Archive for category: by Robert Horton

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Film Review: ‘Boulevard’

30 July, 2015 (02:30) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

It only takes a quick scan of Robin Williams’ filmography to see how unusual his movie career really was. He cashed in his Mork-fame with Robert Altman’s fantastically weird Popeye and a winning lead role in a literary fantasia, The World According to Garp. Every time he scored huge with pure comedy, à la Mrs. […]

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Film Review: ‘Our Man in Tehran’

30 July, 2015 (02:17) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Shouldn’t the documentary come first, followed by a fictionalized feature “inspired by true events”? Not in this case. Ben Affleck’s Argo introduced many viewers to the Mission: Improbable that sprung six U.S. diplomats out of Iran after the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy. Argo was a Hollywood entertainment all the way, even copping the […]

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Film Review: ‘Court’

30 July, 2015 (02:00) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The movie is simply called Court, and the generalized title is as potent here as it is with Kafka’s nightmare novel The Trial. The storyline follows the process of a specific case in India, but the movie’s reach is big enough to imply that an entire legal apparatus is under indictment. In the early going, […]

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Film Review: ‘Do I Sound Gay?’

23 July, 2015 (03:28) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

David Thorpe tells us he got the idea for his documentary when he was riding a train from his home in New York to Fire Island. Surrounded by gay men, Thorpe was struck by the sound of the voices he heard around him. Being gay himself, he wondered: “Do I really sound like that?” He […]

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Film Review: ‘A Hard Day’

23 July, 2015 (03:25) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

He hit someone while driving, and he should report it. But our morally swampy protagonist has a few drinks under his belt and a lot to lose, and besides, nobody is around this lonely crossroads. Anyway, he’s a South Korean police detective—he can handle this. From such fatal misjudgments, many entertaining movies have come, and […]

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Film Review: ‘Tangerine’

23 July, 2015 (03:20) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

I have never understood why anybody (outside of professionals in the biz) would care how a movie was shot or how much it cost. What matters is what’s up there onscreen, yes? Kudos to low-budget geniuses who work magic on a shoestring, but what does that have to do with how we watch the movie? […]

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Film Review: ‘Ardor’

16 July, 2015 (08:19) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

It pays homage to classic filmmaking, it’s got two fine-looking international stars, and it calls attention to the environmental crisis in the rainforest. It’s still a dumb movie. Ardor dresses up a basic revenge plot with arty style and mystical mumbo-jumbo, all played out in a South American jungle where people have apparently watched a […]

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Film Review: ‘Mr. Holmes’

16 July, 2015 (08:14) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Ian McKellen was surely made to play Sherlock Holmes—that lanky figure and cultivated voice are ideal for the deerstalker hat, the pipe, and the highbrow cogitating. As it happens, all three attributes are challenged in Mr. Holmes, Bill Condon’s film about the waning days of the world’s greatest consulting detective. Holmes, now 93 and long […]

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Film Review: ‘A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence’

16 July, 2015 (08:10) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Critics make up “Best of” lists all the time, or at least once a year—opportunities to assess, evaluate, or venture a guess (often wrong) about a movie’s place in film history. More rarely are we coaxed to weigh in on our favorite films—which doesn’t involve looking at a place in history, but at admitting sheer […]

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Film Review: ‘Felt’

9 July, 2015 (03:19) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Someone brings out a doll of Adolf Hitler in embryonic form, complete with hair and mustache. You know this is a film of very serious ideas, because it’s unclear whether this is intended as comic relief or meant to be taken straight. The doll is a work of art created by Amy (Amy Everson), the […]

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Film Review: ‘Testament of Youth’

9 July, 2015 (03:15) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

So dull, so respectable, so full of nice touches and pretty things: Testament of Youth seems like just the kind of film the real Vera Brittain would have no patience for. Produced in a well-mannered and fully costumed way by BBC Films, this is an adaptation of Brittain’s celebrated 1933 memoir. We follow Vera (Alicia […]

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Film Review: ‘The Tribe’

9 July, 2015 (03:06) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The hooligan thugs of A Clockwork Orange had their own new language, courtesy of author Anthony Burgess. The delinquent gang members of The Tribe don’t call each other droogs, but they too have a distinct kind of communication. But we can’t hear a word of it. The dialogue in this Ukrainian film is cast entirely […]

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Film Review: ‘When Marnie Was There’

2 July, 2015 (04:01) | Animation, by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Although it tells a mildly fantastical tale of ghosts and a magical mansion, When Marnie Was There is best at capturing authentic childhood experience. Even the sound is right. Maybe it stands out because we’re watching an animated movie, but the ambient noise is uncannily good. When the heroine arrives at her new home for […]

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Film Review: ‘One Cut, One Life’

2 July, 2015 (03:51) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Back in the ’60s Ed Pincus made some key social-issue documentaries and wrote a how-to book that became a bible for low-budget filmmaking. If he’d kept on that track, he would have remained a respectable figure in the world of nonfiction film. Instead, Pincus rejected the idea that a camera could record something without changing […]

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Film Review: ‘Güeros’

25 June, 2015 (04:32) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

My heart sank a little when Alonso Ruiz Palacios, the director of Güeros, showed up onscreen halfway through this movie, asking the actors what they think of the screenplay. Oh, boy—that breaking-the-fourth-wall gag is the kind of thing you’re supposed to get out of your system in film school. In retrospect, though, the intrusion actually […]

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