• The Naked Spur

    The Naked Spur


    In the end there’s always some form of redemption for Jimmy Stewart’s ostensibly cynical, disillusioned protagonists in the remarkable series of westerns he made with director Anthony Mann. But neither the actor nor the director seemed particularly interested in that redemption, focusing much more heavily instead on the general bitterness of men who have seen and lost too much to care. In “The Naked Spur,” not only is Stewart’s bounty hunter perpetually in a darker, fouler mood than ever, but…

  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

    Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse


    This movie must feel like an embarrassment to Kevin Feige, and if it doesn’t, it should. Because what Lord and Miller have done with the first two installments in what appears to be a trilogy is demonstrate that, even when paying tribute to franchise and sequel obligations, as they inevitably must do in the course of this slightly overlong 2 hour 20 minute runtime, even when they’re overstuffing the frame with barely fleshed out characters, complex Macguffins and an aggressively…

  • Spider-Man



    I thought this was pretty messy even when I saw it in theaters, and it hasn’t improved. The first half, the origin story, is pretty affecting, I have to admit. But so much of what comes afterwards is frustratingly hacky: the soap opera love triangle; the Party City-level Green Goblin mask; the sloppy scene transitions; the schlocky CG (Raimi is so swept up by the ability to show impossible camera angles that not once do we get to experience the…

  • The Far Country

    The Far Country


    Pleasingly twisty and sprawling as Mann takes his time building up Jimmy Stewart’s character as a would-be loner continually shrugging off the people who recognize his suppressed better self. Tension ratchets up in the third act and I was bracing for a powerful resolution, but what emerges is a fairly perfunctory showdown with little oomph. It's too bad because everything leading up to it is great.

  • Enough Said

    Enough Said


    Went back to watch this for the first time after being surprisingly impressed by “You Hurt My Feelings.” This is nearly as good, though the central premise of a protagonist caught between two divorcees stretches credulity a bit. Still, it’s enlivened by powerfully warm performances from Gandolfini, comfortably miles away from his “Sopranos” persona, and Louis-Dreyfus, who brings such precise, pitch perfect nuance to her role that I’m shocked she hasn’t been asked to do more drama. The script helps…

  • Speedy



    Starts off with a requisite series of setups for Lloyd’s typically carefree gags, e.g., Lloyd working at a drug store counter, Lloyd at Coney Island, etc. They’re brilliant of course, and photographed with a wealth of location shots seamlessly blended with backlot shots. Later it turns into “Gangs of New York” with a chase sequence from “The French Connection,” except with a horse-drawn street car. Mad cap in the best sense of the term. Saw this with my twin boys at Film Forum presented by Bruce Goldstein with his documentary short “In the Footsteps of Speedy.”

  • Bend of the River

    Bend of the River


    Jimmy Stewart continues to work out his trauma from his war service.

  • The Electric House

    The Electric House


    Like “The Haunted House,” there’s little more to the premise than a series of setups for Keaton to make hay from. The emphasis is more physical humor than character humor though, and the story suffers as a result.

  • You Hurt My Feelings

    You Hurt My Feelings


    Navel gazing but on a hilarious level, and full of warm empathy for its characters without forgetting their absurdities too. Just crossing my fingers that people go to the theater to see this one.

  • Missing



    Like “Searching” before it, pretty much preposterous in just about every way while also being highly, highly watchable.

  • Winchester '73

    Winchester '73


    The structure of this bitter western is surprisingly sprawling for its ninety minute runtime. Even as it digresses though, there’s still a confidence behind the camera that’s unmistakable; you never for a moment wonder if director Anthony Mann knows where the story is going. Unfortunately that full intentionality makes the unquestioning fawning over the Winchester rifle of the title all the more unsavory. The world of this movie is one in which a passion for, even a fixation on the…

  • The Balloonatic

    The Balloonatic


    Starts off in a funhouse, detours to a fishing hole, and ends up in mid-air in a hot air balloon, and somehow it all makes sense.