Redford Keeps “All Is Lost” Afloat

At first glance, All Is Lost sounds more like a film school assignment than a successful movie. Can you tell a complete story with one character, just a handful of lines of dialogue, and long, slow stretches with little action – and still keep your audience’s attention? Writer/director J.C. Chandor’s gripping survival tale answers resoundingly…

Despite its Flaws, “Gravity” is a Must-See Movie

Watching Gravity, I often felt like I was witnessing the future of filmmaking; director Alfonso Cuarón’s space thriller represents a joint achievement of technology and artistry that is nearly unprecedented. It’s at turns thrilling and terrifying, and there are long stretches when it’s impossible to tear your eyes from the screen. And yet, in some significant…

“Prisoners” Captures our Moral Complexity

The opening hour or so of Prisoners, a tense and gripping new thriller, touches on our collective nerves so perfectly that it’s almost hard to believe. The subject is vengeance, which is not a new topic in American film but one worthy of revision. Revenge films have been around since 1974 when Death Wish exploded…

“Thanks for Sharing” Tackles a Taboo Subject with Ease

You know what’s great about writing reviews for the Washington City Paper? You get to put double entendres right in your title. That’s what I did in my review of the terrific Thanks for Sharing. Here’s an excerpt: [I]f you transposed the template of Thanks for Sharing onto a film about any other type of addiction (alcohol, drugs, etc.), it…

“The Newsroom”: A Beautiful Missed Opportunity

This might have been the last episode ever of The Newsroom (reports are murky on whether it is being picked up for a third season), and if so, it’s a solid ending that surprised me with how much I was affected by it. “Election Night: Part II” took the elements of the show I’ve always…