1.  David Edelstein reviews the big budget Bible epic, Noah: 

But a big part of the Noah story is spectacle, and this one is a feast of computer-generated imagery. None of the animals are real—which has won the appreciation of animal-rights activists. But none of them are particularly well characterized, either. I didn’t expect Dr. Doolittle amid the apocalypse, but would a few baahs and moos and a friendly giraffe have really killed the mood?
View in High-Res

     David Edelstein reviews the big budget Bible epic, Noah: 

    But a big part of the Noah story is spectacle, and this one is a feast of computer-generated imagery. None of the animals are real—which has won the appreciation of animal-rights activists. But none of them are particularly well characterized, either. I didn’t expect Dr. Doolittle amid the apocalypse, but would a few baahs and moos and a friendly giraffe have really killed the mood?

  2. noah

    movie

    david edelstein

    review

  1. Lars von Trier’s latest provocation is an episodic sexual epic called Nymphomaniac, 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!
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. And it’s funny, sometimes intentionally.
David Edelstein reviews Lars von Trier’s Nymph()maniac

photo by Christian Geisnaes/Magnolia Pictures View in High-Res

    Lars von Trier’s latest provocation is an episodic sexual epic called Nymphomaniac, 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!

    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. And it’s funny, sometimes intentionally.

    David Edelstein reviews Lars von Trier’s Nymph()maniac

    photo by Christian Geisnaes/Magnolia Pictures

  2. lars von trier

    nymphomaniac

    film

    review

    david edelstein

  1. David Edelstein on Non-Stop:

Non-Stop is well made. There are all sorts of tightly packed frames and jangly close-ups and that omnipresent hum of engines and a pressurized cabin to make you claustrophobic. The fights when they come are head-rocking. But there are some amazingly dumb moments—speeches that made me wince in embarrassment. And the final revelations are as clunky as the action is fluid.


I don’t know if it’s too soon for a skyjacking B-movie that explicitly invokes 9/11. But [Liam] Neeson adds the emotional credibility that puts Non-Stop over. Even when his lines are amazingly dumb, his presence is amazingly eloquent.
View in High-Res

    David Edelstein on Non-Stop:

    Non-Stop is well made. There are all sorts of tightly packed frames and jangly close-ups and that omnipresent hum of engines and a pressurized cabin to make you claustrophobic. The fights when they come are head-rocking. But there are some amazingly dumb moments—speeches that made me wince in embarrassment. And the final revelations are as clunky as the action is fluid.

    I don’t know if it’s too soon for a skyjacking B-movie that explicitly invokes 9/11. But [Liam] Neeson adds the emotional credibility that puts Non-Stop over. Even when his lines are amazingly dumb, his presence is amazingly eloquent.

  2. non-stop

    liam neeson

    david edelstein

    review

    fresh air

  1. The 73-year-old Japanese animation titan Hayao Miyazaki says The Wind Rises 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—if that’s true, he’s going out on a high. The movie won’t, I’m afraid, appeal to kids the way Ponyo or Spirited Away 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 longueurs when the work is this exquisite. It’s romantic, tragic, and inexorably strange, a portrait of a young Japanese man who dreams of creating flying machines and the Imperial Empire that funds his research. His country will take those machines and send them off to rain death and destruction on its enemies—but that’s not something to which the young designer gives too much thought. It’s not part of the dream of flight.

    — David Edelstein on Miyazaki’s newest—and perhaps last—film The Wind Rises

  2. hayao miyazaki

    the wind rises

    review

    david edelstein

    film

    animation

    ponyo

    spirited away

  1. Film critic David Edelstein reviews The Monuments Men, a film co-written and directed by George Clooney.  After the Nazis stole art during WWII there was a team responsible for finding it and protecting it—everything from the Mona Lisa to Michelangelo’s David Edelstein says:

    "The Monuments Men comes off as more of a, well, monument than a vital work of art. It’s engaging, but a little blah, a little formulaic. It begins with a round-up-the-team sequence that’s only charming because of who the actors are. Matt Damon is plucked from a ladder as he works on a church ceiling and architect Bill Murray from leading a skyscraper tour. Alcoholic curator Hugh Bonneville gets offered a chance to come back from disgrace and redeem himself, heart-warmingly. Jean Dujardin of The Artist is a Frenchman who’s there because he knows the territory. Bob Balaban is the ultra-serious specialist who trades witless insults with Murray. It’s an all-star cast in which the stars are all low-wattage.”

    images via collider and MFA Boston

  2. fresh air

    david edelstein

    the monuments men

    george clooney

    art

    world war II

    nazis

    art history

    matt damon

  1. 
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 Star Wars franchise, the Hunger Games franchise, the Jack Ryan franchise — or in the case of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, 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.

