San Francisco Examiner
The House of the Devil (2009)
"From his era-appropriate soundtrack to the visual style of his opening credits and his slyly reverential camerawork, West gives his movie the look and feel of a 25-year-old relic, yet nothing about 'Devil' seems stale."
Saw VI (2009)
The Informant! (2009)
"What makes the movie work is Damon's manic performance. His unflagging energy is appealing at first, but seems finally like the last recourse of a man every bit as desperate and pathetic as Tom Ripley."
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
"Is this Tarantino's masterpiece, as the movie's final shot not so subtly seems to suggest? I believe it's one of them. In the end, we're left with superior storytelling from one of cinema's most talented practitioners."
The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009)
"Unlike Sargent, who trusted his story to provide the fireworks, Scott resorts to gimmicks: choppy editing, speeded-up footage that segues inexplicably into slo-mo, and pointless explosions of noise. Sometimes, less really is more."
500 Days of Summer (2009)
The Answer Man (Arlen Faber) (2009)
Funny People (2009)
"It's no pleasure to report that 'Funny People' self-destructs on the screen. In the end, Apatow might have been wise to heed his own words: Comedy is for funny people, not the mean-spirited, self-obsessed dopes we're left with here."
Downloading Nancy (2008)
"Bello throws herself into Nancy admirably. Yet the film squanders her talents, and what's left of our patience, en route to a finale that is neither surprising nor illuminating: Like the rest of the movie, it's misery for misery's sake."
"Some will be unable to appreciate the movie's savagery on any level. Others will find it affecting and uncompromising, the kind of movie that plunges you into a nightmare and ratchets up the intensity until you're grateful for a moment's respite."
A Perfect Getaway (2009)
"While hardly a film for the ages, it is exceptionally effective at what it sets out to achieve - namely, pumping up the tension, tossing us a few red herrings, then blindsiding us with the Big Surprise."
Julie & Julia (2009)
"The movie is sweet, amusing and, unlike one of Child's decadent platters of beef bourguignon, mostly weightless; if not for Streep's expert portrayal, which is boundlessly energetic and respectful, it might float off the screen."
The Hurt Locker (2009)
Blood: The Last Vampire (2009)
Public Enemies (2009)
Friday the 13th (2009)
X-Men Origins - Wolverine (2009)
"Wolverine is big, dumb fun, a popcorn movie if ever there was one. And it's probably the only movie this summer to feature a superhero whose most dazzling talent seems to be shuffling a deck of cards."
Angels & Demons (2009)
"There is little in the way of excitement. There is, however, plenty of ponderous hemming and hawing about the role of the Vatican in a forward-thinking society, and a host of supporting players whose intentions remain murky until the big revelation."
Food, Inc. (2009)
"A veteran of public television's 'American Experience,' Kenner delivers a vital, visually stylish piece of filmmaking that is as informative as it is fascinating, infuriating and, at times, heartbreaking."
Land of the Lost (2009)
"McBride and Ferrell, who seems content to spin his wheels in vehicles that indulge his passion for stripping and dumbing down, are gifted performers. Here, they are given little to work with, and deliver accordingly."
Drag Me to Hell (2009)
"Rather than inviting the gag reflex with scenes of severed limbs and graphic torture, Raimi takes a manic, tongue-in-cheek approach to horror that seems to revel in its own absurdity. Needless to say, he's been missed."
Terminator Salvation (2009)
"Lacking the wry humor of its predecessors and the inestimable presence of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the film has more than its share of shortcomings. But if you're hopelessly invested in 'Terminator' mythology, you might just be inclined to forgive them."
Observe and Report (2009)
"Those expecting another 'Superbad' may be surprised to discover that 'Adventureland' is nothing of the sort. It's far more grounded, populated by thoughtful, unaffected characters whose misadventures ring true. It is also, to date, the year's best film."
Monsters vs. Aliens (2009)
"As 'Monsters vs. Aliens' demonstrates, 3-D technology is finally coming into its own, used to create a dazzlingly lifelike spectacle that seems to jump off the screen and into the theater beside you."
I Love You, Man (2009)
"Rudd and Segel, whose on-screen chemistry is one of the movie's sublime pleasures, take what might have been a slick, formulaic exercise and turn it into the year's funniest film to date with their unselfconscious physical humor and goofy repartee."
The Last House on the Left (2009)
"It presents sadism in the context of a narrative that is straightforward and believable, and for those who crave a little terror in their lives, it offers a truly unsettling experience while raising questions mundane and otherwise."
"While Moore may never see the final cut - or any cut, for that matter - Snyder's reverence for his brooding prose and the cynical depths of his vision is unmistakable. He has hardly done the author a disservice."
Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 (2008)
"The memories the game evokes in its stars, now well into middle age but clearly moved when recalling that November's consummation of one of America's oldest sports rivalries, weave a narrative that transcends football."
"As a righteous stand against the low-level terrorists who peddle flesh in the back alleys of Europe, the movie is a lurid sham, as slick and soulless as the myriad thugs Neeson dispatches with implausible ease."
"There are plenty of no-budget movies worthy of grassroots movements. 'Fanboys,' which comes with a built-in fan base only by virtue of its connection to a universe George Lucas created, isn't one of them."
"For those eagerly awaiting a consummation of the long-simmering tensions between aliens and Vikings, 'Outlander' is certainly the only game in town. Those whose obsessions lead elsewhere would be wise to look for alternatives."
"It's an affecting production, which is as much a credit to Zwick's professionalism as to the freshness of his subject. 'Defiance' has the rare distinction of tackling the Holocaust from an angle previously unexplored."
The Alphabet Killer (2008)
"Although Schmidt and Malloy have devoted meticulous attention to Megan's manhunt, which is engrossing and briskly paced for the better part of 85 minutes, their final act seems less like a canny trick than a copout."
The Long Goodbye (1973)
"Robert Altman's labyrinthine take on the Raymond Chandler classic is noir unburdened by a straight narrative - it's a triumph of atmosphere and attitude, a swiftly unfolding whodunit punctuated by subversive absurdities and shattering acts of violence."
Bride Wars (2009)
"It is widely assumed that Eddie Murphy hurt his Oscar chances by following his dramatic turn in 'Dreamgirls' with the graceless 'Norbit.' 'Bride Wars' is just as abysmal, though it spares us the prosthetic fat suits."
"There is no concession to melodrama, nor a moment wasted. Van Sant presents his story with an unflinching eye on the factual timeline of Milk's days in San Francisco, right down to the moment of jarring violence that ended his life."
Seven Pounds (2008)
Revolutionary Road (2008)
"What is the point of 'Revolutionary Road,' besides providing a showcase for two dynamic actors, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, to chew the scenery in an overwrought exposition of domestic combat?"
The Reader (2008)
"The film offers no facile answers, only quietly forceful performances (particularly by Winslet, whose tense body language speaks volumes) that make these characters and the tragedy that colors their lives seem achingly, crushingly real."