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The Daily


Gigantic: Indie-quirky

This low-key romantic comedy goes out of its way to be challenging, what with the catatonic indie acting, the disjointed storytelling, the surplus of eccentric peripheral characters, the surprising strains of anti-Semitism and homophobia. >More
 Star Trek: Rescue mission

Many of you will be happy to learn that Star Trek -- the 11th movie in the science fiction TV-and-film series -- definitively breaks the notorious odd-numbered curse. That's the supposed continuing jinx in which even-numbered Star Trek sequels turn out to be good, while odd-numbered ones are crummy or disappointing. >More
 The Edge of Love: Poet who knows it

I rolled my eyes when I learned The Edge of Love is about Dylan Thomas. I have no problem with the Welsh bard, but I get nervous when it comes to films about poets. I've never forgotten something Roger Ebert wrote in his review of Gus Van Sant's 2000 film Finding Forrester: "Movies about writers are notoriously hard to do, since writing by its nature is not cinematic." >More
 Battle for Terra: Space invaders

Science fiction holds limitless possibilities, especially animated science fiction. So why, too often, do science fiction filmmakers simply recycle stuff from older, better movies? The animated eco-fable Battle for Terra features much that is lovely and thought-provoking, but it also features sleek, battling spaceships flying down a trough, in a sequence that echoes Star Wars. >More
 Sin Nombre: Agonizing journey

Sayra is a pretty teenage girl. Under most circumstances, that's a good thing. But in the world of Sin Nombre, it's a liability. >More
 Everlasting Moments: Watch the birdie

Everlasting Moments is based on the reminiscences of Maja Oman, a distant relation of director Jan Troell. We meet Maja as a little girl of about 7, played in early scenes by Nellie Almgren, later by Callin Öhrvall. Her mother is tense Maria, and her father is boorish Sigfried, who in the course of the film works various backbreaking jobs: dockworker, chalk miner. >More
 The Soloist: Transported by music

The Soloist is a very serious-minded, slickly produced and emotionally ambitious movie about a middle-class journalist -- a star columnist on a huge metropolitan daily -- who discovers a homeless man living on the streets near his paper: a bedraggled, verbose, shabby wreck of a guy who carries all his possessions in a shopping cart and bags, but who may be possessed of musical genius. >More
 Gomorrah: Crime scenes

Gomorrah is harrowing. It also is astonishing, a supremely controlled, supremely devastating work that alternates scenes of dread with moments of quick, almost surgically precise brutality. There are a handful of light moments, but they are the blackest of comedy, and they only throw into relief the despair that suffuses this remarkable film. >More
 Examined Life: Drive-by philosophy

For the purposes of movie-going, documentarian Astra Taylor poses the key question in the second sequence of Examined Life, as she strolls in a sunny park with New York University literature professor Avital Ronell. Books that are hundreds of pages long are an appropriate medium for exploring philosophy, notes Taylor, but what about feature-length films? The answer, based on this evidence: Um, not so much. >More
 The Great Buck Howard: The entertainer

I'm not quite old enough to remember firsthand the Tonight Show performances by the Amazing Kreskin, a.k.a. George Joseph Kresge Jr., the magician who appeared on the old Johnny Carson broadcast scores of times in the 1970s. But the poignant, funny, not wholly satisfying film The Great Buck Howard is based on Kreskin's life, so after I watched it I turned to YouTube to gather impressions from Kreskin clips. >More
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