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Stories We Tell (2013)

Spoiler Scale: (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3 Based on the preview, I expected Sarah Polley’s documentary about her family to be cutesy and self-absorbed. The kitschy piano score, the purposefully low quality video, and the idea of Polley spending 108 minutes exposing her family’s salacious secrets kept my expectations low. I was wrong. ... Read More »

Before Midnight (2013)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  4   (NOTE:  This review does contain spoilers of the two previous films, Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004).) In the interests of full disclosure, I must confess to a certain unavoidable degree of subjectivity in assessing what has become writer/director Richard Linklater’s fictional riff on the Seven Up! documentaries (1964-).  I was a 24 ... Read More »

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3    The very title of director J.J. Abrams’ sequel to the reboot, Star Trek (2009), begs comparison with The Dark Knight (2008), another sequel which was widely considered an even stronger film than its origin story.  The comparison is even more apt considering the oft-stated critical rule of the Star ... Read More »

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?)  3   Iron Man 3 is the best Iron Man movie ever! …  Bring it on, Man of Steel! … It’s the official start of Summer Movie Season 2013, and I want to throw my hat into the ring for getting a “persuasive” quote onto a TV ad or DVD cover.  Or maybe a sidebar on a ... Read More »

The Place Beyond the Pines (2013)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3   As the credits rolled at the conclusion of the 140-minute The Place Beyond the Pines, I immediately wondered if the film is as successful as the novel in conveying the three distinct-but-related stories of fathers and sons.  And much to my surprise, I found out that the screenplay – penned by ... Read More »

Evil Dead (2013)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3   What makes a great horror film?  The answer is likely to vary from viewer to viewer more so than with any other genre of film.  Whether steeped in allegory/metaphor or not, at a minimum, a horror film should unsettle the viewer, for better or for worse.  And ... Read More »

No (2013)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  4   In 1988, after 15 years under dictator Augusto Pinoche, the international community – including the U.S., who had previously supported the anti-Communist dictator – forced a referendum (“plebiscite”) on Pinoche’s continued rule, with the ballot simply asking “Yes” or “No.”  The powers-that-be also compelled the government – which had a history ... Read More »

Stoker (2013)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  4   As an initial matter, I must disclose that I was not as enraptured as others with South Korean director Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy (2005), which has been remade for the mainstream U.S. audience by Spike Lee for release later this year.  But in the psychodrama Stoker, his first English-language film, Chan-wook’s ... Read More »

Spring Breakers (2013)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  4   Spring Breakers, the most recent film by writer/director Harmony Korine, announces loud and proud that the 1990s are back.  The Decade of Irony happens to be my favorite in film, so you don’t have to sell me.  Irony can be useful and fun!  The problem with Spring Breakers is an utter and complete lack of subtlety.  And ... Read More »

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