Film Reviews by Joanne Laurier

75 years since the release of Hollywood classic Casablanca

“And what if you track down these men and kill them? ... Even Nazis can’t kill that fast”

By Joanne Laurier, 22 November 2017

Michael Curtiz’s 1942 beloved melodrama, Casablanca, celebrating its 75th anniversary, was recently shown in select cinemas nationwide in the US.

Thank You for Your Service: How many victims are there of America’s ongoing wars?

By Joanne Laurier, 9 November 2017

Jason Hall’s directorial debut, Thank You for Your Service, is a drama about three soldiers returning from the Iraq War and their difficulties adjusting to civilian life.

Flint: How much of the social crime does the film present?

Lifetime movie on the water disaster will air October 28

By Joanne Laurier, 27 October 2017

The film, directed by Bruce Beresford, was inspired by the ongoing Flint water crisis and bases itself more immediately on a February 2016 Time magazine report, “The Poisoning of an American City.”

Toronto International Film Festival: Part 6

A Season in France, Catch the Wind, Arrhythmia, Sweet Country: The refugee crisis, social disintegration in Russia…

By Joanne Laurier, 11 October 2017

The never-ending wars in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa have driven millions to seek what they perceive to be more stable conditions in Western Europe.

Barbet Schroeder’s Amnesia: The trauma of German history

By Joanne Laurier, 7 August 2017

Set in the early 1990s, Amnesia is an exploration of German historical memory and the impact of the legacy of Nazism on sections of the middle class after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit: Mind-numbing violence and racial politics

By Joanne Laurier, 28 July 2017

Bigelow’s film is a fictionalized account of an incident that occurred during the July 1967 rebellion in Detroit, the cold-blooded murder of three young black men by police at the Algiers Motel.

Beatriz at Dinner: Not the sort of resistance that amounts to much

By Joanne Laurier, 12 July 2017

Directed by Miguel Arteta (Cedar Rapids) and featuring Salma Hayek and John Lithgow, the new film promotes a New Age-type opposition to a Trump-like figure.

Netflix series Dear White People: Self-pity in the service of social climbing

By Joanne Laurier, 24 May 2017

The first season of the new Netflix 10-part series, Dear White People, an expansion of Justin Simien’s 2014 movie, concerns a group of black students at a fictional, predominantly white, Ivy League college.

San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 4

Dziga Vertov’s The Man with a Movie Camera: One of the films you must see!

By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 6 May 2017

A highlight of the recent San Francisco film festival was the screening of Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov’s masterpiece, The Man with a Movie Camera (1929), at the historic Castro Theatre.

National Bird, about drone warfare, currently available on PBS “Independent Lens”

By Joanne Laurier, 5 May 2017

Sonia Kennebeck’s disturbing documentary, National Bird, can be viewed until May 16 on PBS’s “Independent Lens” web site.

San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 2

Muhi—Generally Temporary, or, a real concern for human suffering

By Joanne Laurier, 29 April 2017

The film focuses on a young Palestinian boy from Gaza, whose arms and legs have been amputated and who remains in limbo in an Israeli hospital.

The Zookeeper’s Wife: Life and heroism in wartime Warsaw

By Joanne Laurier, 5 April 2017

The Zookeeper’s Wife recounts the true story of the rescue of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto during the Nazi invasion of Poland that began in 1939.

Lyrical and left-wing film

Nicholas Ray’s They Live by Night (1948): “They’re thieves, just like us”

By Joanne Laurier, 29 March 2017

A viewing of Nicholas Ray’s iconic 1948 film They Live by Night is a refreshing antidote to the current trivia, social indifference and identity politics.

Revolution: New Art for a New World—A careless, unserious treatment of Russian Revolutionary art

By Joanne Laurier and David Walsh, 17 March 2017

British filmmaker Margy Kinmonth is out of her depth in her documentary about Russian avant-garde art.

Zhang Yimou’s The Great Wall: Issues bound up with a major Chinese film production

By Joanne Laurier, 23 February 2017

Set in ancient China, Zhang Yimou’s new work is a visually arresting, large-scale action film undermined by its general cartoonishness.

Pedro Almodóvar’s Julieta: A mother and daughter … and what else?

By Joanne Laurier, 16 February 2017

Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar’s latest film, Julieta, is a family melodrama that seeks to explore themes of guilt, alienation and absence, but with very limited results.

