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Quick Views of Other Film Sites

Here we’ve gathered a quick reference for interesting stuff on other sites, focusing mostly on reviews and upcoming movies. Click on one of the tabs below to see what each site has. For a more complete discussion of film review sites, go here.

The tabs below come from RSS feeds. If you know of an interesting and good film-related RSS feed that we might add, please post a comment below to tell us and we might add it to the list.


more over at Filmwell »»
To Inspire Love: Death on the Nile (John Guillermin, 1978)
This is the second  in a (long-delayed, alas!) series of posts chronicling the fortunes of Agatha Christie on film from 1974-1988. Spoilers are not only expected, but required, and I offer them with no apology. With the success of Murder on the Orient Express, it was only a matter of time before the cinema tried […]…

The Fantasy of American Innocence: Little Boy (Alejandro Monteverde, 2015)
Before I begin, an obvious warning: I will discuss spoilers here. Another obvious warning: this is a long piece and it goes into the brush at various points. My hope is that, in the end, it comes together into something reasonably cohesive—but that is, of course, up to the reader to decide. A third warning: […]…

Gett: The The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (Roni and Shlomi Elkabetz, 2014)
Gett is the end of a series of films about the failed marriage of the Amsalems. In To Take A Wife (2004) and 7 Days (2008), Viviane is already desperate to leave their marriage, which has grown cold over differences in observance of Jewish law, tradition, and Elisha’s efforts to conserve his Moroccan heritage. These films are all dense […]…

Hard To Be A God (German, 2014)
I have only had the opportunity to see a few of Aleksei German’s films. But watching either Khrustalyov, My Car! or Hard to Be a God is like seeing 8 1/2 or 2001 or The Mirror for the first time. You know that what you are seeing is going to change the way you watch […]…

The Horrible Theology of Hannibal
There are a few basic differences between the novels by Thomas Harris and Hannibal, their NBC TV series adaptation. The most intriguing of these is that the Hannibal of the ongoing TV series has a tendency to speak theologically about his hobby horses, which include cannibalism, serial killing, and the presence of God. While most […]…

The Babadook (Kent, 2014)
Amelia is having a nightmare, and first time director Jennifer Kent begins her psychological horror film, The Babadook, by placing the viewer in the middle of it. The film’s first shot is a close-up of Amelia breathing in a distressed rhythm, as if in labor. A few seconds later, a shrill scream accompanies breaking glass […]…

Selma (DuVernay, 2014)
    There is a series of shots in Selma that called to mind a passage from Perez’s The Material Ghost. In this section, Perez is talking about the shot reverse shot convention. “The shot/reverse shot does not give us a bystander’s view: it has us stand in turn where each character stands.That people engaged in conversation will […]…

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (Takahata, 2014)
I watched this quiet miracle of a film recently with my daughter. We have been taking painting lessons together, learning how to blend color, the tonal habits of different brushes, and little techniques artists use to paint things like clouds or shrubs. This made the film a real pleasure for us both, as Takahata’s animation is […]…

Filmwell Recommends – Streaming in January
Welcome to a new monthly post we will be putting together here at Filmwell. As streaming video and VOD releases have become an essential part of the cinephile diet, keeping an eye on new releases can be a daunting task. In these posts, I hope to separate some of the wheat from the chaff as titles […]…

Favorite Films of 2014
It is that time of the year when with a heave and a sigh I launch my top ten list out among all the others, knowing that mere moments from clicking “publish” it will feel like a flimsy record of a really interesting year in cinema. I had more than usual titles floating around near […]…

Updated: 31 Aug 2015, 06:00 UTC

more over at Looking Closer »»
Inside Out (2015)
Take a deep dive into your own head. Do an archaeological dig. Work your way all the way to the center. What do you find? Core memories. Foundational impressions. The moments that made you. Me? Mine are almost all related to creativity: - Reading books — fairy tales and fantasy, mostly. - Writing and illustrating [Read More...]…

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
It's explosive fun. It's even more fun the second time. And I think it'll be justly celebrated as one of the all-time great achievements in action moviemaking. …

Tomorrowland? Or Tomorrow-bland?
I hoped that Brad Bird would experience a much more positive response to his own passion project — the long-anticipated Tomorrowland — than Andrew Stanton did for his passion project, "John Carter."…

My Favorite Film of 2014: The Strange Little Cat
[This review was included in my Favorite Films of 2014 post. But, for the archives, it gets a post of its own.] • In one scene, two young people play Connect Four. Do you remember Connect Four? I loved playing this game when I was a kid. There was the tic-tac-toe fun of trying to see [Read More...]…

