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Jessica Chastain

Molly’s Game Review

Molly’s Game Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) Ludicrously entertaining. That’s about all I could muster after 150 glorious minutes in the world of Molly’s Game. As depicted by writer-director Aaron Sorkin and his always-but-especially incredible lead actress Jessica Chastain, Molly’s world is one of relentless one upsmanship and frighteningly high-stakes, and there’s no one better at writing clever — […]

The Martian Review

The Martian Review

RATING: (3 STARS) In Stanley Kubrick’s epic space saga, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Strauss’ “Blue Danube Waltz” plays over a famous docking sequence. In Ridley Scott’s The Martian, a critical docking sequence is scored by David Bowie’s “Starman.” The differences go on, but perhaps it’s this one that best demonstrates what Scott is going for […]

The 20 Best Performances of 2014

The 20 Best Performances of 2014

It was a great year for acting, and I still haven’t seen some of the year’s most acclaimed performances. If David Oyelowo (Selma), Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beyond the Lights), or anyone else bowls me over the way they have so […]

2015 Golden Globes Nominations Predictions

2015 Golden Globes Nominations Predictions

The ultra-prestigious and never ridiculous Hollywood Foreign Press Association is on the cusp of announcing its nominees for the 2015 Golden Globes. We should take these nominations very seriously, as the many, many dedicated and serious-minded members of this fine organization consider only the artistic merits of each film, performance, and craft achievement in a […]

Interstellar Review

Interstellar Review

RATING: (4 STARS) I want to talk about how well-made Interstellar is. I want to talk about Hoyte Van Hoytema’s cinematography in director Christopher Nolan’s ambitious, awe-inspiring film; it’s remarkable. Stepping in for regular Nolan contributor Wally Pfister, Van Hoytema establishes an old-fashioned aesthetic full of shots of a decaying Earth and a quietly wonderous […]

2015 Oscar Predictions: First Guesses Before Fall Fests

2015 Oscar Predictions: First Guesses Before Fall Fests

It’s 2015 Oscar predictions time, so let’s dig the prognosticator’s hat out of the attic, dust it off, and take a look at the landscape of the 2015 Oscar race. If I’m being honest, though, I almost didn’t want to get involved with 2015 Oscar predictions at all. Last year’s Oscar season and the nonsense […]

2013 TIFF Movies to Watch: #10-#1

2013 TIFF Movies to Watch: #10-#1

My TIFF preview concludes today with some of festival’s heaviest hitters. I hope you enjoyed this series. I’ll be covering the fall fests extensively, so stay tuned! More TIFF Movies to Watch: 2013 TIFF Preview: Part 1 2013 TIFF Preview: Part 2 2013 TIFF Preview: Part 3 2013 TIFF Preview: Part 4 10.) The Past […]

If I Had a 2013 Oscar Ballot

If I Had a 2013 Oscar Ballot

This year’s crop of Oscar nominees is a strong one. And part of the reason this season has been so unpredictable is that there are quite a few films voters seem eager to acknowledge. I encountered the same problem when writing this post. I’m not foolish enough to say something “should” win an award. I […]

The 2013 Oscar Nominees

The 2013 Oscar Nominees

It wasn’t Lincoln‘s field-topping twelve nominations nor Silver Linings Playbook‘s sudden ascension from “happy to be nominated” to “genuine Best Picture threat” that dominated headlines today. 

No, it was the genuinely stunning absence of Argo‘s Ben Affleck and Zero Dark Thirty‘s Kathryn Bigelow from the Academy’s eclectic Best Director lineup that rocked Oscar watchers’ world. […]

Zero Dark Thirty Review

Zero Dark Thirty Review

RATING: (4 STARS) There’s a moment in Kathryn Bigelow’s dense but lightning-quick procedural, Zero Dark Thirty, when Jessica Chastain’s Maya is actually laughed at for trying to pursue Osama bin Laden. “Protect the homeland” is the motto her superiors pound into her like she’s a canine undergoing obedience training. But she’s a real pit bull. […]

Lawless Review

Lawless Review

RATING: (3 STARS) It’s hard to think of a more appropriate title for John Hillcoat’s new Prohibition drama than Lawless (though the title of the novel the film is based on—The Wettest County in the World—is a close second). The film takes place in Franklin County, Virginia during the early 1930s—an area of the country […]

Take Shelter Review

Take Shelter Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) Psychological character studies seem to be all the rage right now on the indie circuit, but as compelling as this subgenre often is, it’s also one that feels a little played out. I love films like Shutter Island and, more recently, Martha Marcy May Marlene, but somewhere in the back of my […]

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 […]