Fresh Air: Movie Reviews
'Maps To The Stars': Either The Funniest Horror Movie,...02/27/15
In the film about a toxic Hollywood, John Cusack plays a self-help guru whose clients include Julianne Moore. It's full of anxious shoptalk and name dropping, druggy kids and druggier grown-ups.
In These Six 'Wild Tales,' Humans Morph Into Destructive Forces Of...
The Argentinean film co-produced by Pedro Almodovar is up for an Oscar for best foreign language film. It features a drunk teenager who runs over a woman and an angry bride at a glitzy Jewish wedding.
If You Strip The Bondage, '50 Shades' Is A Conventional Love Story
The film, based on E.L. James' best-selling novel, has been denounced by decency brigades. But it's a surprisingly mild, corny romance that affirms traditional values: It's Jane Eyre with ropes.
Second 'SpongeBob' Movie Is A Nonsensical, Loud, Choppy Triumph
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water is visually an eyesore — a kaleidoscope of bright, mismatched colors, and in 3-D to make your headache stronger. The movie makers hit the bull's-eye.
When Islamists Impose Their Will In 'Timbuktu,' One Family Resists
The film, one of five Academy Award nominees for best foreign language film this year, is about radical Islamists occupying the city in Mali. Remarkably, it's often on the verge of being a comedy.
'Still Alice' Is A Triumph For Julianne Moore, But The Rest Of Film Is...
The movie is based on neuroscientist Lisa Genova's novel about a linguistics professor with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. While Moore is fascinating, the rest of the characters are half-formed.
The 'Selma' Criticism For How It Portrays Lyndon B. Johnson: Is It Fair?
The film about Martin Luther King's marches for voting rights is being accused of alleged historical inaccuracies. Critic David Edelstein says that's "not entirely" fair, and it's still a great movie.
In A 'Depressing' Year For Films, Edelstein Finds Some Greats
Film critic David Edelstein says in 2014 none of the great material came from Hollywood studios. But, he says, it was a "wonderful year" for indie films. He names Boyhood as the best of the year.
The Strange World — And Life — Of 'Mr. Turner'
The biopic of landscape painter J. M. W. Turner depicts a man whose mind is barely engaged by anything other than his work. He's a mystery, and his art is magically indefinite — just like the movie.
Depicting An Unstable Era, 'Inherent Vice' Never Jells, But It's...
The film, based on Thomas Pynchon's novel, is set in 1970 in a beach town south of Los Angeles. With wonderful actors, it's like a gorgeous stoner art object: groovy, campy, dreamlike and funny.
Prayers And Holy Water Can't Exorcise The Terrifying 'Babadook'
In the Australian chiller, a bogeyman announces himself in a rhyming, pop-up book on a 7-year-old's shelf. But the real horror is that the boy's mom, a grieving widow, is battling psychic demons.
Benedict Cumberbatch Lifts Above Biopic Formula In 'Imitation Game'
Cumberbatch stars as British mathematician and World War II code breaker Alan Turing in a film directed by Morten Tyldum and co-staring Keira Knightley as Turing's comrade in arms.
'Foxcatcher': A Bloated True-Crime Story Based On Wealthy Heir John du...
The film is based on du Pont's fraught relationship with two Olympic wrestlers. Wealth isn't enough — his identity hinges on winning. It's a fascinating case study, but as drama, it's one sick joke.
'Interstellar': A Good Old-Fashioned Chunk Of Sci-Fi Silliness
Christopher Nolan's film stars Matthew McConaughey as an astronaut who takes his ship through a wormhole to another galaxy to find a home for earth's inhabitants. It's cool, awe-inspiring and goofy.
'Citizenfour': A Paranoid Conspiracy Documentary About Edward Snowden
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.
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