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Movies

February 23, 2012 12:00 AM

The end of the world has been depicted — repeatedly — in movies before. But 2011 wasn’t a time for grand heroics, for world saving and self-sacrifice. Instead, we got existential angst. Maybe that sounds a little grim, and sometimes it was.

“It’s the end of the world. Everyone dies. 
It’s rather important, really.” 
— Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s librarian, Rupert Giles

February 16, 2012 12:00 AM

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front cuts from dramatic media footage, including the burning of a $12-million ski resort at Vail, Colo., and the arson at the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture, to the streets of New York City, where activist and ecosaboteur Daniel McGowan was living in 2005.

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front cuts from dramatic media footage, including the burning of a $12-million ski resort at Vail, Colo., and the arson at the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture, to the streets of New York City, where activist and ecosaboteur Daniel McGowan was living in 2005.

February 16, 2012 12:00 AM

 

In 2007, Dee Rees wrote and directed a short film, Pariah, about a black teen in Brooklyn struggling to come to terms with her identity as a lesbian.

In 2007, Dee Rees wrote and directed a short film, Pariah, about a black teen in Brooklyn struggling to come to terms with her identity as a lesbian. Rees — who interned for Spike Lee’s 40 Acres program — went on to direct two more shorts before returning to the compelling drama of a teenaged protagonist who, in her search for sexual identity, shuffles through personas like masks at a costume ball.

February 9, 2012 12:00 AM

John Wayne, Audie Murphy, Tom Berenger, Sylvester Stallone — these were the “war heroes” in the movies I grew up watching. All of them portrayed brazen, fearless, patriotic characters in over-the-top flicks that defined the psyches of many American fighting men in service today, as well as Americans who’ve never seen war but love to watch war movies.

John Wayne, Audie Murphy, Tom Berenger, Sylvester Stallone — these were the “war heroes” in the movies I grew up watching. All of them portrayed brazen, fearless, patriotic characters in over-the-top flicks that defined the psyches of many American fighting men in service today, as well as Americans who’ve never seen war but love to watch war movies.

January 26, 2012 12:00 AM

It’s an odd thing to leave a movie screening feeling rather like you wish you’d read the story instead. David Cronenberg’s latest film — and his third with Viggo Mortensen, who disappears into the role of Sigmund Freud — is based on a play that’s based on a book, and somewhere in there is a story that gives the reader or viewer time to absorb the ideas and suggestions packed into the dialogue, to translate the glances and tensed shoulders into an embodiment of those ideas. 

A DANGEROUS METHOD: Directed by David Cronenberg. Screenplay by Christopher Hampton, based on his play The Talking Cure, based on the book A Most Dangerous Method by John Kerr. Cinematography, Peter Suschitzky. Editor, Ronald Sanders. Music, Howard Shore. Starring Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Vincent Cassel and Sarah Gadon. Sony Pictures Classics, 2011. R. 99 minutes. Three and a half Stars. 

January 19, 2012 12:00 AM

In 1995, a young, relatively unknown director by the name of Todd Haynes achieved the seemingly impossible: He turned a story about a mousy, middle-class woman suffering from multiple chemical sensitivity into an operatic work of minor tragedy. On its surface, Safe appears to be one of those flat, one-note “issue” movies that audiences feel morally obligated to see — a joyless civic duty.

SHAME: Directed by Steve McQueen. Screenplay by McQueen and Abi Morgan. Cinematography, Sean Bobbit. Editor, Joe Walker. Music, Harry Escott. Starring Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale, Nicole Beharie, Alex Manette. Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2011. NC-17. 101 minutes. One Star.

January 12, 2012 12:00 AM

If you’ve seen your fill of obnoxious-rich-white-people movies for the month, year, decade, eon, you may want to take a pass on Carnage. The posters bill the film as “a new comedy of no manners,” but the laughs are fewer than that tagline might suggest.

CARNAGE: Directed by Roman Polanski. Screenplay by Polanski and Yasmina Reza, based on the play God of Carnage by Reza. Cinematography, Pawel Edelman. Editor, Hervé de Luze. Music, Alexandre Desplat. Starring Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly. Sony Pictures Classics, 2011. R. 79 minutes. Two and a half stars.

January 5, 2012 12:00 AM

Prostitution, contrary to that infamous adage, is not the world’s oldest profession. The world’s oldest profession is the pinch — called sales by some, theft by others — of which prostitution is only a subset.

HOUSE OF PLEASURES (L’Apollonide (Souvenirs de la maison close)): Written and directed by Bertrand Bonello. Cinematography, Josée Deshaies. Editor, Fabrice Rouaud. Starring Jasmine Trinca, Hafsia Herzi, Alice Barnole, Iliana Zabeth, Noémie Lvovsky. IFC Films, 2011. R. 122 minutes. Four Stars.