Lake Tahoe (2009)

This review was originally published at Filmwell.-[In Fernando Eimbcke's second feature, Lake Tahoe, a young man emerges from a car wreck and begins a long and maddening search for help. And it quickly becomes obvious that he's searching for something far more profound than a mechanic.Eimbcke's film feels like a search as well. The filmmaker etablishes a rhythm of expansive, colorful, long-take shots (known to the pros as "master shots"). These scenes are interrupted by bold, … [Read more...]

Still Life (2006) and Up the Yangtze (2007)

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[These reviews of Still Life and Up the Yangtze were originally published in the "Through a Screen Darkly" column at Christianity Today.]-Nothing here along the Yangtze River is what it seems.If we just look at the mountains, we'll be fine. They're breathtaking, looming green and formidable over the river's winding silver path. They flow into and out of one another like waves, shrouded in an eerie mist as if the ghosts have gathered here to rest. If we watch cruise ships drifting … [Read more...]

Eldorado (2008)

My review of Eldorado, a bizarre comedy from Belgian filmmaker Bouli Lanners, is published at Filmwell. … [Read more...]

To Be and To Have (2002) and The Class (2008)

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This two-part review of The Class and To Be and To Have was originally published at Christianity Today.-"Carpe Diem."Remember that? That's what Professor Keating (Robin Williams) told his class of troubled youngsters in Dead Poets Society."Seize the days, boys. Make your lives extraordinary."In The Class, "Seize the day" might be the worst thing the teacher could say to his students. This multi-ethnic group of troublemakers, cynics, and egoists have already seized the c … [Read more...]

The Class (2009)

This two-part review of The Class and To Be and To Have was originally published at Christianity Today.-"Carpe Diem."Remember that? That's what Professor Keating (Robin Williams) told his class of troubled youngsters in Dead Poets Society."Seize the days, boys. Make your lives extraordinary."In The Class, "Seize the day" might be the worst thing the teacher could say to his students. This multi-ethnic group of troublemakers, cynics, and egoists have already seized the c … [Read more...]

The Class (2009): Looking Closer’s Film Forum

I'll be reviewing The Class soon. But for now, let me encourage you to see it as soon as you can. It's one of two 2009 releases I've seen that will probably end up in my Top 10 of 2009 next December.Here's a roundup of reviews at IFC Daily. … [Read more...]

Fireproof (2008): Looking Closer’s Film Forum

What is Film Forum? Well, with so many film reviews published, and so little time to read them all, I make a note of any review that I find particularly thoughtful, persuasive, or worth wrestling.Be sure to check back, as I've only just begun to read reviews of these films, and I'll add more interesting excerpts as I come across them. Feel free to submit more reviews, or even your own, in the comments below. … [Read more...]

Gran Torino (2008): Looking Closer’s Film Forum

I haven't seen Gran Torino yet.Normally, I would rush out to see a Clint Eastwood movie. But I've been insanely busy the last several weeks, and I've had to choose my movies very, very carefully, so I'd be sure to pick a winner. So I started paying attention to what I read.I must say, I was alarmed when film critic Mike D'Angelo posted this on Twitter: … [Read more...]

Bella (2007)

Jose (Eduardo Verástegui) is a New York chef in his brother's Mexican restaurant, and he's such a good chef that the kitchen can hardly operate without him.But Jose would never win any of television's "top chef" competitions." His heart is too big. It's so big, in fact, that his eyes almost shine, and his face is so wracked with sympathy for people in need that it's easy to believe that he's actually Jesus in disguise.And that's a good thing for Nina (Tammy Blanchard), the waitress who … [Read more...]

Because You Asked: Why I Didn’t Dance at the End of “Slumdog Millionaire”

Pop quiz:Which popular 2008 release features this exchange? “Come away with me.” “And live on what?” “Love.” Is it: A) Slumdog Millionaire B) Twilight C) Frost/Nixon D) Waltz with Bashir The answer? … [Read more...]


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