Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Best Movies of 2011

And so, it all comes down to this. I was thrilled with the variety and scope of my 2011 moviegoing, and I hope this list reflects that. Among the gems and masterpieces the past year had to offer is "A Separation," seen below.

To find out where this and the rest of my favorite films landed on my 2011 Top Ten List, now online at SouthPhillyReview.comCLICK HERE.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Best and Worst Movie Posters of 2011

For The House Next Door, the official blog of Slant Magazine, I compiled lists of The Best and Worst Movie Posters of 2011, the year-end culmination of my weekly Poster Lab column.

Click on and check out where your favorite and most reviled poster designs landed.

For The Worst Posters of the Year, CLICK HERE.
For The Best Posters of the Year, CLICK HERE.

Meryl Streep Essay: Acting, Politics with Oscar's Queen

For Fandor's Keyframe blog, I was happy to write a piece on none other than Meryl Streep, and two films that give you a rare glimpse into her actorly process: "The Iron Lady," coming soon to theaters, and "Theater of War," a 2008 doc about Meryl's role in the NYC production of "Mother Courage."

To read the article, now online at Fandor's Keyframe, CLICK HERE.

'War Horse,' Film vs. Play

For Nathaniel Rogers's The Film Experience, I whipped up a post about "War Horse," comparing the film and the play, both of which I saw two weeks back (the play was breathtaking!).

To take a look at the article, which weighs the plus and minuses of Steven Spielberg's take on the material, CLICK HERE.

The Worst Movies of 2011

It's that time of year again. South Philly Review has my list of the 10 Worst Movies of the Year. "Cowboys & Aliens" (below) figures prominently.

The films that just missed the cut? "Twilight 4.1," "Bad Teacher," Kung Fu Panda 2," "The Eagle," "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," "Trespass," "Restless," and "Your Highness." To read the full list, now online at, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Angelina Jolie Feature

Two weeks ago, I had the great and unique pleasure of attending a press conference for Angelina Jolie's terrific debut feature, "In the Land of Blood and Honey." Ms. Jolie was present. I sat mere feet away from her. I spoke to her. She responded, and looked into my eyes.

Seriously, as much as I love the opportunities I get to meet with famous folks I admire, and as surreal as it may be at times, I'm not the starstruck type. I enjoy approaching interviews in a way that's both casual and very much about the work at hand. But this was...well, my heart was beating big time when it came time for to ask a question. (It's Angelina, dude.) I'm proud to say she answered the question well.

My article on the experience is now online at Slant Magazine. CLICK HERE.

'The Hobbit' Trailer

Scratch that...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'The Dark Knight Rises' Trailer

Because I just never post impromptu stuff to this poor little blog anymore, herewith is the most anticipated trailer in many a moon:

Naturally, Anne Hathaway's teasy Catwoman bits have me tingling. Ditto the Occupy Gotham swarm of prison escapees. Give it to me, Nolan.

'The Artist' Review

I have a screener for this black and white beauty sitting in front of my TV, and if there's anything I'm looking forward to post-holiday, it's popping it in to revisit the glee I felt at this year's New York Film Festival. "The Artist" is all kinds of lovely, and since no films that top it on my Best of 2011 list have a prayer, I'm all for it claiming the Best Picture Oscar.

Read my full review of "The Artist," now online at CLICK HERE.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Interview with Cast and Crew of 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'

I was thrilled to interview Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Peter Straughan and Tomas Alfredson--actor, actor, writer and director of "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," a gorgeously constructed, perplexingly smart spy thriller that stands among the year's very best films.

Take a read of my feature on these fine gentlemen, now online at Slant Magazine. CLICK HERE. And please be sure to swing by The House Next Door, where I'm regularly posting articles on Oscars, Posters, Stars on the Rise, and more fun stuff. GET IT HERE.

'Shame' Review

I've made no secret of my disappoint with this movie, which I surely thought would have had a place on my year-end Top 10. But know that this is indeed a film of truly great performances, if little else.

Read my review of "Shame," now online at CLICK HERE.

Friday, December 2, 2011

'Hugo' Review

I was really taken with, and blindsided by, Martin Scorsese's "Hugo," a supposed kids movie that winds up a cinephile's valentine. It really grows on you, which is not to say it isn't totally magical in the moment, too.

Read my review of "Hugo," now online at CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Muppet Farewell to November

For Nathaniel Rogers's The Film Experience, I joined in on an ongoing Muppet celebration by offering a short piece on "The Muppet Christmas Carol," a fine holiday movie to get y'all in the spirit.

