film and tv reviews

In Los Angeles Review of Books

A review of Veronica Mars (Rob Thomas)

“Of course Veronica is not in Neptune accidentally. She’s there so all of us can achieve closure.”

A discussion of The Counselor (Cormac McCarthy & Ridley Scott)

“In some ways, it’s tantalizing, this glossy cross-border thriller populated with club owners and diamond dealers and drug cartel jefes who quote Keats and Marlowe (and even Cormac McCarthy) and speak in gnomic aphorisms. … But in a lot of ways, it doesn’t quite work.”

In Orlando Weekly

The Counselor (Cormac McCarthy & Ridley Scott)

The Counselor, a collaboration between Cormac McCarthy and Ridley Scott, might be an old-fashioned morality tale.”

Unravel (Meghna Gupta)

Unravel is not an exposé in the traditional sense; it lets the tall tales of the workers and the small mountains of clothing do the talking.”

Jadoo (Amit Gupta)

Jadoo is an affable enough movie, with generous helpings of Indian food porn, but it never rises above standard fare.”

At PopMatters

In a World… (Lake Bell)

“Perhaps its greatest feat is that the movie remains throughout a mellow, endearing comedy that happens to center on a female protagonist who isn’t trying to get the guy, have a baby, or plan a wedding.”

Waiting for the Fall: Don Draper’s Next Pose

“Outwardly, Don is always posing. Internally, though, you might say that he is in perpetual freefall, only grasping at possibilities as he plummets: bathing beauties and gartered thighs, a cozy nuclear family, a tumbler of fine whisky, a pair of wedding rings”

The Hour S2 premiere on BBCA

“…the juiciest moments of The Hour’s second season will hang on all the unfinished business among the three leads.”

Amour (Michael Haneke)

“In this case, the cruelty the film explores is not committed by any devious human hands or minds. Here, the ravages are those of old age.”

At On The Issues 

Wuthering Heights (Andrea Arnold)

“Brontë’s Catherine avows that she is Heathcliff. In her adaptation, Arnold uses her directorial skills to show us what this might feel like.”

At PopMatters

Margaret (Kenneth Lonergan)

“…you watch Lisa uncover the terrible absence of justice or order in the adult world—as slowly, you might say, she realizes there is no one driving the bus.”

Take This Waltz (Sarah Polley)

“The film swings through scenes of great sweetness and silliness—and is even wildly funny at moments—while remaining equally attentive to small moments that turn on disappointment or irritation.”

Americano (Mathieu Demy)

“On a conceptual level, Demy’s film is a clever Cornell box of familial artifacts… But clever doesn’t necessarily translate to compelling, or convincing.”

Elles (Malgoska Szumoska)

“…uses prostitution to suggest the very old idea that beneath the surface of the bourgeoisie lies emotion as perverse and menacing as any.”

Return (Liza Johnson)

“There’s the double edge of the title’s return again — where it doesn’t, finally, mean going home. It just means going back.

First Position (Bess Kargman)

“The children in First Position are trained to be perfectionists, but I couldn’t help feeling that some less structured footage of their lives would be more revealing than another interview about goals and sacrifice.”

Romantics Anonymous (Jean-Pierre Améris)

“…what is ultimately celebrated is two social outliers’ mutual understanding. Romantics Anonymous cartoonishly glosses that bittersweetness, but the taste is still discernible.”

The Myth of the American Sleepover (David Robert Mitchell)

“But instead of allowing us to suspend our disbelief by the hooks of plot and dialogue more streamlined and stylized than the average teenager’s world, Mitchell lets us feel as though someone has left the camera on.”

Albatross (Niall MacCormick/Tamzin Rafn)

“…the filmmakers very gently hew to recognizable formula in a way that suggests they’re not out to deliver anything greater than cinematic comfort food.”