Category Archives: Historical Drama

300: Rise of an Empire review

Directed by Noam Murro Written by Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad, adapting the Frank Miller graphic novel Xerxes To prepare for the sequel to Snyder's 2006 hit movie about the 300 Spartans at the battle of Thermopylae, I went back and watched the original 300 one more time. My feelings about it were deeply ambivalent,…Read More

The Wind Rises (Kaze Tachinu) review

Written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki If this is to be Miyazaki's final film with Studio Ghibli—which, despite many false retirements, he says it will be—a romantic, historical drama about an engineer is an unorthodox subject matter to go out on. That said, it still has plenty of the fantastic and surreal whimsy he's become…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

The Book Thief review

Directed by Brian PercivalWritten by Michael Petroni, from the novel by Markus ZusakThe Book Thief is a movie I'd like to slam unreservedly, because it takes what could be a genuinely moving story of people surviving through the horrors of World War II and instead frequently delivers material of maudlin schmaltz. But I can't condemn…Read More

12 Years A Slave review

Directed by Steve McQueenWritten by John Ridley, adapting a book by Solomon Northup12 Years A Slave is the most honest and unvarnished depiction of slavery I've ever seen. I'd wager it reaches a verisimilitude unmatched in the history of Hollywood movies on the subject—of which there haven't been that many, granted. It's hard to find historic…Read More

Lincoln review

Directed by Steven SpielbergWritten by Tony Kushner, adapting Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns GoodwinI walked into Spielberg's newest historical epic expecting a handsome, serious and somewhat sentimental movie (thanks to the director's undeniable skill and irrepressible mushiness), beautiful to see (thanks to cinematographer Janusz Kaminski) with an acting clinic…Read More

The Master review

Written and directed by Paul Thomas AndersonThe release of a PT Anderson movie is an event, every single time. Every one since his first, Hard Eight; Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love and There Will Be Blood. With this collection, Anderson can stake a claim as the finest American filmmaker working today.So, what to make of his…Read More