Let it be a farewell piece with which to bid adieu to November 2011. You can read it RIGHT HERE.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

'My Week with Marilyn' Review

A little late in posting this. Such is the peril of going away for Thanksgiving. I'm in crazy, stupid love with Michelle Williams, and her Marilyn is ace, but this movie is otherwise quite a joke.

Read my full review of "My Week with Marilyn," now online at CLICK HERE.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

'The Descendants' Review

Yes, I'm on the bandwagon. Clooney joins Payne for one of the best films of 2011.

Read my review of "The Descendants," now online at CLICK HERE.

Friday, November 11, 2011

'Puss in Boots' Review

Had I not just acquired an adorable new cat (Hi, Lucy!), I may not have warmed so well to this essentially needless spinoff, which breezes out of your memory like a fur ball in a windstorm (hehehe). Nevertheless, there's a lot of beautiful imagery here, for cat owners and non-cat owners alike.

Read my full review of "Puss in Boots," now online at CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

'The Skin I Live In' Review

I'm so mad for this movie that I truly, deeply wish it were better. Even still, a year with an Almodovar film is a good one, and I'm glad he's colored my 2011 viewing.

Read my review of "The Skin I Live In," now online at CLICK HERE.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kirsten Dunst Interview

This article was previously published in the November 2011 issue of ICON Magazine. It has been republished with permission.

The Upside of Apocalypse
In the new Lars von Trier film Melancholia, Kirsten Dunst plays a deeply depressed bride who welcomes the destruction of the planet. But in Dunst's own world, things have never been better.

By R. Kurt Osenlund

BETWEEN SMALL SIPS OF GRAPEFRUIT juice, Kirsten Dunst keeps giggling. It's morning at the Crosby Street Hotel in SoHo, and the 29-year-old actress, who's been lending her smirky, all-American looks to movies since the age of seven, is still reeling from the night before, when she and True Blood hunk Alexander Skarsgård, her onscreen fiancé in the new Lars von Trier mind-rattler Melancholia, finally blew off some steam amidst a nonstop press tour for the film.

“We celebrated,” Dunst says, her playful laugh and expression making it especially hard to believe that 17 years have passed since she played the youngest March sister in Little Women. “It was the first time we had a chance to celebrate.”

She may not have much time for it, but Dunst – or “Kiki,” to her fans – certainly has cause for celebration these days. In addition to winning her the Best Actress award at this year's Cannes Film Festival, her performance in Melancholia is earning her the greatest praise of her career and putting her on the short list of contenders for this year's lead actress Oscar. In the movie, which makes no bones about its ending (the world is spectacularly, unapologetically obliterated), Dunst plays Justine, a deeply depressed bride who strains to feign happiness at the start of the film, and whose name, one can only assume, is a nod to the Marquis de Sade's doomed and tortured rebel heroine.

Such is perfectly appropriate, considering that von Trier has gained a reputation for casting actresses in roles of near-sadistic turmoil, from Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves to Charlotte Gainsbourg in 2009's Antichrist. In Melancholia, Gainsbourg stars opposite Dunst as Justine's relatively level-headed sister, Claire. The two actresses chatted about their director while doing the rounds at Cannes (where, two years ago, Gainsbourg also picked up a Best Actress prize for serving as von Trier's muse), and Dunst says she initially sought advice from her Spider Man-3 co-star Bryce Dallas Howard, who in 2005 got in front of von Trier's camera for Manderlay. To the certain disappointment of sensationalist rags, the consensus seems to be that working for von Trier is by no means torturous, but rather liberating and, by all evidence, rewarding.

“I was completely drawn in by Lars,” Dunst says. “I really love his films. I'm always drawn to directors first, and he's one of the great auteurs of our time. He's also one of the only ones writing roles like this for women. It's just an opportunity that doesn't come along very often for anyone.”

Dunst would know. After more than two successful decades in the business, she certainly doesn't have much reason to complain, but like most American actresses, highs like Spider-Man and Marie Antoinette and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind are punctuated by lows like Elizabethtown and The Crow: Salvation and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. She's right: there just isn't a flood of compelling roles out there. But Melancholia presents a meaty and challenging one, requiring the conviction to handle a mercurial rollercoaster that includes chirpy denial, profound discomfort, debilitating sadness, eerie aloofness, nudity, sex, and grace under the ultimate pressure— impending annihilation.

