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Tag: Richard Schickel


Sony Pictures Classics

Can’t Knock Woody Allen’s Hustle

The prolific director’s latest isn’t his greatest, but it’s good enough.

Posted on Jul 29, 2014 READ MORE



Courtesy of Music Box Films

This Unexpected Movie Just Won’t Leave Me Alone

“Ida” is a strangely haunting movie—for a failure. For all its faults, it’s taken up something like permanent residence in my brain.

Posted on May 7, 2014 READ MORE



CherryX per Wikimedia Commons [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Inside the Nazis’ Model Concentration Camp

Theresienstadt was a most peculiar institution. It was created by the Nazis as a “model” camp—“Hitler’s gift to the Jews,” as the saying went—designed to placate the Red Cross and other international inspectors when they came calling.

Posted on Feb 11, 2014 READ MORE



livandingmar.com

The One Movie From 2013 You Have to See

In short, the movie year ends, as they almost always do, in disappointment that verges on dismay. But there is hope.

Posted on Jan 6, 2014 READ MORE



Facebook.com/TheArmstrongLie

Much Ado About Lance’s Lie

Alex Gibney’s excellent documentary probes the moral outrage over cheating in a minor sport.

Posted on Nov 12, 2013 READ MORE



IFC Films

Sex Isn’t Everything

The sex in “Blue Is the Warmest Color” is about as good as it is ever going to get in what I guess is more or less a mainstream movie, but…

Posted on Oct 30, 2013 READ MORE



Lionsgate

The Performance of Robert Redford’s Career

The 77-year-old actor is at his smart, ironic best in “All Is Lost.”

Posted on Oct 22, 2013 READ MORE



Fox Searchlight Pictures

Gandolfini, Louis-Dreyfus Charm in ‘Enough Said’

The early reviews prepared me to be charmed by “Enough Said,” which naturally made me uncomfortable.

Posted on Sep 23, 2013 READ MORE



Photo and Poster Courtesy of the Weinstein Company

Don’t Make a Phony Out of J.D. Salinger

A new documentary wants to find some hidden wound that “explains” the novelist’s reclusivity, but I don’t think there is one.

Posted on Sep 9, 2013 READ MORE



Cohen Media Group

‘The Artist and the Model’: Less Is More

It’s perhaps easy to make too much of a film like “The Artist and the Model.” But it’s also easy to make too little of it—and I’d rather run the prior risk.

Posted on Aug 3, 2013 READ MORE



Sony Pictures Classics

Woody Allen’s Latest Shows He’s Still Got It

Imagine—77 years old and still making movies as good as “Blue Jasmine,” when most directors his age are out of work or collecting dubious awards.

Posted on Aug 2, 2013 READ MORE



Blackfishmovie.com

‘Blackfish’: What the Hell Is Sea World Thinking?

By what measure of magical thinking does the occasional death or ripped-off limb seem a sensible price to pay for the queasy entertainment offered at water shows?

Posted on Jul 23, 2013 READ MORE



Spectacle in Summer: The Guilty Pleasures of ‘The Lone Ranger’

“The Lone Ranger” is too long and more than a little bit incoherent, but you will see some things in the movie that you will not have seen anywhere else.

Posted on Jul 8, 2013 READ MORE



Paramount

‘World War Z’: Still Fun at Twice the Price

I read in the press that this movie can never, ever recoup its cost, but it does have its charms.

Posted on Jun 25, 2013 READ MORE



Radius TWC

The Joy of Singing Out of the Spotlight

“20 Feet From Stardom” is a joyous documentary about the lives and careers of backup singers. It has been a long time since I’ve had so much fun at a movie.

Posted on Jun 17, 2013 READ MORE



Warner Bros.

Will There Ever Be a Great ‘Gatsby’?

It’s understandable that the book has been a constant temptation to moviemakers. It’s also understandable that it has never been turned into a fully successful film.

Posted on Jun 11, 2013 READ MORE



Still from "Lincoln" © Dreamworks and 20th Century Fox

Seven Movies I Liked in 2012 (and One I Didn’t)

The film year is, alas, a “disappointment.” The very idea of making a 10 Best list seems either laughable or a task comparable in difficulty to translating the Rosetta Stone.

Posted on Jan 4, 2013 READ MORE



facebook.com/LesMisMovie

‘Miserables’? More Like ‘Les Middling’

There are times when a cast of dozens, working intensely, is actually superior to a cast of hundreds working routinely.

