David Edelstein http://wkar.org en In A Remarkable Feat, 'Boyhood' Makes Time Visible http://wkar.org/post/remarkable-feat-boyhood-makes-time-visible Transcript <p>TERRY GROSS, HOST: <p>This is FRESH AIR. Our film critic David Edelstein has a review of the new film "Boyhood." It was written and directed by Richard Linklater, who also made the movies, "Slacker," "Dazed And Confused," "School Of Rock," "The Before Sunrise" Trilogy and "Bernie." "Boyhood" covers a dozen years and was shot over a 12 year period. It stars Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and newcomer Ellar Coltrane as the boy we watch grow up.<p>DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: Boyhood isn't a documentary but it has a documentary hook. Fri, 11 Jul 2014 18:28:00 +0000 David Edelstein 56588 at http://wkar.org In Charming Film 'Begin Again,' Music Can Save A Life http://wkar.org/post/charming-film-begin-again-music-can-save-life Transcript <p>TERRY GROSS, HOST: <p>This is FRESH AIR. Director John Carney had a surprise hit with his low-budget musical "Once." And he returns to the musical arena - this time in New York and not Dublin - with his new movie "Begin Again." Keira Knightley plays a heartbroken singer-songwriter who teams up with a down and out drunken producer played by Mark Ruffalo. Thu, 03 Jul 2014 18:14:00 +0000 David Edelstein 56176 at http://wkar.org In The Mood For Apocalypse? Skip 'Transformers,' See 'Snowpiercer' http://wkar.org/post/mood-apocalypse-skip-transformers-see-snowpiercer Transcript <p>DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: <p>This is FRESH AIR. Opening today, in many theaters, is the fourth in Michael Bay's "Transformer" series, "Transformers 4: Age Of Extinction." It's inspired by the Hasbro toys that turn mostly cars and trucks into robots. Fri, 27 Jun 2014 15:58:00 +0000 David Edelstein 55893 at http://wkar.org 'Jersey Boys' And 'Venus In Fur' Are Just As Intense On Screen http://wkar.org/post/jersey-boys-and-venus-fur-are-just-intense-screen Transcript <p>DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: <p>This is FRESH AIR. Film critic, David Edelstein, reviews two movies based on shows he saw on Broadway - the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons musical, "Jersey Boys," directed for the screen by Clint Eastwood and the David Ives play "Venus In Fur," filmed by Roman Polanski.<p>DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: Many stage-to-film adaptations are either too stage-bound or to opened out, so they lose intensity. But octogenarian directors Clint Eastwood and Roman Polanski get the balance right - at very least, you appreciate the beauty of their sources. Fri, 20 Jun 2014 19:00:00 +0000 David Edelstein 55536 at http://wkar.org 'Obvious Child': A Momentous Film Of Small, Embarrassing Truths http://wkar.org/post/obvious-child-momentous-film-small-embarrassing-truths <em>Obvious Child </em>centers on Donna Stern, an aspiring standup comic in her late 20s who's out of her depth in the grown-up world. After getting smashed and having unprotected sex with a guy she barely knows, Donna discovers she's pregnant and decides to have an abortion. It shouldn't be a particularly earthshaking turn. Fri, 13 Jun 2014 18:58:00 +0000 David Edelstein 55173 at http://wkar.org 'Obvious Child': A Momentous Film Of Small, Embarrassing Truths Beautiful Acting Aside, It Isn't Hard To Find Fault In 'Our Stars' http://wkar.org/post/beautiful-acting-aside-it-isnt-hard-find-fault-our-stars I know people who cried at the <em>trailer</em> of the romantic teen cancer movie <em>The Fault in Our Stars — </em>at the <em>movie</em> they'll need a life preserver to keep from drowning in a flood of tears. Me, I didn't cry, though at times my tear ducts tingled; I was on the verge. The film is a little slick for my taste, too <em>engineered</em>. But it's gently directed by Josh Boone and beautifully acted. Fri, 06 Jun 2014 17:02:00 +0000 David Edelstein 54844 at http://wkar.org Beautiful Acting Aside, It Isn't Hard To Find Fault In 'Our Stars' 'Godzilla': A Fire-Breathing Behemoth Returns To The Big Screen http://wkar.org/post/godzilla-fire-breathing-behemoth-returns-big-screen Transcript <p>DAVIE DAVIES, HOST: <p>Since 1954, the fire-breathing behemoth Godzilla has had many incarnations. In the Japanese original he was a thinly disguised symbol of the atom bomb but in later films he would fight other giant monsters and even space aliens. In 1998 there was a poorly received American remake by Roland Emmerich. Now comes another American version at a time when the restored original is also in theaters and available on DVD.