It's no secret that von Trier has been battling his own depression, and that it's manifested in his work, from the crushingly troublesome mood evoked by Antichrist to the titular destructive planet in Melancholia, which, as it heads inexorably toward our comparatively puny orb, represents Justine's heavy, ever-encroaching blues. Through the course of the movie, which is quite deliberately split in two, Dunst is tasked with convincing you of Justine's emotional shift, from an ill-behaving and nearly catatonic bride (she systematically ruins her wedding before descending into a state in which she can't eat or bathe) to a woman who finds a strange comfort in imminent doom, holding it together while everyone and everything around her falls apart.

“We talked about it, Lars and I,” Dunst says of Justine's curious arc. “We talked about how, sometimes, when people are depressed, the most horrendous things make them kind of step up to take care of everyone more than anyone else. There could be a lot of reasons for it, but it seems that, when you're in a depressed state, having something really bad happen gives you a kind of life again.”

She doesn't speak much about it, but Dunst suffered from a depression of her own in 2008, shortly after the Spider-Man trilogy closed on a sour note and shortly before Hollywood saw the first year-long drought of Dunst releases since 1992. Reportedly claiming to have felt abysmal for roughly six months beforehand, Dunst checked herself into a Utah facility for treatment. Upon completion, she went on to star in All Good Things, a fact-based New York thriller that, prior to Melancholia, earned her “best ever” raves. Call it the Von Trier Syndrome – depression leading to creative awakening. Her experience certainly informed the way she approached Justine, and her full emergence from it, she says, made tackling the role possible.

“I feel like, to play somebody like this, you have to be in a really good place,” she says, “because you can't play depressed when you're depressed—you can't do anything. There are many who know what that feels like. I think most people have gone through their own version of depression. It's a very normal thing.”

“Normal,” however, isn't the way anyone is going to describe the experience of Melancholia, an extravagantly visceral titan of a movie that, like most all of von Trier's work, is unshakable to the extent that you might want to clear your post-screening schedule. Regardless of how one feels about the apocalypse (whether you'd greet it with an atheistic calm like Justine, or a terrifyingly frantic desperation like Claire), von Trier uses his singular intuition and formidable visual and aural skills to dig right under the skin, penetrating your surface as he presents the smashing of the Earth's crust.

Dunst proves instrumental in her director's artistic goals, nailing that challenge of embodying an antiheroine whose inner life defies typical development. The true strangeness of it all is that, in discussing the role, Dunst never gets more than a touch serious, maintaining a steady levity that comes as a bit of a shock given the character and material in question. Something suggests that out of the actress's emotional lows has emerged an invigorated, and yet, selectively objective, artist, one who knows when to keep seriousness at arm's length and when to her hurl herself headlong into demanding, provocative work. Which, thankfully, seems to be a new habit.

“Whatever this film would have been – a fun experience, a weird experience, whatever – I was ready to do it,” she says. “I'm up for an adventure.”


'Anonymous' and Oscar

In the latest edition of Oscar Prospects at The House Next Door, I'm talking about Roland Emmerich's "Anonymous." GO GET IT.

Happy Halloween: Talking 'Death Becomes Her' Effects

I know, I know...I'm a couple of days late. But there's never a wrong time to enjoy Robert Zemeckis's "Death Becomes Her," the many special effects of which I recently discussed for Nathaniel Rogers's The Film Experience.

Part of TFE's "Oscar Horrors" series, the article was a pleasure to write. To read it, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

New Digs, New Gig!

I'm thrilled and proud to announce that I've recently stepped into a role as Managing Editor of The House Next Door, the official blog of Slant Magazine. It's a terrific gig with a terrific group of guys who've been enormously helpful with both my transition to New York and the advancement of my career (many thanks, as always, Keith and Ed). Since starting the position Oct. 1, I've introduced two new columns: Poster Lab, which dissects posters of buzzworthy films, and Oscar Prospects, which breaks down the Oscar chances of a different film each week. Below are links to the pieces I've done thus far. Please check out The House Next Door regularly to keep up with these articles and many more!

Oscar Prospects: "Carnage"
Poster Lab: "Shame"
Oscar Prospects: "Moneyball"
Poster Lab: "The Iron Lady" and "J. Edgar"
Oscar Prospects: "The Artist"
Poster Lab: "Young Adult"
Oscar Prospects: "The Help"

Chatting About Nicole Beharie

Over at The Film Experience, I wrote up a piece on Nicole Beharie, an underworked, underrated actress who'll thankfully be gaining deserved attention with her supporting work in "Shame." I've adored Beharie since I saw her in "American Violet," a film that rightfully slipped through the cracks, but boasts and Oscar-worthy lead turn from its starlet. My piece is now available. Thanks to Nathaniel Rogers for the idea/initiative. CLICK HERE to read it.