The generally lackluster Gold and 20th Century Women

By Joanne Laurier, 1 February 2017

Set in the 1980s, Gold is a fictionalized account of a notorious mining fraud. 20th Century Women is a trite “coming of age” piece located in 1979 California.

Best films of 2016

By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 31 December 2016

Although technologies have sped up and made possible many things, they cannot by themselves overcome the gap between reality and its artistic assimilation and representation.

Manchester by the Sea: The suffering of an ordinary man

By Joanne Laurier, 10 December 2016

Kenneth Lonergan’s film is a humane examination of the suffering of an ordinary man, whose terrible personal tragedy has emotionally crippled him.

The “madness” of war dimly understood in Hacksaw Ridge and the world set right by aliens in Arrival

By Joanne Laurier, 17 November 2016

Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge is about the first and only conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor in World War II. Arrival is a feeble science fiction parable from Denis Villeneuve.

Loving: “Tell the court I love my wife…”

By Joanne Laurier, 5 November 2016

Jeff Nichols’ film is a fictional recreation of the landmark case in Virginia in the 1950s and 1960s, which ultimately led to the striking down of state laws banning interracial marriage in the US.

Denial and the assault on historical truth

By Joanne Laurier, 22 October 2016

A fictional account of American academic and author Deborah Lipstadt’s legal battle with British Holocaust denier David Irving in 2000 in London.

The Dressmaker, The Girl on the Train: The “return of the native” and other issues

By Joanne Laurier, 15 October 2016

In The Dressmaker, the art of beautifying the human body is the weapon of choice to vanquish intolerance and ignorance. The Girl on the Train is a murder mystery centered around a New York City suburb.

Clint Eastwood’s Sully: The “Miracle on the Hudson” dramatized

By Joanne Laurier, 28 September 2016

Eastwood directs a fictional version of the January 2009 incident in which pilot Chesley Sullenberger landed a commuter jet in the Hudson River, saving the lives of 155 passengers and crew.

Oliver Stone’s Snowden: The NSA is “running a dragnet on the whole world”

By Joanne Laurier and David Walsh, 20 September 2016

Veteran American filmmaker Oliver Stone has made a movie about National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden.

A film version of Philip Roth’s Indignation: Young lives overshadowed by war

By Joanne Laurier, 2 September 2016

The new movie, Indignation, is a relatively faithful adaptation of Philip Roth’s 2008 novel, which examines war, religion and repression in post-war America.

Café Society: Woody Allen’s love letter to the wealthy and famous

By Joanne Laurier, 12 August 2016

The film, set in the 1930s, takes its title from legendary clubs in Manhattan that welcomed black and white artists and performers. Unfortunately, the film is the opposite of everything those clubs stood for.

Captain Fantastic: An anti-establishment superhero?

By Joanne Laurier, 30 July 2016

Writer-director Matt Ross’s film is a semi-anarchistic tale about a family’s “off-the-grid” existence in the Pacific Northwest.

Alf Sjöberg’s Miss Julie (1951) and G. W. Pabst’s The Threepenny Opera (1931): Films worth noting … and seeing

By Joanne Laurier, 23 June 2016

Swedish filmmaker Alf Sjöberg’s Miss Julie is based on the play by August Strindberg. Austrian filmmaker G.W. Pabst’s film The Threepenny Opera is an intricate movie version of the legendary Bertolt Brecht-Kurt Weill work.

Love & Friendship: An early Jane Austen work adapted

By Joanne Laurier, 8 June 2016

In England in 1790, Lady Susan Vernon, widowed and penniless, schemes to reverse her fortunes.

San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 4

Maggie’s Plan, Frank & Lola, along with Dreyer’s Vampyr (1932)

By Joanne Laurier, 20 May 2016

Some not very good new films—and better old ones.

Money Monster: Who are the criminals?

By Joanne Laurier, 18 May 2016

Money Monster is the latest film to depict the consequences of the 2008 financial crash and the criminal manipulations of the financial elite.

San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 2

The Return, about released prisoners, and other social dramas (or comedies)

By Joanne Laurier, 13 May 2016

In a number of the films screened at the festival, their creators were evidently overwhelmed by the disintegrating social structures in some of the most impoverished parts of the world.

Elvis & Nixon, A Hologram for the King: Trivializing culture, history

By Joanne Laurier, 6 May 2016

Two ostensible comedies, Elvis & Nixon and A Hologram for the King, drain their stories of their most important social and historical content.

