Posts tagged review

newyorker | Read David Denby’s take on “12 Years a Slave”: http://nyr.kr/1cVgamB | “‘12 Years a Slave’ is easily the greatest feature film ever made about American slavery. It shows up the plantation scenes of ‘Gone with the Wind’ for the sentimental kitsch that they are, and, intentionally or not, it’s an artist’s rebuke to Quentin Tarantino’s high-pitched, luridly extravagant ‘Django Unchained.’” | 
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup in Steve McQueen’s new movie. Illustration by Concepción Studios.

newyorker | Read David Denby’s take on “12 Years a Slave”: http://nyr.kr/1cVgamB | “‘12 Years a Slave’ is easily the greatest feature film ever made about American slavery. It shows up the plantation scenes of ‘Gone with the Wind’ for the sentimental kitsch that they are, and, intentionally or not, it’s an artist’s rebuke to Quentin Tarantino’s high-pitched, luridly extravagant ‘Django Unchained.’” | 

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup in Steve McQueen’s new movie. Illustration by Concepción Studios.

Bret Easton ELLIS and first responder get it right | Silver Linings Playbook

Bret Easton ELLIS and first responder get it right | Silver Linings Playbook

In that sense, Lincoln lets its audience off too easy. It’s comforting to feel that we can always find great wisdom in the middle. For the slight cost of waving away those who carry radicalism in their very blood, it reaffirms our great faith in democracy. It’s much more terrifying to consider how democratic compromise can be disastrous and how zealotry can be perceptive. Lincoln should have been harder on us. And I still loved it. And it still left me weepy. And you should still see it.
nytimes | November 14, 2012 | Pete Wells | BEST WORST restaurant review of 2012 | Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar | 
“Is the entire restaurant a very expensive piece of conceptual art? Is the shapeless, structureless baked alaska that droops and slumps and collapses while you eat it, or don’t eat it, supposed to be a representation in sugar and eggs of the experience of going insane? 
Why did the toasted marshmallow taste like fish?”

nytimes | November 14, 2012 | Pete Wells | BEST WORST restaurant review of 2012 | Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar | 

“Is the entire restaurant a very expensive piece of conceptual art? Is the shapeless, structureless baked alaska that droops and slumps and collapses while you eat it, or don’t eat it, supposed to be a representation in sugar and eggs of the experience of going insane?

Why did the toasted marshmallow taste like fish?”

DARK KNIGHT RISES | Wildly ambitious movie has astounding opening sequence—how did they do that?—followed by film that never ends
Reminiscent of the last ‘Lord of the Rings’ movie (‘If one more orc comes over the mountain I will throw up’) in overkill.
The last half is a relentless build-up to tieing up loose plot points that goes on for what seems like—and is—hours and loses focus in batches of fragmentary subplots. A mash-up of variously sentimental, violent, sadistic, mystical, semi-political, vaguely anti-Muslim, vaguely anti-foreigner (Marion Cotillard) false endings followed by the predictably climactic mushroom cloud—followed by the sugary Michael-Caine-sees-a-ghost fade-out.
Highlights: Christian Bale when he has the mask off. Cheekbones can act all by themselves. Anne Hathaway being sarcastic. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the Robin character. Gary Oldman. The intentional mix-up of the French Revolution’s Robespierre trials (only missing Mme Defarge’s knitting) with Occupy Wall Street. See what happens when you liberate the lower classes without a paramilitary police corps to suppress them!
Lowlights: Christian Bale and Tom Hardy speaking vocoder through expressionless masks. The unmotivated Darth Vader Jr villain with a back-story that is both silly and endlessly over-explained. The red herring Marion Cotillard character. The lack of any romantic heat between Christian Bale and either of the two female leads.
Dark Knight Rises manages to be both overwhelming and underwhelming. 

DARK KNIGHT RISES | Wildly ambitious movie has astounding opening sequence—how did they do that?—followed by film that never ends

DARK KNIGHT RISES | Wildly ambitious movie has astounding opening sequence—how did they do that?—followed by film that never ends

Reminiscent of the last ‘Lord of the Rings’ movie (‘If one more orc comes over the mountain I will throw up’) in overkill.

The last half is a relentless build-up to tieing up loose plot points that goes on for what seems like—and is—hours and loses focus in batches of fragmentary subplots. A mash-up of variously sentimental, violent, sadistic, mystical, semi-political, vaguely anti-Muslim, vaguely anti-foreigner (Marion Cotillard) false endings followed by the predictably climactic mushroom cloud—followed by the sugary Michael-Caine-sees-a-ghost fade-out.