Friday, October 28, 2011

'Martha Marcy May Marlene' Review

Elizabeth Olsen breaks out in a big way in "Martha Marcy May Marlene," a twisty film that plays with structure in a way I found really refreshing. If only its depth were as bottomless as the character's lack of security.

Read my full review, now online at CLICK HERE.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

'Take Shelter' Review

Michael Shannon gives one of the year's best male performances in "Take Shelter," one of the year's best films.

And with that terribly brief remark (it's time for me to go to bed), here's the link to my review, now available at CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

NYFF Coverage of 'Goodbye First Love'

My final NYFF review for Nathaniel Rogers's The Film Experience was of Mia Hansen Love's deeply felt, if flawed, "Goodbye First Love." I had a hard time settling on a star rating for this one. It inspires both admiration and ambivalence.

Read my review, online now. CLICK HERE!

Directors Making Differences

For the annual Differnce Makers issue of South Philly Review, I compiled a small handful of filmmakers whose work affects things well beyond the cinema. I can see this list being very passionately argued, but there it is.

Th article is now available on the SPR site. CLICK HERE.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

'Real Steel' Review

I will cherish "Real Steel" as the film of 2011 I truly expected to hate, but wound up being helpless against in the sniffles department. Turns out it's one moving machine. And fun, too.

Read my review of the film, which is now online at CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

NYFF Coverage of "The Kid with a Bike"

Continuing my guest coverage of The New York Film Festival for Nathaniel Rogers's The Film Experience, I offered a write-up on The Dardenne Brothers "The Kid with a Bike," a wonderful film that reaches toward the uppermost region of my 2011 list.

To check out my review of the film, CLICK HERE. And while you're there, you may want to give my latest Cinema de Gym column a read. It takes a look at the Spanish version of Tony Scott's "Man on Fire," which just hapens to be one of Taylor Lautner's five favorite movies. Aww, snap.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

'The Ides of March' Review

George Clooney's latest directorial effort, "The Ides of March," is a crackling political work, almost impenetrable in its early stages because of all the dense and shrewd rarefied jabber. The script has a sort of obvious subtlety, strictly adhering to the show-don't-tell rule, yet still managing to show too much. That said, it's really good.

So, I thought I'd have some fun on Facebook, and re-create the IDES poster with the help of Michele Bachmann, but no one seemed to get (or like) the joke. Boo! I'm reusing it here, goshdarnit, with a side-by-side comparison to help the training-wheel crowd.

My review of "The Ides of March" is now online at CLICK HERE.

Friday, October 7, 2011

'Fright Nights' - A Halloween Countdown

*This article was previously published in the October 2011 issue of ICON Magazine. It has been republished with permission.

Gear up for Halloween with a choice selection of superior horror movies.
By R. Kurt Osenlund

I have a lot of tradition films – movies I love to revisit annually. Most of them, naturally, are tied to holidays. For Christmas, I don't think it will ever be anything other than National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, which for years my family and I watched on a damaged VHS tape complete with Sears and Pennsylvania Lottery commercials circa 1992. For Thanksgiving, I've continually made it a point to play Peter Hedges's Pieces of April while toiling away in the kitchen, no matter how many other folks in the house have complained that they'd “rather be watching the parade.” For Halloween, I have a couple of go-to favorites, including Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby and none other than Halloween, the immortal progenitor of the slasher genre.

Halloween is the best movie holiday because there isn't another so firmly and unmistakably tethered to a whole type of movie. Horror films are as integral to October as summer tentpole films are to July; however, July doesn't boast one day on which its movies can be celebrated. Horror interest spikes as All Hallows' Eve draws close, with bump-in-the-night junkies programming their best spooky and shadowy marathons. For those still looking for a lineup, the following group of 10 may serve you well. Since a few are genuinely disturbing, I don't know if I'd recommend adding them to your own list of tradition films, but they're all guaranteed to deliver the goods, by which I mean goosebumps.

Alien (1979)

The Alien franchise really has the bases covered. James Cameron's Aliens is, for my money, one of the best action movies ever made, and Ridley Scott's original, Alien, is surely among the greatest of all horror films. Introducing the masses to the brilliant, curvilinear artistry of Swiss designer H.R. Giger, and serving as an indispensable godparent of the Final Girl phenomenon, this lonely, perfectly-mounted tale of space terror is owed many a debt in terms of influence. Like its successor, it's a masterpiece of atmosphere, a claustrophobic, ever-tightening beauty of dark hallways and air shafts that act as the arteries of what often feels more organism than film. As each crew member of the Nostromo ship is picked off, the knot in your gut intensifies (and that whole chest-bursting scene certainly doesn't help matters).

