David Edelstein http://kvpr.org en Undead Hipsters And An Abstract Alien Star In Two Arty Horror Pics http://kvpr.org/post/undead-hipsters-and-abstract-alien-star-two-arty-horror-pics Every so often a high-toned arthouse director dips a toe into the horror genre and the results are uplifting: You realize vampires and space aliens are subjects too rich to be the sole property of schlockmeisters. Fri, 18 Apr 2014 17:52:00 +0000 David Edelstein 31396 at http://kvpr.org Undead Hipsters And An Abstract Alien Star In Two Arty Horror Pics In 'Noah,' Earth And The Bible Get A Computer-Generated Reboot http://kvpr.org/post/noah-earth-and-bible-get-computer-generated-reboot Transcript <p>(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)<p>DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: <p>Darren Aronofsky had a surprise hit in 2010 with "Black Swan," which won an Oscar for its star, Natalie Portman. His latest film, "Noah," is a big budget Bible epic based on the story of Noah's Ark. Russell Crowe plays the title character, and the movie also features Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson.<p>Film critic David Edelstein has this review.<p>DAVID EDELSTEIN: Darren Aronofsky's biblical flood epic "Noah," generated controversy before anyone had laid eyes on the film. Fri, 28 Mar 2014 15:11:00 +0000 David Edelstein 30384 at http://kvpr.org 'Nymphomaniac': Chasing Sex, But Only On Her Terms http://kvpr.org/post/nymphomaniac-chasing-sex-only-her-terms Lars von Trier's latest provocation is an episodic sexual epic called <em>Nymphomaniac</em>, which comes in two two-hour parts, or "volumes," though it's basically one movie sliced in half. The thinking must have been, "Who wants four hours of hardcore sex and philosophizing?," and if you say, "Me, me!," I suggest seeing both back to back: It's an art-house orgy!<p>Should you see it at all? I recommend it guardedly. It's dumb, but in a bold, ambitious way movies mostly aren't these days, especially when there's sex in the equation. Fri, 21 Mar 2014 14:13:00 +0000 David Edelstein 30035 at http://kvpr.org 'Nymphomaniac': Chasing Sex, But Only On Her Terms 'Grand Budapest Hotel': Kitsch, Cameos And A Gloriously Stylized Europe http://kvpr.org/post/grand-budapest-hotel-kitsch-cameos-and-gloriously-stylized-europe Wes Anderson has his share of groupies and his somewhat smaller share of skeptics who find him a tad precious. As someone who leans toward the precious view, but is open to his grace notes, I found <em>The Grand Budapest Hotel</em> mostly delightful.<p>It's a madcap comedy, but with hints of tragedy lurking outside the usual Anderson dollhouse frames. The central character is Gustave H., played by Ralph Fiennes. He's the concierge of a kitschy, opulent, high-class European hotel between World Wars I and II.<p>But it takes a while to <em>get</em> to Gustave. Fri, 07 Mar 2014 21:02:00 +0000 David Edelstein 29389 at http://kvpr.org 'Grand Budapest Hotel': Kitsch, Cameos And A Gloriously Stylized Europe Liam Neeson's Action Chops Take Flight In 'Non-Stop' http://kvpr.org/post/liam-neesons-action-chops-take-flight-non-stop Transcript <p>DAVE DAVIES, HOST: <p>This is FRESH AIR. Liam Neeson became a bankable action hero in 2008 with the thriller "Taken." Now almost 62, he's still getting out of tight corners with his fists in the new action thriller "Non-Stop," most of which unfolds on a transatlantic flight from New York to London. The film also stars Julianne Moore and Michelle Dockery. Fri, 28 Feb 2014 18:24:00 +0000 David Edelstein 29102 at http://kvpr.org 'Wind Rises' Is Exquisite, And Likely To Be Hayao Miyazaki's Last http://kvpr.org/post/wind-rises-exquisite-and-likely-be-hayao-miyazakis-last The 73-year-old Japanese animation titan Hayao Miyazaki says <em>The Wind Rises</em> is his final film, and if that's true — and I hope it's not but fear it is, since he's not the type to make rash declarations — he's going out on a high.<p>The movie won't, I'm afraid, appeal to kids the way <em>Ponyo</em> or <em>Spirited Away</em> does. It's monster-, ghost- and mermaid-free. It centers on grown-ups and is gently paced — maybe 15 minutes too long, I'd say, but you can forgive those <em>longueurs</em> when the work is this exquisite. Fri, 21 Feb 2014 18:14:00 +0000 David Edelstein 28796 at http://kvpr.org 'Wind Rises' Is Exquisite, And Likely To Be Hayao Miyazaki's Last Masterpieces In Peril, 'Monuments Men' Protects, But Also Panders http://kvpr.org/post/masterpieces-peril-monuments-men-protects-also-panders George Clooney's <em>The</em> <em>Monuments Men</em> tells the largely true story of a squad of art experts who, near the end of World War II, are assigned to protect the masterworks of European society from Nazi theft and Allied bombardment. You'll notice those are two separate goals.