my week at the movies: ‘Defiance,’ ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,’ ‘The Reader,’ ‘Revolutionary Road,’ ‘Gran Torino’

No official “press” screenings for me this week — it’s all FYC screenings. That is, “for your consideration.” These are specialty screenings that the studios hold for members of critics’ organizations, AMPAS (the “Academy” that awards the Oscars), and other industry guilds who will be voting on their year-end acclaims in the early weeks of … more…

American Beauty (again) (review)

Was American Beauty the single best film of 1999? I can’t decide. The second time I watched the film, on a widescreen video screener after it won the Oscar for Best Picture, I thought with horror: I named this sitcom one of my best films of the year? On a third viewing, also on the small screen, I saw once again all the brilliance that I saw the first time around, and more.

American Beauty (review)

The Lester that American Beauty offers us at first is anything but inspirational — in fact, he may be one of the most unlikable protagonists to hit the screen in a while. A ‘horny geek boy,’ as his teenage daughter calls him, a ‘gigantic loser’ as he calls himself, Lester tells us right as the film opens that he’ll be dead in less than a year. And we don’t care.