J. Edgar

Who was the president behind closed doors?
Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer and Naomi Watts
Directed by Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood’s J.Edgar really threw me for a loop. I went in expecting a thriller along the lines of DeNiro’s The Good Shepherd but with more heft, because Hoover was such an enormous figure. Instead I got an epic love story between Hoover and his #2, Clyde Tolson. Whereas a movie like Brokeback Mountain was able to craft an engaging film around their romance, one the filmmakers didn’t dance ... more >

Revolutionary Road

Harking back to duller times
Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and Christopher Fitzgerald
Directed by Sam Mendes

Shortly before his death in 1992, Richard Yates, the author of Revolutionary Road, bemoaned the fact that two of his wishes as a writer—fairly common among the breed—never came to pass: One, to have a book reviewed on the front page of the New York Times and two, have a short story published in the New Yorker.( A third wish usually out of reach for most writers is to have your creation make it to ... more >

Body of lies

Russell Crowe shines bright in this new thriller
Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe
Directed by Ridley Scott

Say this for Ridley Scott – he makes my job easy. His garishly inefficient directing style (Why do in two shots what you can do in five?) works as a cinematic canary in a coal mine. When a scene is successfully building tension (à la Blade Runner), it’s whistle while you work all the livelong day. Yet you’ll know the instant Tweety starts sucking gas a la American Gangster). Watching his new ... more >