Something, Anything
Ida, Ewa, Gloria, and now… the final contestant in this, the Looking Closer Beauty Pageant. Readers, let me catch you up: In early 2014, I began a four-part series in which I focused on films that captured the rare cinematic marvel of a living, breathing, three-dimensional female character — somebody who does not capture our attention [Read More...]…

Looking Closer at Selma: My Review and Some Other Perspectives
By choosing intimacy over an epic scale, by going small instead of large, by discernment and selectivity over throwing everything available to her at the screen, Ava Duvernay has surpassed all expectations with a masterfully crafted film that will become a standard by which historical films are measured.…

The Fault in Our Stars (2014): First Impressions
If I were struggling with cancer, I suspect this movie would come across as punch in the gut.…

Moses and Errin’ — A Review of Exodus: Gods and Kings
Dear Ridley Scott, My name is Aaron. I’m the brother of Moses. In the Holy Scriptures, when Moses balks at God’s call for him to go and free the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, claiming a lack of eloquence, God gets aggravated and assigns me to travel with him, to face Pharaoh, and to act as [Read More...]…

Looking Closer’s Thanksgiving Movie: Terrence Malick’s The New World
So, putting on my film critic hat, I will do as I usually do at Thanksgiving — I will recommend that we remember the origins of this nation, that we reflect on the early days of European culture converging and clashing with Native American culture, through the lenses, the imagination, the eyes, and the conscience of Terrence Malick. My Thanksgiving movie is the "Extended Cut" of The New World.…

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 — My First Impressions
Our futures will be shaped by the capacity of rising generations to challenge and test what their screens and gadgets tell them about the world, and The Hunger Games is a parable for them, about them, summoning them to demand freedom, human rights, and the truth.…

Updated: 31 Aug 2015, 06:00 UTC

more over at BrandonFibbs.com »»
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Like the boy that shares its name, the Harry Potter series stumbled from the gate, saddled not entirely unexpectedly with inexperience and immaturity. But then, as with the boy, something truly wonderful—even magical—happened. It grew into something to be immensely, colossally, button-poppingly proud of. Unlike nearly every adaptation Hollywood produces, the Harry Potter films, taken [...]…

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
It is no secret that I disliked the first two Transformers films. In fact, I employ no hyperbole whatsoever in admitting that I, for lack of a more expressive word, utterly loathed them. There are those who claim Transformers: Dark of the Moon is light years better than its predecessors. Do not believe their rancid [...]…

Larry Crowne
Several years ago, one of my dearest friends starred in a national CitiCard commercial in which a woman Feng shuis her house (the ancient Chinese system of aesthetics that teaches that greater spiritual energy can be derived from a proper orientation of your material belongings) but discovers that what she really needed to do was [...]…

Cars 2
It was bound to happen. No one can keep a winning streak like that going forever. A 25-year perfect game isn’t exactly shabby. In fact, it just might be unprecedented. There is no other creative entity in Hollywood with as unblemished and sterling a record as Pixar. This makes the stumble that is Cars 2 [...]…

The Green Lantern
When I was young, I accidentally punched a hole in the side of our garage wall with a wayward snow shovel. Terrified at the implications once my mother returned from work, I did the only thing I could think of: I taped a piece of notebook paper across the sizable gouge and painted over the [...]…

Super 8
Nostalgia is defined as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.” One thing that is abundantly clear while watching Super 8 is that writer/director J.J. Abrams’ nostalgia for his early teenaged years—an era defined by the films of Steven Spielberg (also a producer [...]…

X-Men: First Class
In a summer unfortunately glutted with superhero movies, every one an origins story, X-Men: First Class not only eclipses its competition, but also each of its franchise predecessors. Psychologically complex, thematically rich and emotionally layered, this is the best, smartest and classiest of the X-Men series by leagues. This is a comic book movie that [...]…

The Tree of Life


Kung Fu Panda 2
Kung Fu Panda 2 is disappointing only because it is not the original Kung Fu Panda, a rare animated action-packed adventure that managed to delight adult filmgoers as well as kids not by injecting sophisticated humor but by making a story of a fat Panda bear incontestably exciting. The second entry in the trilogy (this [...]…

The Hangover: Part II
To dispense with a lengthy plot synopsis for The Hangover: Part II would be a profound waste of the time it would take me to write it and you to read it. The Hangover: Part II is the exact same movie as its predecessor down to nearly every single narrative beat. While there’s certainly something [...]…

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Fan fiction is an awkward literary subset written not by the original creator of a given work, but rather by fans. Nearly always disavowed by the originating artist, fan fiction is both defined by and exists outside the canon of whatever universe is being depicted, especially due to the fact that the quality of work [...]…

