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Best Picture Nominee

Amour Review

Amour Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) One has to be prepared for the kind of cinematic masochism that comes with watching a Michael Haneke film before sitting down to his latest, the Best Picture-nominated Amour. But while brutal, this film is almost nothing like the Austrian auteur’s previous work. Everything that’s gruesome comes back to intense sorrow, not […]

Silver Linings Playbook Review

Silver Linings Playbook Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Silver Linings Playbook is a bright rainbow of a film, but you wouldn’t know it from the way it starts. It’s hard to imagine that a film that opens in a mental hospital with a clearly disturbed Bradley Cooper could, in two hours, convincingly make the leap to a larger-than-life dance competition […]

Barry Lyndon Review

Barry Lyndon Review

RATING: (4 STARS) One would think a three-hour British period drama would be something to endure, rather than enjoy, but Barry Lyndon is damn near a flawless film. Not only that, it’s also endlessly watchable. It’s as well-paced and plotted as any film I can recollect, and director Stanley Kubrick‘s sense of time and place […]

A Clockwork Orange Review

A Clockwork Orange Review

RATING: (4 STARS) It’s hard to watch a film set in the future, especially a dystopian one, and not compare it to A Clockwork Orange, the brutal 1971 movie directed by Stanley Kubrick. That’s because it’s a stunningly directed film, and the world captured by Kubrick is among the most frightening in movie history. It’s […]

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Review

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Review

RATING: (1 STAR) Stephen Daldry’s latest film, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, tries to make sense of one of the worst days—perhaps the “Worst Day”—in American history. It does so through the eyes of a pre-teen boy, who appears to suffer from Asperger’s Disease. And what does it ultimately tell us? That New Yorkers are […]

The Artist Review

The Artist Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist is a crowd-pleaser through and through. The film is just bursting with wit and energy, and like some of the best and most timeless silent films of old, it doesn’t need to do much to bring a 100-minute-long smile to your face. In fact, it doesn’t do much. […]

War Horse Review

War Horse Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Steven Spielberg’s films are often so recognizable that they could make up their own genre. They’re always impeccably crafted, and you can usually see him trying very hard—sometimes painfully so—to make you feel something. I tend to think part of the reason films like Munich and Minority Report were so admired was […]

The Descendants Review

The Descendants Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Call Alexander Payne’s films slight if you must, but the man has an uncanny knack for tackling the human condition with complexity and honesty, levity and sadness. With The Descendants, he reaches a new level. All the elements I and many others loved about Sideways and About Schmidt are executed here to […]

Hugo Review

Hugo Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Martin Scorsese’s Hugo is this joyful love letter to youth, discovery, and the magic of movies. It’s also a visual feast for the eyes like we haven’t seen in years. Though a complete departure on so many levels for Scorsese, Hugo is just as good as some of his best works, both […]

Moneyball Review

Moneyball Review

RATING: (4 STARS) While Moneyball might seem like an odd cinematic fit, the dream writing team of Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zailian transform the story of the 2002 Oakland A’s into something exciting, emotionally-involving, and surprisingly thoughtful. Though the film (thankfully) doesn’t shy away from the nuts and bolts of building a successful baseball team, […]

The Help Review

The Help Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Though relatively lightweight and somewhat manipulative, The Help is nonetheless affecting. It’s the acting that sets it apart from most films of its kind, and with no less than four excellent performances, it’s easy to forgive a film its missteps. I thought some of the characters were frustratingly one-dimensional, but the performances […]

Grand Illusion Review

Grand Illusion Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Charlie Chaplin was once asked who he thought was the greatest director in the world. Jean Renoir was his answer, and Grand Illusion is arguably Renoir’s most respected and influential picture. An anti-war film perhaps unlike any other, the film relies 100% on character to relay its message. There’s absolutely no fighting […]

Midnight in Paris Review

Midnight in Paris Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Filming Midnight in Paris was probably the most fun Woody Allen’s ever had. His joy is evident from the moment the film begins to the moment it ends, and the film is so quintessentially him that I can’t believe it took this long for him to make it. He’s clearly been inspired […]

West Side Story Review

West Side Story Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) I’m not afraid to admit that I’m a sucker for musicals. The silly songs and choreography—on top of typically outstanding technical—generally sweep me up despite the inherent cheesiness of these affairs. Actually, the cheesier the better. I guess that’s why I enjoyed West Side Story so much. It’s beyond cheesy, but the […]

Marty Review

Marty Review

RATING: (3 STARS) In many ways, Marty is an atypical Best Picture winner—especially when you consider the time period in which it came out. Bridge on the River Kwai, Ben-Hur, Around the World in 80 Days—all these films are (for better or worse) big, lavish, and epic. Marty, however, is a small-scale romantic comedy. It’s […]

The Last Emperor Review

The Last Emperor Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) It’s somewhat ironic that I watched 1987 Best Picture winner The Last Emperor so soon after seeing 1996 winner The English Patient because the two share so many techniques, strengths, and weaknesses. It’s a gorgeous piece of work in every way. The way director Bernardo Bertolucci rendered this world is astounding. It’s […]

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