Monthly Archives: January 2013

//January

Barbara – 8.5

January 29th, 2013|

Another psychological thriller from the bad old days of East Germany. Maybe it’s easier to make a compelling movie about times, like World War II, when things are so black-and-white. Here, everyone is under constant strain, not just to be a good person, but to live up to your own principles while suffering under the […]

Sister (L’Enfant d’en Haut) – 4

January 29th, 2013|

Perfectly well made movie, and Lea Seydoux was luscious, but I spent the whole film hoping, waiting for the little thief to get caught, and the last half-hour waiting for the film to end. I don’t know if we were supposed to feel sympathy for the poor 12-year-old Simon, “forced” to steal in order to […]

Disconnect – 8

January 25th, 2013|

The problems are well-worn: a journalist’s too-close relationship with a source; a couple’s inability to communicate after a child is lost; teens hazing a classmate who is ‘different'; parents and teens navigating the shoals of adolescence. What is new is the setting, the world of the web and social media, where communication is typed and […]

Rust and Bone – 7.9

January 25th, 2013|

A physical cripple bonds with an emotional cripple in a movie so gritty and realistic that we overlook the implausibilities of plot. TK is a feral animal with no apparent sense of responsibility, living on instinct and the occasional stolen sandwich, locking up the worst-father-of-the-year award in his spare time. Anna is beautiful but somewhat […]

Life of Pi – 6.5

January 25th, 2013|

Call me stupid, but I didn’t understand the book and I didn’t understand the movie. What was the absurdly unbelievable tale of coexisting on the Pacific for 225 days with a Bengal tiger about? I gather it is meant as a parable, or allegory, but of what? On top of that, my anti-Indian prejudice based […]

Zero Dark Thirty – 6.5

January 14th, 2013|

What one thinks of this movie will depend on the views one brings into the theater. For me, I think the “war on terror” is the gravest policy mistake our country has made since the Vietnam War. Of course, any and all who perpetrated the horrors of 9/11 should have been pursued and brought to […]

This is 40 – 5

January 12th, 2013|

There are a bunch of jokes that make you laugh, but never uproariously, and that’s about it. Overhanging what there is of a story is a monumental disconnect: husband and wife are both in low-paying (or non-paying) jobs and they are facing bankruptcy, yet he drives a BMW, she a Lexus; he gives his father […]

Les Miserables – 7

January 1st, 2013|

The music is kind of blah, the lyrics sophomoric, and the movie played like a stage musical, with pauses for applause after every set piece. When I saw Les Mis in the theater I found it a derivative and lukewarm Phantom of the Opera. What was notable in the film version were the performances – […]

Django Unchained – 8.4

January 1st, 2013|

Pitch perfect. The ultimate Tarantino. Gratuitous violence has never been so fun. A miscast Leonardo DiCaprio – although not as bad as Brad Pitt in Inglorious Basterds  – was my only quibble, but all the other actors were so great it hardly mattered. Samuel L. Jackson was Oscar-worthy, but Christoph Walz was […]

Flight – 6.5

January 1st, 2013|

Denzel Washington walked an impressive tightrope: keeping us rooting for his character while continually disappointing us with his conduct. His co-star was very appealing, and John Goodman was a pleasure, as always. In the end, though, this was strictly a one-trick pony, and that trick wasn’t all that engaging.