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 READ MORE



A still from 'Amour'

A Simple, Excellent and Surprising Film

I think the message of “Amour,” if it may be said to have one, is that love is sometimes—probably rarely—eternal.

Posted on Dec 20, 2012 READ MORE



Bill Murray Captures FDR’s Pain and Wit in ‘Hyde Park’

What makes “Hyde Park on Hudson” a good deal more than delightful is its lightly touched seriousness of purpose.

Posted on Dec 5, 2012 READ MORE



This ‘Hitchcock’ Is Frightfully Off

He was never dark or monstrous as this film makes him seem. Rather the opposite. There was something—well—childlike about him.

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 READ MORE



Still from Paramount Pictures

Interminable ‘Flight’ Is Good, but Save Your Miles

“Flight” is a mildly unsatisfying film, chiefly, I think, because we’ve been here before.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 READ MORE



Warner Bros./Publicity Still

Let ‘Argo’ Take You Hostage

I don’t know how much of the picture—beyond its basic premise—is “true.” And, frankly, I don’t give a damn.

Posted on Oct 15, 2012 READ MORE



Detail from "The Master" poster via IMDb

Paul Thomas Anderson’s Cult of Personality

The critics simply have too much invested in the still young director to acknowledge that “The Master” has to rank somewhere between a disappointment and a disaster.

Posted on Sep 17, 2012 READ MORE



Warner Bros.

The ‘Dark Knight’: 3 Hours of Apathy

We want it to be good. We certainly don’t want it to be the occasion for tragedy. What we are forced to settle for, though, is aimlessness.

Posted on Jul 23, 2012 READ MORE



Photo by (CC-BY)

Truthdig in the Running for 6 L.A. Press Club Awards

Truthdig is a finalist for six Los Angeles Press Club awards, with special recognition for the site as a whole, the Ear to the Ground blog, Robert Scheer, Chris Hedges, Richard Schickel and Mr. Fish.

Posted on May 23, 2012 READ MORE



Paramount

The Good-Natured Dictator

No movie dedicated to Kim Jong Il can be all bad. On the other hand, “The Dictator,” the product of Sacha Baron Cohen, cannot be all good either.

Posted on May 20, 2012 READ MORE



imdb.com

‘Monsieur Lazhar’: Tragedy and Humanity

At its best, “Monsieur Lazhar” is something very rare in film: a study in self-containment.

Posted on Apr 13, 2012 READ MORE



IMDb

‘Bully’: Zooming In on Childhood Demons

Is bullying on the rise in schools around the country?  I don’t know. You don’t know. And, most important, Lee Hirsch, director of the documentary “Bully,” doesn’t seem to know either.

Posted on Apr 1, 2012 READ MORE



IMDb

Filmmaker, Incarcerated

One of the incidental lessons “This Is Not a Film” teaches is that a film is not a film until it is a film. You can talk about it, outline it, enthuse over it, but it is still just hot air until sets are built, actors engage, cameras roll. And that is what’s most touching about this movie.

Posted on Mar 6, 2012 READ MORE



imdb.com

The Best (and the Rest) of 2011

Sorry about this—a 10-best list dragging along in the wake of all the others, which began appearing around Halloween. And it isn’t even a nice round 10 in number. I could come up with only six movies this year. I have my excuses. [Pictured above, Werner Herzog, director of “Into the Abyss.”]

Posted on Jan 6, 2012 READ MORE



imdb.com

A ‘War Horse’ and His Boy

Boy gets horse. Boy loses horse. Boy (after many adventures, especially by the horse) is reunited with the animal. In terms of narrative, that’s all there is to “War Horse”—except to say that Steven Spielberg’s film is a lovely and touching movie, representing, among other things, a vast improvement on the extraordinarily successful novel and stage play.

Posted on Dec 24, 2011 READ MORE



imdb.com

The ‘Girl’ Is Good, but Why Bother?

Here’s a paradox I’ve never encountered in several decades of movie reviewing: a perfectly well-made film that there is absolutely no compelling reason to rush right out and see—especially if you’ve been paying attention to recent developments in popular culture.

Posted on Dec 20, 2011 READ MORE



imdb.com

‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ … Clunker

Under Tomas Alfredson’s leaden direction, the film, which is set in the 1970s when the Cold War was at its height, consists mainly of guys enigmatically sipping whiskey, smoking cigarettes and exchanging meaningful stares.

