Nick's Flick Picks
The Upside of Anger (2005)
Within Our Gates (1920)
"For an audience that takes pleasure in the all-too-rare art of faithful adaptations that vivify rather than embalming their sources [...] Asquith's conservative handling is just what the confirmed and secret Bunburyist ordered."
The Laramie Project (2002)
"The Laramie Project is not really about Matthew Shepard but about this question of identification with Matthew, and of identification with the larger community of Laramie that admitted, sustained, eliminated, grieved, and civilly avenged Matthew."
The Actress (1953)
"Sadly, if she was guilty of trying too hard or of trying in the wrong way, Cukor appears totally and uncharacteristically checked out... The Actress exposes the kinds of fraying seams that Cukor was usually so careful to conceal even in tattier projects."
Rumble Fish (1983)
"Tim comes close to reproducing the plot of Doubt, in negative-space fashion. That is, for this go-round, we spend all our time with the uncomprehending kid (if he is uncomprehending?) and his teacher-nurturer-desirer."
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
The Fountainhead (1949)
"So much goes right in this film version, all without sparking a corresponding bump in my enthusiasm, that it's all the more obvious that I find some foundations of this text perennially problematic."
""There was no real Peter Sellers"... As a theme, it smells of the tired cop-out, somewhere in the same clubhouse of desiccated phrases as "I love you, but I'm not in love with you" and "In a crazy world, only the mad people are sane.""
The Emperor's Candlesticks (1937)
"In Rainer's case, The Emperor's Candlesticks seems unusually revealing, doffing the dropcloth from exactly the sort of peculiar, temporarily arresting artifact she was, guaranteed to inspire buyer's remorse."
Twelfth Night (1998)
"I started watching the film by thinking, "They should film more of the comedies," and probably They still should, but I ended by thinking, "They really ought to hire movie directors to make movies.""
Heroes for Sale (1933)
"A Pre-Code Battle in Seattle... Heroes for Sale is not a perfect film, and not particularly interested in perfection, but really and truly, pretend this isn't a cliché: they don't make 'em like this anymore."
The Little Drummer Girl (1984)
"Stark criticisms are unavoidable, even as I'm forced to admit that the film is one of those wrongly-assembled movies that is built on such an unusual Hollywood premise...that it eventually becomes halfway fascinating."
The Glass Menagerie (1950)
sleep furiously. (2011)
"A certain polite withholding, even if it masks some firm conviction or desire, seems to be a coin of the realm in Trefeurig, so it may well be apt that Koppel often films in a register very close to this one."
"Merging straight Biblical storytelling with modern gimmicks, Amos Gitai half-succeeds at both... Even when he stutters or flaunts his affectations, you cannot write him off as having nothing to say."
Opera do Malandro (1986)
"Ópera do Malandro is way more Love's Labour's Lost than Moulin Rouge!, both in formal execution and in its awkward orientation to World War II. The film means to be ersatz but perhaps not this much."
Max My Love (Max Mon Amour) (1996)
She's Gotta Have It (1986)
"Light, scrappy entertainment that flatters everything funky and fresh about Lee, tempting you to forgive what is stunted or abrasive in the film. A major swaying element is his own on-screen persona."
The Sacrifice (1986)
Ménage (Tenue de Soirée) (1986)
After Hours (1985)
Mona Lisa (1986)
Fool for Love (1985)
"The basic friction between Altman's lightness and Shepard's portentousness serves the movie in rich and ever-expanding ways, and not just because you can't ever predict how the narrative will swerve."
Scream of the Ants (2006)
Black Swan (2010)
The Housemaid (2011)
Never Let Me Go (2010)
"Strangely, Romanek often feels disarmed of exactly these vital organs that might have made him a sturdy, sharp renderer of this story. One senses he's too saddened by the tale he is spinning to take a risk on a demanding image."
Mugabe and the White African (2010)
Valhalla Rising (2010)
"I appreciate Refn for pushing against conventions of rhythm, photography, subject, color, and form, and I don't mind that Valhalla Rising lacks a story so much as I question its reliance on enigmatic hints of some grand, over-arching abstraction."
The Last Exorcism (2010)
"Any film that forges as unruly a connection as this one does with its audience deserves some applause, especially when the film belongs to a genre where all too many of its peers come across as rote or as thoughtlessly, remorselessly heartless."
Lebanon (Levanon) (2010)
The Square (2010)
Make Out With Violence (2009)
"Builds a real air of mystery around the captive girl, what she is, what she is or isn't capable of doing, and what we're invited to feel about her or her caretaker-captors... Made with real filmmaking flair."
Borom Sarret (1963)
Animal Kingdom (2010)
"Almost every scene in Animal Kingdom includes some shot, some edit or avoidance of edit, some lighting effect, some performance gesture, or some sound element that breaks the scene out of the simplest grooves it might have obeyed."
Cairo Time (2010)
Alle Anderen (Everyone Else) (2010)
"Maren Ade's sophisticated, incisive storytelling relies not on screaming matches but on the leads' marvelous attunement to each other, the ways in which they snag on the barest flickers of intimated feeling in each other's performances."