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Bryan has written 409 reviews for films during 2013.

  • The Lives of Others

    The Lives of Others


    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Is it me, or are film critics greatly impressed with mediocrity? They must watch too many bad movies. I'm not sure what all the hoopla is around this film because it's pretty standard anti-communist stuff - so much so that it could have come straight from Hollywood. I was told there was a big surprise ending, but there isn't. There's no surprises at all here. This is the third film about the fall of the Berlin wall that I've seen,…

  • Little Miss Sunshine

    Little Miss Sunshine


    Promising start but the script trades in its human potential for cheap laughs and thin characters. It's not half as satisfying (or funny) as its direct predecessor - Drop Dead Gorgeous. Arkin's Oscar is the least deserving since Gloria Stuart tossed a necklace overboard and went "meep". Script by Michael Arndt ( Toy Story 3) - needed about three more rewrites. Speaking of...

  • Little Children

    Little Children


    An interesting film that's too long with too many story threads. By the end it just became a long wait for something bad to happen, but I liked the way it was made. The anthropological narrator was bold and interesting (and very Kubricky) and it's more observant of rich middle class suburbia than most films (when characters go outside, you can actually hear cicadas!) I wish it had fewer characters, because they were all glossed over, esp. Jennifer Connelly. It's…

  • The Lion in Winter

    The Lion in Winter


    So to counter Pirates of the Caribbean, I watched a movie where the lies, deceit, backstabbing, and reversals all mean something to the characters -- they're not just trying to win the prize or whatever, they're trying to tear each others hearts out. The only bad thing about this film is the lighting - which completely betrays all the historical detail that went into the rest of the production. Absolutely must see. And yes, Oliver beat this and 2001 for best picture! What were they smokin'? Superb script by James Goldman (Robin and Marian, White Nights)

  • Libeled Lady

    Libeled Lady


    Amusing but preposterous screwball comedy that again proves what an awful actress Jean Harlow is. Thankfully she's got Spencer Tracy, William Powell, and Myrna Loy to balance her out. Might have been better if it were pre-code. Script by a whole bunch of writers.

  • Letters from Iwo Jima

    Letters from Iwo Jima


    While it's great to see WWII from the perspective of the guys that John Wayne rushes in and kills, it's a meandering film that tries too hard to be important. The concept alone is important enough, and the script should have just concentrated on telling a harrowing, claustrophobic, action-packed story without begging for that Oscar. It mainly concentrates on the Japanese soldier's willingness to die in battle, but never strays far from war cliches, with many predictable, oft-seen outcomes that…

  • The Last Mimzy

    The Last Mimzy


    The movie provides lots of mystery and wonder, but fails to be about anything consequential - or anything at all really outside of mystery and wonder. It will only astound and amaze kids. Still, it's a step above Zathura and it's filmed and constructed like a very adult film - sort of like Millions was. Script by Bruce Joel Rubin (Ghost, Jacob's Ladder), and producer-turned-writer Toby Emmerich (Frequency).

  • The Last King of Scotland

    The Last King of Scotland


    Forrest Whitaker chews up scenery like a great dictator, but I wish the young Scottish doctor that's the hero of the story was more compelling or more developed (yes, once again an African story told through white Euro-centric eyes). I felt the facts getting in the way of fiction, but there's some payoff in the end, and the movie looks great. Doesn't tell you much at all about Uganda, but Whitaker makes it worth watching. Script by Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) and Jeremy Brock.

  • Lady in the Lake

    Lady in the Lake

    Shooting everything in the first person has got to be one of the worst ideas for a movie I've ever seen. It's just dreadful to watch. It's not even surreal or experimental. It's just ludicrous. I'm amazed they didn't can the whole project after watching the first dailies. All it succeeds in doing is exposing what a total sham narrative filmmaking and acting is, and for that reason alone it's worth 15 mins of a screenwriter's time, but no more.

  • The Lady Eve

    The Lady Eve


    The Lady Eve (1941) ****
    I've never been too fond of Lady Eve. I think it's mainly because Fonda is too naive and unbelievable. Maybe Joel McCrea would have worked better? It also seems a little stage-bound - very long sequences with no change of setting and lots and lots (and lots) of dialogue. Or perhaps it's that the romance outweighs the humor, and some of the humor is too broad. It's not a bad movie by any means, but…

  • L.A. Confidential

    L.A. Confidential


    Talk about a screenplay that ties everything together. Wow!

  • Kurosawa



    At the end of this documentary, Kurosawa says that if you take the movies away from Kurosawa, you are left with nothing. What do you make a documentary about then? Well, you show a lot of clips from his movies, provide some cultural background, and revisit locations with actors and crew members. Then James Coburn and Clint Eastwood show up to reference their American remakes. Nothing here that warrants a three hour running time, esp with so many of Kurosawa's films getting overlooked. Yawn.