Movie Reviews - Page 6

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Review: ‘Sicario’ Is One of the Most Intense Movies of the Year

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by Matt Singer September 10, 2015 @ 3:42 PM
Lionsgate
‘Sicario’ is an exercise in prolonged tension like few others. Every moment from the first scene to the last is suspenseful. The opening, a deadly raid on a drug kingpin’s safe house establishes a terrifying precedent: In this film, violence can erupt at any time without any warning, and no one and nothing can be trusted. Having thoroughly unsettled the audience, director Denis Villeneuve keeps viewers on edge with shifty characters, sudden bursts of gunfire, and the careful use of a persistent, pounding score. Remember the scene in Boogie Nights where Alfred Molina is randomly tossing firecrackers at Mark Wahlberg and John C. Reilly? Sicario is like that scene for two straight hours with no “Sister Christian.” It is intense.

‘Hitchcock/Truffaut’ Review: One of the Best Film Books of All Time Is Now a Movie

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by Matt Singer September 10, 2015 @ 2:46 PM
Courtesy of TIFF
In 1962, Alfred Hitchcock and Francois Truffaut spent a week in a room at Universal Studios talking about movies. That interview became the book Hitchcock/Truffaut, which proceeds systematically as the two explore Hitchcock’s career, analyzing each of his films one by one. The discussion wasn’t filmed, but the audio was recorded, and now that audio forms the spine of Kent Jones’ Hitchcock/Truffaut documentary, which doesn’t so much adapt the book as it does bring it to life onscreen. Hearing Hitchcock and Truffaut makes clear something that’s easy to forget reading words on a page: That this conversation — maybe the greatest ever on the subject of films and filmmaking — was conducted through a translator. Hitchcock didn’t know French; Truffaut couldn’t understand English. But both spoke the language of cinema, which transcends communicative limitations.