Highlights: Christian Bale when he has the mask off. Cheekbones can act all by themselves. Anne Hathaway being sarcastic. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the Robin character. Gary Oldman. The intentional mix-up of the French Revolution’s Robespierre trials (only missing Mme Defarge’s knitting) with Occupy Wall Street. See what happens when you liberate the lower classes without a paramilitary police corps to suppress them!

Lowlights: Christian Bale and Tom Hardy speaking vocoder through expressionless masks. The unmotivated Darth Vader Jr villain with a back-story that is both silly and endlessly over-explained. The red herring Marion Cotillard character. The lack of any romantic heat between Christian Bale and either of the two female leads.

Dark Knight Rises manages to be both overwhelming and underwhelming. 

DARK KNIGHT RISES | Wildly ambitious movie has astounding opening sequence—how did they do that?—followed by film that never ends

Zoe KAZAN is smart to realize that if you want to introduce yourself to the world with a bang, write your own movie, play the lead actress—and succeed in showing what you can do. Ruby Sparks is Pygmalion done as an intelligent, funny commentary on the advantages and disadvantages of wish fulfillment in regard to your significant other. The one-liners are as good as anything in Juno, a previous role of Paul Dano—the male lead and Zoe Kazan’s real-life partner.
To quote Truman Capote, “More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones." My favorite movie of 2012 thus far, just as clever, maybe less moving than Beginners—my favorite movie of 2011.

Zoe KAZAN is smart to realize that if you want to introduce yourself to the world with a bang, write your own movie, play the lead actress—and succeed in showing what you can do. Ruby Sparks is Pygmalion done as an intelligent, funny commentary on the advantages and disadvantages of wish fulfillment in regard to your significant other. The one-liners are as good as anything in Juno, a previous role of Paul Dano—the male lead and Zoe Kazan’s real-life partner.

To quote Truman Capote, “More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones." My favorite movie of 2012 thus far, just as clever, maybe less moving than Beginners—my favorite movie of 2011.

THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN | Andrew Garfield nails adorability and adolescent gawkiness. Director of (500) Days of Summer succeeds in humanizing typical CGI movie

THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN | Andrew Garfield nails adorability and adolescent gawkiness. Director of (500) Days of Summer succeeds in humanizing typical CGI movie

MOONRISE KINGDOM | Mash-up of ‘Blue Lagoon’ and ‘Thelma and Louise’ minus nudity plus terrific cast: Bill Murray, Frances Macdormand, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis…and Tilda Swinton

HUNGER GAMES | wish fulfillment fantasy: alpha girls like Katniss and Bella have two obsessed lovers in film—if not in life

SHAME | “We’re not bad people, we just come from a bad place,” a place specified only as New Jersey…

IRON LADY | meryl STREEP is terrific as real Margaret Thatcher and fake framing device

IRON LADY | meryl STREEP is terrific as real Margaret Thatcher and fake framing device

IRON LADY | meryl STREEP is terrific as real Margaret Thatcher and fake framing device

It is easy to understand why the creative people responsible for ‘The Iron Lady’ came up with a vulnerable dementia sufferer as the humanizing factor for one of the steeliest personalities of modern times. Unfortunately, this made-up character takes over about half the movie.

Meryl Streep is wonderful both as the embodiment of the real character participating in real events—and as the old lady fading in and out of dream sequences with her dead husband. Unfortunately, the old lady is made to act as a foil to the annoyingly cute and semi-witty husband played by Jim Broadbent, diminishing both in every scene. Her daughter is caricatured as an aging hippy. The son in South Africa is referred to frequently…without the script ever mentioning that he was a notorious arms dealer to thug governments back in the day.

'The Iron Lady' is another in a long line of movies about female power figures such as Queen Elizabeth I who are 'humanized' by projected emotions having to do with the 'price paid' for bailing on the standard wife-and-mother role. The movie does nothing with the occasional vignettes of, for example, children running after Mrs Thatcher's car as she heads off to her new career in Parliament (“Mommy, don't go!”)—as if she should have done something else?

The ‘other hour’ of the movie that is a biopic of a real person is more interesting. It makes a good case for Margaret Thatcher as ground-breaking feminist icon, able to rise to the top by sheer force of personality—through decades of lethal all-male environments. Although too many bombs and riots go off to no dramatic purpose, you are strongly and usefully reminded of the major events in which Margaret Thatcher prevailed—typified by the wonderful little scene in which she rolls the bullying Al Haig on her way to winning the Falklands War.

Meryl Streep nails the character. Her control of voice, gesture, gait, physical and emotional presence is absolute. She deserves every award she gets as the best actress working today. An A-level performance in a C-level film.

IRON LADY | meryl STREEP is terrific as real Margaret Thatcher and fake framing device

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO | lisbeth salander triumphs over cliche murder mystery

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