Movie Reviews - Page 2

‘Finders Keepers’ Review: An Epic Battle Over an Amputated Leg

by Matt Singer September 23, 2015 @ 1:20 PM
The Orchard
Here’s a fun game to play: See how long you can go randomly flipping channels through your cable package before you stumble across a reality television show dedicated to the outlandish exploits of rednecks. There’s Duck Dynasty on A&E, Redneck Island on CMT, Swamp People on History, and only about 100 other ones spread out across dozens of channels. The documentation (and exploitation) of Southern culture has become an entire cottage industry on cable TV, one that the book Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon by Anthony Harkins (as quoted in this BuzzFeed article) claims can be tied to an American urge that arises “during moments of economic tension ... mass media rednecks help the American middle class blow off some steam and feel a little more secure."

‘Room’ Review: See It Without Tissues at Your Own Risk

by Matt Singer September 18, 2015 @ 8:43 AM
If you feeling like throw up for a couple hours, take a look at the Wikipedia page for the Elisabeth Fritzl case. Fritzl was imprisoned in 1984 by her father Josef; she didn’t escape until 2008. In the intervening years, Josef repeatedly raped his daughter, and she gave birth to seven of his children; four of them remained incarcerated with Elisabeth, while the other three were adopted by Josef and his wife (he claimed he found them abandoned). Finally, after 24 years of the worst torture imaginable, Elisabeth managed to break free.

‘Black Mass’ Review: Johnny Depp as a Wicked Boston Gangster

by Matt Singer September 16, 2015 @ 2:29 PM
Warner Bros.
Jawny Depp can be a great actuh. But at a certain point in the recent past, Jawny seemed to stop looking faw great material and stahted looking faw anything that would affawd him the awppawtunity to put on a crazy wig and speak in a weeuhd accent. In the past few yeeuhs he’s played a vampiyuh with crazy hair and a weeuhd accent, a Native American with a bird on his head and a weeuhd accent, a Canadian detective with a fake nose and a weeuhd accent, a singing wolf with crazy hair and a weeuhd accent, a British art thief with a crazy mustache and a weeuhd accent, and now, in Black Mass, he’s James “Whitey” Bulgah, with thinning hair and a thick Bahston accent. Do you think Jawny even remembuhs what he really sounds like at this point?

‘Spotlight’ Review: A Great Journalism Movie and a Surefire Oscar Contender

by Matt Singer September 15, 2015 @ 8:29 AM
Open Road
Spotlight is a story about the way things used to be done; a model of journalism in which a reporter might publish one article a year rather than one article a day (or, God help us, an hour). It follows the “Spotlight” unit of The Boston Globe, a four-person team of reporters who investigate big stories for as long as they need. In 2001, Martin Baron (Liev Schreiber) became the new editor of the Globe, and assigned the Spotlight writers the case of a Catholic priest accused of molesting numerous children. But rather than simply cover that one story, the Spotlight staff dug deeper into the Catholic Church’s history of hiding such crimes by moving priests from one place to another. Their work exposed systemic abuse stretching back decades and ultimately won a Pulitzer Prize… but wasn’t published until 2002.

‘Anomalisa’ Review: A Stop-Motion Masterpiece From Charlie Kaufman

by Matt Singer September 14, 2015 @ 1:48 PM
Courtesy of TIFF
A business trip to Cincinnati’s pretty mundane material for a stop-motion animated movie. Why not just shoot this story in live action? As Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s Anomalisa begins, there’s no obvious answer to that question. A man flies into Ohio to present a speech to a customer service conference. He checks into his room at the Hotel Fregoli and thinks of an old girlfriend who lives in the area. These are completely ordinary events and people. Kaufman and Johnson could have been filmed them with human actors at much less expense and difficulty. Quickly, though, idiosyncracies begin to appear in the film’s depiction of reality — anomalies, you might call them — and it becomes clear that the stop motion is an essential element of both Anomalisa’s concept and execution, which are both about as perfect as any movie made anywhere on the planet this year.

‘Freeheld’ Review: Julianne Moore and Ellen Page in a Shameless Tearjerker

by Matt Singer September 13, 2015 @ 11:23 PM
The characters in Freeheld repeatedly tell one another that “life isn’t fair” — and with good reason. The film is about a decorated police officer who spent most of her life hiding her homosexuality to avoid discrimination and bigotry. After years in the closet, she finally falls in love and enters into a domestic partnership, only to be stricken with terminal cancer. All she wants to do is award her pension to her partner so that she can afford to keep their house, but the local government denies her request simply because her partner happens to be a woman. Every single aspect of this scenario is unfair.

‘Our Brand Is Crisis’ Review: Sandra Bullock Gets Our Vote, But This Political Satire Could Use More Bite

by Matt Singer September 13, 2015 @ 1:54 PM
Warner Bros.
When Vice President Joe Biden appeared on The Late Show last week, Stephen Colbert’s first question was about authenticity. “You’re not a politician who’s created some sort of facade to get something out of us,” Colbert said. “We see the real you. How did you maintain your soul in a city that is so filled with people who are trying to lie to us?”

‘Demolition’ Review: A Strong Jake Gyllenhaal Performance in a Weak Movie

by Matt Singer September 10, 2015 @ 11:14 PM
Fox Searchlight
Naomi Watts’ is the second-billed star in Jean-Marc Vallée’s Demolition. On the film’s official Fox Searchlight website, her name appears above the title next to Jake Gyllenhaal’s. But she barely appears in the film’s trailer. She’s onscreen for less than one second. She says just three words. (“You miss her?”) It’s almost like the trailer is trying to hide her.