Film Reviews by David Walsh, WSWS Arts Editor
Still Alice and Kingsman: The Secret Service—A woman battles disease and a street kid helps save the world …
By Joanne Laurier, 23 February 2015
In Still Alice, a middle class professor and her family struggle with Alzheimer’s, and in the comic book-based Kingsman: The Secret Service, a working class youth is recruited by an elite spy agency.
By David Walsh, 16 February 2015
Set in Greece in the early 1960s, Iranian-born director Hossein Amini’s film, based on a Patricia Highsmith novel, follows a trio of Americans caught up in a series of increasingly traumatic events.
By David Walsh, 5 February 2015
In Barry Levinson’s film, based on a Philip Roth novel, an aging stage actor, who has lost the appetite for performing, encounters a younger woman with interesting consequences.
By David Walsh, 31 January 2015
The campaign in defense of Clint Eastwood’s film is the latest means by which the political and media establishment in the US is promoting its war-mongering agenda.
By David Walsh, 28 January 2015
Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film, his seventh feature, is based on the 2009 novel of the same name by well-known American writer Thomas Pynchon.
By Fred Mazelis and Tom Mackaman, 20 January 2015
Most attention has been focused on the relationship between Martin Luther King and Lyndon Johnson, but far deeper questions must be explored, including the significance of the mass movement against Jim Crow segregation, its political limitations and its fate.
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.
By Andre Damon and David Walsh, 29 December 2014
It is entirely fitting that The Interview has been embraced by the Obama administration as the vehicle of the values it represents.
19 December 2014
This work by WSWS Arts and Culture Editor David Walsh is now available in ePub and Kindle formats. It is an important contribution to the study of Hollywood and global cinema and belongs in every Marxist library.
Under the Skin (or aliens from another social class) and Mood Indigo (more inventiveness from Michel Gondry)
By David Walsh, 16 December 2014
Under the Skin is loosely adapted from Michael Faber’s 2000 science fiction novel. Mood Indigo is based on French writer Boris Vian’s famed 1947 novel, L’ Écume des jours.
By David Walsh, 1 November 2014
David Ayer’s morbid and militarist film follows an American tank crew, led by Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt), in the final days of World War II in Europe.
By Marcelo Arias Souto, 22 October 2014
Gone Girl wants to be a psychological study, a black comedy about the upper middle class, a social critique and a satire of media sensationalism. A few aspects are intriguing, even accomplished.
Toronto International Film Festival 2014—Part 6
By David Walsh, 15 October 2014
Danis Tanović’s new film focuses on a scandal that stretches back at least four decades—the marketing of infant formula to women in poor countries, which has caused untold suffering and death.
Toronto International Film Festival 2014—Part 3
and a roundtable interview with writer-director Andrew Niccol and actor Ethan Hawke
By David Walsh, 26 September 2014
New Zealand-born writer-director Andrew Niccol has taken on the subject of drone warfare in Good Kill, featuring Ethan Hawke, Bruce Greenwood, Zoë Kravitz and January Jones.
25 September 2014
This year’s Toronto International Film Festival presented a number of films about the foreclosure crisis and homelessness as well as about drone warfare.
By Charles Thorpe and Norisa Diaz, 23 July 2014
Theroux’s new three-part series provides glimpses of the social crisis in Los Angeles, but the documentarian’s approach prevents him from probing very deeply.
By David Walsh, 4 June 2014
Estera, a middle class Jewish girl in Bucharest, has to make a choice between pursuing a job in Atlanta, working for a nouveau riche thug, or joining her mother in Israel.
By Kevin Martinez, 10 May 2014
The film concerns the efforts of Chavez (Michael Pena) to unionize farm workers in California’s Central Valley during the 1960s and early 1970s.
By David Walsh, 8 April 2014
Longtime film, television and stage actor Mickey Rooney died on Sunday at the age of 93. Rooney was one of the most popular American movie stars in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
By our correspondents, 1 April 2014
WSWS arts editor David Walsh discussed problems of art, culture, and cinema at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York on March 27.
By David Walsh, 28 March 2014
The subject of this documentary is American photographer Vivian Maier (1926-2009), who made virtually no efforts to publish her remarkable photos during her lifetime.
By David Walsh, 4 March 2014
Sunday’s awards ceremony in Hollywood was undistinguished for the most part by excitement, urgency or social insight.
Talk by WSWS arts editor David Walsh
By David Walsh, 28 January 2014
WSWS arts editor David Walsh gave a talk in Detroit recently to SEP members and supporters to mark the publication of The Sky Between the Leaves. This is the second of two parts.
Talk by WSWS Arts Editor David Walsh
By David Walsh, 27 January 2014
WSWS arts editor David Walsh gave a talk in Detroit recently to SEP members and supporters to mark the publication of The Sky Between the Leaves. This is the first of two parts.
