1. Our film critic, David Edelstein, reviews A Walk Among the Tombstones, based on a Lawrence Block novel and starring Liam Neeson:   

"I’d be even more enthusiastic about A Walk Among the Tombstones if [Director Scott] Frank hadn’t swapped the book’s unforgettable ending for a climax so conventional I can barely remember it. The novel’s finale gives the story a grisly symmetry that’s near-poetic, and it perfectly illustrates the difference between Scudder’s [Neeson] passive acceptance of vengeance and the more hands-on approach of the people around him. I can see, of course, why Block’s ending didn’t make the cut: Scudder is on the sidelines, it’s gag-me-with-a-chainsaw gross. But as it stands, the film feels incomplete, as if a vital body part has been lopped off.”
View in High-Res

    Our film critic, David Edelstein, reviews A Walk Among the Tombstones, based on a Lawrence Block novel and starring Liam Neeson:   

    "I’d be even more enthusiastic about A Walk Among the Tombstones if [Director Scott] Frank hadn’t swapped the book’s unforgettable ending for a climax so conventional I can barely remember it. The novel’s finale gives the story a grisly symmetry that’s near-poetic, and it perfectly illustrates the difference between Scudder’s [Neeson] passive acceptance of vengeance and the more hands-on approach of the people around him. I can see, of course, why Block’s ending didn’t make the cut: Scudder is on the sidelines, it’s gag-me-with-a-chainsaw gross. But as it stands, the film feels incomplete, as if a vital body part has been lopped off.”

  2. a walk among the tombstones

    liam neeson

    movie review

  1. Today our film critic, David Edelstein, reviews The Drop, starring Tom Hardy and the late James Gandolfini.
In the film, Hardy plays Bob, a lonely bartender who works at a bar in Brooklyn, owned by his cousin Marv (Gandolfini). The place is a “drop bar” for a Chechen mobster laundering money. Later Bob discovers a “drop” of a different kind when he rescues a battered pit bull from the garbage. 
Edelstein says: 

"The Drop is directed by Michael R. Roskam, who made an excellent Belgian thriller called Bullhead, and he gives the milieu a layered, lived-in texture. But the film doesn’t have a satisfying shape; its threads aren’t tightly wound. [Writer Dennis] Lehane is clearly taking his cues from the terrific Boston writer George V. Higgins, whose novel Cogan’s Trade became a good 2012 thriller called Killing Them Softly. Higgins found the poetry in garrulous hoods, but Lehane isn’t yet in that league. There’s a psycho played by Bullhead star Matthias Schoenaerts who factors in the climax but until then seems peripheral, and a key plot point turns on a character who disappeared—probably bumped off—ten years earlier, which doesn’t give the narrative much urgency. Nearly every character wears a beard, which makes them hard to tell apart at first glance—apart from Hardy and Gandolfini, of course.


They’re the reason The Drop is worth seeing. The movie does work well as a character study of hoods who’ve learned to take their sorry fate as it comes versus hoods who try to change things—in most cases stupidly—and end up lying in puddles of their own blood. What can you say about a film where the pit bull is the most adorable character?”
View in High-Res

    Today our film critic, David Edelstein, reviews The Drop, starring Tom Hardy and the late James Gandolfini.

    In the film, Hardy plays Bob, a lonely bartender who works at a bar in Brooklyn, owned by his cousin Marv (Gandolfini). The place is a “drop bar” for a Chechen mobster laundering money. Later Bob discovers a “drop” of a different kind when he rescues a battered pit bull from the garbage. 

    Edelstein says: 

    "The Drop is directed by Michael R. Roskam, who made an excellent Belgian thriller called Bullhead, and he gives the milieu a layered, lived-in texture. But the film doesn’t have a satisfying shape; its threads aren’t tightly wound. [Writer Dennis] Lehane is clearly taking his cues from the terrific Boston writer George V. Higgins, whose novel Cogan’s Trade became a good 2012 thriller called Killing Them Softly. Higgins found the poetry in garrulous hoods, but Lehane isn’t yet in that league. There’s a psycho played by Bullhead star Matthias Schoenaerts who factors in the climax but until then seems peripheral, and a key plot point turns on a character who disappeared—probably bumped off—ten years earlier, which doesn’t give the narrative much urgency. Nearly every character wears a beard, which makes them hard to tell apart at first glance—apart from Hardy and Gandolfini, of course.

    They’re the reason The Drop is worth seeing. The movie does work well as a character study of hoods who’ve learned to take their sorry fate as it comes versus hoods who try to change things—in most cases stupidly—and end up lying in puddles of their own blood. What can you say about a film where the pit bull is the most adorable character?”

  2. the drop

    james gandolfini

    tom hardy

    movie review

    fresh air

    david edelstein

  1. The question hangs for me whether these movies are worth doing given how their budgets soak up Hollywood studios’ capital—leaving relatively little for films not leading to so-called “franchises.” The answer is no: Junky sci-fi should be a part of a studio’s portfolio, not the be-all and end-all. Still, given that, if you have to see one big-budget effects-laden behemoth this summer… Where else will see a raccoon and a tree piloting a spaceship?

    — David Edelstein reviews Guardians of the Galaxy

  2. guardians of the galaxy

    david edelstein

    sci-fi

    movie review

  1. David Edelstein reviews A Most Wanted Man, starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman: 


Part of me wishes that Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final lead performance, in A Most Wanted Man, wasn’t very good. I know that sounds perverse. But if he’d been flailing as an actor at the end, it would make his loss easier to bear from an artistic—if not a human—perspective. The thing is, though, the actor we see in this movie is at his absolute peak. This might even be my favorite Hoffman performance of all, damn it. 


