Monthly Archives: January 2014

//January

Big Bad Wolves – 8.5

January 31st, 2014|

This had everything Quentin Tarantino could want in a movie – suspense, outrageous gore, great characters and humor everywhere – which is presumably why he calls it the best movie of the year. The plot contains just enough ambiguity to keep you guessing, and the shocker of an ending either explains it all or leaves […]

Lee Daniels’ The Butler – 5

January 31st, 2014|

Purest hokum. Every president since Ike and every civil rights moment since Brown v. Board of Education is seen through the eyes of a White House butler, and in order to compress them all, plus the growth of the Black Power movement, into the space of this movie, there’s not much room for subtlety or […]

Fruitvale Station – 8

January 31st, 2014|

This movie crept up on me. Watching on an airplane, I couldn’t make out some dialogue, and nothing much out of the ordinary seemed to be happening. The character of Oscar continued to build. Yes, he was a bit of a fuck-up: he cheated on his girl, he was hotheaded, he was fired from his […]

The Wolf of Wall Street – 7.3

January 20th, 2014|

I can’t think of a single credible, or logical, scene in the entire movie. So, okay, take it on its own absurdist terms, and it was pretty funny. The trouble, though, for me at least, was that this was based on real events and real people and a real business, which made it hard to […]

Her – 6

January 20th, 2014|

Frankly, I got a little tired of full-screen shots of Joaquin Phoenix’s face. They admirably conveyed his every thought and feeling, but his thoughts and feelings weren’t particularly interesting. What interest there was lay in Scarlett Johansson’s disembodied voice, a personal OS that provided Theodore’s love interest. Hearing Her develop a personality that reflected His […]

A Touch of Sin – 7.5

January 3rd, 2014|

A searing portrait of contemporary Chinese society, not always comprehensible to a Westerner, although violence is a fairly universal language. The separate stories are marginally related, enough that you feel it is one society you are seeing; and the protagonists are similarly social misfits or outcasts, who all, in different ways, want a better life […]

Philomena – 5

January 3rd, 2014|

Dull. A tear-jerker that failed to jerk any tears. Why was this movie of an Irish mother’s search for her lost son in America so unaffecting? Maybe because there was so little drama: finding the son turned out to be easy; so the search became a search for details about his life, which wasn’t very […]