crime

Life of Crime

October 4, 2014
Jennifer Aniston in 'Life of Crime' (2013)

Comparisons may be odious, but they can hardly be avoided when it comes to Daniel Schechter’s Life of Crime and David O. Russell’s hit of last year, American Hustle. Both are slick crime-comedies set in a detail-perfect reconstruction of 1970s America – an ere that now looks as if it were designed specifically for comic … More


Italian Film Festival 2014 & Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

September 20, 2014
Eva Green in Sin City: A Dame to Kill for (2014)

Masterpieces are by definition rare, and from what I’ve seen so far, this year’s Lavazza Italian Film Festival has nothing to match Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, which launched last year’s festivities. Aside from that significant absence the mix of films is remarkably similar. Last year we saw Mr. Volare, a feel-good bio-pic of the … More


Deliver Us From Evil

August 2, 2014
Eric Bana in Deliver Us From Evil (2014)

Scott Derrickson, director of Deliver Us From Evil is obviously a film buff, as there is barely a scene in his hybrid horror/cop movie that won’t remind cinema-literate viewers of another scene in another film. The primary reference in this anthology of every fear and fancy that has taken up residence in the American psyche, … More


The Keeper of Lost Causes

August 2, 2014
Nikolaj Lie Kaas in The Keeper of Lost Causes (2013)

An art critic of my acquaintance once boasted he had never read a detective novel. This claim was intended to make him seem an intellectual, but it only showed the narrowness of his mind. When writers such as André Gide and Francois Mauriac wrote admiringly of the detective stories of Georges Simenon, we can see … More


Two Faces of January

June 28, 2014
Viggo Mortensen in 'The Two Faces of January' (2014)

Some authors do not lend themselves to a cinematic adaptation, others write books that run through the reader’s mind like images on a screen. In the former category think of those tortuous psychologists of the Zeitgeist such as Proust, Mann and Musil. In the latter, close to the top of the list, stands Patricia Highsmith … More


The Rover

June 21, 2014
Guy Pearce in 'The Rover' (2014)

After the success of his debut feature, Animal Kingdom (2010), David Michod should have been in a position to make any film he liked. One imagines promising scripts and stories piled high on his desk; offers and ideas arriving by post, phone and email. Or maybe not. The movie industry seems glamorous to outsiders but … More


RoboCop

February 22, 2014
Joel Kinnaman in 'RoboCop' 2014

RoboCop redux generates seriously diminished expectations. How could one expect anything but a travesty of Paul Verhoeven’s original RoboCop of 1987? The big budget remake of Verhoeven’s Total Recall was possibly the most execrable Hollywood production of 2012, so one could only brace for the worst. It is with relief and surprise that I can … More


The Wolf of Wall Street

January 25, 2014
Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Wolf of Wall Street' 2013

With most films if we can’t find any sympathy for the lead characters it’s a bad night at the cinema. The Wolf of Wall Street is the exception to the rule. A three-hour roller coaster ride that keeps us clinging to the handrail from start to finish, this orgiastic vision of greed and excess on … More


American Hustle

December 14, 2013
Christian Bale in 'American Hustle' 2013

There’s something irresistible in a wellmade film about con artists, who are invariably portrayed in a sympathetic light. Perhaps there’s not much difference between them, actors and directors. Filmmakers set out to con the viewer by creating an illusion, setting false trails and expectations. We, in turn, are happy to be conned. There are plenty … More


The Counselor

November 9, 2013
cameron_diaz_counselor

In a hotel room in El Paso, two anonymous bodies are entwined beneath the sheets. We listen to their conversation for minutes before we lay eyes on Michael Fassbender and Penélope Cruz, playing the Counselor and his girlfriend, Laura. Having just seen a big René Magritte exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, … More