films

‘Life of Crime’ Boasts a Splendid Cast, But Slow-Paced Plot

Angelo Franco

In a timely fashion, Life of Crime opens to pay homage to Elmore Leonard’s vast collection of crime fiction and the many adaptations they have spawned.  The film, which first screened at last year’s Toronto Film Festival days after Leonard’s death, relies on a fitting cast and a script that rarely deviates from Leonard’s original dialogue.  Perhaps the truest adaptation to one of the author’s novels, Life of Crime starts off sardonic but pleasing and gets you hooked right away.  But then it dozes off for most of its hour and half runtime before it wraps itself nicely with a bow on top. 

‘Amazing Spider-Man 2,’ ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

As Peter swims through personal problems, his city faces a series of new threats, the most serious being an attack by Electro (Jamie Foxx), a supervillain capable of absorbing electricity and using it as a weapon. “Spider-Man 2” deliver’s Electro’s backstory while laying the groundwork for the appearance of two more Spidey villans: the Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) and the Rhino (Paul Giamatti). 

The Life and Times of Paul Bowles: The Man Inside the Cage

Sandra Bertrand

It seems in many ways that Paul Bowles led a charmed life.  The new sounds of jazz had been forbidden in an inordinately strict household—though his mother’s reading of Edgar Allen Poe became an inspiration for his later stories.  A closeted homosexual and a fatalist at heart, he had tossed a coin:  heads he would take his own life, tails he would head for the City of Light.  His early musical talents caught the ear of composer Aaron Copland, his traveling companion for his first trip to Tangier.  But it was in Paris that Gertrude Stein discovered her “Freddie.”  

‘Bad Words,’ Lars Von Trier’s ‘Nymphomaniac’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Jason Bateman makes his feature film directing debut with an eclectic comedy that scores points for originality despite minor problems with consistency and tone. The movie, written by Andrew Dodge, tells the story of Guy Trilby (Bateman), a jaded 40-something who exploits a technicality in the rules of the Golden Quill national spelling bee and ruthlessly competes against grammar school children. 

Clive Owen, Juliette Binoche Wage an Artistic War in ‘Words and Pictures’

Tara Taghizadeh

While the tug-of-war between art versus language serves as a backdrop for the film, the real story is Jack’s tenure as teacher and the danger he faces from the board for losing his job. There are teachers and administrators who side with him and praise his teaching skills, and those who would rather see him go. In the midst of his midlife crisis and his continuous efforts to combat alcoholism, we witness a budding (and surprising) romance between him and Dina.

‘Galapagos Affair’ Recounts Real-Life Sinister Events on the Island

Angelo Franco

This film has it all: intrigue, jealousy, European aristocracy, murder.  It’s also set in a seemingly idyllic utopia, a tiny piece-of-rock island off the coast of Ecuador that lends its Darwinian fame as the stage for this commendable documentary.  That would be the island of Floreana, a 67 square-mile desolate land in the southern region of the Galapagos archipelago, where Friedrich Ritter and his mistress Dore Strauch decide to relocate to escape modern civilization and build their own Eden. 

 

‘The Monuments Men,’ ‘About Last Night’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

The film does, however, mean well, and it focuses on an underreported piece of history. Loosely based on Robert M. Edsel’s nonfiction book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, it centers on the efforts of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program set up during the later stages of the war. The goal of the program was to preserve works of art as Allied forces marched toward victory. 

Gauging the Real Effects of Media

Marty Kaplan

There wouldn’t be an advertising industry if people weren’t susceptible to messages.  POM Wonderful wouldn’t rent billboards promising (falsely) to prevent prostate cancer, the fossil fuel industry wouldn’t spend millions on spots claiming (falsely) to produce clean energy, candidates wouldn’t fork over billions of dollars to local TV stations for (pants-on-fire) political ads if all their money could buy were some wispy correlation.

 

‘Veronica Mars’ Arrives on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

The “Veronica Mars” movie exists only because fans of the TV show willed it into existence. Writer-director Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell sought funding for the long-talked-about picture on the Kickstarter website, and money rolled in at an astounding pace. The fact that major studios previously balked at the idea of backing the film makes one wonder about the state of the film industry. 

‘Labor Day,’ ‘The Legend of Hercules’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Writer-director Jason Reitman (“Juno,” “Up In the Air”) has proven himself an engaging talent with a flair for making movies that are more thought-provoking and off-center than those produced by his famous father, Ivan (“Ghostbusters,” “Stripes”). His latest, “Labor Day,” works both as an unconventional romance and a coming-of-age tale. The plot centers on Henry (Gattlin Griffith) who lives an uneasy life with his severely depressed mother, Adele (Kate Winslet). Henry’s existence is thrown into turmoil when a rough-looking man named Frank (Josh Brolin) approaches him at a department store and “insists” on a ride. 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - films