Big Screen Movie Reviews

A welcome break from opera — super, space, or otherwise

A good week of new movie releases, including Jackie and Rogue One

The Wikipedia entry for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story calls it “a 2016 American epic space opera film.” There’s lots more after that, but let me pause for a moment. “Space opera?” As in ...

Talking “twilight time” with La La Land’s director of photography

Cinematographer Linus Sandgren racking up a bushel of awards nominations

When was the last time you saw an expressionistic use of color in a trailer, let alone a feature? There was more color in the preview for La La Land than a box of 120 ...

Eight minutes with Pablo Larraín

Not enough time with the director of Jackie

I owe my love of Pablo Larraín to the San Diego Latino Film Festival. Their programming of Tony Manero and Post Mortem was tantamount to extracting a giant thorn from this reporter’s paw. Tony Manero ...

The emotional wallop of Jackie

Natalie Portman takes us through a cauterized grieving process

Individuals who have history thrust upon them frequently make the best movie subjects. Lawrence of Arabia, Melvin and Howard, The Last Emperor, Vera Drake, and many other cinematic profiles have done wonders with a passive ...

Ring in the season with The Bells of St. Mary’s

Christmas at the movies with Ing and Bing

When asked to name a sequel that surpasses its original, The Godfather, Part II and The Bells of St. Mary’s are always the first to come to mind. (Exorcist II: The Heretic runs a close ...

Hello, ladies!

A good year for women on film, as exemplified in new releases The Eyes of My Mother, Miss Sloane, and more

I missed the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters. I also missed both versions of the “awful opera singer” story (Marguerite and Florence Foster Jenkins). Heck, I even missed Denial, despite the fact that it starred personal ...

The perfect Christmas present for the avid film goer

We be jammin’

A few weeks ago, a story appeared on The Big Screen about a “critic” who couldn’t manage to make it through a screening without texting. It was greeted with a tidal wave of sympathetic comments ...

Jump into a bag of humor and death

Eyes of My Mother is unnerving

First-time writer-director Nicolas Pesce’s The Eyes of My Mother feels unnervingly like a Diane Arbus photo that’s been stretched into a film. Which is to say, it’s unnerving, a shadowy black-and-white (well, black-and-gray) image of ...

Tour the Academy Film Archive with MoPA

Shuttle departs Friday, December 16

The Museum of Photographic Arts invites you to spend a day in Hollywood walking through the extensive picture collections at the Academy Film Archive. Established in 1991, the Archive currently houses 190,000 items including an ...

Sometimes critics mean what they say

Musings and new movies: Manchester by the Sea, The Similars, and more

Duncan Shepherd had it easy. When he slammed a movie, people would accuse him of being elitist or of hating anything that wasn’t foreign (Eastwood and the Coens excepted). Sometimes they would accuse him of ...

Sarsgaard gets stood up

On playing RFK in Jackie and how to be a convincing sheriff

Why would anyone cancel a phoner with Peter Sarsgaard? The next critic in line did just that, leaving twice the normal allotted time for your Big Screen correspondent. Our talk was meant to promote Sarsgaard’s ...

Warren Beatty’s latest film in ten years is not totally void of charm

Rules Don’t Apply to this guy

The trailer for Rules Don’t Apply, with its promise of one notorious playboy starring as another equally profligate real-life womanizer, set the bar high. You see, rules don’t apply to Warren Beatty. They never have. ...

Free advance screening of Sing on Saturday, November 26

Shake off Black Friday by taking the kids to a movie

There will be a free screening of the upcoming Universal Studios release this Saturday morning at 10 am. Here's the catch: you have to be one of the first 200 patrons in line at either ...

Light is a kind of noise

A tale of Marks in the dark, plus new releases including Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Curmudgeonly grouch Scott Marks has, like some kind of critical Sam Jackson, had it with these blankety-blank cell phones in the blankety-blank theater! Read all about it here, and then scooch over to his rapturous ...

Critic trades in cell phone for a padded cell

Critic-call behavior

What’s the textbook definition of stupid? Anyone — “critic” or pass-whore — who sits in the same row as I and proceeds to text during a movie. Believe it or don’t, that's exactly what one ...

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