Starring: James Stewart, Josephine Hull, Peggy Dow, Charles Drake, Cecil Kellaway


In Brief: Mary Chase's play Harvey won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for drama, which speaks volumes about the value of a Pulitzer Prize. It is whimsy in its most virulent form — you know, the kind where we are told that crazy people are saner, nicer and better than the rest of us. The formula…
The-Best-Exotic-Marigold-Hotel-2 (3)
Starring: Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Ronald Pickup, Celia Imrie, Richard Gere, David Strathairn

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Story: Further events with the residents and operators of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The Lowdown: It's not up to the original and probably doesn't need to exist at all, but this follow-up is certainly a fine way to spend a couple of hours with our old friends from the first movie.
Starring: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh, Mozhan Marnò, Dominic Rains

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

The Story: A lone female vampire prowls the nearly deserted streets of Bad City, Iran. The Lowdown: Fascinating, moody, deliberately paced, often compelling — and very odd — take on the vampire genre mixed with the art film. It's also flawed in some serious ways, but on balance, it's certainly worth a look. It's also…
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver


The Story: An experimental robot that can think falls into the hands of some low-rent gangsters. The Lowdown: No, it's not the outright abomination some are claiming, but Neill Blomkamp's latest is still a noisy, ugly, barely coherent mess.
Starring: Charles Winninger, Arleen Whelan, John Russell, Stepin Fetchit, Russell Simpson, Ludwig Stössel, Dorothy Jordan

The Sun Shines Bright

In Brief:  By his own admission, The Sun Shines Bright was John Ford's favorite of his films. While I'm always a little skeptical of artists judging their own work — and how long they may or may not have felt that way — I'm inclined to accept his word in this case. The film is so much…
Starring: Jessica Harper, Joan Bennett, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Barbara Magnolfi, Udo Kier


In Brief: People have been asking for this for years — and here it is. I'm in the hit-or-miss column with Argento. I like his early thrillers, and I'm amused by Phenomena and Opera, but I have issues with a lot of his work, including Suspiria. It's the only Argento film I saw on its original release in a…
Starring: Joseph Cotten, Valli, Orson Welles, Trevor Howard, Bernard Lee

The Third Man

In Brief: Carol Reed’s The Third Man (1949) is about as close to a perfect film as you’re likely to get. It’s that rarest of movies in that it’s a filmmaker favorite (I’ve yet to meet the director who didn’t treasure it), a film buff’s delight and immediately accessible to the more casual moviegoer all…
Starring: Jermaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stuart Rutherford

What We Do in the Shadows

The Story: The film invites you — and a never seen documentary crew — to spend some time with a houseful of old-school vampires who are trying to be modern. The Lowdown: Surprisingly fresh and funny — despite its dubious mockumentary approach — and blessed with appealingly goofy characters and even a few bona fide…
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Robert Downey Jr., Catherine Keener, Tom Hollander, Nelsan Ellis

The Soloist

In Brief: The Soloist is not a bad movie, but the best that can be said of it is that it qualifies as an honorable failure. Everything about The Soloist screams quality production — highly rated director Joe Wright, even more highly rated stars Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. and a message-heavy “true-life” story. What more could…
Starring: Fredric March, Gary Cooper, Miriam Hopkins, Edward Everett Horton, Franklin Pangborn

Design for Living

"Immorality may be fun, but it isn’t fun enough to take the place of 100-percent virtue and three square meals a day,” opines Max Plunkett (Edward Everett Horton) on more than one occasion in Ernst Lubitsch’s Design for Living. The film then goes out of its way to prove him wrong, which might seem a…
Starring: Max Adrian, Christopher Gable, Maureen Pryor, David Collings

Song of Summer

In Brief: For years, Ken Russell cited Song of Summer (1968) as his favorite of his films. That’s understandable — and I wouldn’t say it was wrong (to the degree that a favorite can even be wrong) — but I would caution against taking his word on any given film as etched in stone, because…
Starring: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles, Boris Karloff, Edward Van Sloan, Dwight Frye


In Brief: James Whale’s Frankenstein  was only the second entry in the first wave of cinematic horror, but it’s also what can be called the first modern horror picture. By that I mean that the film is unapologetic about its horror content. There is none of the reticence of Tod Browning’s Dracula (1931) here. Frankenstein is a film that…
Starring: Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Bianca A. Santos, Skyler Samuels, Ken Jeong, Allison Janney


The Story: When a girl finds out she's a DUFF (designated ugly fat friend), she sets out to change her life. The Lowdown: Likable enough high school rom-com can't overcome the been-there-done-that predictability of its story. Still, it's painless and pleasant.
Starring: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Evan Bird, Olivia Williams, Robert Pattinson, Sarah Gadon

Maps to the Stars

The Story: The lives of a supremely dysfunctional group of Hollywoodites intersect with tragically inevitable consequences. The Lowdown: Part Hollywood satire, part dark melodrama, all fascinating David Cronenberg film. Some will love it, others will absolutely hate it.
Starring: Lowell Thomas, Paul Mantz

Seven Wonders of the World

In Brief: It really isn't possible to review one of these Cinerama showpiece movies. They exist — apart from making a few bucks — solely to wow the viewer with the Cinerama process. To honestly assess them on that basis, you'd have to see them in a Cinerama theater on a Cinerama screen with the…
Starring: Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Danny Glover, Seymour Cassel, Kumar Pallana

The Royal Tenenbaums

In Brief: When I say that Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) is probably my least favorite of his films — exempting Bottle Rocket (1996) — understand that I'm talking in terms of relative superlatives. It was my introduction to Anderson — which might better be called my full-immersion baptism. This was back in the…
invisible invaders
Starring: John Agar, Jean Byron, Philip Tonge, Robert Hutton, John Carradine

Invisible Invaders

In Brief: Perched somewhere on the border between Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) and George Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968) is Edward L. Cahn's Invisible Invaders (1959). Its plot concerns aliens invading the Earth by occupying the bodies of the recently dead — just like Plan 9, which went into general release afterwards but was made…
mr turner
Starring: Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson, Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Bailey, Lesley Manville, Ruth Sheen

Mr. Turner

The Story: A film on the last 25 years of the British landscape painter J.M.W. Turner. The Lowdown: This is nothing short of a masterpiece with a central performance of immense, if hard to penetrate, power from Timothy Spall. But be warned, it's a prickly, difficult film that lacks much in the way of a…