Midnight Special: “Shining the light” on unfreedom in America

By Joanne Laurier, 15 April 2016

Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special is a disturbing science fiction thriller that conveys deep anxiety about the state of the world.

Eye in the Sky: The liberal war on terror

By Joanne Laurier, 31 March 2016

Eye in the Sky is a political-military thriller in which British and American officials weigh the consequences of a drone strike in Nairobi, Kenya.

Atom Egoyan’s Remember: A Nazi criminal hunted…

By Joanne Laurier, 25 March 2016

Two Auschwitz concentration camp survivors plot to kill the SS guard who murdered their families in Atom Egoyan’s latest film, Remember, a psychological drama.

Two poor films on the Afghanistan war—Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and A War—and Jonás Cuarón’s Desierto

By Joanne Laurier, 5 March 2016

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a semi-comic treatment of the tragic Afghan conflict; A War from Denmark is ostensibly a more serious effort. Desierto takes up the war against Mexican immigrants.

The Coen Brothers’ Hail Caesar!: The “Passion” of a film studio troubleshooter

By Joanne Laurier, 9 February 2016

Hail Caesar!, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, is a comedy about Hollywood set in the early 1950s.

Drone, a Norwegian-made documentary: “We just made orphans out of all these children”

By Joanne Laurier, 29 January 2016

The documentary brings together opponents of the CIA drone program and includes interviews with two former US Air Force drone pilots.

Charlie Kaufman’s often charming, moving Anomalisa (and Michael Moore’s feeble Where to Invade Next)

By Joanne Laurier, 23 January 2016

Anomalisa is an adult animated film created with stop-motion puppetry centering around an angst-ridden, self-help author. Where to Invade Next is a non-comment on Washington’s never-ending wars.

The Revenant: Are we all savages? (And Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth )

By Joanne Laurier, 16 January 2016

The Revenant is a sensationalized account of the life of American fur trapper Hugh Glass, who famously survived a mauling by a bear. Youth is a banal meditation on aging.

Carol and The Danish Girl: Real problems, but the danger of exclusivism

By Joanne Laurier, 8 January 2016

The two films address significant subjects that could potentially shed light on society and its moral and psychological condition.

The Big Short: The criminality of Wall Street and the crash of 2008

By Joanne Laurier, 31 December 2015

Adam McKay’s new film The Big Short is a hard-hitting comedy-drama about the 2008 financial meltdown.

Best films of 2015

By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 31 December 2015

The most interesting films we saw in 2015, both those that played in a movie theater in the US and those not yet distributed.

Brooklyn: Irish immigration through rose-colored glasses

By Joanne Laurier, 10 December 2015

Brooklyn focuses on a young Irish girl who emigrates to America in the early 1950s and struggles with homesickness and adjusting to an alien environment.

Spotlight: A telling exposé of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church

By Joanne Laurier, 3 December 2015

Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight is a taut, quasi-political thriller that chronicles the Boston Globe’s 2002 exposure of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests in the Boston area.

The Wrecking Crew: The “secret star-making machine” of 1960s pop music

By Joanne Laurier, 14 November 2015

Denny Tedesco’s lively documentary is a heartfelt tribute to a group of studio musicians in Los Angeles, nicknamed the Wrecking Crew, who were behind some of the biggest hits of the 1960s.

Our Brand is Crisis: US political consultants at their dirty work in Bolivia

By Joanne Laurier, 9 November 2015

Based on a documentary, the new David Gordon Green movie, Our Brand is Crisis, is a comedy-drama about the activities of American political operatives in the 2002 Bolivian presidential election.

99 Homes’ director Ramin Bahrani: “The villain is the system”

By Joanne Laurier, 24 September 2015

Iranian-American writer-director Ramin Bahrani (Man Push Cart, 2005; Chop Shop, 2007; Goodbye Solo, 2008) has created a compelling work that puts flesh and blood on the foreclosure epidemic.

Phoenix: After WWII in Germany, a woman rises from the ashes

By Joanne Laurier, 3 September 2015

Set in the immediate aftermath of World War II, a Jewish concentration camp survivor, Nelly Lenz (Nina Hoss), is grossly disfigured and traumatized.

