Blog 20 Posts

Telluride Film Festival 2013

This is home base for my reviews and notes from the 2013 Telluride Film Festival — a day longer this year, and with a spectacular line-up. Since so much of the festival is constantly in flux, due to the way it’s run, posting a schedule in advance is difficult, so I will update as I […]

SXSW 2013

This is home base for my adventures in Austin this year. Comments and links to reviews will appear in the schedule as the week proceeds. Pre-Festival The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer) C+ Provocative conversation piece is interesting insofar as it offers a glimpse into how mass-murdering psychopaths view their own crimes, but it goes on […]

2012 Year-End Miscellany

There’s never enough time — and less and less every year, as both responsibilities that swallow it and choices for how to spend it seem to keep growing exponentially. And that changes one’s outlook on things. A week or so ago I went to see Texas Chainsaw, having read some reasonably favorable reviews from some […]

Fantasia Film Festival 2012

Blurbs and links to longer reviews to appear below; as with SXSW this year, the goal is to write at least something for everything I see. Schedule tentative and aspirational. Wednesday, July 25 Reign of Assassins (Su Chao-Bin) C+ [I tend to have an attention span of about an hour for these traditional kung fu flicks, […]

2012 Halftime Report

My 10 favorite commercially-released films of the first half of 2012, in alphabetical order: Bernie (Richard Linklater) Declaration of War (Valerie Donzelli) The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies) Elena (Andrei Zvyagintsev) The Kid with a Bike (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne) Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson) Oslo, August 31 (Joachim Trier) Perfect Sense (David Mackenzie) Prometheus (Ridley Scott) 21 Jump Street (Phil Lord & Chris […]

SXSW 2012

I’m going as a civilian this year, not press, but I’m still hoping to jot down at least a few sentences on everything I see. Drive-by comments or links to something longer will appear on this page. Seen Pre-Festival The Raid (Gareth Huw Evans) B-  [This is certainly very impressive, and one can only admire its craft […]

2011 Top Ten List and Other Year End Miscellany

I loved 2011 at the movies, in part because it brought a change in philosophy, namely: an unwillingness to waste time on films that were certain to waste my time. It’s a rewarding approach; I recommend it. The other day I read my friend Eric Snider’s typically terrific year-end piece and, upon realizing that I had only […]

Mid-year Report

If you don’t make a habit of keeping an eye on obscure genre films making a blip on arthouse radar or getting dumped onto VOD, it’s been… well, it’s been a pretty shitty year, is what it’s been. The lack of a truly outstanding big summer entertainment may be the most disappointing thing; after all […]

Is This Thing On?

Well hello! Welcome to the relaunched Film Blather! I hope you like it. The new look and implementation is by the brilliant Matt Brett, whom I heartily endorse for all of your WordPress and web design needs. Take a poke around the new digs and let me know what you think in the comments or […]

2010 Wrap-Up

No fancy wind-up or verbose navel-gazing. This year, we’re keeping things simple. I may have written less in 2010, but I watched roughly as much. Here are some thoughts on the year in film. The Worst, Briefly Noted 10. Charlie St. Cloud (Burr Steers) – A one-act play in three tweets: “Isn’t ‘emo Charlie St. Cloud redundant’?” […]

2008 Wrap-Up

This year marked my first foray to the Toronto International Film Festival — something I likely won’t repeat in 2009, for unrelated reasons — leading to a record number of films watched (315). It was also the year that I made a concerted effort to realign my grading system; I wanted to shape the grade […]

2007 Wrap-Up

If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s critics who end each year with the sentiment that it was “the worst year in recent memory,” without even considering the possibility that perhaps it was they and not the movies that changed. In 2007, fortunately, these sorts of pronouncements have been few and far between, since […]

2006 Wrap-Up

My mindset at the end of each year I spend doing this seems to be the same. There are always frustrations — cinematic, professional and personal — and always moments where I start to think it would be more productive to refocus my efforts, perhaps lower my intake of new releases, or do something else […]

2005 Wrap-Up

I don’t, I am sorry to report, have a particular angle on the year-end summary this year. No laments or gloats on the state of the Oscar race; no whining about favorite movies being maligned, no bemoaning the favorites of others. It was rocky, great year at the movies — as great as any other […]

2004 Wrap-Up

“Frustrating” is maybe the best word to describe cinematic 2004 — not because the output was significantly below average, but because the number of instances wherein I was right and everyone else was wrong seemed to increase exponentially. But though the amount of good movies that were hated and bad movies that were loved is […]

2003 Wrap-Up

I saw over 200 theatrical releases this year — more than in any other year, I believe, and maybe too many. The Oscar race has fleshed out nicely; there is only one potential nominee that I strongly dislike (The Last Samurai), and it was snubbed almost entirely at the Golden Globes, so things are looking […]

2002 Wrap-Up

The Oscar race is wide open!! Well, actually, it’s not. As I write this, in the third week of January, the shortlist has been narrowed down to maybe six or seven per category. The real surprise for me is that there aren’t very many films in the running for this past year that I can […]

2001 Wrap-Up

The Year of September 11th is over, and so is one of the most eventful movie years in recent memory. From sure things Harry Potter to The Lord of the Ringsto out-of-nowhere triumphs like The Fast and the Furious, the multiplex certainly had a few busy seasons, while the art-houses were abuzz with the likes of Memento and In the […]

2000 Wrap-Up

The mantra around Hollywood is that 2000 was a terrible year for movies. I suppose that’s true in the context that there were many more bad movies than there were a year ago; on the other hand, there were a lot of highlights as well. The #1 film in 2000 was stronger than anything I […]

1999 Wrap-Up

1999 has passed us by and it was quite a year. Finally, mainstream films started to deviate from the traditional Act One – Act Two – Act Three storyline. Ideas leaned more and more towards the bizarre. Among the inevitable Hollywood triteness, specks of undeniable originality popped up more and more. No matter what anyone […]

Recent Film Reviews

Screening Log


Ric Roman Waugh, 2013

Score: C

Side Effects

Steven Soderbergh, 2013

Score: C+

10 Years

Jamie Linden, 2012

Score: B-

The Place Beyond the Pines

Derek Cianfrance, 2013

Score: B+

Warm Bodies

Jonathan Levine, 2013

Score: C

Beautiful Creatures

Richard LaGravanese, 2013

Score: B-

The Window

Ted Tetzlaff, 1949

Score: B+

The Chase

Arthur Ripley, 1946

Score: B

Street of Chance

Jack Hively, 1942

Score: C

The Taste of Money

Im Sang-Soo, 2013

Score: C+

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