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CAROL, polished and polite doth not a good film make

CAROL premiered at the 2015 Cannes Festival
Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara and Kyle Chandler
Directed by Todd Haynes

The praise critics have showered on Todd Haynes’s CAROL gives me pause. Have I seen an entirely different film or is there something in this one that escapes me? A. O. Scott of the N.Y. Times sees CAROL as “fetishistically precise in its recreation of the look and sound of the past.” Sorry, but the fingernails with their bright red polish, the lips with their bright red lipstick, the ... more >

The Monuments Men

About that forgotten part of WWII history
George Clooney, Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett
Directed by George Clooney

This is the way the world ends, or starts to end, in George Clooney’s “The Monuments Men”: with a bang. In the film’s opening scenes, Hubert and Jan van Eyck’s “Ghent Altarpiece” is loudly dismantled, panel by panel, and prepared—too late, though—for a secret hiding place. The clock is ticking for its fellow masterpieces. World War II is raging and Hitler, an unpromising art student before he ... more >

Blue Jasmine

[Perdido Productions]
Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin and Sally Hawkins
Directed by Woody Allen

“Blue Jasmine” is a perfect film, the first perfect film I’ve seen all year. It is smart, well-written, entertaining, beautifully filmed and the performances are unbelievably good. The film is also more remarkable for what it demonstrates of the faculties of Woody Allen. After his amusing but rather shallow exercises of the past years, not only with his European forays but even before (remember ... more >

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Brad Pitt thrives in challenging role
Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Taraji P. Henson
Directed by David Fincher

A deep premise with facile tendencies. An emotional story at times detached. An interesting character with only so much to do. I mean, besides aging backwards. Which is a pretty neat trick, if you can get it. All these things are true about David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a movie inspired by a famous F. Scott Fitzgerald short story. Everyone was rubbing the rabbit's ... more >

Babel

Multi-story narrative is reminiscent of Crash
Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Gael García Bernal
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

Babel (Inarritu; 2006) raises an interesting question about the relationship between a film and a filmmaker. Is it entirely a symbiotic one? How much Inarritu is in Babel, and vice-versa? Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu seems very much present in Babel's stories, taking a prominent position among the individuals who form this wide net of a cast. He lifts the veil draped over human suffering and lead ... more >