Amy, a documentary film about the British singer Amy Winehouse

By Joanne Laurier, 12 August 2015

Asif Kapadia’s documentary is a straightforward and compelling account of the performer’s life starting at the age of fourteen.

Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity (1944) and the phenomenon of American film noir

By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 28 July 2015

Turner Classic Movies, the US cable and satellite television network, presented Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity (1944) at selected theaters on July 19 and 20.

The Face of an Angel and Danny Collins: A notorious murder trial and an aging musician

By Joanne Laurier, 10 July 2015

The Face of an Angel is a fictional treatment of the Amanda Knox murder trial. Danny Collins is the story of a rock star who changes his life after receiving a letter that John Lennon wrote him decades earlier.

The Wolfpack, Dope: American experiences, oddities

By Joanne Laurier, 3 July 2015

The Wolfpack is a documentary about seven children who were locked away for many years in an apartment in a public housing project in Manhattan.

Entourage and Spy: Celebrity, wealth and the CIA—Hollywood’s idea of summer fun

By Joanne Laurier, 19 June 2015

Two new, not-so-comic comedies: one preoccupied with the life of Hollywood celebrities and the other, with the intelligence apparatus. What fun.

Wild and Black or White: Social problems, but the solutions?

By Joanne Laurier, 11 February 2015

Wild tells the true story of one woman’s 1,100-mile hike of self-discovery. Black or White recounts a custody battle between the white maternal grandfather and black paternal grandmother of a seven-year-old girl.

The Dardenne brothers’ Two Days, One Night: Who should pay for the present situation?

By Joanne Laurier, 29 January 2015

In a small Belgian factory, a woman fights to keep her job by trying to convince her workmates not to take a pay bonus.

Tim Burton’s Big Eyes: Kitsch has never helped anyone yet

By Joanne Laurier, 3 January 2015

Tim Burton’s new film Big Eyes tells the story of Margaret Keane, the American artist who created the “big-eye art” that became a mass marketing sensation in the 1960s.

Best films of 2014

By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 30 December 2014

Some interesting films opened in North America in 2014, a greater number than in many recent years. At the same time, sections of the film industry associated themselves more than ever with the American state.

Foxcatcher: Under the thumb of a wealthy madman

By Joanne Laurier, 23 December 2014

Bennett Miller’s film is based on events that culminated in the shocking 1996 murder of an Olympic wrestling champion by the multimillionaire scion, John Eleuthère du Pont, of the American chemical dynasty.

Devil’s Knot, The Congress, The Giver and The Last Sentence: A few of this year’s films

By Joanne Laurier, 15 December 2014

As 2014 draws to a close, the WSWS will comment on a number of films that were released in North America and, in some cases, globally in the course of the past 12 months.

Whiplash: Heaping scorn on mediocrity

By Joanne Laurier, 4 December 2014

A young drummer at an elite music conservatory becomes the protégé of an abusive instructor who believes artistic genius is formed by sheer force of will.

Jon Stewart’s Rosewater: Fatal sins of omission

By Joanne Laurier, 21 November 2014

Stewart, host of The Daily Show, has written and directed a film treating the Iranian government’s incarceration and torture of a London-based, Iranian-born journalist in the immediate aftermath of the 2009 presidential election.

Three darkish comedies: Birdman, The Skeleton Twins and St. Vincent

By Joanne Laurier, 30 October 2014

Birdman deals with the washed-up star of a super-hero franchise. The Skeleton Twins portrays two siblings trying to overcome a painful psychological legacy. St. Vincent features a misanthropic Vietnam veteran who forms a life-changing attachment.

The Gary Webb story in Kill the Messenger: Shedding light on CIA criminality and conspiracy

By Joanne Laurier, 17 October 2014

Michael Cuesta’s film tells the story of the journalist whose 1996 investigative series, “Dark Alliance,” uncovered ties between the Central Intelligence Agency and massive drug peddling by the right-wing Nicaraguan Contras.

Toronto International Film Festival 2014—Part 5

99 Homes, Shelter and harsh American realities: Filmmakers inch their way toward important truths

Director Ramin Bahrani: “The villain is the system”

By Joanne Laurier, 10 October 2014

99 Homes deals with the foreclosure and eviction crisis, Shelter with the homeless. Also screened was a documentary about a Mexican citizen 30 years on death row, The Years of Fierro.