<p>The first is to stop the flood of art from occupied countries to Germany. Fri, 07 Feb 2014 19:18:00 +0000 David Edelstein 28198 at http://kvpr.org Masterpieces In Peril, 'Monuments Men' Protects, But Also Panders Middle-Aged And Divorced, 'Gloria' Takes On Life's Uncertainties http://kvpr.org/post/middle-aged-and-divorced-gloria-takes-lifes-uncertainties Transcript <p>DAVE DAVIES, HOST: <p>This is FRESH AIR. "Gloria" is a new film from Chile that centers on a late-middle-aged divorced woman whose life is full of uncertainties. She's played by Paulina Garcia, who won the top acting prize - the Silver Bear - at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival, where the movie was a surprise hit. It opens this week in New York and Los Angeles, and wider next month. Film critic David Edelstein has this review.<p>DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: The Chilean drama "Gloria" is a lovely surprise. Paulina Garcia plays Gloria, 58 years old, middle class, 10 years divorced. Fri, 24 Jan 2014 15:31:00 +0000 David Edelstein 27557 at http://kvpr.org Jack Ryan Gets A Makeover, And A Quick Trip To Moscow http://kvpr.org/post/jack-ryan-gets-makeover-and-quick-trip-moscow A franchise is what we used to call a Burger King or a Shell station, but nowadays the word appears more often in relation to movies: the <em>Star Wars</em> franchise, the <em>Hunger Games</em> franchise, the Jack Ryan franchise — or in the case of <em>Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,</em> the Jack Ryan franchise reboot. I don't know what's more depressing: that what fires up studio execs is the hunt for a new franchise or that critics have adopted this business lingo uncritically.<p>Maybe a business reporter would be the best person to talk about <em>Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit</em>. Fri, 17 Jan 2014 16:59:00 +0000 David Edelstein 27284 at http://kvpr.org Jack Ryan Gets A Makeover, And A Quick Trip To Moscow 'Invisible Woman' Charts Charles Dickens' Hidden Relationship http://kvpr.org/post/invisible-woman-charts-charles-dickens-hidden-relationship Transcript <p>DAVE DAVIES, HOST: <p>This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross. The new film, "The Invisible Woman," charts the hidden relationship between Charles Dickens and a young actress for whom left his wife, but who for years never showed up in biographies of Dickens. It's the second film directed by Ralph Fiennes, who also plays Dickens and features Felicity Jones as the actress, Nelly Ternan.<p>Film critic David Edelstein has this review.<p>DAVID EDELSTEIN: The question at the heart of "The Invisible Woman" is whether a person who is kept a secret can be said to exist. Fri, 10 Jan 2014 18:59:00 +0000 David Edelstein 26994 at http://kvpr.org A Man And His Machine, Finding Out What Love Is http://kvpr.org/post/man-and-his-machine-finding-out-what-love <em>Her</em> is the best film of the year by a so-wide margin. Fri, 20 Dec 2013 17:18:00 +0000 David Edelstein 26156 at http://kvpr.org A Man And His Machine, Finding Out What Love Is A 'Hustle' With Flow (And Plenty Of Flair) http://kvpr.org/post/hustle-flow-and-plenty-flair David O. Russell hovers at the top of my list of favorite directors. He captures the messy collision of self-interests that for him defines America. In <em>American Hustle,</em> he whips up a black comedy based on Abscam, the late-'70s FBI sting that centered on a bogus sheik and led to the bribery convictions of sundry U.S. politicians. Fri, 13 Dec 2013 17:34:00 +0000 David Edelstein 25830 at http://kvpr.org A 'Hustle' With Flow (And Plenty Of Flair) Great Soundtrack Aside, 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Hits A Sour Note http://kvpr.org/post/great-soundtrack-aside-inside-llewyn-davis-hits-sour-note The films of Joel and Ethan Coen pose a challenge: How do we reconcile their wildly disparate tones? Consider <em>O Brother, Where Art Thou?</em>, a burlesque of Homer's <em>Odyssey</em> centering on three stumblebums — but with a soundtrack assembled by T Bone Burnett of heartfelt historical gospel and country music. Ditto <em>The Ladykillers</em>: venal idiot characters, soaring African-American spirituals. The ridiculous and the sublime sit side by side, with no spillover.<p>Now comes <em>Inside Llewyn Davis</em>. Fri, 06 Dec 2013 18:34:00 +0000 David Edelstein 25507 at http://kvpr.org Great Soundtrack Aside, 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Hits A Sour Note A Korean Cult Thriller Gets A Spike Lee Makeover http://kvpr.org/post/korean-cult-thriller-gets-spike-lee-makeover Spike Lee's movies typically carry the label "A Spike Lee Joint," but <em>Oldboy</em> doesn't. He calls it "a Spike Lee Film," which my guess is Lee's way of saying he's a gun for hire — and that after a line of box office failures and difficulty getting financing for personal projects, he can make a fast, violent action thriller.