Posts by: mmcleary

The Lincoln Lawyer

Matthew McConaughey is extremely likable.  When we look back at his most well-known roles—Steve Edison in The Wedding Planner, Ben Barry in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Tripp in Failure to Launch, Connor Mead in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past—it is more than clear that he can play the good-looking, smooth-talking romantic interest […]

Colin Firth and The King’s Speech

Every Jane Austen fan remembers her first time.  Reading Pride and Prejudice, that is.  Still I’ll never forget the first time I saw the BBC TV mini-series of Pride and Prejudice, the 1995 Simon Langton version so perfectly executed that the film adaptation gods must have wept when they watched it.  Days later, I popped […]

Vision: From the Life of Hidegard von Bingen

Film lovers and critics must expect to receive a certain amount of grief for their taste in movies, but there is a different kind flak awaiting the cinephile who loves a good foreign flick.  Americans hate foreign things, especially foreign films.  Just try asking a friend to go to a foreign film, and you will […]

Inside Job

CDOs.  AAA ratings.  Derivatives.  These are just a few financial phrases that Matt Damon simplifies for audiences of average Americans in Charles Ferguson’s documentary Inside Job.   The film carefully walks the line between cinema and power point presentation as it attempts to explain the 2008 economic crisis and—more importantly—point the finger of blame.  Ferguson (No […]

Review: Rapt

Ask any specialist in schadenfreude: giants laid low make fruitful subjects, and what better time than 2009 for the movies to put industrial bigwigs through trials by fire? Lucas Belvaux’s Rapt of that year, shown July 18 at the Museum of Fine Arts’ French Film Festival, is based on the 1978 kidnapping for ransom of […]

Review: Hadewijch

I’ll admit it: I was raring to see Hadewijch because the story of a girl too scarily religious for a convent sounded right up my alley.  I was expecting something satirical but empathetic, like Luis Buñuel on a kinder day.  But Bruno Dumont, the director of the 2009 film soon to be playing at the […]

Review: The Concert

Radu Mihaileanu’s The Concert is a film about the enduring repercussions of an act of Soviet anti-Semitism…sort of.  At times it’s actually more of a comedy about a group of shabby, loud Russian musicians horrifying the starchy Parisian artistic establishment.   It’s also a familial drama in which a young woman finds her roots and […]


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.