Archive for category: by Robert Horton

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Film Review: Black or White

30 January, 2015 (08:30) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Editor

Have you noticed that Kevin Costner gives good speeches? He deftly handled his classic “I believe in …” speech in Bull Durham and his courtroom summations in JFK. He recently got a lifetime achievement award at the Critics Choice Awards, where he spoke pointedly about remembering to be grateful. His Oscar acceptance speeches for Dances […]

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Film Review: Two Days, One Night

29 January, 2015 (05:32) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

There is only one situation in Two Days, One Night—no subplots, no vast canvas. But filmmaking brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (The Kid With the Bike) need only this one situation to somehow speak of the entire world and what it means to be human in the early 21st century. The situation is this: Sandra […]

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Film Review: When Evening Falls on Bucharest, or Metabolism

29 January, 2015 (05:27) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Movies about moviemaking don’t come much drier than this new one from Romania. It has the usual elements of backstage stories—the director is sleeping with a cast member, professional rivalry rears its head, the movie’s gone over budget—but When Evening Falls approaches these things in an extremely off-center way. We never do see the film […]

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Film Review: ‘A Most Violent Year’

22 January, 2015 (05:55) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

In the wintry air of A Most Violent Year, a would-be business magnate named Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) sports a handsome camel-hair topcoat. He’d like to achieve success the honest way, and that immaculate coat is like his shining armor. Problem is, this is 1981-era New York, the business is heating oil, and nothing stays […]

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Film Review: ‘Song One’

22 January, 2015 (05:50) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

People who don’t like musicals always fall back on the Realism Argument, contending that in real life we don’t start singing during conversations or solo walks in the Alps or whenever. This argument can be answered in a variety of ways: Don’t most of us have a soundtrack on shuffle in our heads? More important, […]

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Monster in the Box: How a Childhood Love of Frankenstein Turned Me Into a Film Critic

21 January, 2015 (17:59) | by Robert Horton, Essays, Horror | By: Robert Horton

Robert Horton hosts the Cinema Dissection of Bride of Frankenstein, a six-hour interactive tour through the movie, at SIFF Film Center on Saturday, January 24, part of a weekend-long program “It’s Alive: Frankenstein on Film.” Tickets and details here. In anticipation of the event, here is an excerpt from his upcoming book on Frankenstein, to […]

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Film Review: ‘Blackhat’

16 January, 2015 (10:15) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Given a junky script and inert lead actors, director Michael Mann does what he can with Blackhat. The result is an occasionally intoxicating mess of a movie. It’s about a world-class hacker. Which means the whole thing takes place as he sits at his keyboard and never leaves his parents’ basement. Just kidding. However, it […]

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Film Review: ‘Paddington’

16 January, 2015 (09:59) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Adopting a bear is not recommended as a real-world option, even if the bear is small and cute and stranded on the platform at a London train station. Make a note of this. In the non-real world, the concept of bear adoption has worked out just fine for Michael Bond, the English author of the […]

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Film Review: ‘American Sniper’

15 January, 2015 (05:29) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

There was a time when American Sniper would’ve been an ideal Oliver Stone project—a story of the battlefield and the homefront, of ideals and damage. Its subject is Chris Kyle, the sharpshooter whose action in four Iraq War tours reportedly made him the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history. A Texas rodeo rider before he […]

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Film Review: ‘Appropriate Behavior’

15 January, 2015 (05:26) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Because Desiree Akhavan has been cast in a recurring role on the new season of Girls, her visibility and pop-culture credentials are about to be certified in a new way. And good for her. But this 30-year-old writer/director/actress had already staked out her position in the Voice of a Young Generation sweepstakes as creator of […]

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Film Review: ‘ Selma’

8 January, 2015 (09:43) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The most suspenseful scene in Ava DuVernay’s Selma does not depict the dramatic 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, nor an Oval Office facedown between Martin Luther King, Jr., and President Lyndon Johnson. No, the real cliffhanger happens during a twilight domestic scene between King (David Oyelowo) and his wife Coretta (Carmen Ejogo). The husband’s […]

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Film Review: ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night’

8 January, 2015 (09:37) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Robert Horton

It sounds like something that fell from a branch of the Tarantino tree: Surely a movie promoting itself as an Iranian vampire/spaghetti-Western indie featuring a skateboarding undead heroine must be doing its thing with tongue firmly in cheek. But hang on, because A Girl Walks Home is not too interested in genre spoofery. This debut […]

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Film Review: ‘Life Partners’

8 January, 2015 (09:34) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Whatever else it achieves in offering observations about friendship and love in the modern age, Life Partners is definitive on one subject: the tyranny of the smartphone. The devices intrude on almost every scene—not as a way of making a point about our wired existence, but just as a part of everyday life. (One subplot […]

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Film Review: ‘Winter Sleep’

3 January, 2015 (06:07) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The rustic hotel at the heart of Winter Sleep is a strikingly unfamiliar place: Located somewhere in Turkey’s Anatolian countryside, perched on a rocky slope, the buildings seem to emerge directly from the stone of the hillside itself. The cave-like setting might suggest we have not evolved very far from our primitive ancestors, an implication […]

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Film Review: ‘Rocks in My Pockets’

3 January, 2015 (06:02) | Animation, by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The first minutes of Rocks in My Pockets unfold in standard-issue animation of the European variety: cutesy (yet grown-up) drawings, whimsically surreal images, black-comic storytelling. Before long, though, the movie begins traveling in ever-darker spirals, as director-animator Signe Baumane spins a personal tale of family disturbance and depression. The Latvian-born filmmaker reaches back to the […]

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