Movie Reviews - Page 2

‘White Girl’ Review: An Unflinching Look at Young White Privilege in Gentrified NYC

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by Erin Whitney January 24, 2016 @ 4:12 PM
Sundance Film Festival
As soon as I left the theater, still shaken from Elizabeth Wood’s ‘White Girl,’ I Googled the title of the film see what else the filmmaker has done. My finger must have slipped on the Google Search recommendations, as the results for “white girl wasted” popped up. I looked down at the Urban Dictionary definition highlighted at the top, a description that only just begins to capture the perilous, infantile destruction frequently found among, and willingly created by, a demographic often found at New York City bars and clubs.

‘Manchester by the Sea’ Review: Casey Affleck Shines in This Powerful Tearjerker

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by Mike Sampson January 24, 2016 @ 3:12 PM
If you tried to describe Manchester by the Sea to someone else it would sound an awful lot like many other indie dramas. Trouble white guy returns to his hometown to care for a relative. But that does not do justice to Kenneth Lonergan’s third...

‘Swiss Army Man’ Review: Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe Go On a Bizarre Fart-Fueled Adventure

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by Erin Whitney January 23, 2016 @ 2:20 PM
Joyce Kim
If you’ve heard anything about ‘Swiss Army Man’ then you already know one very important detail: Daniel Radcliffe is a farting corpse. That may be enough to make you stop reading and decide this film isn’t for you. After all, there were walkouts during the premiere on Friday night (though when aren’t there walkouts?). But wait, there is more to this completely nutty adventure of hypnotic imagery and childlike fantasy. If you’re intrigued by the idea of how such an obscene and immature level of humor can give way to one of the most enjoyably bizarre, confounding and visually inspired movie-watching experiences, then bear with me.

‘Wiener-Dog’ Review: Love Dogs? Don’t See This Movie

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by Mike Sampson January 23, 2016 @ 1:06 PM
Annapurna Pictures
Looking at that photo above, one might think that Wiener-Dog is a charming, little movie about a dachshund. Even the synopsis of the film provided on Sundance’s official site provides this description: Wiener-Dog tells several stories featuring...

‘Other People’ Review: A Clichéd Cancer Dramedy Starring Jesse Plemons

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by Erin Whitney January 22, 2016 @ 3:30 PM
In ‘Other People,’ the opening night film at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, Jesse Plemons (‘Fargo,’ ‘Breaking Bad’) plays a struggling gay comedy writer who travels home to care for his terminally ill mother. If that synopsis doesn’t shout Sundance, nothing

‘Dirty Grandpa’ Review: I Can’t Believe How Bad This Movie Is

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by Matt Singer January 22, 2016 @ 9:55 AM
Earlier this week, Buzzfeed’s Anne Helen Petersen wrote an essay called “The Shaming of Robert De Niro,” in which she criticized cinephiles who think De Niro should retire rather than continue to harm his legacy as one of his generation’s finest actors by appearing in subpar material. Such arguments, Petersen says, are “snobbery at best and thinly veiled ageism at worst.” Starring in films like The Bag Man, Red Lights, and Killing Season “might not be working with Scorsese for 10 years,” she adds, “but it’s not shameful.”

‘Concussion’ Review: Will Smith’s NFL Drama Is Hugely Important, But Not Very Good

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by Matt Singer December 23, 2015 @ 11:57 AM
Sony
Dr. Bennet Omalu, the subject of the new biopic Concussion, was the first man to publish a study linking head injuries suffered playing football to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and his pioneering work as a forensic pathologist deserves recognition and appreciation. But that pioneering work involved things like autopsies, painstaking research, and lots of paperwork — not exactly the stuff of blockbusters — combined with (at least in Concussion’s telling of the tale) a lot of scolding and righteously indignant speeches. This subject is hugely important, but as shaped by writer/director Peter Landesman, it’s not especially cinematic.

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Review: The Saga Continues...

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by Matt Singer December 16, 2015 @ 2:00 AM
Lucasfilm
The original Star Wars was driven by nostalgia for pulp magazines, Saturday-morning serials, and a simpler era with clear-cut heroes and villains. The new Star Wars is driven by nostalgia for the original Star Wars, and a simpler era when that title evoked words like “adventure” and “excitement,” and not words like “the taxation of trade routes,” and “Jar Jar Binks.” The characters in Star Wars: The Force Awakens are all searching for something of great importance to the galaxy far, far away. I won’t reveal what this MacGuffin is, but I will tell you what it represents: that old Star Wars magic. Can director J.J. Abrams and the rest of the saga’s new creators find it?

‘The Hateful Eight’ Review: Quentin Tarantino Makes the Old West New Again

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by Matt Singer December 15, 2015 @ 2:08 PM
The Weinstein Company
Quentin Tarantino is the master of the comeback. Throughout his career, he’s rediscovered and revitalized the careers of one faded star after another; John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, Pam Grier in Jackie Brown, David Carradine in Kill Bill. Tarantino’s latest, The Hateful Eight, is his boldest reclamation project yet, an attempt to rejuvenate not just a single actor’s fortunes, but an entire medium of storytelling.