<p>The latest "Godzilla" is directed by Gareth Edwards with a cast that includes Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Bryan Cranston. Fri, 16 May 2014 16:04:00 +0000 David Edelstein 53798 at http://wkar.org 'God's Pocket' Is Horrifying, Humanist And Heartbreaking http://wkar.org/post/gods-pocket-horrifying-humanist-and-heartbreaking Transcript <p>DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: <p>Philip Seymour Hoffman, in one of his final film roles, stars as Mickey in "God's Pocket," the new movie directed by John Slattery. Slattery is famous for his role as Roger Sterling on TV's "Mad Men" and over the years has directed several episodes of that AMC series. He makes the transition to feature film directing with "God's Pocket" which he and Alex Metcalf adapted from the 1983 novel by Pete Dexter.<p>In addition to Philip Seymour Hoffman, "God's Pocket" features Richard Jenkins, John Turturro and Slattery's "Mad Men" costar Christina Hendricks. Fri, 09 May 2014 16:11:00 +0000 David Edelstein 53442 at http://wkar.org 'Ida': A Coming-Of-Age Story With An Eerie Luster http://wkar.org/post/ida-coming-age-story-eerie-luster Transcript <p>DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: <p>The Polish-born director Polish-born director Pawel Pawlikowski's is best known for the English-language movie "My Summer of Love," a lesbian coming-of-age film that was a breakthrough for actress Emily Blunt. His new film is called "Ida," spelled I-D-A and centers on an orphan who learns the secret of her past when she's on the brink of becoming a nun. Fri, 02 May 2014 16:04:00 +0000 David Edelstein 53098 at http://wkar.org Undead Hipsters And An Abstract Alien Star In Two Arty Horror Pics http://wkar.org/post/undead-hipsters-and-abstract-alien-star-two-arty-horror-pics Every so often a high-toned arthouse director dips a toe into the horror genre and the results are uplifting: You realize vampires and space aliens are subjects too rich to be the sole property of schlockmeisters. Fri, 18 Apr 2014 18:20:00 +0000 David Edelstein 52401 at http://wkar.org Undead Hipsters And An Abstract Alien Star In Two Arty Horror Pics In 'Noah,' Earth And The Bible Get A Computer-Generated Reboot http://wkar.org/post/noah-earth-and-bible-get-computer-generated-reboot Transcript <p>(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)<p>DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: <p>Darren Aronofsky had a surprise hit in 2010 with "Black Swan," which won an Oscar for its star, Natalie Portman. His latest film, "Noah," is a big budget Bible epic based on the story of Noah's Ark. Russell Crowe plays the title character, and the movie also features Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson.<p>Film critic David Edelstein has this review.<p>DAVID EDELSTEIN: Darren Aronofsky's biblical flood epic "Noah," generated controversy before anyone had laid eyes on the film. Fri, 28 Mar 2014 15:11:00 +0000 David Edelstein 51358 at http://wkar.org 'Nymphomaniac': Chasing Sex, But Only On Her Terms http://wkar.org/post/nymphomaniac-chasing-sex-only-her-terms Lars von Trier's latest provocation is an episodic sexual epic called <em>Nymphomaniac</em>, which comes in two two-hour parts, or "volumes," though it's basically one movie sliced in half. The thinking must have been, "Who wants four hours of hardcore sex and philosophizing?," and if you say, "Me, me!," I suggest seeing both back to back: It's an art-house orgy!<p>Should you see it at all? I recommend it guardedly. It's dumb, but in a bold, ambitious way movies mostly aren't these days, especially when there's sex in the equation. Fri, 21 Mar 2014 14:13:00 +0000 David Edelstein 51007 at http://wkar.org 'Nymphomaniac': Chasing Sex, But Only On Her Terms 'Grand Budapest Hotel': Kitsch, Cameos And A Gloriously Stylized Europe http://wkar.org/post/grand-budapest-hotel-kitsch-cameos-and-gloriously-stylized-europe Wes Anderson has his share of groupies and his somewhat smaller share of skeptics who find him a tad precious. As someone who leans toward the precious view, but is open to his grace notes, I found <em>The Grand Budapest Hotel</em> mostly delightful.