Recent Film Articles

Film Review: Particle Fever

A stunning new documentary chronicles the search for the Higgs Boson Particle

We don't glamorize physics. Whether theoretical or experimental, there's very little recognition of the incredible, fascinating work that those dedicated to either side of the physics coin devote their lives to. As we maneuver through our day-to-day routine -- watching TV, clocking in at the office, wondering if we should have that second donut -- physicists are busy unraveling the complex mysteries surrounding the foundations and building blocks which construct the universe we live in. It may not be perceived ... [Read]

Oscar's Glamorous Night

The DC Center's Glamour, Glitter & Gold Oscar-watch party teams up with talent

''It's not your regular old Oscar party,'' Michael Fowler says of Glamour, Glitter & Gold. ''It's The DC Center's Oscar party – but on hyper-drive.'' The ''hyper'' speed, it turns out, comes courtesy of local drag act Team Peaches. ''It's going to be the first year that we actually have a live performance,'' says Fowler, new chair of the board of directors for The DC Center, Washington's LGBT community center. ''The Team Peaches performance during the show is going to ... [Read]

All About the Money

''American Hustle'' and ''Wolf of Wall Street'' both pair great directors and Oscar-worthy acting with captivating stories of greed and grit

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 suckers from the schemers. Is the mafia getting conned? The feds? The crooked politicians? Or, maybe, does Russell pull a fast one on us? I say it's all of the above. This is a movie about American dreams, greased with egoism and fraud and deception. It's not the characters or the story, either. The ... [Read]

The Best and Worst Films of 2013

Our film critic Chris Heller picks his 10 favorite movies of the year, saving room at the end for 5 lousy desserts

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 Steel and The Great Gatsby -- while theaters were positively stuffed with great movies once autumn began. It's not unusual to see the year's best during awards season, of course, but 2013 has been backlogged like no other. What follows are my favorites from a lopsided, yet still excellent, year in film. The Best 1. ... [Read]

Folk Zero

The new Coen Brothers comedy takes a folk-troubadour loser and flings every possible obstacle in his way

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 theme of his life is failure. He's a loser. He cannot escape that fate. Inside Llewyn Davis reminds him of this -- again and again and again -- as Llewyn treks across New York City, out to Chicago, and hitches back East, only to find himself in the exact same place where he began. It's ... [Read]

Overblown

''The Desolation of Smaug'' bombards conflict on top of conflict, substituting sincerity with spectacle

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 of riches, all the more to remind the world of his irrefutable supremacy. He boasts at length about his own greatness. He's smitten by his own triumphs. This monster is Peter Jackson, and he is worse than any dragon that ever roamed Middle Earth. The Desolation of Smaug is an oppressive, never-ending sort of punishment ... [Read]

Family Misfortunes

Rust Belt violence or Irish orphans, take your pick of the season's familial woes with ''Out of the Furnace'' and ''Philomena''

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. A flat story propped up by superficial metaphor. The persistent suggestion that place can instill purpose. These are the fatal flaws in many a drama, and now, they've become essential components of the Gritty Blue-Collar Drama. You know the movie. Something something, family matters, blah blah, small-time crooks in over their heads, on and on ... [Read]

Hungering for More

Subtext is the real star of Fire, though it's too often lost in the spectacle or weighed down by romance

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 without its suffocating gloom? Try to imagine the Harry Potter series without magical whimsy -- or the darker threats each chapter adopted as it matured. You can't. One is inseparable from the other. The mood becomes the movie, refracting everything through itself. A good franchise film needs a temperament that complements and enhances its story. ... [Read]

Survival Instinct

Commerce meets compassion in ''Dallas Buyers Club,'' the story of one man's fight to stay alive and make a profit

The American dream, more than whatever else, is a longing for health and wealth. We want to live and make good livings. So, naturally, the people who embody those basic ambitions fascinate us. The beautiful actors. The savvy business leaders. The impossible athletes. Anybody named ''Kennedy.'' If you're lively and flush with cash, you're almost certainly an object of affection to somebody in America. Ron Woodruff was not like those people. Dallas Buyers Club, a fictionalized recount of Woodruff's life ... [Read]

Hope Floats

Whether battling the elements or injustice, autumn delivers two stunning portrayals of humanity

When you sit in a movie theater, you sit inside a contradiction. The theater creates a wall between your mind and body -- the lights dim, the projector flickers on, and you're expected to sit quietly and watch a story. I can think of no other place in the world that makes a person feel so lonely and such a part of a whole at the same time. All Is Lost amplifies this effect in a way few movies ever ... [Read]

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