David Edelstein reviews Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit 



image via hollywood reporter View in High-Res

    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 Star Wars franchise, the Hunger Games franchise, the Jack Ryan franchise — or in the case of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, 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.

    David Edelstein reviews Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit 

    image via hollywood reporter

  2. fresh air

    david edelstein

    jack ryan

    jack ryan shadow recruit

    kenneth branagh

  1. Fresh Air film critic David Edelstein recognized Chiwetel Ejiofor and Saura Paulson’s performances among his favorites of 2013, but curiously, he did not select 12 Years a Slave as one of his best films of 2013. Why?

"It’s a very powerful film and it will get a lot of awards. It’s also a very bludgeoning film and there are lot of people saying, "Well of course it’s bludgeoning, that’s what slavers did; they bludgeoned their African-American slaves! Are you a slavery apologist?"
From a political standpoint it’s easy to see why the film is so vital, but for me, I got the feeling that … [director] Steve McQueen likes to fix his camera on people whose bodies are being defiled. They were starving to death in Hunger. They were shaming themselves sexually in Shame, and now they’re being tortured on camera. I think I’d watch his films less guardedly if I thought he [was] searching for more than his characters’ reactions to extreme degradation.”


See the rest of Edelstein’s favorite films of 2013 here.

Still of Sarah Paulson and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave  View in High-Res

    Fresh Air film critic David Edelstein recognized Chiwetel Ejiofor and Saura Paulson’s performances among his favorites of 2013, but curiously, he did not select 12 Years a Slave as one of his best films of 2013. Why?

    "It’s a very powerful film and it will get a lot of awards. It’s also a very bludgeoning film and there are lot of people saying, "Well of course it’s bludgeoning, that’s what slavers did; they bludgeoned their African-American slaves! Are you a slavery apologist?"

    From a political standpoint it’s easy to see why the film is so vital, but for me, I got the feeling that … [director] Steve McQueen likes to fix his camera on people whose bodies are being defiled. They were starving to death in Hunger. They were shaming themselves sexually in Shame, and now they’re being tortured on camera. I think I’d watch his films less guardedly if I thought he [was] searching for more than his characters’ reactions to extreme degradation.”

    See the rest of Edelstein’s favorite films of 2013 here.

    Still of Sarah Paulson and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave 

  2. David Edelstein

    2013

    Top Ten Films

    Fresh Air

    12 years a slave

    Steve McQueen

  1. David Edelstein reviews American Hustle, directed by David O. Russell starring Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner.

A ‘Hustle’ With Flow (And Plenty Of Flair)


American Hustle is loud and big. Russell out-Scorseses Scorsese with hyperbolic technique: whip-pans, whooshes, slo-mo, and tacky but great ’70s chart-toppers. He winds his actors up and lets them loose. Bale is outrageously skeevy; Adams uses her blue eyes like stilettos. They put everything they have into scene after scene. The movie is like a slot machine that never stops spitting quarters.
View in High-Res

    David Edelstein reviews American Hustle, directed by David O. Russell starring Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner.

    A ‘Hustle’ With Flow (And Plenty Of Flair)

    American Hustle is loud and big. Russell out-Scorseses Scorsese with hyperbolic technique: whip-pans, whooshes, slo-mo, and tacky but great ’70s chart-toppers. He winds his actors up and lets them loose. Bale is outrageously skeevy; Adams uses her blue eyes like stilettos. They put everything they have into scene after scene. The movie is like a slot machine that never stops spitting quarters.

