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Anna Karenina (review)

There is no pretense that we’re getting a realistic depiction of late-19th-century Russia. Director Joe Wright isn’t merely crafting a metaphor about the social structures under which we all live: he’s underscoring the artificiality of cinema itself.

Hanna (review)

Joe Wright makes sure his story looks great — and sounds great, with its aurally spectacular Chemical Brothers score — but it’s an empty experience, a Frankenstein story with no heft, indeed with little apparent awareness of the classic tale it is evolved from.

top 10 movies of 2009: the whys and wherefores

If you regularly check my on-the-fly ranking of new theatrical releases as I see them, then my top 10 movies of 2009 are no surprise: I shuffled a few titles around a bit last month, but the films ranked in the top 10 for 2009 haven’t changed much in months. (The 2009 ranking is here; … more…

Bright Star (review)

John Keats is the intruder into the story of Fanny Brawne, and if you didn’t already know that he turned out to be the renowed poet and she turned out to be ‘merely’ the young woman who loved him, and was loved by him, and inspired some of his greatest poetry, you might be forgiven for assuming that she’s the one who surely washed up legendary years later, for how the film defies the convention of lavishing its focus not on him as the de facto presumptive natural center of attention, but on her.