Film Review: Another Year

I expected to like Mike Leigh’s Another Year more than I did, my expectations raised in part because it is small scale and character-driven, because director Mike Leigh is a good filmmaker, and because some critics (e.g. A.O. Scott and Liam Lacey) report that the film has a serious central theme, happiness. But despite its … Read more

Film Review: Lebanon

Samuel Maoz has made a brilliant film in Lebanon, unless you are in the mood for a happy ending, feel-good confirmation that all is well. Leaving Lebanon, the viewer is not happily humming the theme song, but hearing echoes of the insistent, chaotic noise of war. Lebanon follows one Israeli tank during the first day … Read more

Film Review: The White Ribbon

The White Ribbon reminds us of the enormous power of black and white films. This film is visually wonderful, with its painterly compositions, interesting faces, and occasional frames in which the subject is partially obscured. B&W adds a subtle layer of artifice and historic distance to our experience as viewers. The story and characters are … Read more

Film Review: The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker is a very well made action film, but I am surprised at how well received it has been. What it does, it does well, but how hard is it to generate tension and excitement when your characters are armed with automatic weapons and explosives, and are intent on killing each other at … Read more

Film Review: I Served the King of England

This film has a lot going for it. I like its complexity, I like its use of visuals, and I like its ambition. It has the feeling of a complex novel without trying to be a novel (it’s adapted from a novel). I like its admixture of political satire and gentle humor, and its Charlie … Read more