Set It Up
A solid romantic comedy with sharp dialogue, amusing characters, and a few surprises up its sleeve.
* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.
The latest on Blu-ray, including Den of Thieves, Paddington 2, All the Money in the World, and The Virgin Suicides.
A history of Gary Oldman's performances.
The winners of the 75th annual Golden Globes.
An article about the 2018 nominees of the Golden Globe Awards.
A guide to the latest and greatest on Blu-ray and DVD, including three Criterion releases, The Wall, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.
The best of the 2016-17 TV season in Emmy ballot form.
A review of FX's new mini-series, "Feud: Bette & Joan."
A dispatch on three films from the Vanguard program of the Toronto International Film Festival.
The latest and greatest on Blu-ray, including "Eye in the Sky," "Only Yesterday," "The Mermaid" and more!
Roger's Favorites: Mira Nair, director of "Salaam Bombay!"
Crossword plagiarism scandal; Marcia Clark on FX's O.J. series; Licensing ambient stadium music; Jenny Beaven on her Oscar outfit; Hollywood's enduring whitewashing.
How Nick Hornby became one of the most valuable writers for women in Hollywood.
A review of HBO's "Show Me a Hero" with Oscar Isaac, Catherine Keener, Alfred Molina, Winona Ryder, Bob Balaban, and Jon Bernthal.
A feature on the latest major Blu-ray, Netflix, and On Demand releases, including "Gone Girl," "The Boxtrolls," "The Zero Theorem," "Coherence," and more.
Predictions for the eight major categories in the 87th Annual Academy Awards.
Lists from our critics and contributors on the best of 2014.
An interview with Kevin Kline, star of "My Old Lady."
The best recent releases on Blu-ray and streaming services, including "Blue Ruin," "Middle of Nowhere," "Only Lovers Left Alive," and "Love Streams."
An interview with Ira Sachs, director of "Love Is Strange."
Fantastic performances balance out Ryan Murphy and Larry Kramer’s melodramatic approach to the history of the AIDS crisis in HBO’s highly-anticipated "The Normal Heart," premiering Sunday, May 25th, 2014.
Simon Abrams ranks the films he saw at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, from best to worst.
"Maverick" starts with the protagonist in the middle of nowhere. He helplessly sits on a horse; his neck is at the end of a noose tied to a tree branch. The men who put him in this vulnerable situation surround him. They drop a bag containing a snake and ride away. If the horse bolts, Bret Maverick dies. It is one of the most attention-grabbing opening scenes in film.
"With great power, comes great responsibility." How many times have we superhero fans heard this line, let alone understand its implications? Do we really take to heart how much sacrifice such heroism involves, or comprehend what would be at stake? Superhero films tend to glorify ability over altruism. That is after all the main reason why we flock to the genre, to see amazing sights never seen before. But one film is special in how it focuses on the gravity of selflessness in spite of such might. And it does so not by showcasing its hero's greatness, but his ordinariness. It's Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 2."
● "Ironclad" (2011) ● "Black Death" (2010)
"Ironclad " is now available on DirecTV and other on-demand providers (check your service listings) and from Netflix (DVD and Blu-ray) starting on July 26th. "Black Death" is available on Netflix (streaming, DVD and Blu-ray) and Amazon Instant Video.
When I was a kid growing up in the Seattle suburb of Edmonds, WA (aka "The Gem of Puget Sound"), my parents did everything that good, sensible parents should do to shield their kids from violence, both real and reel. I remember being innocently intrigued by the furor over "Bonnie & Clyde" in 1967, but they would never have taken me to see it with them (to their credit, since I was only six). The same held true for "The Wild Bunch" in 1969, by which time the debate over movie violence had reached a fever pitch in our national conversation. Over the ensuing decades, that conversation has become a moot point as movie violence proceeded apace, from Sonny Corleone's death in a hail of Tommy-gun fire in "The Godfather" (1972), to the slasher cycle of the late '70s and '80s (when makeup artists Tom Savini and Rick Baker reigned supreme as a master of gory effects) and into the present, when virtually anything - from total evisceration to realistic decapitation -- is possible through the use of CGI and state-of-the-art makeup effects. That's where movies like "Ironclad" and "Black Death" come in, but more on those later.
If you're looking for a rant against milestone achievements in the depiction of graphic violence, you've come to the wrong place. To me, it's a natural progression. Movies and violence have always been inextricably linked, and once opened, that Pandora's Box could never be closed. A more relevant discussion now is how the new, seemingly unlimited gore FX should be used and justified. Horror films will always be the testing ground for the art of gore, and it would be a crime against cinema to cut the "chest-burster" from "Alien" (or, for that matter, Samuel L. Jackson's spectacular death in "Deep Blue Sea"). But it's the depiction of authentic, real-life violence -- in everything from the "CSI" TV franchise to prestige projects like HBO's "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific" -- that pushes previously unrated levels of gore into the mainstream.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not praising this progression so much as acknowledging its inevitability. If you really love movies -- and especially if you've been lucky enough to make a career out of watching them -- you have undoubtedly seen a violent film that was unquestionably vile, unjustified and miles beyond the boundaries of all human decency. I've seen violent movies that earned my disgust because (1) the context of the violence was as abhorrent as the violence itself and (2) the intentions of the filmmakers were clearly indefensible. (Context and intention: More on that later.) Tolerances and sensibilities may vary, but every critic has seen a film that appeared to have been written and directed by sociopaths. Check out Roger Ebert's review of "I Spit on Your Grave" (the 1978 version) and you'll see what I mean.
Marie writes: Ever since he was a boy, photographer John Hallmén has been fascinated by insects. And he's become well-known for photographing the creatures he finds in the Nackareservatet nature reserve not far from his home in Stockholm, Sweden. Hallmén uses various methods to capture his subjects and the results are remarkable. Bugs can be creepy, to be sure, but they can also be astonishingly beautiful...
Blue Damsel Fly [click to enlarge photos]