Film Blather: Latest Movie News, Reviews, Trailers & TV News

Waitress

The title character in Adrienne Shelly’s Waitress is a marvel. Kind, talented, and cute as a button, Jenna (Keri Russell) is such a catch that her profoundly unhappy existence is difficult to believe. Surely, we think, someone like her need not slave away in a dead-end job and bide her time in a miserable marriage — and that is precisely the point of this gentle, lovely film. A peripheral ch...[Read More]

Wadjda

Screened at the 2012 Telluride Film Festival. Wadjda is the first feature film to ever be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, and also the first film to be directed by a Saudi Arabian woman. (The director, Haifa Al-Mansour, reportedly had to direct some of the scenes by telephone due to the country’s restriction on women interacting with men in public.) The film is tasteful, worthy arthouse fare, sort ...[Read More]

Vantage Point

Vantage Point feints at importance, but ends up as trivial as an episode of 24 — and as entertaining. It builds up enough momentum that when the screenplay starts to go south and gaping holes start materializing in the plot, it’s able to steamroll through the problems and race breathlessly to the finish. My gut fought my brain as, during a car chase around the end of the second act, I ...[Read More]

Vanity Fair

The dynamic between filmmaker and audience usually contains a certain quid pro quo. It’s fine to ask a lot of us, humble viewers — in fact, the word “demanding” is often high praise out of the mouth of a film critic — but it is also okay for us to expect something in return: an emotional payoff, say, or the feeling of having been thoroughly hoodwinked. Even the soluti...[Read More]

Valkyrie

Valkyrie has a peculiar view of the German side of World War II. If the film is to be believed, the Nazi military ranks consisted mostly of: a) honorable resistors who thought that Hitler was a national shame; b) careerists and opportunists who sided with the Nazis for personal gain or to save their skins; and c) cowards quaking in their Nazi boots. The notion of devoted, ideologically committed N...[Read More]

V for Vendetta

This weekend finds the critics furiously scrambling to de-politicize the fiery, amazing V for Vendetta. “I couldn’t get the parallels to work,” insisted Ebert on his show. “Not as blatant a comment on current events as some reviewers might claim,” assures Berardinelli. And the filmmakers were quick to inform us that this isn’t supposed to be commentary about any...[Read More]

Untraceable

Let it never be said that Hollywood only churns out movies with liberal messages. Untraceable is rabidly, pathologically conservative, coming out swinging against the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, technology, net neutrality, online dating (!), and all restrictions on law enforcement. Its thesis is that the internet is full of depraved, bloodthirsty maniacs who should be tracked down, arre...[Read More]

Unstoppable

Denzel Washington, doing the ice-cool zen master thing he so brilliantly inverted in Training Day, pulls off a remarkable coup in Unstoppable: he makes competence riveting. The veteran train engineer he portrays in Tony Scott’s high-velocity actioner eventually engages in some above-and-beyond heroics, but for almost an hour and a half, Washington is the most interesting thing on the screen ...[Read More]

Unleashed

Characters in most movies, and especially action movies, only talk about the plot. No dialogue is spoken that does not forward the story or has little chance of being blurbed, quoted, repeated, or included in the trailer. Not so in Unleashed, where between the kinetic, well-staged action scenes, the characters converse about and pontificate on such diverse things as fruit, food, Freud, piano recit...[Read More]

Undead

What the Spierig Brothers’ Undead lacks in budget and some aspects of execution, it makes up in pure ingenuity. No doubt the complaints that have already been levied against this movie — it was filmed in 2001 and has already been released on DVD in its home country of Australia — are valid; it tries far too hard to be a cult sensation, it is stylized to the point of absurdity, an...[Read More]

TWO LOVERS (2008) MOVIE REVIEW

Title: Two Lovers Year: 2008 Genre: Drama, Romance Playtime: 1h 50min Director: James Gray Screenwriters: James Gray, Ric Menello Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Gwyneth Paltrow, Vinessa Shaw Two Lovers is a notetaker’s nightmare. My practice is to jot down moments that jump out at me: scenes, details, lines of dialogue, distinctive flashes that will help me rewatch the film in my head when I sit...[Read More]

TRUST THE MAN (2005) MOVIE REVIEW

Title: Trust the Man Year: 2005 Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance Playtime: 1h 43min  Director: Bart Freundlich Screenwriters: Bart Freundlich Starring: David Duchovny, Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup Is there an audience for this sort of R-rated sitcom? The target demographic seems to be arthouse filmgoers looking for frivolity, which strikes me as a hit-and-miss strategy. But perhaps it feels strange o...[Read More]

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