Antichrist (2009)

Both booed and marveled upon at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, Lars von Trier's Antichrist is a polarizing bit of author therapy – a provocateur's response to his own crippling depression, manifested as a thriller-cum-couples-counseling-psychodrama. Naysayers dismiss the movie – about a couple, He (Willem Dafoe) and She (Charlotte Gainsbourg) mourning the death of their toddler son – as a pretentious pile of artsy indulgence but, through these eyes, it's a work of staggering genius, its unlikely beauty surpassed by its devastating implications. Setting the film in a grave and desolate woods he calls Eden, von Trier deals in fundamentally obvious themes of nature and religion, but the true chill of Antichrist lies in the research of Gainsbourg's character, who before getting pregnant initiated a scholarly study of witchcraft and gynecide. What that means for what takes place in the film proper is profoundly unsettling, and I couldn't shake its impact for weeks. That's more than I can say for most movies.

Audition (1999)

Speaking of violence and women, this painstaking cult favorite from Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike has come to be thought of as a cautionary tale for single men on the prowl. God forbid the girl a bachelor takes home turns out to be anything like Asami (Eihi Shiina), the meek-turned-malicious naif a lonely widower (Ryo Ishibashi) attracts after staging a phony film audition. Unlike American hack Eli Roth, whose similarly-structured Hostel is essentially an inept fanboy homage, Miike presents an engaging mystery before diving into the shock and gore of his much-discussed climax (which, admittedly, is relatively tame 12 years later). Like many titles in this list, Audition blurs the line between reality and nightmare. At the very least, it'll change the way you look at metal wire.

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

These days, director Zack Snyder is best known for using green screens to bring to life his masturbatory geek fantasies, but his best film remains his debut, a hip, polished and almost relentlessly intense remake of George A. Romero's mall-set survival story about zombies run amok. Showcasing a cleaner assemblage of Snyder's technical and stylistic gifts, and featuring a cast of actors who give real, commendable performances (indie princess Sarah Polley is the affecting standout), Dawn of the Dead is far better than a mainstream splatter picture needs to be. Its extended opening, which establishes an environment of fear and frenzy and slowly reveals just how far the zombie sickness has spread (read: it's everywhere), ranks high among the most gripping introductions of the 2000s.

The Descent (2005)

Preying on our morally ambiguous drives to kill or be killed, and our instincts to recoil at tight, confining spaces, Neil Marshall's The Descent, like Alien, works to turn your screening room into a constricting prison. The film would likely be stellar even without the jolting, second-act introduction of subterranean monsters, who start feeding on a pack of girls who go spelunking in an uncharted cave system, and may or may not represent the girls' emerging and unforgiving animalistic impulses. The lighting design is beautifully realized, mixing glowsticks, flares, and rare peeks of sunlight with the directional glow of miner's helmets. We only see what these poor, poor ladies see, making whatever lurks just off screen all the more terrifying.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

A sci-fi epidemic movie akin to Dawn of the Dead, the 1978 remake of the 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers keenly taps into our innate fears of world domination and loss of identity while shrewdly satirizing the paranoia and selfishness often associated with the 1970s. Director Philip Kaufman guides a talented cast that includes Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy and Veronica Cartwright. By the end of the movie, which sees the human race get rapidly replaced by a race of alien doppelgängers, the actors' faces are embedded in your memory, none more than Sutherland's, which appears, mouth agape, in a haunting beast of a final shot.

Let the Right One In (2008)

Already remade for American audiences, the minimalistic Swedish stunner Let the Right One In set the bar high for future vampire films when it debuted three years ago, depicting the surprising love story between a bullied boy (Kåre Hedebrant) and a young girl (Lina Leandersson) who just happens to be a centuries-old vampire. Artful and even poignant, Let the Right One In thrives thanks to an unhurried pace and an incredible collection of wholly arresting images. You might get more bloody bang for your buck in the latest Final Destination installment, but surely you won't find sights so unforgettable as a vampire's victim bursting into flames without warning, or the bullied boy's tormenters getting their grisly comeuppance in a silent scene of extraordinary compositional savvy.

