Film

Violation

Breaking and Entering makes hash out of big issues, and that’s a petty crime.
Kristian Lin
Anthony Minghella made his name as the director of lush, cosmopolitan, epic literary adaptations with period settings, beginning with The English Patient in 1996 and continuing through The Talented Mr. Ripley and Cold Mountain.


Potter Books

The creator of Peter Rabbit remains flat on the page in this stuffy biopic.
Kristian Lin
Remember last week when I praised Notes on a Scandal as an antidote to what I called “tea-and-crumpets” British cinema?



Army of Shadows

A CATS alumnus turned documentarian discovers a great untold story in Belgium.
Kristian Lin
When Mat Hames was growing up in Grand Prairie, he managed to convince his mom one day that he’d been kidnapped. Not amused, she nonetheless figured she’d better find an outlet for that kind of imagination and signed him up...


Off the Island

Letters From Iwo Jima is an Oscar nominee, but it falls short of the hype.
Kristian Lin
Clint Eastwood shot Letters From Iwo Jima and Flags of Our Fathers as companion pieces.



Teacher’s Pet

Judi Dench takes Notes on a Scandal and reveals the blackness of one woman’s soul.
Kristian Lin
The tabloids would have you believe that movie stardom is exclusively for young hotties, but take a look at 72-year-old Judi Dench.


Barberic Violence

I feel you, Sweeney Todd. Tim Burton goes dark and beautiful with this revenge opera.
Kristian Lin
People who think of musicals as light and fluffy entertainment have been surprised that Tim Burton is doing one, even though previous Burton movies have burst into song and dance.



Idiocracy

Forest Whitaker reigns supreme over the flawed The Last King of Scotland.
Kristian Lin
Throughout his career, Forest Whitaker has always been the nice guy.


Yes, Maugham

The lead actors save The Painted Veil from being just another pretty picture.
Kristian Lin
Mark this as one of those coincidences that occasionally pop up within the format of this page.



Family Coup

The palaces are pretty but empty in the Chinese epic Curse of the Golden Flower.
KRISTIAN LIN
Four years ago Zhang Yimou made the most expensive film in Chinese history, Hero, with an estimated budget of $30 million.


Happily Never After

Elementally powerful, Pan’s Labyrinth is wondrous and devastatingly sad.
Kristian Lin
Chalk up yet another great year for Mexican filmmakers. The closely knit trio of Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro, and Alejandro González Iñárritu all delivered acclaimed movies in 2006, though strangely enough it’s the...