful and fitfully effective sidelight as a director, Sean Penn has been trying to make Jon Krakauer’s book Into the Wild into a film ever since its publication in 1996.


You Can’t Do That

Julie Taymor’s Beatles musical Across the Universe is something helter-skelter.
Kristian Lin
Musical stage shows and films established themselves as massively popular forms of entertainment in the first half of the 20th century, but then in the 1960s, the music and the audiences changed.