All posts by Chris Heller

  • All About the Money

    American Hustle is of and about bullshit. Director David O. Russell soaks in it, drenching his movie with scams so shrewd it's tough to tell...

  • The Best and Worst Films of 2013

    This was a strange, strange year for movies. Every big summer release fell short of expectations -- I'm looking at you Pacific Rim, Man of...

  • Folk Zero

    Like all of the best characters invented by Joel and Ethan Coen, Llewyn Davis is a loser. He's hugely talented, terribly haunted, and the persistent...

  • Overblown

    The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is about an egomaniacal monster, hell-bent on hoarding his treasures above all else. He surrounds himself with a mountain...

  • Family Misfortunes

    There's a menace poisoning the modern Hollywood drama. It's wearing an unfamiliar face, but the symptoms are easily identified. The lazy use of narrative cliché....

  • Hungering for More

    The mood of a franchise film matters. Consider the effect it can have on character, story and purpose. What would Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy be...

  • Hope Floats

    When you sit in a movie theater, you sit inside a contradiction. The theater creates a wall between your mind and body -- the lights...

  • Falling for ''Gravity''

    The heavens are silent. It's a matter of science. There's no air pressure in a vacuum, so in space, there's no sound. That's why we...

  • Fast Track

    There's no such thing as an unpredictable sports movie. Once in a while, a surprising one might pop up, but the rhythms of the story...

  • Films for Fall 2013: Blockbuster Movies and Documentaries

    Our long summer nightmare of terrible movies is over. For the rest of the year, we'll no longer slog through the bloated dregs of Hollywood....

  • August's Amazing Arrivals

    Edgar Wright has done the improbable with The World's End. His latest comedic homage is bigger, bolder and battier than Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz -- and at...

  • Whitaker and Winfrey Make Magic

    The Butler is modern American melodrama at its finest. A stirring fictionalization of the life of a White House butler, its inspiring tale masks a...

  • Orbiting Aristocrats

    If I never see another human body explode, it'll be too soon -- and it's all Neill Blomkamp's fault. The South African filmmaker made his...

  • ''To Do List'' Scores

    The To Do List isn't perfect. It moves in fits and starts, slipping in and out of rhythm in clumsy, amateurish ways. It's wildly enthusiastic,...

  • Station Master

    On the morning of Jan. 1, 2009, Oscar Grant was shot in the back by a police officer. He was neither armed nor dangerous. He...

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