  View in High-Res

    David Edelstein reviews A Most Wanted Man, starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman:

    Part of me wishes that Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final lead performance, in A Most Wanted Man, wasn’t very good. I know that sounds perverse. But if he’d been flailing as an actor at the end, it would make his loss easier to bear from an artistic—if not a human—perspective. The thing is, though, the actor we see in this movie is at his absolute peak. This might even be my favorite Hoffman performance of all, damn it.

     

  2. philip seymour hoffman

    a most wanted man

    david edelstein

    movie review

    fresh air

  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. 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. 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. Watch the trailer for Don Jon, a film by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and starring Scarlett Johansson.

    David Edelstein reviews the movie today on Fresh Air, calling it “wide-eyed and open-hearted.”

  2. fresh air

    review

    edelstein

    don jon

    joseph gordon-levitt

    scarlett johansson

    movie review

  1. Edelstein says, “The thriller Savages is in the same brutal, druggy realm of Natural Born Killers, but Stone has evolved in the last decade and a half, and the new film has a deeper, more complicated perspective. The violence isn’t a kick. It’s horrifying, senseless. Amid the mayhem, you think, “It didn’t have to go down this way.” (full review here)
(via Movie Review - ‘Savages’ - A Violent, Drug-Induced High : NPR) View in High-Res

    Edelstein says, “The thriller Savages is in the same brutal, druggy realm of Natural Born Killers, but Stone has evolved in the last decade and a half, and the new film has a deeper, more complicated perspective. The violence isn’t a kick. It’s horrifying, senseless. Amid the mayhem, you think, “It didn’t have to go down this way.” (full review here)

    (via Movie Review - ‘Savages’ - A Violent, Drug-Induced High : NPR)

  2. savages

    oliver stone

    david edelstein

    movie review

  1. David Edelstein on Brave: “Brave is pure Pixar in its mischievousness and irreverence and the brilliantly delineated facial movements of its characters.” View in High-Res

    David Edelstein on Brave: “Brave is pure Pixar in its mischievousness and irreverence and the brilliantly delineated facial movements of its characters.”

  2. brave

    pixar

    disney

    david edelstein

    movie review

  1. David Edelstein reviews Todd Solondz’s new movie Dark Horse: "You could never call Solondz a humanist, but he achieves something I’ve never seen elsewhere: compassionate revulsion." View in High-Res

    David Edelstein reviews Todd Solondz’s new movie Dark Horse: "You could never call Solondz a humanist, but he achieves something I’ve never seen elsewhere: compassionate revulsion."

  2. dark horse

    todd solondz

    movie review

  1. David Edelstein reviews The Dictator and says, “I wish we had more American movies like this — entertainments that mix low farce and high political satire, reminding us that extreme silliness does not preclude extreme seriousness.” View in High-Res

    David Edelstein reviews The Dictator and says, “I wish we had more American movies like this — entertainments that mix low farce and high political satire, reminding us that extreme silliness does not preclude extreme seriousness.”

  2. david edelstein

    movie review

    the dictator

    sacha baron cohen

  1. David Edelstein’s take on The Five-Year Engagement: "The Five-Year Engagement is a crowd-pleaser, but for me it still left a bitter taste. In spite of the naughty words, Stoller and co-writer Segel and producer Apatow have engineered a scenario so simplistic and retro that you wonder about their larger agenda. Do they want women to be more like the main character’s sister, for whom getting knocked up in a drunken one-night stand is a blessing in disguise?”
(via Movie Review - ‘The Five-Year Engagement’ : NPR)

    David Edelstein’s take on The Five-Year Engagement: "The Five-Year Engagement is a crowd-pleaser, but for me it still left a bitter taste. In spite of the naughty words, Stoller and co-writer Segel and producer Apatow have engineered a scenario so simplistic and retro that you wonder about their larger agenda. Do they want women to be more like the main character’s sister, for whom getting knocked up in a drunken one-night stand is a blessing in disguise?”

    (via Movie Review - ‘The Five-Year Engagement’ : NPR)

  2. the five-year engagement

    jason segel

    david edelstein

    movie review

  1. David Edelstein reviews Monsieur Lazhar: “ But he’s one of the best teacher role models I’ve ever seen. Monsieur Lazhar, the character and the film, are heartrending.”

(via Movie Review - ‘Monsieur Lazhar’ : NPR) View in High-Res

    David Edelstein reviews Monsieur Lazhar: But he’s one of the best teacher role models I’ve ever seen. Monsieur Lazhar, the character and the film, are heartrending.”

    (via Movie Review - ‘Monsieur Lazhar’ : NPR)

  2. monsieur lazhar

    david edelstein

    movie review

  1. The NPR review of Bully:
“Bully is a wrenching, intensely moral film, and so potentially useful to children who are either being bullied, or doing the bullying, that the MPAA’s Victorian prudery about a few instances of schoolyard language can’t help but seem boneheaded.” — Bob Mondello

(via Movie Review - ‘Bully’ - A Provocative And Essential Documentary : NPR) View in High-Res

    The NPR review of Bully:

    Bully is a wrenching, intensely moral film, and so potentially useful to children who are either being bullied, or doing the bullying, that the MPAA’s Victorian prudery about a few instances of schoolyard language can’t help but seem boneheaded.” — Bob Mondello

    (via Movie Review - ‘Bully’ - A Provocative And Essential Documentary : NPR)

  2. bully

    movie review

    bob mondello