<p>It's a madcap comedy, but with hints of tragedy lurking outside the usual Anderson dollhouse frames. The central character is Gustave H., played by Ralph Fiennes. He's the concierge of a kitschy, opulent, high-class European hotel between World Wars I and II.<p>But it takes a while to <em>get</em> to Gustave. Fri, 07 Mar 2014 21:02:00 +0000 David Edelstein 50342 at http://wkar.org 'Grand Budapest Hotel': Kitsch, Cameos And A Gloriously Stylized Europe Liam Neeson's Action Chops Take Flight In 'Non-Stop' http://wkar.org/post/liam-neesons-action-chops-take-flight-non-stop Transcript <p>DAVE DAVIES, HOST: <p>This is FRESH AIR. Liam Neeson became a bankable action hero in 2008 with the thriller "Taken." Now almost 62, he's still getting out of tight corners with his fists in the new action thriller "Non-Stop," most of which unfolds on a transatlantic flight from New York to London. The film also stars Julianne Moore and Michelle Dockery. Fri, 28 Feb 2014 18:24:00 +0000 David Edelstein 50038 at http://wkar.org 'Wind Rises' Is Exquisite, And Likely To Be Hayao Miyazaki's Last http://wkar.org/post/wind-rises-exquisite-and-likely-be-hayao-miyazakis-last The 73-year-old Japanese animation titan Hayao Miyazaki says <em>The Wind Rises</em> is his final film, and if that's true — and I hope it's not but fear it is, since he's not the type to make rash declarations — he's going out on a high.<p>The movie won't, I'm afraid, appeal to kids the way <em>Ponyo</em> or <em>Spirited Away</em> does. It's monster-, ghost- and mermaid-free. It centers on grown-ups and is gently paced — maybe 15 minutes too long, I'd say, but you can forgive those <em>longueurs</em> when the work is this exquisite. Fri, 21 Feb 2014 18:14:00 +0000 David Edelstein 49702 at http://wkar.org 'Wind Rises' Is Exquisite, And Likely To Be Hayao Miyazaki's Last Masterpieces In Peril, 'Monuments Men' Protects, But Also Panders http://wkar.org/post/masterpieces-peril-monuments-men-protects-also-panders George Clooney's <em>The</em> <em>Monuments Men</em> tells the largely true story of a squad of art experts who, near the end of World War II, are assigned to protect the masterworks of European society from Nazi theft and Allied bombardment. You'll notice those are two separate goals.<p>The first is to stop the flood of art from occupied countries to Germany. Fri, 07 Feb 2014 19:18:00 +0000 David Edelstein 49067 at http://wkar.org Masterpieces In Peril, 'Monuments Men' Protects, But Also Panders Middle-Aged And Divorced, 'Gloria' Takes On Life's Uncertainties http://wkar.org/post/middle-aged-and-divorced-gloria-takes-lifes-uncertainties Transcript <p>DAVE DAVIES, HOST: <p>This is FRESH AIR. "Gloria" is a new film from Chile that centers on a late-middle-aged divorced woman whose life is full of uncertainties. She's played by Paulina Garcia, who won the top acting prize - the Silver Bear - at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival, where the movie was a surprise hit. It opens this week in New York and Los Angeles, and wider next month. Film critic David Edelstein has this review.<p>DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: The Chilean drama "Gloria" is a lovely surprise. Paulina Garcia plays Gloria, 58 years old, middle class, 10 years divorced. Fri, 24 Jan 2014 15:31:00 +0000 David Edelstein 48389 at http://wkar.org Jack Ryan Gets A Makeover, And A Quick Trip To Moscow http://wkar.org/post/jack-ryan-gets-makeover-and-quick-trip-moscow A franchise is what we used to call a Burger King or a Shell station, but nowadays the word appears more often in relation to movies: the <em>Star Wars</em> franchise, the <em>Hunger Games</em> franchise, the Jack Ryan franchise — or in the case of <em>Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,</em> the Jack Ryan franchise reboot. I don't know what's more depressing: that what fires up studio execs is the hunt for a new franchise or that critics have adopted this business lingo uncritically.