Bridesmaids
It is both artistically dishonest and embarrassingly naive to grant the status of “classic” to something only newly born. For a film to be called a classic, it must first stand the tests of longevity, critical reception and…oh what the hell, who am I kidding? Bridesmaids is an instant classic. Annie (Kristen Wiig) has a J.D. [...]…

Priest
Priest is the sort of movie you walk into knowing full well its IQ is significantly less than the bucket of popcorn balanced in your lap. About all you can hope for in this situation is that it will also be fun. And when it turns out to not be any fun at all, you [...]…

Thor
The problem with the current crop of superhero movies is that once you’ve exhausted the A-list (Superman, Spider-Man, Batman), you begin reaching for the second string personalities who may be every bit as worthy, but do not have the same sort of populist street cred. Thor is one such superhero. (The Green Lantern is another.) [...]…

Fast Five
The Second Law of Thermodynamics states roughly that there is a universal tendency for all things to progress from order to disorder. The longer a particular system goes, the greater its tendency toward entropy and decline. If only that principle could explain Fast Five, the fifth entry in the wearying, middling Fast and Furious franchise—clear [...]…

A personal note from Brandon Fibbs:
Recently, while wandering in Frost’s proverbial yellow woods, I came to a fork in the road and decided to take the one less traveled. After a half dozen years as a professional film critic writing about other people’s movies, I have decided it is time to start letting them write about mine. To that end, I [...]…

Hanna
In the Brandon Fibbs Book of Movieisms it is stated: “A bad film is not the worst kind of film. A bad film is simply bad. It does not aspire to be anything better. But a film with potential to be great that squanders its promise by either action or inaction is a far more [...]…

Happythankyoumoreplease
Observant and heartfelt, the gentle comedy Happythankyoumoreplease is certainly not the most polished film you will see this year, but it is a breath of fresh cinematic air all the same. When was the last time you saw a film populated with young people on the cusp of adulthood who traded reflexive cynicism for vulnerable [...]…

Source Code
A version of this review first appeared in The Colorado Springs Gazette. To read this review at its original source, click here. Proving definitively that his remarkable freshman effort, Moon, was anything but luck or chance, director Duncan Jones returns with Source Code, a less meditative and ambitious film than his last outing, but one which [...]…

Sucker Punch
A version of this review first appeared in The Colorado Springs Gazette. To read this review at its original source, click here. An ambitious, epic, operatic action delirium, the dark and intensely violent Sucker Punch is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest on acid. The film is a glorious disaster, a mind-bogglingly messy, perversely gorgeous piece [...]…

Updated: 15 Aug 2013, 06:00 UTC

more over at Sister Rose Pacette's site »»
“The 33″ story of Chilean miners coming to theaters
I received the following press release a couple of days ago. I’ve seen the film and my review will follow nearer the film’s release date. “You can never lose your faith. Faith is nourishment … Faith is life.” – Jorge Galleguillos, Survivor, Copiapo Mine Collapse In 2010, a mine in Chile collapsed trapping 33 miners [Read More...]…

Breaking News: “Vacation” receives DG (IWY) rating!
I was a little surprised to be invited to a press screening for “Vacation” – an downdating  or unbooting of the old Chevy Chase Griswold Family vacation comedies. From the opening lyrics of the soundtrack, laden with “f” bombs, well, it just got worse. If any family has a vacation like this, all I can [Read More...]…

‘Phoenix’ is a haunting post-Holocaust mystery
In the still-growing canon Holocaust cinema, its victims and survivors, it’s impact on history and humanity, there are fact-based stories such as “Schindler’s List” and fictional stories such as “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.” There are also searing documentaries such as “Memories of the Camps” filmed by the allied troops that liberated the death [Read More...]…

‘Samba’ reminds viewers what it means to be human
While illegal immigration grabs political headlines in the United States, it is a major global human and social concern for those caught between borders while escaping war and poverty to seek a better life. The 2013 U.S. film “A Better Life” took a sensitive look at a Mexican father and son in Los Angeles. Now, [Read More...]…

‘The Look of Silence’ exposes Indonesia’s present day legacy of genocide
  Beginning in October 1965, an anti-Communist purge, rather conveniently instigated by a failed coup, led to the ousting of Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno. This was followed by the U.S.-supported presidency of Suharto, who held office for 31 years. It is estimated that the purge, that lasted into 1966, and carried out by local militias [Read More...]…

