Cameron Crowe's Aloha Is Every Bit The Disaster You Suspected

As a rule, I ignore negative buzz about upcoming movies. For one thing, you never know the agenda behind those leaking damaging information about reshoots or bad test-screening scores. For another, the film industry is littered with classic movies that were initially thought to be duds. (How many oral histories don’t » 5/28/15 6:00pm 5/28/15 6:00pm

There Are No War Heroes: A Veteran's Review Of American Sniper

American Sniper will likely be the most controversial and divisive movie of 2015, and it's mid-January. From concerns over the baldly anti-Muslim social-media rants it has inspired to titular real-life protagonist Chris Kyle's debatable status as a hero to his notorious unreliability as a non-fiction narrator to the… » 1/23/15 10:00am 1/23/15 10:00am

American Sniper Promotes Unrealistic Beauty Standards for Babies

Much has been made of American Sniper, the Oscar-nominated, Clint Eastwood smash about a Navy SEAL with boy-band good looks and the cunning mind of a serial killer. But thus far obscured in the meditative pieces from media thought leaders about "the thrilling anticipation of gunplay" and how it is "doing amazing… » 1/19/15 11:15am 1/19/15 11:15am

A Dog Distracted By A Squirrel: American Hustle, Reviewed.

1. David O. Russell is a director who doesn't know what he's doing. I say this with legitimate, if cautious, admiration. Some of our most celebrated directors have been incorrigible perfectionist assholes: David Fincher makes actors do hundreds of takes; Kubrick sent crazy (but not wrong) letters to projectionists;… » 12/17/13 5:57pm 12/17/13 5:57pm

What Happened To The Jokes? The Hangover, Part III, Reviewed.

1. The Hangover, Part III is better than Part II, but not by much, and really only because it didn't just recycle, almost beat for beat, the plot of the first film. The plot it lands on this time isn't much better, though, and all told, it doesn't have much more energy than that film did. The two sequels to The… » 5/22/13 6:45pm 5/22/13 6:45pm

An Epic That Stumbles. The Place Beyond The Pines, Reviewed.

Director Derek Cianfrance's last film, Blue Valentine, was a crushing study of a couple (played by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams) falling apart. It was beautifully made and well acted—I loved it—but the rawness of the emotions and the ambition of the structure (cycling between the present and the past, as we see… » 3/27/13 6:15pm 3/27/13 6:15pm

Vincible. Silver Linings Playbook, Reviewed.

1. She's a grieving cop's widow, prone to nymphomania, locked away in a shed behind her parents' home, profoundly damaged—not broken, but close. He's a bipolar basket case who nearly beat a man half to death for showering with his wife, the same wife with whom he obsessively wants to reconcile, even as he rocks back… » 11/13/12 6:19pm 11/13/12 6:19pm

I ♥ David O. Russell: An Unpredictable Career Gets Back On Track

With all the great directors out there to choose from—Tarantino, Spielberg, Paul Thomas Anderson—it's hard to think of many aspiring filmmakers who would look at David O. Russell's career and say, "That's who I want to be." There are auteurs who follow the beat of their own drum, and then there's Russell, who just… » 11/09/12 6:27pm 11/09/12 6:27pm

A Movie About Books Made By People Who Don't Read Them. The Words,…

1. When my first book was published—and "published" is honestly being kind; it's probably more accurate to say it was "repeatedly photocopied"—perhaps the most common question family members asked me: So, are you going to go on Oprah? They were joking (I think), but something about their question was depressing. What… » 9/05/12 5:40pm 9/05/12 5:40pm