  2. fresh air

    review

    american hustle

    david o. russell

    amy adams

    christian bale

    jennifer lawrence

    bradley cooper

    david edelstein

    scorsese

  1. Fresh Air’s film critic David Edelstein reviews the Coen brothers' latest film, Inside Llewyn Davis:
Great Soundtrack Aside, ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ Hits A Sour Note



For all its surface delights, Inside Llewyn Davis is thin. Those disparate tones — the mocking and the transcendent — can’t be reconciled because they’re meant to be irreconcilable: Once the music stops, petty humans are back in the muck. It’s a sour worldview — and unearned. Only the Coens could turn that stirring early-’60s era that helped give birth to the best part of the counterculture into a sick joke.



I have no doubts about Oscar Isaac, though. With his thick, unruly hair and beard, he evokes two countercultural touchstones, Lenny Bruce and Al Pacino in Serpico. He makes Llewyn a jerk of stature, chafing at his fate but always getting that sick joke that is his life. Musically, Isaac doesn’t hit every note dead on, but his singing feels richer than performers with better pipes. He gives the Coens’ vision more fullness than it deserves.
View in High-Res

    Fresh Air’s film critic David Edelstein reviews the Coen brothers' latest film, Inside Llewyn Davis:

    Great Soundtrack Aside, ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ Hits A Sour Note

    For all its surface delights, Inside Llewyn Davis is thin. Those disparate tones — the mocking and the transcendent — can’t be reconciled because they’re meant to be irreconcilable: Once the music stops, petty humans are back in the muck. It’s a sour worldview — and unearned. Only the Coens could turn that stirring early-’60s era that helped give birth to the best part of the counterculture into a sick joke.

    I have no doubts about Oscar Isaac, though. With his thick, unruly hair and beard, he evokes two countercultural touchstones, Lenny Bruce and Al Pacino in Serpico. He makes Llewyn a jerk of stature, chafing at his fate but always getting that sick joke that is his life. Musically, Isaac doesn’t hit every note dead on, but his singing feels richer than performers with better pipes. He gives the Coens’ vision more fullness than it deserves.

  2. fresh air

    review

    david edelstein

    coen brothers

    inside llewyn davis

    folk music

    T bone burnett

    Oscar Isaac

  1. Fresh Air’s film critic David Edelstein reviews Spike Lee's newest film Oldboy, a remake of a South Korean revenge film: 

Spike Lee’s movies carry the label, “A Spike Lee Joint,” but Oldboy doesn’t. He calls it “a Spike Lee Film,” which my guess is Lee’s way of saying he’s 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. 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. It’s brutal, effective, and utterly without urgency. 
View in High-Res

    Fresh Air’s film critic David Edelstein reviews Spike Lee's newest film Oldboy, a remake of a South Korean revenge film:

    Spike Lee’s movies carry the label, “A Spike Lee Joint,” but Oldboy doesn’t. He calls it “a Spike Lee Film,” which my guess is Lee’s way of saying he’s 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. 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. It’s brutal, effective, and utterly without urgency.

  2. fresh air

    oldboy

    david edelstein

    review

    spike lee

    josh brolin

    elizabeth olsen

  1. Fresh Air film critic David Edelstein reviews Nebraska:

There’s a tension between the crabbed characters and the expansive wide frames, heavy on farmland iconography and cows and puffy clouds, shot by Phedon Papamichael in crisp and gorgeous black and white.


Yesterday Terry spoke to the film’s star, Bruce Dern (left). Dern said he took his hearing aids out to play Woody, to help him feel more “spacy” and “out there.”  View in High-Res

    Fresh Air film critic David Edelstein reviews Nebraska:

    There’s a tension between the crabbed characters and the expansive wide frames, heavy on farmland iconography and cows and puffy clouds, shot by Phedon Papamichael in crisp and gorgeous black and white.

    Yesterday Terry spoke to the film’s star, Bruce Dern (left). Dern said he took his hearing aids out to play Woody, to help him feel more “spacy” and “out there.” 