John le Carré’s A Most Wanted Man brought to the screen

By Joanne Laurier, 1 August 2014

The film deals with post-9/11 intrigues and conflicts between European and American spy agencies triggered by the illegal arrival in Germany of a suspicious young Chechen

HBO’s Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro Sr. and Ida

By Joanne Laurier, 10 July 2014

The 40-minute documentary on the postwar American painter Robert De Niro, Sr. is a delicate and moving homage, in which his son, the actor Robert De Niro, figures prominently.

Entre Nos (Between US) and Red Father: Aspects of US life and history

By Joanne Laurier, 23 June 2014

Entre Nos dramatizes the plight of a Colombian immigrant and her two children in New York City. Red Father, a documentary, recounts the life and career of Bernard Ades, a lawyer and longtime member of the Communist Party.

Million Dollar Arm and Words and Pictures: Two Australian directors in Hollywood, for better or worse

By Joanne Laurier, 13 June 2014

A sanitized version of how professional baseball made its entry into India, and a clichéd version of how writing and painting complement one another.

Belle’s moving and enlightened story (and The Immigrant)

By Joanne Laurier, 30 May 2014

Amma Asante’s film recounts the remarkable 18th century story of Dido Belle, a mixed-race girl who ends up in the care of William Murray, England’s lord chief justice. James Gray’s The Immigrant is set in New York in 1921.

Captain America—The Winter Soldier: So much noise and action you almost fall asleep

By Joanne Laurier, 15 April 2014

This is the latest film installment featuring Marvel Comics’ character Captain America, one of the most prominent and patriotic superheroes introduced in American comic books in the World War II era.

Jason Bateman’s Bad Words: An inauspicious debut

By Joanne Laurier, 3 April 2014

Actor-director Jason Bateman plays Guy Trilby, a petulant, miserable 40-year-old who breaks into the spelling bee circuit by taking advantage of a loophole in the rules.

The Grand Budapest Hotel from Wes Anderson

By Joanne Laurier, 25 March 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a stylish, fantastical film, sometimes comic and sometimes tragic in its re-imagining of the period between the two world wars and the emergence of fascistic forces in Europe.

Tim’s Vermeer: Art and technology

By Joanne Laurier, 8 March 2014

The intriguing documentary centers on the attempt by Texas inventor Tim Jenison to explore the possibility that painter Johannes Vermeer used optical devices to help achieve his intricate interweaving of light, color and proportion.

House of Cards, season 2: The American politician as conspirator and murderer

By Joanne Laurier, 21 February 2014

The second season of House of Cards, the series produced by Netflix, reveals more of the exploits of Frank Underwood, Democratic Party vice president and chief conspirator.

The Monuments Men: An establishment film, in almost every way

By Joanne Laurier, 11 February 2014

George Clooney’s new film is the story of a squad of art experts serving in the US and Allied military who, toward the end of World War II, attempt to rescue art masterpieces stolen by the Nazis.

The Invisible Woman: Moralizing about Charles Dickens

By Joanne Laurier, 31 January 2014

The Invisible Woman, directed by Ralph Fiennes, sets out to treat the relationship between 45-year-old novelist Charles Dickens, then at the height of his fame in the late 1850s, and his 18-year-old mistress Ellen Ternan.

David O. Russell’s American Hustle: Nearly everybody gets a free pass

By Joanne Laurier, 6 January 2014

David O. Russell’s new movie is loosely based on the “Abscam” sting operation conducted by the FBI in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which led to the conviction of one US senator, six members of the House of Representatives and the mayor of Camden, New Jersey.

The Book Thief: The Nazis and the assault, then and now, on culture

By Joanne Laurier, 16 December 2013

Brian Percival’s movie deals in part with the horrors of the Kristallnacht period and is an effective reminder of the impact of Nazi atrocities on everyday life.

Alexander Payne’s Nebraska: How a great many people live today

By Joanne Laurier, 6 December 2013

The comedy-drama, shot in striking black-and-white, centers on Woody Grant of Billings, Montana, who is determined to get to Lincoln, Nebraska to claim one million dollars in a sweepstakes prize.

Lee Daniels’ The Butler: Identity politics at odds with history

By Joanne Laurier, 23 August 2013

Lee Daniels’ The Butler is a fiction film based on the life of Eugene Allen, an African American who worked in the White House for 34 years, from the administration of President Harry Truman to that of Ronald Reagan.

Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine and The Way Way Back

By Joanne Laurier, 16 August 2013

Woody Allen has directed more than 40 films in the past 44 years, not to much purpose in recent years. The Way Way Back is a likable, but overly familiar take on growing up.

Copperhead: What are these people up to?

By Joanne Laurier, 24 July 2013

What is the significance of director Ron Maxwell, who made the generally laudable Gettysburg two decades ago, coming out with a favorable treatment of Lincoln’s Northern opponents in the year of the battle’s sesquicentennial?

Dirty Wars: Revealing material, but missing the most important questions

By Joanne Laurier, 11 July 2013

The documentary film, directed by Richard Rowley, follows reporter Jeremy Scahill into the covert, murderous world of American Special Forces as the latter prosecute the US government’s so-called war on terror.

Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha and Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell: Incompleteness as a problem

By Joanne Laurier, 14 June 2013

Frances Ha and Stories We Tell are articulate and well-made films. What’s missing from them, however, is as interesting as what’s there.

New on US television: Arrested Development (again), Behind the Candelabra and Family Tree

By Joanne Laurier, 1 June 2013

The much anticipated new season of Arrested Development was released last week. Steven Soderbergh’s biography of Liberace also aired on HBO. Christopher Guest’s Family Tree is a new and promising series.

San Francisco International Film Festival 2013—Part four

The plight of African boat people in The Pirogue, and other films

By Joanne Laurier, 27 May 2013

Moussa Touré’s The Pirogue is a fictional account of West Africans seeking to escape grinding poverty in a desperate voyage. Also, Joanne Laurier comments on documentaries about the Beatles’ secretary and the Chinese art scene.

San Francisco International Film Festival 2013—Part one

The Kill Team: The murderous reality of the US war in Afghanistan

By Joanne Laurier, 16 May 2013

The 56th San Francisco International Film Festival recently concluded. The event this year screened 158 films from 51 countries, including 67 fiction features, 28 documentary features and 63 short films.

No from Chile and The Sapphires from Australia

By Joanne Laurier, 12 April 2013

No by Chilean director Pablo Larraín is the last in a trilogy of films about life under the Pinochet dictatorship. The Sapphires, directed by Wayne Blair, centers on an all-Aboriginal female singing group in the late 1960s.

The Gatekeepers from Israel and a film version of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road

By Joanne Laurier, 4 April 2013

Dror Moreh’s new documentary is a glimpse into the crisis wracking Israeli society. Brazilian filmmaker Walter Salles has brought Jack Kerouac’s Beat novel to the screen.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master: The limits of making it up as you go along

By Joanne Laurier, 25 February 2013

In Paul Thomas Anderson’s new movie, The Master, a World War II US Navy veteran facing an uncertain future is attracted to a quasi-religious movement and its charismatic leader.

Dustin Hoffman’s Quartet: Aging and the artist

By Joanne Laurier, 1 February 2013

The movie concerns itself with a group of retired opera singers and musicians housed in an elegant manor in pastoral Britain.

Hitchcock: Small change, for the most part

By Joanne Laurier, 10 January 2013

Sacha Gervasi’s new film focuses on the making of Psycho (1960), one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best known works.

Best films of 2012

By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 29 December 2012

The general state of the film world presents a sharper contradiction than ever, as underlined by a number of recently released films and the critics’ reactions to them.

A new film version of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina (and Sean Baker’s Starlet )

By Joanne Laurier, 22 December 2012

British filmmaker Joe Wright and screenwriter Tom Stoppard have collaborated on a new film adaptation of Tolstoy’s classic novel. Starlet tells the story of a relationship between two women in California’s San Fernando Valley.

The Central Park Five: A story of injustice

By Joanne Laurier, 12 December 2012

Directed and produced by renowned documentarian Ken Burns, daughter Sarah Burns and her husband David McMahon, The Central Park Five chronicles an infamous case in 1989.

Silver Linings Playbook: It’s the little things in life …

By Joanne Laurier, 29 November 2012

In this comedy-drama, former substitute history teacher Pat has just been released from a psychiatric facility when he meets Tiffany, the widow of a policeman. Together they struggle to overcome their difficulties.

A comment and an interview with filmmaker Minda Martin

Free Land: American dreams and realities

By Joanne Laurier, 15 November 2012

Minda Martin’s 2010 film Free Land, at the same time a documentary-essay and personal memoir, poetically and evocatively connects a variety of social and personal events.