1. Linklater has always used time as a character. It’s in the titles of his Before trilogy, featuring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as characters at different junctures: Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight. They have to reconnect in each film—and fast, because the clock is ticking. I love these films, but they’re talky. Linklater is so literal about time he never seems to use the full, transcendent resources of cinema.

    He does in Boyhood.

    — David Edelstein reviews Boyhood, directed by Richard Linklater

  2. david edelstein

    boyhood

    richard linklater

    before sunrise

    before sunset

    before midnight

    film

    review

    movies

  1. David Edelstein reviews Begin Again starring Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, and Adam Levine:

The Irish director John Carney has a touching faith in the idea that people who are culturally and temperamentally unalike can achieve oneness by making music together. That’s not exactly a radical idea in the world of musicals, but in his 2006 hit, Once, he proved he had a knack for giving sentimental showbiz fairy tales the texture and tang of real life, and for knowing when to darken the mood with harsh notes. In Begin Again, he makes the case once more that a song can save your life. The original title was even, Can A Song Save Your Life? which sounds like a name for the worst quiz show ever.
View in High-Res

    David Edelstein reviews Begin Again starring Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, and Adam Levine:

    The Irish director John Carney has a touching faith in the idea that people who are culturally and temperamentally unalike can achieve oneness by making music together. That’s not exactly a radical idea in the world of musicals, but in his 2006 hit, Once, he proved he had a knack for giving sentimental showbiz fairy tales the texture and tang of real life, and for knowing when to darken the mood with harsh notes. In Begin Again, he makes the case once more that a song can save your life. The original title was even, Can A Song Save Your Life? which sounds like a name for the worst quiz show ever.

  2. begin again

    david edelstein

    keira knightley

    once

    fresh air

    review

  1. David Edelstein reviews Transformers 4 and another apocalyptic action movie, Snowpiercer, by South Korean director Bong Joon-Ho:

Based on a French graphic novel, it’s set on a long, long, long train carrying the frozen Earth’s only survivors after an attempt to stop global warming backfires spectacularly. The problem is, the population is cruelly sub-divided. The Richie Riches lead lives of luxury in front, while the back cars are filled with ragged proles forced to eat protein mush and watch as, seemingly at random, soldiers drag off their children… 
The action scenes in Snowpiercer are choppy and gracelesss, and many of the actors ham it up. But the combination of B-movie tackiness and broad social satire is strangely potent. As the rebels push through more and more surreal settings—greenhouses, schoolrooms, health spas—and rebels fall by the wayside—shot, stabbed, disemboweled—the film is like a class warfare version of The Poseidon Adventure.  

Still of Tilda Swinton and cast from Snowpiercer View in High-Res

    David Edelstein reviews Transformers 4 and another apocalyptic action movie, Snowpiercer, by South Korean director Bong Joon-Ho:

    Based on a French graphic novel, it’s set on a long, long, long train carrying the frozen Earth’s only survivors after an attempt to stop global warming backfires spectacularly. The problem is, the population is cruelly sub-divided. The Richie Riches lead lives of luxury in front, while the back cars are filled with ragged proles forced to eat protein mush and watch as, seemingly at random, soldiers drag off their children…

    The action scenes in Snowpiercer are choppy and gracelesss, and many of the actors ham it up. But the combination of B-movie tackiness and broad social satire is strangely potent. As the rebels push through more and more surreal settings—greenhouses, schoolrooms, health spas—and rebels fall by the wayside—shot, stabbed, disemboweled—the film is like a class warfare version of The Poseidon Adventure.  

    Still of Tilda Swinton and cast from Snowpiercer

  2. transformers 4

    snowpiercer

    david edelstein

    global warming

    movie

    tilda swinton

  1. 
"At the end of Jersey Boys, after trials and tragedies, Valli says nothing in his life compares to the moment they found their sound “under a Jersey streetlight.” Except that isn’t in the movie! It’s a huge loss: If there’s one thing artist biopics can do, it’s dramatize the alchemy of discipline and inspiration. But if Jersey Boys has many flaws of oversimplified musical theater, it has so very many of the corny joys.” 

-David Edelstein reviews Jersey Boys
View in High-Res

    "At the end of Jersey Boys, after trials and tragedies, Valli says nothing in his life compares to the moment they found their sound “under a Jersey streetlight.” Except that isn’t in the movie! It’s a huge loss: If there’s one thing artist biopics can do, it’s dramatize the alchemy of discipline and inspiration. But if Jersey Boys has many flaws of oversimplified musical theater, it has so very many of the corny joys.”

