August 1, 2013 With sparse dialogue, uneven pacing and nothing much new to say, The Artist and the Model is ultimately an empty study of the art-making process.
August 1, 2013 Earth-side specialists patch together footage of a failed mission to a Jovian moon to understand what went horribly wrong. Critic Mark Jenkins says Europa Report is commendably committed to technological plausibility — but nonetheless pretty silly in the end.
July 30, 2013 Two documentarians remember a time when Jewish comics could count on the resorts of the Borscht Belt to provide a proving ground — and an informal curriculum — as they pushed to find a broad audience without abandoning their roots in vaudeville and Yiddish theater.
July 26, 2013 NPR's Bob Mondello reviews a documentary that raised hackles and inspired hosannahs when it played at the Telluride Film Festival. The Act of Killing includes images of an Indonesian genocide — re-enacted by the perpetrators — that add up to a singularly arresting act of cinema. (Recommended)
July 26, 2013 Blue Jasmine finds the filmmaker stuck in old ruts; though his technique is as sound as ever, his worldview seems to have congealed decades ago. Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins and Alec Baldwin star in a story inspired by Bernie Madoff and Blanche DuBois.
July 25, 2013 Emanuele Crialese, who made 2002's Respiro, is back with a timely entry from a genre of filmmaking that seemed to fizzle out after the mid-1950s. Terraferma, a loving study in neo-realism, is set off the coast of Italy and packed with ecstatic imagery. (Recommended)
July 25, 2013 Apocalyptic epics — all toppling buildings and existential peril — have been de rigeur in this summer's blockbusters, but they're missing in action in The Wolverine. Ian Buckwalter says the latest X-Men story is about letting Logan work through his issues, and it's told with a lighter touch.
July 25, 2013 Veteran Hong Kong filmmaker Johnnie To dives into a story about a mainland drug war. Using a variety of languages and vantage points, To creates an eye-opening and surprisingly pointed commentary on the Chinese criminal justice system. (Recommended)
July 25, 2013 Woody Allen's latest is a by-the-numbers number — though it may very well be redeemed by a dynamic Cate Blanchett as a damaged woman poised between stasis and hysteria.
July 20, 2013 DreamWork's Turbo has been touted for having a multicultural cast, but does the movie, with its distinctly "urban" garden snails and its ethnic characters, really move beyond racial tropes?
July 19, 2013 Three horror flicks — Grabbers, Evidence and The Conjuring — add up to a case study in why an original concept isn't always what makes a good movie.
July 19, 2013 Let us not pretend that this is a straight-up review of a movie about a racing snail. Because that would just be silly.
July 19, 2013 Two new documentaries are making headlines. Gabriela Cowperthwaite's Blackfish centers on the whale that killed a trainer before an Orlando SeaWorld audience in 2010. The Act of Killing by human rights researcher Josh Oppenheimer, looks at the mass executions of communists in Indonesia in the 1960s.