Nosferatu (1922)

You haven't seen the face of horror until you've seen Max Schreck as Count Orlok, the nightmarish improvement on Count Dracula who lurks in the wings in this unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic bloodsucking saga. Directed by the great F.W. Murnau, this seminal German Expressionist film can still rattle nerves nearly a century after its production, depicting Schreck as that albino, bat-like, beclawed demon who's become an eerie icon in popular culture. Depending on which version you come across, you may or may not see the film in multi-colored hues denoting varying times of day. In any case, the stark shadowplay and on-location settings will lend themselves greatly to the experience, which should certainly be had by any true horror fan.

Repulsion (1965)

Before there was Black Swan, there was Polanski's Repulsion, a stirring, black-and-white psychosexual thriller about an unassuming virgin whose repressed past and nightmares of the flesh return to her in the form of vivid hallucinations. As the deeply damaged central character, Catherine Deneuve – in a star-making role – finds the right note of vacant, switched-off madness, her nods, coos and petrified stares perpetuating the film's mystery. A Rosemary's Baby precursor, Repulsion showcases Polanski's aptitude for staging action in ominous residential spaces, and becomes all the more disorienting when it takes the twisted POV of the lead. One need only glance over the other titles in this list to see the scope of Repulsion's influence – it played a key part in fusing horror with feminine sexuality.

The Ring (2002)

Purists probably swear by Hideo Nakata's 1998 Japanese original, Ringu, but Gore Verbinski's remake, The Ring, is a startlingly handsome and graceful Westernization which, for this viewer, proved literally hair-raising. The film may well toss sense and logic right out the window, but hell if young Samara's (Daveigh Chase) indelible emergence from a leaky television isn't one pin-you-to-your-seat moment, the tip-top among many fine, frightening scenes. Latter-day scream queen Naomi Watts was revealed to mass audiences through this blue-filtered beauty, which tells the story of a girl, a well, and a video tape that kills you a week after you watch it. So much for feeling relief when the credits roll.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

'Restless' Review

"Restless" is a precious blah of an arty indie, and that's coming from a pretty faithful Gus Van Sant devotee (you can keep your "Elephant" and "Paranoid Park," but I deeply cherish "My Own Private Idaho" and, yes, "Milk"). Don't go thinking that "Restless" is a must simply because of who's involved. It's better left unseen.

Give me a break.
Read my full review, now online at CLICK HERE.

NYFF Coverage of 'A Dangerous Method'

My first New York Film Festival review is here! For The Film Experience, I chatted about David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method," that Mortenson-Knightley-Fassbender menage a trois that's been steadily building up buzz.

To read my take, CLICK HERE.

Links: 'Mega' 'Role Models'

My most recent Cinema de Gym posts for Nathaniel Rogers's The Film Experience both covered films I'd never seen before. The first: The Paul Rudd/Seann William Scott/Jane Lynch comedy "Role Models." The second: The Will Ferrell/Brad Pitt/Not-Quite-"Despicable Me" animated flick "Megamind."

Please read on! For "Role Models," CLICK HERE. For "Megamind," CLICK HERE.

Link: Evaluating the Visuals of 'Since Otar Left'

My second piece for Keyframe, the official blog of, is an assessment of the gorgeous and meaningful compositions in Julie Bertuccelli's "Since Otar Left," a 10-year-old Cannes fave that's among the Zeitgeist Films titles newly available on the Fandor site.

Packed with stills, the piece is now available for reading and viewing. CLICK HERE.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

'Killer Elite' Review

I know I'm not the audience for "Killer Elite," and my fondness for action films has certainly dwindled over the years, but I remember this genre having a lot more life in it during, say, the 1990s, when every other movie I watched involved a gun or a bomb. Now, more often than not, a bomb is all we get, like this wack-ass espionage head-scrambler.

Could I borrow that gun, Mr. Statham?
Read my full review of "Killer Elite," now online at CLICK HERE.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

'Drive' Review

You can almost hear the backlash rumbling, but it doesn't make one lick of difference. This beautiful baby is easily one of the very best films of 2011.

Read my review of "Drive," now online at CLICK HERE.

Links: 'Sleeping' and 'Waiting'

Amidst settling into my new New York digs (yay!), I finally found some time to post links to my most recent Cinema de Gym columns at Nathaniel Rogers's The Film Experience. Both focusing on romantic comedies, they cover Sandra Bullock's 1990s career-booster "While You Were Sleeping," and the little-seen 2011(?) throwaway "Waiting for Forever."

For the "While You Were Sleeping" article, CLICK HERE.

For the "Waiting for Forever" article, CLICK HERE.