Preview: Sugar

By the time I saw Sugar at AFI Fest last November, I was awash in finely rendered, spare, character-driven bits of American independent film: Ballast, Wendy & Lucy, Momma’s Man – there were others but they’re all kind of a blur to me at the moment. So it is that I liked the latest film (read…)

The Watercooler: 3/30/09

I was stricken by disease and turned into a walking, talking snot factory this weekend so I chose to do my fellow movie patrons a favor and stay out of the theater. I suppose I could’ve spent the weekend in front of the TV watching DVDs, but I only got around to one: Federico Fellini’s (read…)

Maurice Jarre, Composer: 1924 – 2009

Try to imagine Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago or Passage to India without the scores by Maurice Jarre. You can’t do it. Now we have to imagine a world without Maurice Jarre. RIP.

Trailer 2: Lemon Tree

This is the second trailer for Lemon Tree, the winner of the Panorama Audience Award at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival. The trailer has been kicking around at least a week, but the movie itself just officially popped on to LiC radar this very moment and I hope to catch it in the next (read…)

WSN Reviews: Goodbye Solo (2009)

As you may recall, LiC contributor Sam Kressner is also a staff critic for NYU’s Washington Square News. In order to shine a light on the man’s work and in order to capitalize on his unique position at the center of the film release universe, we like to link to his reviews from time to (read…)

Review: Shall We Kiss? (2009) *** 1/2

Julie Gayet and Michaël Cohen ask themselves: Shall We Kiss? The romantic comedy Shall We Kiss? is the kind of sparkling frivolity that seems to be the unique province of the French. The American counterpart would be heavy on gags and light on charm with a third act denouement that has the hero and heroine (read…)

Trailer: Taking Woodstock

I wasn’t feeling Ang Lee’s next film Taking Woodstock until just now when I watched the trailer. It feels like a change of pace from Lee’s recent output – a throwback to some of his less emotionally intense fare like Eat Drink Man Woman. I like how the split screen riffs on the vibe from (read…)

Weekend Forecast: 3/26/09

Here’s a little game we like to play each Thursday called The Weekend Forecast. It’s your guide to the new movies hitting theaters this Friday and, as always, it’s 100% free of charge and worth twice the price. Monsters vs. Aliens. DreamWorks dips its toes into animated 3D waters and comes up with a group (read…)

Trailer: Where the Wild Things Are

Yeah. Screw the haters and the doubters. My inner 12-year-old is alive and well and all over this one (my outer 39-year-old is still a big fan of bourbon and waking up next to naked, frazzle-haired supermodels, but that’s another story). Anyway, not really at all what I expected, but it completely fits. Check it (read…)

Review: Hunger (2009) ****

English artist Steve McQueen’s first feature, Hunger, is an uncompromising, grim and intense piece of work that probes the 66 day hunger strike led by Bobby Sands to restore the political status of members of the IRA being held at The Maze prison in Northern Ireland in 1981. Largely eschewing the highly charged politics behind (read…)

‘True Grit’ to get the Coen treatment

Traditional western fans (not to mention fans of John Wayne) are sure to cry foul over news that Joel and Ethan Coen are adapting True Grit, the Charles Portis novel which became the 1969 film which finally earned John Wayne an Oscar. Quit yer cryin’. It’s the Coens and they’re making a western and my (read…)

The Watercooler: 3/23/09

If I’d reviewed Steve McQueen’s Hunger when I originally saw it back in November, I would’ve written respectfully but in a way that expressed disappointment over a movie that didn’t quite live up to the hype. I’ve rewatched it twice since then however and I’ve gradually warmed up to it. Why am I telling you (read…)

Trailer: The Limits of Control

These self-imposed LiC movie blackouts make it hard to run a blog, but rumor has it this is the trailer for the new Jim Jarmusch film coming May 22. I can’t say for sure since I’m banned from watching it or knowing anything about it. It’s Jarmusch. I’m there. Surprise me. Don’t let my attitude (read…)

Review: Sin Nombre (2009) *** 1/2

Student Academy Award winner Cary Joji Fukunaga’s debut feature: Sin Nombre [Ed. Please welcome back Mr. Sam Kressner with another feature review.] A thriller travelogue about illegal Central American emigration, first-time director Cary Joji Fukunaga’s “Sin Nombre” captures the intersecting lives of two teenagers, Willy and Sayra. Questioning his gangly allegiance, Willy is a product (read…)

Natasha Richardson, Actress: 1963 – 2009

I was saddened to read yesterday that Natasha Richardson had died following Monday’s ski accident in Montreal. There are dozens of obituaries out there that sum up her too-short life much better than I can. Here’s one. Her biggest successes may have been on the stage, but I will always remember her best for a (read…)

