To the Wonder

Continuing his departure from conventional storytelling, Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder is a frustratingly abstract experience that’s either an accomplished piece of narrative minimalism or empty and underwritten. As much as I admire maverick Malick, one of the few American visionary directors left and…

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Disconnect

Disconnect is an unexpected and valuable achievement, a movie plugged into the zeitgeist of how we live and where we are right now, at this particular cultural moment. I can’t remember a recent picture about American life this insightful and gripping, or one that…

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Trance

Reality is overrated in Trance, Danny Boyle’s twisty bit of tomfoolery about an art auctioneer who gets caught up in a heist (we think). It’s a minor picture from a major director, a dark love triangle where nothing is what it seems, a serpentine…

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The Place Beyond the Pines

The Place Beyond the Pines, filmmaker Derek Cianfrance’s follow-up to 2010’s Blue Valentine, is about the sins of fathers being visited on sons, fate and a particular kind of grittiness in the working class milieu of Schenectady, New York, depicted here as a dead…

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Evil Dead

Much has been said about the supposed quality of the new Evil Dead picture, a remake of Sam Raimi’s crafty, 1981 low-budget chiller and drive-in mainstay, about twenty-somethings whose weekend cabin retreat results in demonic mayhem. Directed by first-time Uruguayan filmmaker Fede Martinez from…

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Starbuck

Starbuck is the kind of movie certain cynical critics love to pooh-pooh, and which audiences love to love. Guess which one is out of touch? A warm human comedy wrapped up in the guise of a sitcom, the French-Canadian hit, about a forty-two-year-old Montreal…

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Spring Breakers

The not so fine line between satirizing and wallowing in excessive tits, ass and gunplay informs the wannabe provocation Spring Breakers, about four teenaged bimbos conquering South Florida in a hail of hedonism, or something like that. Written and directed by Harmony Korine (Gummo,…

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The Call

By all rights, The Call—starring Halle Berry as a frantically overpermed 911 operator trying to save the life of a kidnapped teen—shouldn’t have been this good.  Featuring a committed performance from its star and shrewdly effective direction from indie filmmaker Brad Anderson (The Machinist,…

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