Monthly Archives: October 2010


One would expect Clint Eastwood’s latest film, Hereafter, to be the chilling supernatural thriller advertised in the movie’s trailers. With films like Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Changeling, and Gran Torino under his belt, surely Clint could capture the excitement and nightmarish intensity of a film concerned with questions of life after death. Moreover, with a Peter Morgan screenplay (The Last King of Scotland, The Queen, The Other Boleyn Girl, and Frost/Nixon), there should be no question of the film’s ability to mesmerize audiences. However, despite the undeniable talents of the cast and crew, this thrill-less thriller does nothing for the genre. At best, Hereafter is a sluggish drama only mildly interested in the idea of the afterlife.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story

Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Sugar and Half Nelson) make it OK to laugh at mental illness in this creative new comedy. However, the film goes beyond cheap shots at schizophrenics, questioning the issue of teenage depression. It’s Kind of a Funny Story displays fresh filmmaking with an imaginative animation sequence, as well as a music video scene that could have inspired rock bands like Kiss in the early 80s.

Ben Affleck and The Town

While there is no doubt that Ben Affleck has a contagious sense of Boston pride that would make even New Yorkers want to start neglecting their “R”s and donning Red Sox jerseys, his films are not exactly love letters to the city. His past projects, Gone Baby Gone and Good Will Hunting, dumpster-dive into the sketchy worlds of Boston’s criminals, junkies, and low-lives. The actor/writer/director’s most recent work, The Town, follows suit, depicting a group of bank robbers from the projects of Charlestown. Although he has only two feature films under his director belt, the Triple Threat’s signature is not only legible, but also distinct. While some of his choices as an actor have been suspect (naturally, Surviving Christmas, Jersey Girl, and the infamous Gigli come to mind), as a director, Affleck shows maturity and, what is more, promise.

DVD Review: Paths of Glory

In the span of two months Criterion has given us two of the best American war films ever made.  And again, as with some of the best films about combat, it balances the destruction on and off the battlefield.  Paths of Glory, Stanley Kubrick’s version of the trials of three soldiers accused of desertion during […]

DVD Review: The Darjeeling Limited

As the brothers Whitman run toward the train, the slow motion photography kicks in, as do the Kinks, and the crescendo of obvious dialogue, “This baggage isn’t going to make it,” is uttered, you may find yourself exhausted.  Indeed, when I first saw the film at a press screening half a decade ago, one of […]