Authors

Lessons of Darkness

Rating Title | Year Quote Author
1 93%

Looper (2012)

"A scintillating neo-noir gem of existential quandaries and inescapable fatalism."

Posted Sep 30, 2012

Nick Schager

2 85%

The Master (2012)

"At once explosive and ramshackle, unpredictable and expertly modulated, it's a magnetic performance [by Phoenix]."

Posted Sep 13, 2012

Nick Schager

3 86%

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

"Subpar material gets a tonal and aesthetic - and, by extension, thematic - boost from directorial virtuosity in David Fincher's American remake."

Posted Dec 13, 2011

Nick Schager

4 83%

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

"Bolstered by a superb cast and ... a very subtle, sly black-humor drollness, Tinker Tailor generates tension from both its aesthetic and narrative stillness."

Posted Dec 12, 2011

Nick Schager

5 75%

The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

"Spielberg takes full advantage of not only CG's anything-goes potential but also of 3D."

Posted Dec 12, 2011

Nick Schager

6 89%

The Descendants (2011)

"Wants to be mature but can't help shortchanging its drama through constant reliance on its protagonist's unimpeachable nobility."

Posted Dec 12, 2011

Nick Schager

7 71%

Carnage (2011)

"Offsets its familiar thematic arguments with deliciously nasty wit and fractured, tension-wracked visual framing."

Posted Oct 1, 2011

Nick Schager

8 92%

Take Shelter (2011)

"Nichols' formally assured direction exhibits dawning-dread restraint through slow zooms and tense framing."

Posted Sep 30, 2011

Nick Schager

9 94%

Moneyball (2011)

"Recognizes that sometimes, happily-ever-afters are more complicated than uplifting Hollywood films can manage."

Posted Sep 30, 2011

Nick Schager

10 82%

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

"A reasonably muscular popcorn film with a surprisingly tender soul."

Posted Sep 12, 2011

Nick Schager

11 28%

Take Me Home Tonight (2011)

"Pap in service of wistfulness about a time period now thoroughly mocked to death."

Posted Sep 12, 2011

Nick Schager

12 93%

Drive (2011)

"[Refn's] stewardship is as precise and magnetic as Gosling's performance."

Posted Sep 12, 2011

Nick Schager

13 45%

3 (2011)

"Rarely gets deep enough under [its characters'] skin to make them seem like more than devices in a socio-political thesis."

Posted Sep 12, 2011

Nick Schager

14 84%

Contagion (2011)

"A portrait of the terrifying fragility of the tangled biological, social and emotional networks that govern our lives."

Posted Sep 12, 2011

Nick Schager

15 67%

Our Idiot Brother (2011)

"A pleasant-enough trifle that ensnares itself in the uneasy middle ground between indie drama and dumb-guy comedy."

Posted Sep 12, 2011

Nick Schager

16 90%

Attack the Block (2011)

"Evokes far more childlike Spielbergian wonder than this summer's similar Super 8."

Posted Jul 26, 2011

Nick Schager

17 91%

Tabloid (2011)

"Morris' lightest, most amusing film since 1997's Fast, Cheap & Out of Control."

Posted Jul 12, 2011

Nick Schager

18 36%

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

"So totally surpassing its aggro-testosterone dictates that it plays out like an assault or, more precisely still, like a final conquering salvo."

Posted Jun 30, 2011

Nick Schager

19 32%

The Ward (2011)

"A musty shadow of the filmmaker's smart and stylish classics."

Posted Jun 28, 2011

Nick Schager

20 85%

Cedar Rapids (2011)

"Hopelessly benign but still boisterous enough to deliver a mild buzz."

Posted Jun 28, 2011

Nick Schager

21 26%

Green Lantern (2011)

"A tedious hodgepodge of rote conflicts and character hang-ups."

Posted Jun 24, 2011

Nick Schager

22 86%

Submarine (2011)

"Oliver's oddball earnestness and desperation [come] across as wan affectations."

Posted Jun 24, 2011

Nick Schager

23 10%

Red Riding Hood (2011)

"What truly needs abolishing is the notion that the wretched Twilight saga is worth emulating."

Posted Jun 24, 2011

Nick Schager

24 85%

Donnie Darko (2001)

"Defines itself through sustained mood, otherworldly intrigue and deep, abiding humanism."

Posted Jun 20, 2011

Nick Schager

25 34%

Hall Pass (2011)

"Wilson and Sudeikis make an amusingly goofy pair."

