I should have just gone to see The Wolfman.

It was a holiday weekend so I did what all good Americans do on a holiday weekend. I went to the movies. Specifically, I went to see Valentine’s Day. (I also saw Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, but more on that later.) I knew going in that Valentine’s Day was not going to be great. It was too clearly a Love Actually knockoff, and knockoffs are by their very definition never as good as the original. So already Valentine’s Day was looking at being second-best.Continue reading “I should have just gone to see The Wolfman.”

Crazy Heart: Anatomy of an Oscar-winning performance

Sorry for the week-long break. Real life called. But now I’m back and it’s time to talk Oscars (see the nominees here). A month ago I picked George Clooney to win the Golden Globe for Best Actor (Drama) for Up in the Air, and said that an equally deserving candidate was Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart, and this is where we’ll be at with the Oscars in four weeks, too. It will be down to Clooney and Bridges, with Bridges taking the front-runner’s position this time. Why? Let’s break it down.Continue reading “Crazy Heart: Anatomy of an Oscar-winning performance”

A spoilery review of The Runaways

This movie is going to be big. I pegged it for a sleeper hit, especially if it debuted strong at Sundance, and thought if the reviews were good enough it could even break out into the mainstream. The Runaways premiered at Sundance last weekend to overwhelmingly positive reviews. And after seeing it for myself this week, I have to say–

This movie is going to be BIG.Continue reading “A spoilery review of The Runaways”

Top 10 Movies of the Decade: 2000-2009

What do we call the past decade? The Zeroes? The Aughts? “Glad it’s over; surely the next one can’t be that bad?” Whatever. Here are my top movies of the decade just gone. Once again, this list is in alphabetical order. Also, I realized I didn’t annotate anything in the decade’s top 10 post, I just assumed people would know who I was talking about. I will try to remember to do so in future.

Amelie (2001, Miramax Films)

The little foreign film that could! Remember Amelie? How good it made you feel? How happy you were at the end? Romantic, shy Amelie Poulain is the heroine we could all root for, and Audrey Tautou embodied her perfectly. Strikingly reminiscent of another Audrey—Hepburn, that is—Tautou is at once whimsical and practical, beautiful and plain, bold and introverted. Beautifully directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Alien Resurrection, A Very Long Engagement) and photographed by Bruno Delbonnel, the Montmartre district of Paris is bathed in sunny yellows, rich greens and bold reds. This is reality slightly left of center, and Amelie’s rich inner life is brought to life through innovative moments of magical realism. If you haven’t seen Amelie recently, give yourself a treat and revisit, or watch it for the first time. Few films will leave you so happy and in love with love.Continue reading “Top 10 Movies of the Decade: 2000-2009”

Top 10 Movies of 2009

This is arranged alphabetically because picking just 10 movies is hard enough, without trying to decide which is better than the others.


Confession: Kristen Stewart is my #1 girlcrush. She’s the ultimate anti-starlet, the pretty girl who refuses to play pretty. And as the uber-famous face of the Twilight franchise, she’d be easy to dismiss, except for work such as Adventureland. This is a wonderful ensemble piece, a period film that does not make a big deal out of the 1980’s. It’s an era that’s easy to caricaturize, but writer/director Greg Mottola (Superbad) actually lived this story, so everything feels authentic. Stewart is joined by Jesse Eisenberg, Ryan Reynolds, and Martin Starr as the core of the movie. For a coming of age tale, it’s not saccharine and hardly nostalgic. Despite the “Superbad in a theme park!” ad campaign, this film is kind of depressing and dark and times—these characters have problems, especially Stewart’s troubled, promiscuous Em Lewin—but excellent comic turns from Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, and Matt Bush keep things from dragging down too far. And the running gag featuring Rock Me Amadeus is priceless.Continue reading “Top 10 Movies of 2009”