<p>And as it happens, he can — a more-than-decent one. But this is also the first time I've come out of a Spike Lee film, bad or good, and not known why it had to be made. Fri, 29 Nov 2013 12:03:00 +0000 David Edelstein 25171 at http://kvpr.org A Korean Cult Thriller Gets A Spike Lee Makeover Across 'Nebraska,' On A Journey That Goes Beyond The Trip http://kvpr.org/post/across-nebraska-journey-goes-beyond-trip Last month, I saw the trailer for Alexander Payne's <em>Nebraska,</em> and only the fact that it was a Payne film made me want to see it.<p>The premise seemed a dead end: Bruce Dern plays an elderly man named Woody Grant living in Billings, Mont., who gets a letter saying he's won $1 million. All he needs to do is call a number and maybe buy a magazine subscription.<p>Instead of laughing it off, Woody insists on traveling hundreds of miles to company headquarters in Lincoln, Neb., for his fortune — walking if need be. I doubt Payne had much to do with that trailer, but it's awful. Fri, 15 Nov 2013 19:57:00 +0000 David Edelstein 24586 at http://kvpr.org Across 'Nebraska,' On A Journey That Goes Beyond The Trip In Emotionally Charged 'Blue,' Sex Is Graphic, But Not Gratuitous http://kvpr.org/post/emotionally-charged-blue-sex-graphic-not-gratuitous <em>Blue Is the Warmest Color</em> is a lesbian coming-of-age movie, and its long and graphic sex scenes have already generated controversy. The director, Abdellatif Kechiche, is a man, and at least one prominent female critic has accused him of leading with his own libido — a charge that I vigorously dispute, but of course I'm a man so take that as you will. Here's what I saw: a film that captures the intensity of sexual discovery — and dependency — in a way I've never seen. It's 179 minutes, every one of them charged. Fri, 25 Oct 2013 15:49:00 +0000 David Edelstein 23551 at http://kvpr.org In Emotionally Charged 'Blue,' Sex Is Graphic, But Not Gratuitous At Home At Sea: Robert Redford, At His Best Alone http://kvpr.org/post/home-sea-robert-redford-his-best-alone As I watched Robert Redford acting all by himself in the superlative survival-at-sea movie <em>All Is Lost,</em> I suddenly realized why the setup feels so perfect: Redford is most in his element when he's alone.<p>His strength — and it seemed huge when he started in the late '50s and '60s — has always been his ability to convey thought on-screen. But he has never been much of an <em>inter</em>-acter, which is one reason his Jay Gatsby in the 1974 <em>The</em> <em>Great Gatsby</em> adaptation was a nonstarter. Fri, 18 Oct 2013 15:50:00 +0000 David Edelstein 23217 at http://kvpr.org At Home At Sea: Robert Redford, At His Best Alone A Pirate Saga More Sobering Than Swashbuckling http://kvpr.org/post/pirate-saga-more-sobering-swashbuckling Most kidnapping melodramas have final scenes — after their climaxes — that are, effectively, throwaways. There are sighs of relief, tearful reunions with families, cameras that dolly back on domestic tableaux to suggest the world has at last been righted.<p>I think it's telling that in <em>Captain Phillips</em> the most overwhelming scene is after the resolution, in the infirmary of a ship. So much terror and moral confusion has gone down — so much pain — that the cumulative tension can't be resolved by violence. Fri, 11 Oct 2013 16:11:00 +0000 David Edelstein 22889 at http://kvpr.org A Pirate Saga More Sobering Than Swashbuckling Houston, We Have A Space Flick: A Sentimental Mission In Zero 'Gravity' http://kvpr.org/post/houston-we-have-space-flick-sentimental-mission-zero-gravity In a season in which we're all talking about AMC's phenomenal <em>Breaking Bad</em> and Netflix's elating <em>Orange Is the New Black,</em> Hollywood needs you, your kids and everyone in Europe and China to get out from behind those TV monitors and into theaters. Movie studios are falling behind on compelling narratives. Fri, 04 Oct 2013 17:58:00 +0000 David Edelstein 22561 at http://kvpr.org Houston, We Have A Space Flick: A Sentimental Mission In Zero 'Gravity' Gordon-Levitt's 'Don Jon' Is An Openhearted Directorial Debut http://kvpr.org/post/gordon-levitts-don-jon-openhearted-directorial-debut In phe last decade, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has worked hard to establish himself as a serious actor, and he's been so successful it's easy to forget he came of age in the '90s sitcom <em>3rd Rock from the Sun</em>. The guy has comedy chops, and he's exercising them again in a smart new movie he wrote and directed called <em>Don Jon</em>.<p>In it, he plays a prolific seducer named Jon Martello; "Don Jon" is the nickname his pals gave him in the movie's obvious nod to Dons Juan and Giovanni. Those literary namesakes end up in hell, but for this Jon the hell is during sex. Fri, 27 Sep 2013 15:55:00 +0000 David Edelstein 22213 at http://kvpr.org Gordon-Levitt's 'Don Jon' Is An Openhearted Directorial Debut