Fresh Air: Movie Reviews
'Citizenfour': A Paranoid Conspiracy Documentary About...10/24/14
Laura Poitras' new film isn't artfully shaped like her other documentaries. But she captures scenes as history is being made — and it will make you look both ways when you're on the street.
'Birdman' Follows A Film Actor Frantic To Prove Himself Onstage
The choreography by Alejandro Iñárritu, who directed 21 Grams and Babel, will wow you. But the story about a washed-up actor about to bring off his Broadway debut is an "empty masterwork."
In 'Whiplash,' A Young Drummer Plays Till He Bleeds
Director Damien Chazelle's second film centers on the agony of a drummer in a high-powered music school. The movie ties you into knots: The fear of failure is omnipresent. So is the jazz vibe.
'Gone Girl': A Gripping Film That's More Fun Than The Book
Based on a screenplay by author Gillian Flynn, the movie is sensationally effective. It's made like a classic noir — evenly paced, with an elegance that in context is deeply perverse.
British Coalminers Strike With A Gay Coalition In 'Pride,' A...
The film is based on a true story about the '80s strike Margaret Thatcher vowed to break. It's full of the Britain's best actors, and nearly every line makes you cackle or puts a lump in your throat.
A Detective's 'Walk Among The Tombstones' Is Gripping But Unsatisfying
In the '70s, novelist Lawrence Block created New York private investigator Matthew Scudder who chases extreme bad guys. Liam Neeson now plays the character the new grisly film directed by Scott Frank.
In 'The Drop,' Mob Bosses Bully Sad Characters At A Bar In Brooklyn
The film based on Dennis Lehane's short story Animal Rescue is supposed be a thriller, but the narrative doesn't have much urgency. The reason it's worth seeing? James Gandolfini is at his peak.
In A Brilliantly Disorienting Film, A Teenager Is 'Starred Up' To An...
The British drama depicts remarkable characters, including an angry teenager who meets two father figures behind bars. It's a prison film that's shattering beyond physical violence.
In The Irish Film 'Cavalry,' A Priest's Crisis Of Faith Is Weirdly Jokey
John Michael McDonagh's new movie stars Brendan Gleeson as a priest who must eventually face off against a killer. It's excruciatingly obvious and inept, but Gleeson brings it alive.
Sailing Through Space With 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'? Hilarious
The newest Marvel comic adaptation features five motley warriors, including a raccoon and a tree, against an armada of space villains. The big-budget effects-laden movie is light and funny.
Philip Seymour Hoffman Leaves Indelible Bond In 'Most Wanted Man'
The late actor hit his peak in the adaptation of John le Carre's 2008 novel. The movie isn't a clean piece of storytelling, but Hoffman connects with viewers on a level most actors never approach.
In A Remarkable Feat, 'Boyhood' Makes Time Visible
Boyhood is about a boy in Texas whose parents have separated. Filmed over 12 years, audiences watch him grow up — and his worldview evolve. The cumulative power of the movie is tremendous.
In Charming Film 'Begin Again,' Music Can Save A Life
Keira Knightley plays a heartbroken singer-songwriter who teams up with a drunken producer in Begin Again. Irish director John Carney, who had a surprise hit with the musical Once, hit his mark again.
'Jersey Boys' And 'Venus In Fur' Are Just As Intense On Screen
Two veteran directors adapted the Broadway shows to film. And while many such translations are too stage-bound, critic David Edelstein says Clint Eastwood and Roman Polanski got the balance right.
'Obvious Child': A Momentous Film Of Small, Embarrassing Truths
The indie film depicts a standup comic who decides to have an abortion after a one-night stand. David Edelstein lauds director Gillian Robespierre's courage.
In 'Locke,' A Man's Life Unravels En Route To London
Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is the only person the audience sees in this daring film by Steven Knight. Viewers spend an hour and a half in the car with him, on a solo drive from Birmingham to London.
Undead Hipsters And An Abstract Alien Star In Two Arty Horror Pics
Every so often an arthouse director dips a toe into the horror genre and you realize vampires and space aliens are subjects too rich to be the property of schlockmeisters, says critic David Edelstein.
In 'Noah,' Earth And The Bible Get A Computer-Generated Reboot
Darren Aronofsky's latest film is a big-budget Bible story called, simply, Noah. Russell Crowe plays the title character, and the movie also features Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson.
'Grand Budapest Hotel': Kitsch, Cameos And A Gloriously Stylized Europe
Wes Anderson's new feature takes place at a resort hotel, between World Wars I and II. Fresh Air's critic says the visuals are so witty they transcend camp, but the dialogue isn't quite at that level.
Liam Neeson's Action Chops Take Flight In 'Non-Stop'
Neeson became a bankable action hero in 2008 after the thriller Taken. Now almost 62, he's still getting out of tight corners with his fists. His new film unfolds on a transatlantic flight.
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