<p>Maybe a business reporter would be the best person to talk about <em>Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit</em>. Fri, 17 Jan 2014 16:59:00 +0000 David Edelstein 48104 at http://wkar.org Jack Ryan Gets A Makeover, And A Quick Trip To Moscow 'Invisible Woman' Charts Charles Dickens' Hidden Relationship http://wkar.org/post/invisible-woman-charts-charles-dickens-hidden-relationship Transcript <p>DAVE DAVIES, HOST: <p>This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross. The new film, "The Invisible Woman," charts the hidden relationship between Charles Dickens and a young actress for whom left his wife, but who for years never showed up in biographies of Dickens. It's the second film directed by Ralph Fiennes, who also plays Dickens and features Felicity Jones as the actress, Nelly Ternan.<p>Film critic David Edelstein has this review.<p>DAVID EDELSTEIN: The question at the heart of "The Invisible Woman" is whether a person who is kept a secret can be said to exist. Fri, 10 Jan 2014 18:59:00 +0000 David Edelstein 47818 at http://wkar.org A Man And His Machine, Finding Out What Love Is http://wkar.org/post/man-and-his-machine-finding-out-what-love <em>Her</em> is the best film of the year by a so-wide margin. Fri, 20 Dec 2013 17:15:00 +0000 David Edelstein 46987 at http://wkar.org A Man And His Machine, Finding Out What Love Is A 'Hustle' With Flow (And Plenty Of Flair) http://wkar.org/post/hustle-flow-and-plenty-flair David O. Russell hovers at the top of my list of favorite directors. He captures the messy collision of self-interests that for him defines America. In <em>American Hustle,</em> he whips up a black comedy based on Abscam, the late-'70s FBI sting that centered on a bogus sheik and led to the bribery convictions of sundry U.S. politicians. Fri, 13 Dec 2013 17:34:00 +0000 David Edelstein 46644 at http://wkar.org A 'Hustle' With Flow (And Plenty Of Flair) Great Soundtrack Aside, 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Hits A Sour Note http://wkar.org/post/great-soundtrack-aside-inside-llewyn-davis-hits-sour-note The films of Joel and Ethan Coen pose a challenge: How do we reconcile their wildly disparate tones? Consider <em>O Brother, Where Art Thou?</em>, a burlesque of Homer's <em>Odyssey</em> centering on three stumblebums — but with a soundtrack assembled by T Bone Burnett of heartfelt historical gospel and country music. Ditto <em>The Ladykillers</em>: venal idiot characters, soaring African-American spirituals. The ridiculous and the sublime sit side by side, with no spillover.<p>Now comes <em>Inside Llewyn Davis</em>. Fri, 06 Dec 2013 18:34:00 +0000 David Edelstein 46313 at http://wkar.org Great Soundtrack Aside, 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Hits A Sour Note A Korean Cult Thriller Gets A Spike Lee Makeover http://wkar.org/post/korean-cult-thriller-gets-spike-lee-makeover Spike Lee's movies typically carry the label "A Spike Lee Joint," but <em>Oldboy</em> doesn't. He calls it "a Spike Lee Film," which my guess is Lee's way of saying he's a gun for hire — and that after a line of box office failures and difficulty getting financing for personal projects, he can make a fast, violent action thriller.<p>And as it happens, he can — a more-than-decent one. But this is also the first time I've come out of a Spike Lee film, bad or good, and not known why it had to be made. Fri, 29 Nov 2013 12:03:00 +0000 David Edelstein 45972 at http://wkar.org A Korean Cult Thriller Gets A Spike Lee Makeover Across 'Nebraska,' On A Journey That Goes Beyond The Trip http://wkar.org/post/across-nebraska-journey-goes-beyond-trip Last month, I saw the trailer for Alexander Payne's <em>Nebraska,</em> and only the fact that it was a Payne film made me want to see it.<p>The premise seemed a dead end: Bruce Dern plays an elderly man named Woody Grant living in Billings, Mont., who gets a letter saying he's won $1 million. All he needs to do is call a number and maybe buy a magazine subscription.