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A moment of illumination

Film matters
Last Friday, Brandeis University brought together two legends of nonfiction filmmaking: Errol Morris and Claude Lanzmann.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  March 29, 2012

Film: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Swimming upstream
This winning British movie, in which rumpled fisheries expert Fred (McGregor) and sleek exec Harriet (Emily Blunt) help realize the dream project of a sheik, brings to mind the classic Ealing comedies that starred Guinness.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  March 08, 2012

wanderlust review

Review: Wanderlust

Goofy gags
Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston star as an unemployed New York couple who, while on the road, chance upon a commune and decide to try the make-love-not-money lifestyle.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  February 28, 2012

Review - the Look

Review: Charlotte Rampling: The Look

Angelina Maccarone's portrait of the actress
Rampling's physical gifts, unimpeded by plastic surgery in their march through time, are matched by a keen mind and an unapologetic approach to life and work.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  January 31, 2012

Review - The Grey

Review: The Grey

Man vs. wolves
At the center of this superior stranded-men-picked-off-by-external-threat thriller is Ottway, an anguished loner powerfully played by Liam Neeson.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  January 26, 2012

Red Tails - Short takes

Review: Red Tails

The struggles and triumphs of the Tuskegee Airmen
With a title that refers not to squirrels but to plane markings, Red Tails dramatizes the struggles and triumphs of African-American pioneers, the Tuskegee Airmen.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  January 24, 2012

Short Takes: The Artist

Review: The Artist

Michel Hazanavicius's flashback to '20s-era Hollywood
The advent of talking pictures sends a screen idol into both a career nosedive and an identity crisis in Michel Hazanavicius's flashback to Hollywood's transitional period of the late '20s.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  December 20, 2011

like crazy short take

Review: Like Crazy

Unsentimental but emotionally engaging
Like Crazy is hooked onto a series of plot points — the bureaucratic hassles wrought by Londoner Anna's impulsive decision to overstay her student visa so she can remain in LA with boyfriend Jacob — yet it's quintessentially character-driven.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  November 01, 2011

A Heroic Life

Review: Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life

The life of Serge Gainsbourg
In this tour de force biopic, cartoonist-filmmaker Joann Sfar uses darkly comic fairy tale elements to illustrate Gainsbourg's creative process.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  October 25, 2011


Review: Footloose

Footloose gets a facelift
The original Footloose (1984) came at the dawn of the MTV era; its remake is driven by today's dance competitions.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  October 12, 2011


Review: Toast

Culinary dreams among the canned goods of the 60s
Toast is a refreshing take on the sub-genre of the food-centric comedy.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  October 12, 2011


Vintage sleaze

Film Culture
The grindhouse returns to the Combat Zone this weekend — in spirit, at least — as the ArtsEmerson film series, based at the Paramount Center, presents a tribute to sleazemeister David F. Friedman.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  September 28, 2011

bucky larson 3

Review: Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star

Swardson just doesn't rise to the occasion
Of course there are copious gags about penis size and bodily fluids, but Bucky Larson could also have been a decent spoof of the porn industry, especially after Don Johnson enters the picture.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  September 13, 2011


Review: Mr. Nice

Rhys Ifans joins the cinematic rogues' gallery
Rhys Ifans is hilarious, and sexy as hell, in Bernard Rose's Blow -like true story of the crazy life of Howard Marks.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  September 06, 2011

Sarah's Key film short take

Review: Sarah's Key

A compelling interplay of tensions
Sarah's Key is a superior "woman in the present becomes obsessed with woman in the past" narrative.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  August 02, 2011

Friends with Benefits review

Review: Friends with Benefits

Chemistry and comic timing
FWB is a well-crafted comedy of the sex-first, romance-later genre that — bonus! — isn't blatantly nonsensical.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  July 26, 2011

Snow Flower -- short take

Review: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Chinese women of the past and present
Two intense friendships intertwine in Wayne Wang's elegant and engrossing adaptation of Lisa See's novel. Actresses Li Bingbing and Gianna Jun play dual roles: modern Chinese women Nina and Sophia and their 19th-century counterparts, Lily and Snow Flower.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  July 19, 2011

review - Vincent Wants to Sea

Review: Vincent Wants to Sea

A quirky German road movie
Frustration and isolation are part of daily life for 27-year-old Tourette's sufferer Vincent (Florian David Fitz, who also wrote the screenplay), the sympathetic hero of this German road movie.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  July 12, 2011

carlo list

Review: Monte Carlo

Awkward limitations
The latest tween pabulum features Selena Gomez in two roles, which is awkward because she only has one and a half expressions.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  July 05, 2011

twins list

Review: The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls

Feel-good variety
Leanne Pooley's portrait gives us performance footage of twins Lynda and Jools Topp that ranges from the '80s, when they were mulleted farm girls busking in the city; to their '90s sketch-comedy TV show; to a recent return to the stage after one twin faced a health challenge.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  June 29, 2011

review of movie Pianomania

Review: Pianomania

You don't need to be knowledgeable about classical music to savor Pianomania any more than you need to know about Donkey Kong to enjoy The King of Kong. The Vienna-set documentary burrows into the professional life of Steinway & Sons' chief technician and master tuner Stephan Knüpfer.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  June 23, 2011

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