  2. fresh air

    review

    david edelstein

    nebraska

    alexander payne

    bruce dern

    will forte

    phedon papamichael

    black and white

  1. David Edelstein reviews Blue is the Warmest Color, which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, The film is an erotically-charged depiction of a young lesbian couple, in the throes of love, intimacy, and raw emotion: 



"People who’ve been emotionally brutalized by long relationships should approach Blue is the Warmest Color with care. It’s potent. It might open old wounds. It might show you wounds you didn’t know you had.” View in High-Res

    David Edelstein reviews Blue is the Warmest Color, which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, The film is an erotically-charged depiction of a young lesbian couple, in the throes of love, intimacy, and raw emotion:

    "People who’ve been emotionally brutalized by long relationships should approach Blue is the Warmest Color with care. It’s potent. It might open old wounds. It might show you wounds you didn’t know you had.”

  2. Fresh Air

    review

    david edelstein

    blue is the warmest color

    cannes film festival

    palme d'or

    lea sedoux

    Adèle Exarchopoulos

  1. David Edelstein reviews All Is Lost, starring Robert Redford, a film where his 39-foot boat crashes into a shipping container vessel causing a series of disastrous events:



"As I watched Robert Redford acting all by himself in the superlative survival-at-sea movie All Is Lost, I suddenly realized why the set-up feels so perfect. Redford is most in his element when he’s alone.”


Read the full review and watch the trailer for this film. View in High-Res

    David Edelstein reviews All Is Lost, starring Robert Redford, a film where his 39-foot boat crashes into a shipping container vessel causing a series of disastrous events:

    "As I watched Robert Redford acting all by himself in the superlative survival-at-sea movie All Is Lost, I suddenly realized why the set-up feels so perfect. Redford is most in his element when he’s alone.”

    Read the full review and watch the trailer for this film.

  2. fresh air

    review

    david edelstein

    all is lost

    robert redford

    occean

    sea

    movie review

  1. David Edelstein reviews Captain Phillips:

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.
I think it’s telling that in Captain Phillips 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. The movie’s grip remains strong even when it cuts to black.


Read the full review here. View in High-Res

    David Edelstein reviews Captain Phillips:

    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.

    I think it’s telling that in Captain Phillips 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. The movie’s grip remains strong even when it cuts to black.

    Read the full review here.

  2. fresh air

    review

    david edelstein

    captain phillips

    tom hanks

    barkhad abdi

    somali pirates

  1. Houston, We Have a Space Flick: A Sentimental MIssion in Zero ‘Gravity.”  

"Bullock is our most down-to-earth superstar, which makes her the perfect actress to connect with us from space. She talks a lot — to Clooney, to "Houston in the blind," to herself. Woven amid the bombardments and cliffhangers is a spiritual odyssey. Her character is dead inside after a personal tragedy. She needs to re-find her faith and be born again — metaphorically but unmistakably, since in one shot she floats in the fetal position.
Gravity has more than a dash of old Hollywood: It’s sentimental as all get-out. This isn’t the first time that an old-fashioned religious theme gets past your defenses via state-of-the-art Hollywood technology, but it’s one of the most effective. It wasn’t actually shot in space — I know, big news. But even if everything happens in a computer, it’s an awesome display of math and physics.”

You read the rest of David Edelstein's review of Gravity here.
Photo via Warner Bros View in High-Res

    Houston, We Have a Space Flick: A Sentimental MIssion in Zero ‘Gravity.”  

    "Bullock is our most down-to-earth superstar, which makes her the perfect actress to connect with us from space. She talks a lot — to Clooney, to "Houston in the blind," to herself. Woven amid the bombardments and cliffhangers is a spiritual odyssey. Her character is dead inside after a personal tragedy. She needs to re-find her faith and be born again — metaphorically but unmistakably, since in one shot she floats in the fetal position.

    Gravity has more than a dash of old Hollywood: It’s sentimental as all get-out. This isn’t the first time that an old-fashioned religious theme gets past your defenses via state-of-the-art Hollywood technology, but it’s one of the most effective. It wasn’t actually shot in space — I know, big news. But even if everything happens in a computer, it’s an awesome display of math and physics.”

    You read the rest of David Edelstein's review of Gravity here.

    Photo via Warner Bros

  2. David Edelstein

    Fresh Air

    Gravity

    Alfonso Cuaron

    sandra bullock

    George Clooney