    -David Edelstein reviews Jersey Boys

  2. jersey boys

    frankie valli

    review

    david edelstein

  1. Obvious Child centers on Donna Stern, played by Jenny Slate, an aspiring stand-up comic in her late 20s who’s out of her depth in the grown-up world. After getting smashed and having unprotected sex with a guy she barely knows, Donna discovers she’s pregnant and decides to have an abortion. 
Fresh Air film critic David Edelstein reviews: 

Donna feels so real she could be sitting next to you in the theater. Jenny Slate can be seen opposite Nick Kroll in drag on the Kroll Show in a weekly reality-TV send-up called Publizity about two jittery L.A. publicists named Liz. She’s even more famous for blowing her Saturday Night Live debut several years ago by blurting the f-word on live TV. I found that rather endearing and hoped Slate would get her own show. She didn’t—she barely lasted out the year. But what I love about her in Obvious Child is that sense of danger she brings. She’s all frizzy little coils of neurotic energy. Anything could pop out of her mouth.
That fits a character who has no self-control. She’s a big baby, someone who can’t take care of herself, let alone a little baby. Director Gillian Robespierre lets you take Donna as you will. Robespierre has the courage of her ambivalence. The best thing about Obvious Child is that there’s nothing obvious about it.
View in High-Res

    Obvious Child centers on Donna Stern, played by Jenny Slate, an aspiring stand-up comic in her late 20s who’s out of her depth in the grown-up world. After getting smashed and having unprotected sex with a guy she barely knows, Donna discovers she’s pregnant and decides to have an abortion. 

    Fresh Air film critic David Edelstein reviews: 

    Donna feels so real she could be sitting next to you in the theater. Jenny Slate can be seen opposite Nick Kroll in drag on the Kroll Show in a weekly reality-TV send-up called Publizity about two jittery L.A. publicists named Liz. She’s even more famous for blowing her Saturday Night Live debut several years ago by blurting the f-word on live TV. I found that rather endearing and hoped Slate would get her own show. She didn’t—she barely lasted out the year. But what I love about her in Obvious Child is that sense of danger she brings. She’s all frizzy little coils of neurotic energy. Anything could pop out of her mouth.

    That fits a character who has no self-control. She’s a big baby, someone who can’t take care of herself, let alone a little baby. Director Gillian Robespierre lets you take Donna as you will. Robespierre has the courage of her ambivalence. The best thing about Obvious Child is that there’s nothing obvious about it.

  2. obvious child

    abortion

    film

    comedy

    jenny slate

    david edelstein

  1. Fresh Air film critic David Edelstein reviews The Fault in Our Stars: 

I know people who cried at the trailer of the romantic teen cancer movie The Fault in Our Stars—at the movie they’ll need a life preserver to keep from drowning in a flood of tears. Me, I didn’t cry, though at times my tear ducts tingled; I was on the verge. The film is a little slick for my taste, too engineered. But it’s gently directed by Josh Boone and beautifully acted. Whatever the faults, it’s not in the stars.



Full review
View in High-Res

    Fresh Air film critic David Edelstein reviews The Fault in Our Stars

    I know people who cried at the trailer of the romantic teen cancer movie The Fault in Our Stars—at the movie they’ll need a life preserver to keep from drowning in a flood of tears. Me, I didn’t cry, though at times my tear ducts tingled; I was on the verge. The film is a little slick for my taste, too engineered. But it’s gently directed by Josh Boone and beautifully acted. Whatever the faults, it’s not in the stars.

    Full review

  2. the fault in our stars

    movie review

    david edelstein

    shailene woodley

    cancer

  1. Director James Gray has made four features since his 1994 debut, Little Odessa, and all four have starred Joaquin Phoenix. There was The Yards, We Own the Night, and Two Lovers — and now, the actor co-stars as a shady businessman in Gray’s new movie, The Immigrant. It’s a period piece that also features Marion Cotillard as a Polish woman trying to free her sister from the infirmary at Ellis Island.
Film critic David Edelstein reviews —- 

“The Immigrant has been the source of a semi-public battle between director Gray and the impresario and distributor Harvey Weinstein, who reportedly pressed for cuts to the nearly two-hour running time. The movie is, indeed, slowly-paced, but I’m damned if I know what Gray should have cut. The scenes are meant to be grueling—to show Ewa (Marion Cotillard) fighting Bruno (Joaquin Phoenix) while Bruno fights himself. And the movie doesn’t end on the upbeat, Oscar-bait note that marks so many of Weinstein’s prestige projects: Even when things take a turn—morally speaking—for the better, the aura of hopelessness never fully dissipates.” 

You can listen to the rest of the review here. 
Still from The Immigrant View in High-Res

    Director James Gray has made four features since his 1994 debut, Little Odessa, and all four have starred Joaquin Phoenix. There was The Yards, We Own the Night, and Two Lovers — and now, the actor co-stars as a shady businessman in Gray’s new movie, The Immigrant. It’s a period piece that also features Marion Cotillard as a Polish woman trying to free her sister from the infirmary at Ellis Island.

    Film critic David Edelstein reviews —- 

    The Immigrant has been the source of a semi-public battle between director Gray and the impresario and distributor Harvey Weinstein, who reportedly pressed for cuts to the nearly two-hour running time. The movie is, indeed, slowly-paced, but I’m damned if I know what Gray should have cut. The scenes are meant to be grueling—to show Ewa (Marion Cotillard) fighting Bruno (Joaquin Phoenix) while Bruno fights himself. And the movie doesn’t end on the upbeat, Oscar-bait note that marks so many of Weinstein’s prestige projects: Even when things take a turn—morally speaking—for the better, the aura of hopelessness never fully dissipates.” 

