This week, I saw one good movie and two unspeakable piles of garbage. From where I sit, that’s a pretty fair average for the summer. And I didn’t even see the one about Jim Carrey and the penguins.
The one to catch is A Better Life, an intelligent, heartfelt study of the Olympian daily struggles of an honest, hard-working single father who also happens to be an illegal immigrant, toiling as a Mexican gardener in Los Angeles, while doing everything he can to keep his head above water and protect his 14-year-old son from the toxic environment of the ghettos in East L.A. Read More
The Best and the Brightest should be called The Worst and the Dumbest. Written on the lid of a toilet seat and directed in a coma by a first-time hack named Josh Shelov, this is the kind of crap that proves the movie world is overpopulated with amateurs who call themselves producers, always ready with a fast buck to squeeze their names into the opening credits of gibberish in order to establish an entry on the Internet Movie Data Base. Read More
As summer garbage goes, The Green Lantern can’t go fast enough. Even in the brainless world of cinematic comic books gone bad, it’s as bad as it gets—a dumb, pointless, ugly, moronic and incomprehensible jumble of botched effects, technical blunders, and cluttered chaos. Oh yes. It is also—did I forget to mention?—boring.
In the sudden current rush of coming-of-age movies, there is nothing especially inventive or original about The Art of Getting By, but thanks to talented first-time writer-director Gavin Wiesen, it has more charm and wit than most of its J.D. Salinger-inspired cousins in the same genre, and is undeniably engaging. Read More
The romantic saga Bride Flight is a flawed but absorbing romantic saga from Dutch director Ben Sombogaart spanning five decades that offers a contrast to the teenage summer monotony. In postwar Holland, a planeload of strangers sign up for an actual 1953 KLM flight that entered an air race from London to New Zealand, Read More
The Norwegian film Trollhunter is Super 8 with subtitles and a shoestring budget that wouldn’t pay for Mr. Spielberg’s Perrier. Based on the conceit that in 2008, 238 minutes of film arrived anonymously at a film studio in Oslo containing historic footage of a hunting party that encounters a fabled troll, the movie declares that after two years of investigation it was deemed authentic. Trollhunter, directed by André Øvredal, purports to be the edited version. Read More
The summer vacation doldrums are here, providing I.Q. challenges to moviegoers of all ages, but for adolescents with a lot of free time on their hands, Super 8 promises something extra. Read More
Evolution, In Real Time! Terrence Malick’s Ponderous ‘The Tree of Life’ Ponders the Meaning of Existence
The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick’s incomprehensible history of evolution from seed to death (and beyond), was booed in Cannes. Now I know why. It is 138 minutes of the kind of pretentious twaddle that makes critics slobber and audiences snore. Sifting through the reams of recyclable blogs and print reviews dispatched from Cannes, where Read More
Matt Damon is always a vigorous and resourceful actor, but his fans don’t seem to support him in roles that wander too far away from fatuous, farfetched fiction. Despite what amounts to little more than a sleepwalking cameo in the deadly Cohen brothers remake of True Grit, this deserving actor has not had a hit Read More