Posted Jun 19, 2011

Nick Schager

26 94%

Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

"Captures an aura of existential despondence that's married to a far less evocative (and durable) strain of counterculture romantic doom."

Posted Jun 19, 2011

Nick Schager

27 59%

Kaboom (2011)

"Isn't anarchic and invigorated but sloppy and limp."

Posted Jun 16, 2011

Nick Schager

28 58%

Fear X (2003)

"The director captures a sense of hazy, harrowing obsession that's amplified by his immaculate camera set-ups and pans."

Posted Jun 15, 2011

Nick Schager

29 45%

Drive Angry (2011)

"A rather straightforward supernatural-heroism tale straining oh-so-very-hard to be indecent. "

Posted Jun 15, 2011

Nick Schager

30 92%

Pusher III: I Am The Angel of Death (2005)

"Expands [the trilogy's] overarching vision of underworld nastiness, the universal yearning for escape, and the cruel hand of fate."

Posted Jun 9, 2011

Nick Schager

31 100%

Pusher II: With Blood on My Hands (2004)

"Doesn't so much carve out new ground as merely provide jolt after electric jolt."

Posted Jun 9, 2011

Nick Schager

32 81%

Pusher (1999)

"Refn's electrifying debut soon morphs into something far more opaque and unsettling than a mere genre retread."

Posted Jun 9, 2011

Nick Schager

33 No Score Yet

Home Movie (2008)

"Its characters' behavior eventually becomes so implausible as to be insulting."

Posted Jun 9, 2011

Nick Schager

34 100%

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)

"Laced with a fatalism as romantic as its Beantown milieu is damp and grungy."

Posted Jun 8, 2011

Nick Schager

35 93%

Bigger Than Life (1956) (1956)

"A masterful melodrama whose aesthetic beauty works in service of a stinging social critique."

Posted Jun 8, 2011

Nick Schager

36 28%

Takers (2010)

"A mini-Michael Mann effort populated by one-dimensional clichés."

Posted Jun 8, 2011

Nick Schager

37 81%

The Holy Mountain (1973)

"A rambling stream-of-consciousness quest that - in its final, self-conscious act - celebrates the primacy of the filmed image."

Posted Jun 8, 2011

Nick Schager

38 87%

X-Men: First Class (2011)

"Serviceable but seems more dutiful than dynamic, and is muddled by all sorts of random false notes."

Posted Jun 6, 2011

Nick Schager

39 76%

El Topo (1970)

"Has lost little of the maddening, bewildering weirdness that made it a seminal midnight-movie phenomenon."

Posted Jun 5, 2011

Nick Schager

40 21%

The Rite (2011)

"Parades about with a self-seriousness at odds with a second-half dominated by veiny-faced, limb-contorting special effects and screaming, screaming, screaming."

Posted Jun 5, 2011

Nick Schager

41 36%

Vampires (1998)

"A suspense-free snark-fest desperate to turn its protagonist - vampire slayer Jack Crow (James Woods) - into a Snake Plisskin-style icon of supernatural-badass cool."

Posted Jun 5, 2011

Nick Schager

42 61%

The Rocketeer (1991)

"Almost never takes thrilling flight. "

Posted Jun 1, 2011

Nick Schager

43 63%

Carriers (2009)

"Brings absolutely nothing new to the table."

Posted Jun 1, 2011

Nick Schager

44 43%

The Green Hornet (2011)

"Aside from a brief split-screen sequence and a few deft special-effects, there's almost no sizzle to this goofy take on superheroics."

Posted Jun 1, 2011

Nick Schager

45 79%

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

"A feast for the senses that fails to satisfy the heart, libido or mind."

Posted Jun 1, 2011

Nick Schager

46 71%

Valhalla Rising (2010)

"Mikkelsen verifies that, even without saying a word, he's an unnervingly unhinged presence."

Posted May 31, 2011

Nick Schager

47 72%

Hanna (2011)

"Folklore undercurrents that prove initially spry and intriguing are soon rendered ... leadenly obvious."

Posted May 31, 2011

Nick Schager

48 36%

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

"A perfunctory and unintentionally goofy attempt to keep the series running without its stars Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. "

Posted May 31, 2011

Nick Schager

49 46%

Hoodwinked (2005)

"Somnambulistic from start to finish, it's a film whose title clearly refers to its paying-customer audience."

Posted May 31, 2011

Nick Schager