Review: Our Kind of Traitor

I’ve always enjoyed spy thrillers, whether they’re set in the Cold War, from back in WWII, or even a reflection modern day tensions. KGB, GRU, MI6, CIA, even Interpol vs mobsters, it’s all an invitation to adventure a la James Bond, or Jason Bourne. Or, in Our Kind of Traitor, everyman college professor Perry (Ewan McGregor), who in this sly polished John Le Carré story, is befriended by Russian expat Dima (Stellan Skarsgard) while on holiday in…Read More

Review: Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens

Let me take the mystery out of this review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens is good. It’s really good. You’re going to see it regardless of what I say, but trust me, you’re going to enjoy the heck out of it! Anyone who has been alive in the last fifty years knows the story arc of the Star Wars franchise, starting with 1977’s Star Wars IV: A New Hope, a film that introduced us to the great cinematic…Read More

Review: Jack the Giant Slayer

I can only imagine the early production meetings… “guys, we need a storyline that’ll let us show off some really cool new visual effects, something that everyone will know but that we can bring into the modern era.” “Okay, but it better not cost a mil to get the book rights this time.” “Okay, okay. Hey! How about Jack and the Beanstalk?” “Wait, are we talking a cartoon?” “No, live action. Big, epic, scary, in…Read More

Best and Worst Films of 2010

According to Movieweb, there were 651 films released in 2010 and no, I didn’t see them all. In fact, there are some movies still on my to-watch list that I know will affect this article (including The Fighter and The Kids are All Right), but I hope to see them soon and add some additional commentary at that point. For now, however, I figure I saw maybe 100-150 new films this year, both clunkers and superb…Read More

Review: The Ghost Writer

Based on a terrific book by Richard Harris, The Ghost Writer is an exercise in European thriller plotting and cinematography, even though most of it takes place on Cape Cod here in the United States. Directed by the great – and troubling – Roman Polanski, it has a pace that turned off many filmgoers, unfolding slowly and occasionally with the feel of a stage play, but I really liked it quite a bit. The story…Read More

Review: The Men Who Stare at Goats

“Is this really based on facts?” a fellow critic asked the studio rep at the screening I attended of this film. “Does it matter?” I asked in response, and I was right, it doesn’t. Whether it’s true or just a riff on the craziness of modern military and contemporary culture, it turns out that The Men Who Stare at Goats is a witty and engaging satire in the same vein as the classic war films…Read More