Nebraska review

Directed by Alexander Payne Written by Bob Nelson The other day I lauded the Coen Brothers (and their new movie) for a particular brand of Americana, comparing their work with that of their American filmmaking brethren. I really should have included Alexander Payne to that list. Consider his recent features: Citizen Ruth, Election, About Schmidt,…Read More

Saving Mr Banks review

Directed by John Lee HancockWritten by Kelly Marcel and Sue SmithIn order to enjoy Saving Mr Banks, you'll need to check your skepticism at the cinema door. I'm not saying it's impossible, and I'm not saying it's recommended. It's your call.For me a little skepticism is baked in. It makes me recognize that there's something…Read More

My thoughts on Love Actually

  Earlier this month, one of my favourite film writers, Christopher Orr of The Atlantic, wrote a piece excoriating the Richard Curtis film Love Actually. It generated quite a bit of discussion, which Orr kindly gave a nod to in his follow-up piece. He even went so far as to debate the merits of the…Read More

Inside Llewyn Davis review

Written and directed by Joel and Ethan CoenI love the Coens. They've carved out for themselves a wonderful, peculiar corner of Americana. No matter the subject, their films exhibit an intellectual, anarchic wit that's all their own. Only a handful of their peers, US filmmakers and writers—maybe Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Nicole Holofcener, Charlie…Read More

American Hustle review

Directed by David O. Russell, written by Russell and Eric Singer Russell likes to tell his stories on an edge. That's what I like about him and his movies. It feels like his tales could fly apart at any minute, become total, unwatchable messes, but he always manages to keep it together just this side…Read More

Critics Picks 2013: DVDs in The Coast

The good people at Halifax's alt.weekly The Coast asked me to assemble 10 recommendations from all the DVD I saw in 2013, and I've done just that. I made a point of choosing movies (and a TV series) otherwise unshown in regional cinemas (and on local TV). My point being there are plenty of great films…Read More

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug review

Directed by Peter JacksonWritten by Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Guillermo Del Toro, from the novel by JRR TolkienIt's the Hobbit 2: Electric Smaugaloo! (With apologies to Stephen Cooke—I had to use it!)Yes, it's the second in the wholly unnecessary three-part Hobbit saga. Full disclosure: I missed The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in the…Read More

Hold Fast review

Directed by Justin SimmsWritten by Rosemary House, based on the book by Kevin MajorHold Fast is a sweet little coming-of-age movie based on a beloved Newfoundland novel. Simms—who made a far grittier film from Joel Thomas Hynes' Down To The Dirt—updates the 1970s novel to the present day: 14-year-old Michael (Avery Ash) is a tough outport kid…Read More