Posted on Dec 9, 2011 READ MORE



imdb.com

‘The Descendants’: Clooney Goes Down Easy

We exist today in a climate of movie extremes—extreme action, extreme comedy. There are not many mild, agreeable pictures that take place in pleasant surroundings and set people we can identify with to dealing with issues that at sometime or other all of us will have to engage.

Posted on Nov 18, 2011 READ MORE



imdb.com

‘J. Edgar’: Hoover’s Hubris Writ Large

This is a brave film. There was a time when J. Edgar Hoover was among the most prominent Americans and there was no way to make a reasonably honest movie about him. Now there is a tendency to ask, J. Edgar Who?

Posted on Nov 9, 2011 READ MORE



Facebook/IdesOfMarchMovie

Missing From ‘March’

George Clooney is the nominal star (and director) of “The Ides of March,” a not particularly thrilling, but sort of agreeable, political thriller, in which he is largely AWOL.

Posted on Oct 10, 2011 READ MORE



The Man Nobody Knew

The Sad, Secret Life of a Spy

A fascinating new documentary seeks to unravel the mysteries of William Colby, or, as the title would have it, “The Man Nobody Knew.”

Posted on Oct 2, 2011 READ MORE



Sony Pictures

‘Moneyball’ Isn’t a Home Run

“Moneyball” is a good story and people who have little interest in baseball don’t need to fear it. On the other hand, it has its largely overlooked problems.

Posted on Sep 26, 2011 READ MORE



thehelpmovie.com

Reconciling ‘The Help’ With the History

There has to be a lingering suspicion (and hatred) that “The Help” cannot bear to contemplate. It wants us to believe that all involved learned their costly lessons in the Mississippi of 50 years ago.

Posted on Aug 14, 2011 READ MORE



First Generation Films via IMDb

Sex Slavery and Impotent Outrage

In the summer, when we are always in the mood for fun and frolic, “The Whistleblower” is an easy movie to ignore. But we should not.

Posted on Aug 7, 2011 READ MORE



imdb.com

‘Tabloid’: Errol Morris’ Lunatic Love Story

Morris’ film has a giddy quality. But, essentially, he is trying to keep a straight face amid the chaos he is recounting. Come right down to it, what could a filmmaker add to this story by striking attitudes toward the events he recounts?

Posted on Jul 15, 2011 READ MORE



imdb.com

Animal Harm

We have witnessed, in this film, a prolonged study in animal abuse. I think Terrace is the worst kind of sadist—the unknowing kind—and I think this very good film provides a record of “science” at its most useless.

Posted on Jul 11, 2011 READ MORE



imdb.com

Revisiting the Horror of Nanking

“City of Life and Death,” by the Chinese writer-director Lu Chuan, is the second film about Nanking, and it is a work that aspires to the definitive and almost achieves that status.

Posted on Jun 18, 2011 READ MORE



imdb.com

‘The Tree of Life’: Terrence Malick Syndrome Strikes Again

This will not do—either as philosophy or as the conclusion of a picture that has wasted close to two and half hours of our time with its twaddling pretenses. But it is not quite the end of our concern with it.

Posted on May 29, 2011 READ MORE



imdb.com

Herzog Lights Up ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’

What I’m saying is that Herzog is a director whose work is never to be missed, for the simple reason that he takes you places—especially in his documentaries—that no other director thinks of going.

Posted on May 3, 2011 READ MORE



imdb.com

Their ‘Perestroika’

Democracy is ever a fragile thing, especially in states that have no tradition of democratic rule and have, instead, a tradition of self-serving rule by self-appointed and often brutal elites.

Posted on Mar 26, 2011 READ MORE



Schickel on Scorsese

In this excerpt from his new book, “Conversations With Scorsese,” veteran movie reviewer and documentary filmmaker Richard Schickel describes the character, formative struggles and career challenges of the celebrated director, with whom he shared a rich dialogue spanning several decades.

Posted on Mar 11, 2011 READ MORE



imdb.com

Columbus, Marx and Zinn Go to Bolivia

What is ironically fictional in “Even the Rain’s” story is the intrusion on a volatile situation of a film crew intent on portraying Christopher Columbus’ not entirely benign arrival in the New World.

Posted on Feb 21, 2011 READ MORE



imdb.com

2010: The Year of Staggering Irrelevance in Oscarland

It begins sometime in early December, in a screening room near you, with a handful of middle-aged men and women impatiently awaiting the start of a new movie.

Posted on Jan 28, 2011 READ MORE


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