<p>Instead of laughing it off, Woody insists on traveling hundreds of miles to company headquarters in Lincoln, Neb., for his fortune — walking if need be. I doubt Payne had much to do with that trailer, but it's awful. Fri, 15 Nov 2013 19:57:00 +0000 David Edelstein 45381 at http://wkar.org Across 'Nebraska,' On A Journey That Goes Beyond The Trip In Emotionally Charged 'Blue,' Sex Is Graphic, But Not Gratuitous http://wkar.org/post/emotionally-charged-blue-sex-graphic-not-gratuitous <em>Blue Is the Warmest Color</em> is a lesbian coming-of-age movie, and its long and graphic sex scenes have already generated controversy. The director, Abdellatif Kechiche, is a man, and at least one prominent female critic has accused him of leading with his own libido — a charge that I vigorously dispute, but of course I'm a man so take that as you will. Here's what I saw: a film that captures the intensity of sexual discovery — and dependency — in a way I've never seen. It's 179 minutes, every one of them charged. Fri, 25 Oct 2013 16:22:00 +0000 David Edelstein 44329 at http://wkar.org In Emotionally Charged 'Blue,' Sex Is Graphic, But Not Gratuitous At Home At Sea: Robert Redford, At His Best Alone http://wkar.org/post/home-sea-robert-redford-his-best-alone As I watched Robert Redford acting all by himself in the superlative survival-at-sea movie <em>All Is Lost,</em> I suddenly realized why the setup feels so perfect: Redford is most in his element when he's alone.<p>His strength — and it seemed huge when he started in the late '50s and '60s — has always been his ability to convey thought on-screen. But he has never been much of an <em>inter</em>-acter, which is one reason his Jay Gatsby in the 1974 <em>The</em> <em>Great Gatsby</em> adaptation was a nonstarter. Fri, 18 Oct 2013 15:50:00 +0000 David Edelstein 43979 at http://wkar.org At Home At Sea: Robert Redford, At His Best Alone A Pirate Saga More Sobering Than Swashbuckling http://wkar.org/post/pirate-saga-more-sobering-swashbuckling Most kidnapping melodramas have final scenes — after their climaxes — that are, effectively, throwaways. There are sighs of relief, tearful reunions with families, cameras that dolly back on domestic tableaux to suggest the world has at last been righted.<p>I think it's telling that in <em>Captain Phillips</em> the most overwhelming scene is after the resolution, in the infirmary of a ship. So much terror and moral confusion has gone down — so much pain — that the cumulative tension can't be resolved by violence. Fri, 11 Oct 2013 16:11:00 +0000 David Edelstein 43656 at http://wkar.org A Pirate Saga More Sobering Than Swashbuckling Houston, We Have A Space Flick: A Sentimental Mission In Zero 'Gravity' http://wkar.org/post/houston-we-have-space-flick-sentimental-mission-zero-gravity In a season in which we're all talking about AMC's phenomenal <em>Breaking Bad</em> and Netflix's elating <em>Orange Is the New Black,</em> Hollywood needs you, your kids and everyone in Europe and China to get out from behind those TV monitors and into theaters. Movie studios are falling behind on compelling narratives. Fri, 04 Oct 2013 17:58:00 +0000 David Edelstein 43325 at http://wkar.org Houston, We Have A Space Flick: A Sentimental Mission In Zero 'Gravity' Gordon-Levitt's 'Don Jon' Is An Openhearted Directorial Debut http://wkar.org/post/gordon-levitts-don-jon-openhearted-directorial-debut In phe last decade, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has worked hard to establish himself as a serious actor, and he's been so successful it's easy to forget he came of age in the '90s sitcom <em>3rd Rock from the Sun</em>. The guy has comedy chops, and he's exercising them again in a smart new movie he wrote and directed called <em>Don Jon</em>.<p>In it, he plays a prolific seducer named Jon Martello; "Don Jon" is the nickname his pals gave him in the movie's obvious nod to Dons Juan and Giovanni. Those literary namesakes end up in hell, but for this Jon the hell is during sex. Fri, 27 Sep 2013 16:16:00 +0000 David Edelstein 42982 at http://wkar.org Gordon-Levitt's 'Don Jon' Is An Openhearted Directorial Debut Gandolfini Is So Vivid In 'Enough Said,' You Forget He's Gone http://wkar.org/post/gandolfini-so-vivid-enough-said-you-forget-hes-gone Nicole Holofcener's <em>Enough Said</em> is her most conventional comedy since her 1996 debut, <em>Walking and Talking</em>. I don't love it as much as her scattershot ensemble movies <em>Friends With Money</em> and <em>Please Give</em>, but it has enough weird dissonances and hilarious little curlicues to remind you her voice is like no other. I love it enough.<p>The film centers on a divorced masseuse named Eva, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who starts to fall for Albert, the overweight curator of a Los Angeles vintage TV show museum. I'm not being rude calling him overweight. Fri, 20 Sep 2013 17:42:00 +0000 David Edelstein 42622 at http://wkar.org Gandolfini Is So Vivid In 'Enough Said,' You Forget He's Gone