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Cinema Verite

Be glad their family isn't yours.


Drama

Rod Lott
In 1971, the all-American, Nixon-loving clan known as the Loud family made history without even trying. They just allowed cameras into their lives for six months, and the result was PBS' An American Family, television's first reality series.
 
Friday, May 18, 2012

Knights of the Round Table

Good ‘Knight’? Not quite.


Drama

Rod Lott
From 1953, Knights of the Round Table proudly boasts the CinemaScope logo as it opens, trumpeting itself as an epic Hollywood costumed drama on a massive scale: no expense spared, no detail ignored. And no story engagement.
 
Thursday, May 17, 2012

Shame

'Shame' on Oscar for ignoring this dangerous drama.


Drama

Rod Lott
Our daily life is defined by rituals. For you, that may mean a morning cup of coffee or a quick jog before bed. For Brandon Sullivan, the New York City-based protagonist of Shame, it means masturbating at work.
 
Monday, April 30, 2012

Miss Bala

As a drama, this Mexican entree is mild.


Drama

Rod Lott

Conceptually, Miss Bala shares much in common with 2004's Maria Full of Grace. In that film, a young Colombian girl became a drug mule in order to save her family. Here, a young Mexican woman becomes a criminal accessory in order to save her friend.


 
Wednesday, April 18, 2012

We Bought a Zoo

Keep this cagey family drama locked up.


Drama

Rod Lott
A father buys a zoo after his wife buys the farm, in Cameron Crowe's We Bought a Zoo, a well-meaning but emotionally hollow film, despite extreme evidence to the contrary.
 
Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sleeping Beauty

This ain't no princess story.


Drama

Rod Lott
Definitely not to be confused with the Disney cartoon — or any adaptation of the fairy tale, for that matter — this Sleeping Beauty is kind of like if you chose one of the masked women from the orgy scene of Eyes Wide Shut, then were told her backstory for 101 minutes.
 
Monday, April 9, 2012

The Nurses Collection

Nurse! Oh, nurse!


Drama

Rod Lott

Amid this nation's debate over the so-called "Obamacare" plan, one question has been unanswered, until now: "When are Roger Corman's nurse movies going to get a proper DVD release?" As we say regularly on these digital pages, Shout! Factory to the rescue.

 
Monday, April 2, 2012

A Dangerous Method

A history of psycho.


Drama

Rod Lott
A Dangerous Method represents a first for maverick auteur David Cronenberg: It's the one movie of his that you cannot tell is his. And yet it opens with a moment of madness and focuses on "unruly sexual desire."

 
Friday, March 23, 2012

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Extremely long and incredibly cloying.


Drama

Rod Lott
How? Of all the films that could have filled that ninth Best Picture slot at this year's Academy Awards, how did Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close get there? Manipulation is one thing; manipulation soaked in implausibility is another entirely: Oscar bait of the worst, most despicable order.
 
Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Descendants

Say ‘aloha’ to a smart film about a fractured family.


Drama

Rod Lott
Once the Oscar contender to beat — until The Artist swooped in and did just that — The Descendants is the oddest kind of road movie: one in which the roads don’t exist at all. The travels undertaken by George Clooney’s harried, married Matt King character in this dramedy are done so mostly via plane, as he criss-crosses three of Hawaii’s eight islands in search of a stranger he doesn’t want to face, but stalks with great determination nonetheless.
 
Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life / Telstar: The Joe Meek Story

One’s in tune; the other, tone-deaf.


Drama

Rod Lott
Because one usually has to enjoy the stature of a Johnny Cash, here are two musicians I never dreamed would get biopics: Serge Gainsbourg and Joe Meek.
 
Monday, March 12, 2012

Martha Marcy May Marlene

A chilling film by any name.


Drama

Kathryn Jenson White
Community ranks as key on the list of basic human needs. After water, food and shelter, our need to connect with others drives and defines us.
 
Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ocean Heaven / 1911

Jackie Chan and Jet Li keep their feet on the ground.


Drama

Rod Lott
It sucks getting old.
 
Friday, February 17, 2012

Elite Squad: The Enemy Within

Know thy ‘Enemy.’


Drama

Rod Lott
Let’s talk Oscar’s harshest snubs this year: Michael Fassbender in “Shame.” Pretty much everything related to “Drive.” And now, "Elite Squad: The Enemy Within," Brazil’s entry in the category for Best Foreign Language Film. It didn’t make the cut to the five nominees.
 
Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Myth of the American Sleepover

Come sweet slumber, enshroud me in thy purple cloak.


Drama

Rod Lott
All those coming-of-age movies we loved growing up in the ’80s seemed to have it all ... except reality.
 
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
 
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