    You can listen to the rest of the review here

    Still from The Immigrant

  2. David Edelstein

    The Immigrant

    James Gray

    marion cotillard

  1. Fresh Air’s film critic David Edelstein reviews the latest in a long line of Godzilla movies: 

The original Godzilla was a cautionary tale, and in the big monster movies that followed in Japan and America, the invaders were emblems of humanity’s arrogance. We’ve poisoned the Earth, the movies said, and the Earth has come back at us.


But this Godzilla says—explicitly—that Nature is self-correcting, that no matter what we do a higher power will belch forth a savior. With so many threats to the planet, the timing is odd, don’t you think? I know it’s just a dumb genre picture but even dumb genre pictures have a tradition of speaking to their era. In this one, the nuclear roar becomes a reassuring purr.


You can also read critic at-large John Powers’ piece “Movie Monsters, Monster Movies and Why ‘Godzilla’ Endures’ here.  View in High-Res

    Fresh Air’s film critic David Edelstein reviews the latest in a long line of Godzilla movies: 

    The original Godzilla was a cautionary tale, and in the big monster movies that followed in Japan and America, the invaders were emblems of humanity’s arrogance. We’ve poisoned the Earth, the movies said, and the Earth has come back at us.

    But this Godzilla says—explicitly—that Nature is self-correcting, that no matter what we do a higher power will belch forth a savior. With so many threats to the planet, the timing is odd, don’t you think? I know it’s just a dumb genre picture but even dumb genre pictures have a tradition of speaking to their era. In this one, the nuclear roar becomes a reassuring purr.

    You can also read critic at-large John Powers’ piece “Movie Monsters, Monster Movies and Why ‘Godzilla’ Endures’ here

  2. godzilla

    film

    david edelstein

    review

  1. The Polish-born director Pawel Pawlikowski is best known for the English language film My Summer of Love, a lesbian coming-of-age film that was a breakthrough for actress Emily Blunt. His new film, Ida, centers on an orphan who learns the secret of her past when she’s on the brink of becoming a nun. David Edelstein says: 

"To call Ida a “female coming-of-age” movie doesn’t begin to capture its eerie luster; its stark, black-and-white palette; its boxy, static frames…The style conveys much. Until the last minute of the film, the camera is fixed in place, each image evoking the desolation and sense of imprisonment of Poland in the early 1960s. The characters’ heads are always low in the frame. Their lack of power is almost tactile.”


Still courtesy of Music Box Films View in High-Res

    The Polish-born director Pawel Pawlikowski is best known for the English language film My Summer of Love, a lesbian coming-of-age film that was a breakthrough for actress Emily Blunt. His new film, Ida, centers on an orphan who learns the secret of her past when she’s on the brink of becoming a nun. David Edelstein says:

    "To call Ida a “female coming-of-age” movie doesn’t begin to capture its eerie luster; its stark, black-and-white palette; its boxy, static frames…The style conveys much. Until the last minute of the film, the camera is fixed in place, each image evoking the desolation and sense of imprisonment of Poland in the early 1960s. The characters’ heads are always low in the frame. Their lack of power is almost tactile.”

    Still courtesy of Music Box Films

  2. Ida

    pawel pawlikowski

    david edelstein

    movie review

  1. Fresh Air film critic David Edelstein reviews Locke: 

Locke is a most unusual film. It might not seem so odd as a radio play or even a stage play. The protagonist, his situation — they’re fairly conventional. But to do what Locke does as a movie — that takes daring. The film is set in one space at one time. The arc of action is continuous. There is only one character onscreen and just the top third of him, a man in a car, southbound on a motorway toward London. His name is Ivan Locke, he’s played by Tom Hardy, and he’s upending his life in front of your eyes.


View in High-Res

    Fresh Air film critic David Edelstein reviews Locke: 

    Locke is a most unusual film. It might not seem so odd as a radio play or even a stage play. The protagonist, his situation — they’re fairly conventional. But to do what Locke does as a movie — that takes daring. The film is set in one space at one time. The arc of action is continuous. There is only one character onscreen and just the top third of him, a man in a car, southbound on a motorway toward London. His name is Ivan Locke, he’s played by Tom Hardy, and he’s upending his life in front of your eyes.

  2. locke

    film review

    david edelstein

    tom hardy

    london

  1. David Edelstein reviews Under the Skin and Only Lovers Left Alive:

    Undead Hipsters And An Abstract Alien Star In 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. That’s the case with two new arty genre pictures: Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin and Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive — both slow, expressionist, non-narrative, the kind of films that drive some people crazy with boredom and put others in their thrall.

  2. under the skin

    scarlett johansson

    only lovers left alive

    tilda swinton

    film review

    david edelstein

  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