’1913: Seeds of Conflict’ seeks to explain source of Israeli-Palestinian tensions
  This comprehensive and compact docudrama premiering tonight on PBS (10pm), “1913: Seeds of Conflict” reveals little known facts that conflated to become what writer/director Ben Loeterman proposes as the root causes for today’s ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinians. Almost a half million Muslims, 60,000 Christians and 20,000 Sephardic (i.e. Mediterranean) Jews lived together…

‘Batkid Begins’ – a wish with a life of its own
As news of the terrible shootings at the AME Church in Charleston, S.C., broke Wednesday, a couple hundred people were gathered at the Landmark Theater on Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles for the premiere of the documentary film “Batkid Begins.” “Batkid Begins” is the epitome of what a great community that America can be and [Read More...]…

‘Forbidden Films’ the hidden legacy of Nazi films
    This documentary from Germany explores the dilemma of censorship about a cache of about 40 Nazi feature films (out of 1200 made between 1933 and 1944) that are not available to the German public to see. It will be shown in Los Angeles June 1 and 2 at six Laemmle Theaters. The description [Read More...]…

‘Woman in Gold’ is a first-rate detective story that unravels a decades-old mystery
“Woman in Gold” is a David-and-Goliath story. When the sister of Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren) dies in Los Angeles, she chats with an old family friend from Vienna about some information she found in her sister’s belongings. Maria’s friend says her son, Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), a young lawyer with time on his hands, might [Read More...]…

‘A.D. The Bible Continues’ kicks off with a familiar story
“A.D. The Bible Continues” Premieres 9 p.m./8 p.m. Central, Sunday, April 5, NBC   The NBC website for this new miniseries on the New Testament says: “The epic story picks up where ‘The Bible’ left off, exploring the aftermath of events following the Crucifixion.” Actually, this is a somewhat misleading statement. The opening episode of [Read More...]…

Updated: 31 Aug 2015, 06:00 UTC

more over at Frederica Mathewes-Green's site »»
Magic in the Moonlight
[National Review; July 25, 2014] When they invent a really reliable time machine, I’m going back to the day I graduated from college. I was an English major who took electives like “German Film of the 1930s” and dreamed of being a movie critic for The Village Voice. (How did I end up here instead? It’s a long story.) One thing graduation-day me will ask is “How…

The Fault in Our Stars
It was “beautifully tragic,” my young companion said, and judging from the sobs and sighing all around us, this opinion was widely shared. The film is based on the best-selling Young Adult book by the same title, authored by John Green (best known, with his brother Hank, for the YouTube channel Vlogbrothers). The novel bucked current trends by not being set in a near-future dystopia ruled…

The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Grand Budapest Hotel is surely the most Wes-Andersony of all the Wes Anderson movies, and if you’ve never seen a Wes Anderson movie, well, I don’t know what to tell you. Try this: of all contemporary filmmakers, Anderson is the one most likely to provoke reviewers to use the words “fey” and “twee.” …

Inside Llewyn Davis
There’s much to admire, but not much to enjoy, in Inside Llewyn Davis, the latest film from the Coen brothers. Joel and Ethan Coen, two Minnesota boys, have won great acclaim over 30 years of filmmaking, sharing a dozen Oscar nominations for writing, directing, and best picture. Their films cover an amazing range of genres, from dark and violent, like best-picture winner No Country for Old Men…

Austenland
The elements of Austenland are terrific: It has a clever premise, is based on a successful novel, has Jerusha Hess (of Napoleon Dynamite) in the director’s chair, and stars cute, likeable Keri Russell and funny, dependable Jennifer Coolidge. It’s produced by Stephanie Meyer who, whatever you think of the Twilight novels, should at least know something about marketability. But somehow the…

Monsters University


Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
  The movie hadn’t been on very long, but I had the feeling that most of the funny scenes from the trailer had already flown by. I checked my watch: six minutes. Not much later the rest of the trailer galloped past. Then Dodge, the Steve Carrell character, pulled into his rooftop parking place at work. He leaned forward to check an insect bite on his cheek in the rear view mirror. With a…

Brave
As I watched the trailer for Brave I had a sinking feeling. It’s funny, of course, and the images and characters are brightly appealing. But the plot … hmm. A feisty young princess is to learn which of three princes — who range from wimpy to oafish — will be her future husband. They will compete with each other in feats of archery, with the winner to wed the princess. But she…

W.E.
As the last scene of this movie faded away, replaced by a screen reading “Directed by Madonna,” I asked my companion, “If you’d known ahead of time that Madonna was the director, would you have enjoyed this movie as much?” He replied, “Honestly, no.” …

