The powerful need to be understood drives Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter
"This is a true story," reads the introduction to the Coen brothers' 1996 film Fargo—and Kumiko (Rinko Kikuchi) takes the Coens at their word.
Storytelling clutter gets in the way of the romantic star power of Insurgent
The most interesting aspect of 2014's Divergent was its fundamental resistance to establishing its own story and world-building.
Cinderella finds a version of the Disney classic stripped of its charm
It's time for those of us who write about film to admit it: The war for Hollywood's soul is lost. It was lost a long time ago.
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel revisits an amiably bland anthology formula
Join me, if you will, on a journey back to the late 1970s in America. Jimmy Carter was president, lapels were wide, and those who were not fever-ing on Saturday nights were often spending them in the comfortable embrace of the crew of the Pacific Princess ...
Focus mistakenly emphasizes romance over sleight of hand
If a real-world con game has to be meticulously constructed in order to work, a movie about con games—like Focus—has to be even more meticulously constructed.
An inspirational true story finds the wrong focus in McFarland, USA
In recent years—particularly in regard to the transformation of New York City's Times Square from a locus of iniquity into a tourist-friendly hub of consumerism—people tend to wield the word "Disneyfication" in a negative context.
Oscar nominee Song of the Sea may be unique, but it's not awesome
Second-guessing Academy Award nominations is one of the most cherished pastimes of movie lovers; sometimes, it's more fun than watching the Academy Awards themselves.
Not just one magnificent character study, but a dozen smaller, equally fascinating ones
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have carved out a magnificent filmmaking career built on exploring one simple but essential subject: the consequences of and rationalizations for our moral choices.
Sundance 2015 finds its own identity apart from last year's success stories
There's often a sense that any given Sundance Film Festival—perhaps in keeping with the way everything about the movie industry feels—is chasing the previous year.
Black or White dabbles obliviously in thorny questions of race and privilege
There are many reasons why a narrative can piss you off to the point where you can't see straight. Everyone's got their hot button, installed in uniquely sensitive areas of the psyche, whether it's a matter of politics, ...
City Weekly film contributors react to the Academy's choices, for good or ill
Like many, I feared Marion Cotillard would be left out of the Best Actress field. She hasn't got a shot of winning for the remarkable Two Days, One Night, ...
One soldier's struggle for normalcy tells a bigger story in American Sniper
If movie-world think pieces are any indication, American Sniper is the latest fact-based movie that simply isn't going to be allowed to be a movie.
Riveting character study is a non-sensationalist account of a true story
Even if you remember the bizarre news story that inspired it, Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher is likely to be deeply unsettling.
Selma captures the behind-the-scenes work involved in changing the world
When we first see Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) in director Ava DuVernay's riveting drama Selma, it's in a context where we're already used to seeing him: He's delivering a speech.
Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice is both hilarious and kind of tragic
There are those who will observe—and have observed already—that Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice is weird, rambling, fragmented, occasionally over the top