Weekend Forecast: 3/19/09

Julia Roberts and Clive Owen in Duplicity Any week now, the movie release calendar is going to explode with excitement. I promise. This isn’t that week though. Opening wide: Duplicity. Screenwriter Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton) sits in the director’s chair for the second time on a film that looks a little like Soderbergh Lite…or maybe (read…)

Trailer: Away We Go

Sam Mendes does American indie. And away. We. Go… Sam Mendes’ Away We Go starring John Krasinksi, Maya Rudolph, Allison Janney, Jeff Daniels and Catherine O’Hara opens June 5.

Trailer: The Song of Sparrows

Oscar nominated Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi (Children of Heaven) is back with this film that premiered at last year’s Berlin International Film Festival. I hope to see it next week and have a review for you before it opens in New York on April 3. Until then, check out the official website here.

The Watercooler: 3/16/09

I had grand plans to catch a pile of movies this weekend, but they were stymied by mediocrity. I made it through two before giving up in disappointment. First up was Phoebe in Wonderland, the story of a troubled little girl with an Alice fixation. Phoebe is a precocious kid struggling with school and the (read…)

Review: Tokyo Sonata (2009) ****

Kyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata: A new recruit in Japan’s army of unemployed What happens in the clamped down cubicle world of a Japanese businessman and father when his job is outsourced to China with its cheaper labor? That’s the dilemma facing family man Ryuhei Sasaki. Laid off from his administrative position, he’s not only robbed (read…)

Trailer: In the Loop

I spent the day at the movies today which cut into valuable Tokyo Sonata review writing time and I might not finish in time for it to be today’s post. Just in case, please enjoy this trailer for In the Loop, one of the better reviewed comedies out of Sundance. I like the sound of (read…)

Friday Filler: Entertain-o-financial Meltdown Smackdown!

Back in the old days when I was afraid of actually coming up with something to post here at LiC every single day, we had an occasional feature called Friday Filler that was a blatant acknowledgment that Fridays are slow traffic days and frankly I just didn’t always feel like breaking a sweat. Well, it’s (read…)

Trailer: Shall We Kiss?

Here’s the French romantic comedy I mentioned in a recent Watercooler. Nobody does the genre like the French and this is another fine example. It’s not as effervescent as last year’s LiC favorite Priceless, but it has an interesting melancholy streak that kind of tempers the frivolity of it all. If you’re one of the (read…)

Weak-end Forecast: 3/12/09

Teruyuki Kagawa watches his family fall apart in Kyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata This is a somewhat abbreviated Weekend Forecast that only covers the wide and limited releases while skipping over the usual handful that only open in a single location. If I were you, I’d jump down to Tokyo Sonata and forget about the rest (read…)

Trailer: Drag Me to Hell

Another day, another trailer. I know, but it’s kind of slow right now despite the fact the box office is up 13% over the same period last year and admissions are up 10%. Are the movies really better or are people just bored? Anyway, you may remember this is the one that was supposed to (read…)

Trailer: Anvil! The Story of Anvil

This documentary about a heavy metal band you’ve probably never heard of got a great response on the festival circuit last year including a premiere at Sundance and a stop at the LA Film Festival last summer (where I missed it, naturally). Anvil! The Story of Anvil opens in limited release on April 10.

The Watercooler: 3/9/09

Here’s the thing: anyone who’s been reading the blog for longer than a couple of weeks probably understands I’m not a guy who thrives on confrontation. I’m not Rush Limbaugh looking for page hits by being an incurable pain in the ass. I go out of my way to understand everyone’s point of view and (read…)

Review: Watchmen (2009) *** 1/2

Malin Akerman and Patrick Wilson get their leather-and-latex-in-prison fetish on Among a significant segment of the comic reading crowd, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen is a little like holy scripture. From an artwork standpoint, it’s a highly cinematic piece with its colored panels unfolding in storyboard-like fashion, but it also brings to bear the (read…)

Review: Everlasting Moments (2009) ****

Maria Heiskanen in Everlasting Moments Maria Larsson is a working-class mother married to Sigge, a dockworker and a philandering alcoholic brute. Living in the early 20th century and born of religiously conservative parents, physical escape for Maria is not a real option. Instead she finds a kind of creative escape when the kindly owner of (read…)

Trailer B: Up

Beyond the fact it was Pixar I wasn’t buying into Up until just now when I watched this latest trailer. I’m not sure what did it, but it’s done. I mean, I was already going to go, but…

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