The Adventures of Tintin
I have 11 grandchildren. I see plenty of children’s movies. I have acquired a jaundiced eye. As autumn leaves drift into piles, as souvenir teacups proliferate around a royal wedding, thus do crass, crude, cynical children’s movies pile up around the family DVD player. Until now. The Adventures of Tintin is superb. Grandparents everywhere will babble tearful thanks: it’s so much better…

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
This might be an excellent movie; it certainly looks impressive. But I’m only a little less baffled now, after reading up on the storyline, than I was when I walked out of the theater. Suffice it to say that reviews by people who had already read the novel, or viewed the 7-part BBC series, regard the movie with great appreciation. Those who didn’t already know the storyline range from appreciative-but-puzzled…

Main Street
Playwright Horton Foote (1916-2009) made the comment a few years back, “The people hardest on [my work] always say that not a lot is happening.” Oh, but what delectable nothing it is. Foote won Oscars for Tender Mercies (1983) and To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), and was nominated for The Trip to Bountiful (1985)—all works of great tenderness and insight. (Let me recommend too the little-known…

There Be Dragons
First the bad news, for adolescent viewers, anyway: there don’t be any dragons. Not the leathery-winged kind, at least. The title refers to a medieval map-making custom of inscribing the warning “Hic Sunt Dracones” on unexplored regions. In this case the warning refers to the unexplored regions of the psyche, where destructive emotions may lurk. …

In Time
And that’s the happy ending.   It’s this unintentional resonance that threatens to turn In Time from a nifty thriller into an unintentionally obtuse message-movie, one that seems to say that an international financial disaster would be the best thing that ever happened to the poor. There may have been eras in the last few decades when a saucy statement along those lines might have…

PBS Interview: Higher Ground
[October 8, 2011] Here’s a link to my interview on the PBS show, “Religion and Ethics Newsweekly,” about the movie Higher Ground: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/episodes/october-7-2011/higher-ground/9668/   …

Updated: 28 Aug 2014, 22:00 UTC

more over at The Hurst Review »»
Film Break: “John Carter”
My review of the new sci-fi blockbuster, John Carter, is posted at CT. I’ll happily go on record saying that this is a better film than many of its critics would lead you to believe– far from great, but consistently entertaining.…

Ten Favorite Films from 2011
Just in time for Oscar Week. I shan’t bore you with any Academy Award will win/should win talk– though you can make some inferences from my selections here– and I’ll also dispense with commentary about whether I found 2011 year to be a great year or a bum year at the movies. I only know […]…

Film Break: “The Descendants”
My take on Alexander Payne’s quite good new movie, The Descendants, is now up. Between this one, The Muppets, and, I expect, this weekend’s screening of Hugo, I’ve been catching up with a lot of superb films lately. Might be time for another movie round-up at some point next week.…

Film Break: This Year’s Favorites
I have seen fewer movies this year than in any previous year that I can remember. It’s not that I’ve lost interest in film, just that life and work have gotten in the way—plus, in my ever-evolving perception of what this blog is, I’ve tried to put even greater effort into writing thoughtfully and thoroughly […]…

Film Break: “Tower Heist”
Silly, but not at all unpleasant.…

Film Break: “The Three Musketeers”
File this one under Morbid Curiosities, I suppose, but my review of the new Three Musketeers movie is posted at CT. You can pretty much determine how silly (and loosely adapted) this one is just from the trailer, but I will say that it has its moments of fun, despite an overall poor execution.…

Film Break: “The Ides of March”
A rare interlude for film this morning– and a mighty good one, at that. George Clooney’s The Ides of March is riveting, and surprisingly cynical. A very strong recommendation here, but perhaps not for those who who prefer to cling to some sort of political idealism.…

Film Break: “Cars 2”
I reviewed the latest from Team Pixar for CT; you can read my take here. Wish I could say that Cars 2 was yet another addition to Pixar’s rather incredible winning streak, but I’m afraid this is squarely a bottom-tier Pixar offering, down with A Bug’s Life and the first Cars. I did like it […]…

Film Break: “Rejoice and Shout”
Rejoice and Shout is a terrific new documentary– out in limited release today– that functions as a sort of whirlwind tour of the 200-year history of black gospel music. The film’s historical perspective is fascinating, and the vintage performances are outright inspiring. You can read my full review of the film here— but of course, […]…

Film Break: “Hanna”
My review of Joe Wright’s new movie Hanna is posted at CT Movies. I’m afraid the visual stylishness of this one wasn’t enough to compensate for the rather hollow storytelling, at least in my experience.…

Updated: 31 Aug 2015, 06:00 UTC



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