Browsing all articles from August, 2012.

Compliance

* * * ½ There’s no way to get through Craig Zobel’s superb Compliance without being agitated, impatient, upset even—it’s a difficult sit.  It’s also the most discussion-worthy and provocative movie of 2012.  There simply won’t be another movie that shakes us up like this, haunts us for days after and makes us question what […]

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For a Good Time, Call…

* * 1/2 For a Good Time Call is alternately pushy and sweet, obnoxious and endearing, too broad yet at-times inspired, a Wild Sex Comedy featuring two perfectly nice young women who meet cute, despise each other and then become bestest friends. Oh, and they create a very lucrative phone sex business even though one […]

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Lawless

* * 1/2 Fine acting and an accomplished visual style give John Hillcoat’s Lawless, based on Matt Bondurant’s family memoir The Wettest County in the World, a much-needed boost to a fairly routine period picture about three Prohibition-era brothers running moonshine afoul of corrupt lawmen and heinous gangsters. It successfully depicts a violent world where […]

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Premium Rush

* * * 1/2 Premium Rush is a dizzying sleeper of a movie about bike messengers in Manhattan trying to deliver a package that everyone seems to want.  It’s a quintessential New York movie, a whirligig action ride featuring fearless couriers who zigzag through traffic uptown, downtown, from the West Side Highway to FDR and […]

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Malik Bendjelloul’s Searching for Sugar Man Charts Extraordinary Life of Rodriguez, A Rock Legend Decades in the Making

Malik Bendjelloul’s documentary Searching for Sugar Man, which made a splash at Sundance earlier this year, charts the too-strange-to-be-fiction story of Rodriguez, a wunderkind Detroit folk guitarist who by all rights should have become a superstar with the release of his album, Cold Fact, in 1970. Instead, he mysteriously fell into obscurity. It’s a poetic […]

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Searching for Sugar Man

*** 1/2 Malik Bendjelloul’s stirring documentary Searching for Sugar Man is about mystery and mythmaking and rock-n-roll iconography told through the lens of a dashed career, that of a mellifluous Chicano songwriter and guitarist, primed to explode, who was discarded, dead and prematurely buried—only after which got his chance to become famous. In telling the […]

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Celeste and Jesse Forever

***1/2 I’ve got a major crush on Celeste and Jesse Forever. To say it’s likable would be a vast understatement, because it’s a movie that gets inside your heart—or more to the point, star and co-writer Rashida Jones does—and makes you really feel for its main character, a hip, high-strung, thirty-something Los Angelina shell-shocked when […]

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Total Recall

* * Total Recall, the remake of Paul Verhoeven’s middling 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle which is now being mislabeled as a classic of sorts, stars Colin Farrell as a factory worker who attempts to undergo a memory implant procedure only to discover that he might really be a secret agent. The rest of the film […]

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Tracy Letts on Killer Joe’s Heart of Darkness and Soul of Southern Fried Noir

Few films approach the ferocity of Tracy Letts’ Killer Joe, featuring Matthew McConaughey as a Texas sheriff and contract killer who agrees to knock off the matriarch of a (putting it nicely) working class family looking for a quick insurance payout.  Loaded with scheming double-crosses, morally lapsed characters driven to desperate measures, some damned good […]

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Killer Joe

* * William Friedkin’s film of Tracy Letts’ corrosive play Killer Joe, about a white trash Texas clan that hatches a plan to murder their matriarch for—what else?—a paltry insurance policy, is a movie with good acting, much violence, nary any social context and scant redemption to make the mayhem meaningful or compelling. It plays […]

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