In the past year, Aaron Sorkin has written the screenplays for Moneyball and The Social Network, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.  Taken on the surface, no two films could be more dissimilar; one is about baseball, the other about the internet.  So what would draw Sorkin to such disparate subjects, if not for the simple challenge of doing something different?  Dig a little deeper, however, and you may just find that these two films are meant to serve as bookends.  Both deal with men who speak a language unfamiliar to the common man.  Their central characters live in sealedRead More →

It takes a poorly executed horror movie to show its creature in full CGI glory only minutes in, but it takes a colossally bad one to not only give away its premise at the outset, but repeat that premise only moments later in writing during the opening credits.  Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, a film I’m hoping writer-producer Guillermo del Toro doesn’t consider a high point, does both of these things.  How could a movie developed by one of modern cinema’s finest filmmakers go so horribly wrong?  And how could del Toro have allowed such fatal mistakes? I want to avoid giving you the premise.  My logicRead More →

Ti West’s The Innkeepers is a brisk, creepy little thriller, despite the fact that nothing much of significance happens for the first 90 minutes.  It’s like the twin brother of West’s fascinating The House of the Devil (2009), a film that builds its scares with mood and quiet, instead of false jumps and musical stingers.  Few horror movies any more have me sitting on the edge of my seat, but The Innkeepers somehow managed to do it, and do it well.  I have a suspicion that, based on these two films, West may well be the new horror auteur. The plot of The Innkeepers has all the complexityRead More →

How many of us have often wondered about the greenness of other grasses? If we’d been born into another time and place, how different would our lives have been? Gil (Owen Wilson) understands this question with a singular focus that borders on obsession. He’s having an affair that began with the suddenness of love at first sight. The object is Paris, a city so glorious in Gil’s romantic, if slightly naive, eyes, that if it were a woman, he’d probably strip and make love to it. He’s enamored with the lights and couples noodling in sidewalk cafes, and the history of his greatest idols —Read More →