November 15, 2012 |
Director Steven Spielberg, screenwriter Tony Kusher and the incomparable Daniel Day-Lewis may have done the impossible in "Lincoln": They've given us a politician to love - without reservations. Drawing on historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's expansive "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln," the filmmaking collective conjures up a portrait of a far more nuanced leader than the stoic country lawyer in a stove-pipe hat. Indeed, the strength of the film rests in the strength of the character - a whimsical raconteur, a brilliant strategist and a troubled humanist.
February 16, 2013 |
Argo Warner Bros., $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99 Available on VOD beginning Tuesday Ben Affleck completes his evolution from movie star to action director with the hit, multi-award-winning and remarkably entertaining thriller based on actual events. Affleck plays Tony Mendez, the CIA agent who came up with a daring plan to extract a group of American Embassy staffers hiding in Iran during the 1979-81 hostage crisis: He pretended to be a location scout for a Canadian science-fiction epic.
August 31, 2012 |
Looking at the titles of some of the fall's most noted documentaries, one could get an impression of a world spiraling desperately out of control. With titles such as "The House I Live In," Eugene Jarecki's Sundance-prize winning examination of the war on drugs opening Oct. 5; "How to Survive a Plague," David France's look at AIDS activism (Sept. 21); "Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare," Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke's take on U.S. healthcare (Oct. 5); and "Detropia," Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's exploration of Detroit as a focal point of economic and social change (Oct.
May 16, 2013 |
Two years, two states. In 2009, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad laid out a plan to end the decades-long territorial stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians. But by 2011, despite Fayyad's efforts, including a successful campaign to improve Palestinians' economic and institutional infrastructure - a kind of "if you build it, statehood will come" - the situation remained deadlocked. This period of hope, progress, frustration and fracture is examined with equanimity and clarity by Israeli filmmaker Dan Setton in the absorbing documentary "State 194. " Setton focuses on the seemingly level-headed, optimistic Fayyad as he navigated the choppy waters of domestic politics and international diplomacy while pressing the United Nations for statehood and to make it its 194th member nation.
October 31, 2012 |
When Fox Searchlight learned that the filmmakers behind their Alfred Hitchcock biopic would be able to finish the movie by this fall, the studio's executives were thrilled. Not only could "Hitchcock" then enter the awards season derby, but the movie starring Anthony Hopkins as the famed director could also have a splashy premiere at AFI Fest. "The timing was a coincidence, but it couldn't be a more perfect fit for us to have 'Hitchcock' playing the festival's opening night," said Searchlight's Co-President Nancy Utley.
May 24, 2010
Critics' Choices Babies In the joyous and buoyant new documentary, "Babies," the filmmakers keep the baby — and the bathwater — and everything else about infants that makes them so appealing that the rest of us keep making more of them. Squalls are few, colic doesn't exist, neither does disease, diaper rash, or diapers at all for that matter as director Thomas Balmes traces the first year in the lives of four infants from four corners of the world.