Spike Lee’s vibrant, vital, thoroughly accomplished third feature is a provocative and intelligent exploration of race and racism that opens with a call to action and ends with a ferocious cry in the face of injustice.
In Django Unchained (2012), Quentin Tarantino takes on one of his favorite genres: the spaghetti western, with all its extreme violence, operatic drama, eccentric characters, and brutal portrait of frontier existence. But Tarantino being Tarantino, he doesn’t just make a big, violent, sprawling western filled gunfights and clever talk and driven by revenge and Old […]
Jackie Brown (1997) – “Amateurs borrow, professionals steal,” goes the maxim, and Quentin Tarantino steals like a pro. Where directors of the previous generation peppered their films with classic cinematic quotes, Tarantino plunders the films of his formative years for ideas—mostly B-movies and exploitation films about cars and capers and criminals—and riffs on them with […]
Roger Michell, best known for his British period pieces and romantic dramas, directed this overlooked film that delves into anger management, revenge, and culpability.
There is something very appealing in the gee-whiz earnestness and plucky patriotism of Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), a red, white and blue superhero journey wrapped up in the nostalgia of the World War II era, where American pluck and moral certainty made the battle. As the title hints, it is something of a […]
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) is my pick for the best Marvel Universe superhero movie to date. Picking up where The Avengers left off, it’s a superhero adventure by way of a political conspiracy thriller that teams up Cap (Chris Evans in all-American integrity mode) with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) when S.H.I.E.L.D. is infiltrated […]
The Avengers (2012) is a superhero epic years in the making. Unlike The X-Men, which arrived full formed in 2000, The Avengers is the comic book version of the supergroup, with stars in their own right coming together (not without some friction and ego-thumping) for a battle royale. So Marvel put together a long term […]
Iron Man (2008) is a superhero in both the mythic mode and the modern world, the hero felled by his own arrogance and revived with an Achilles heel. Behind the mask of the heavy-metal superhero is a playboy gazillionaire and armaments mogul with a bad heart and a high-tech pacemaker that powers not just his […]
Brad Bird works with the computer animation pros at Pixar for the first (but not the last) time in The Incredibles (2004), which drops cartoonishly exaggerated super-heroics into the typical (by all outside appearances) suburban nuclear family, creating a super-powered dynamo of dysfunction and frustration in hiding (they’re in witness protection from years of personal […]
The Hateful Eight, the eighth feature by Quentin Tarantino, is something strange and audacious even for a filmmaker whose films are rarely short of either. It’s a vivid widescreen western epic that runs nearly three hours yet plays like a chamber piece, largely contained within the intimate quarters of a stagecoach stopover during a blizzard […]