March 26, 2010 |
"Sweetgrass" is an unexpectedly intoxicating documentary, unexpected because it blends high artistic standards with the grueling reality of one of the toughest, most exhausting of work environments. For though the area of southern Montana where "Sweetgrass" is shot is a visually stunning locale, running a sheep ranch in general and caring for enormous flocks during their months of summer pasture in particular turns out to be a grueling, intensely physical existence grounded in the unforgiving rhythms of the natural world.
April 15, 2011 |
"The Conspirator" has several allies in its earnest but effective quest to make a forgotten corner of America's past come alive. Many of those were planned, including the sine qua non casting of Robin Wright in the title role, but perhaps the most potent was an unintentional accident of history itself. The subject of this serious and seriously old-fashioned Robert Redford-directed film is an often overlooked aspect of an event every schoolchild knows about, the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln less than a week after Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant to end the Civil War. But there was more going on during the night of April 14, 1865, than John Wilkes Booth's attack at Ford's Theater.
November 20, 2009 |
Watching "The Blind Side" is like watching your favorite football team; you'll cheer when things go well, curse when they don't, and be reminded that in football, as in life, it's how you play the game that counts -- though winning doesn't hurt, either. I'm talking to the jocks here. The rest of you can just bring Kleenex and give in to this quintessentially old-style story that is high on hope, low on cynicism and long on heart. If Frank Capra was still around, director John Lee Hancock might have had to fight him for the job. Based on the remarkable true story of Baltimore Ravens tackle Michael Oher -- once a homeless black Memphis teenager literally plucked off the road on an icy winter night by a well-heeled white family -- the movie stars Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy.
June 22, 2012 |
Too many questions and not enough answers haunt the slow-going mystery "The Woman in the Fifth,"a thankless lead vehicle for Ethan Hawke who's left largely stranded by writer-director Pawel Pawlikowski's opaque adaptation of Douglas Kennedy's novel. Hawke stars as American writer Tom Ricks, a one-book wonder who arrives in Paris to reunite with his ex-wife, Nathalie (Delphine Chuillot), and their small daughter, Chloé (Julie Papillon). But complications instantly pile up: Nathalie blocks Tom from seeing Chloé, his money and belongings are stolen, Tom's dumpy hotel room comes complete with sinister proprietor (Samir Guesmi)
January 22, 2010
"Legion," an R-rated action thriller, opens today in wide release. The movie did not screen for critics. Its review will appear online as soon as it is available and in the newspaper Monday.
March 14, 2012 |
Marilyn Hagerty's review of the Olive Garden in Grand Forks, N.D., is hardly about the restaurant's “warm and comforting” chicken Alfredo or the “attractive” bar area -- it's the purest gauge of all that is America. That's if you believe the snarky legions who bashed the 85-year-old reviewer's piece last week and turned it viral, the diners who then defended it and the pundits who have since spun it into a touchstone for a feisty debate about the country's culture. Much has been made of Hagerty's March 7 evaluation of the chain restaurant for the Grand Forks Herald.
September 3, 2010
The warm and charming "White Wedding" is like "The Hangover" off steroids. It's another get-me-to-the-church-on-time obstacle course but filled with smart social commentary, romantic wisdom, credible complications and memorable characters. Along the way, director Jann Turner (who co-wrote the script with the film's co-leads Kenneth Nkosi and Rapulana Seiphemo) provides an absorbing physical and cultural snapshot of contemporary South Africa that deepens but never burdens this buoyant, energetic effort.
February 5, 2010 |
Dear Reader, I'm so sorry, gulp, but "Dear John" is like a very bad relationship with a very beautiful someone: You want it to work, you truly do, but the pain, the guilt, the boredom, the CW soundtrack . . . . And I wish I could say it's not them, it's me, but I really think it's them. The film's very beautiful someones are the ab-riffic Channing Tatum as John, whom director Lasse Hallström wisely keeps either shirtless or in tight tees for most of the film, and that golden girl Amanda Seyfried (" Big Love," "Mamma Mia!"
November 26, 2010
"Break Ke Baad," an unrated romantic comedy from Reliance Big Pictures also opens Friday in limited release. Its review will appear in Saturday's paper and online as soon as it is available at latimes.com/moviereviews.
July 23, 1988
The publication of Bill Steigerwald's article ("Moralistic Tone to ABC's 'Drugs: Why This Plague?' " July 11) under the label television review is poor journalism and is an insult to your readers. It is not a review at all. In no way does it comment on either the quality of the production nor the creative aspects of the program, but rather Mr. Steigerwald has used the column to expound his personal views on the legalization and decriminalization of illicit drugs. Television reviews should be reviews of the program and not a platform to sell the public poison pills.