By David Walsh, 15 January 2014
The new film, Her, is writer-director Spike Jonze’s fourth feature film, following Being John Malkovich (1999), Adaptation (2002) and Where the Wild Things Are (2009).
By David Walsh, 30 December 2013
Martin Scorsese’s new film treats the career of convicted stock swindler and con artist Jordan Belfort, who benefited from the rise of financial gangsterism in the US to make a fortune in the late 1980s and 1990s.
Filmmaking and social life in postwar America
By David Walsh, 19 December 2013
The early film work of American director Anthony Mann, a major figure of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, is the subject of a new book. This is the second of two parts.
Filmmaking and social life in postwar America
By David Walsh, 18 December 2013
The early film work of American director Anthony Mann, a major figure of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, is the subject of a new book. In two parts.
A new film version of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations: “Those wretched hankerings after money and gentility”
By David Walsh, 20 November 2013
British filmmaker Mike Newell has directed a valuable, moving adaptation of Dickens’s remarkable novel.
By David Walsh, 6 November 2013
The most recent film from Greek-born director Costa-Gavras, best known for Z (1969), State of Siege (1972), and Missing (1982), is Capital, a scathing assault on the world of financial speculation.
Toronto International Film Festival 2013
By David Walsh, 2 October 2013
David Walsh spoke to Dyana Gaye, the Franco-Senegalese director of Under the Starry Sky during the recent Toronto film festival.
Toronto International Film Festival 2013—Part 5
By David Walsh, 2 October 2013
Franco-Senegalese director Dyana Gaye’s Under the Starry Sky takes place in three cities simultaneously, over the course of one winter.
By David Walsh, 2 September 2013
The Artist and the Model, from Spanish director Fernando Trueba, is a convincing work about an artistic type that seems in short supply at present.
By David Walsh, 30 August 2013
Closed Circuit is a drama, directed by John Crowley, about the infiltration of a terrorist cell by the British intelligence services and how it goes wrong.
By David Walsh, 28 August 2013
James Ponsoldt’s new film treats young people in an American town (it was shot in Athens, Georgia), based on a 2008 novel by Tim Tharp.
By David Walsh, 13 August 2013
The principal challenge in writing about a film like Elysium, a science fiction work that treats inequality in the year 2154, is to make neither too much nor too little of it.
By David Walsh, 10 July 2013
American film and television producer, director and writer Joss Whedon has adapted William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing for the screen.
San Francisco International Film Festival 2013—Part six
Two very different documentaries: Sofia’s Last Ambulance and Sing Me The Songs That Say I Love You—A Concert for Kate McGarrigle
By David Walsh, 4 June 2013
The recent San Francisco film festival screened a number of documentary films, including these two, contrasting works.
San Francisco International Film Festival 2013—Part three
By David Walsh, 24 May 2013
At least two films at the San Francisco festival treated art, the artistic personality, or both, in a compelling fashion.
San Francisco Film Festival 2013
By David Walsh, 24 May 2013
David Walsh spoke to Jem Cohen, director of Museum Hours, during the recent San Francisco film festival.
By David Walsh, 14 May 2013
In the 1925 novel, the various desperate and delusional relationships set off a tragic series of events, which result in death and misery for the upstarts and have-nots. The wealthy characters alone escape unscathed.
By David Walsh, 18 April 2013
The new film from director Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine, 2010), set in and around Schenectady, New York, is made up of several interconnected stories that take place over the course of fifteen years.
By David Walsh, 26 March 2013
One of the most compelling films screened at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, Think of Me, directed by American filmmaker Bryan Wizemann, now retitled About Sunny, is finally available.
By David Walsh, 26 February 2013
The 2013 Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles Sunday night was one of those public events that diminishes virtually everyone involved, including the more or less “innocent bystanders.”
By David Walsh, 20 February 2013
In David Chase’s film, a young man and his friends pursue various dreams, or fail to, in suburban New Jersey in the mid-1960s.
By David Walsh, 18 January 2013
The filmmaker and her screenwriter Mark Boal, in their political blindness and misreading of the current state of American public opinion, thought they could get away with murder, as it were.
By David Walsh, 11 January 2013
This year’s Academy Award nominations were announced Thursday morning during a media event at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California.
By David Walsh, 5 January 2013
A German-born bounty hunter teams up with an ex-slave in the antebellum South in Quentin Tarantino’s newest film.
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.
By David Walsh, 28 December 2012
In Stephen Chbosky’s film, based on his 1999 novel, the central character, Charlie, a 15-year-old high school student, narrates the story in the form of letters to an anonymous “friend.”
By David Walsh, 15 December 2012
The new film directed by Taiwanese-born Ang Lee is based on a 2001 novel—winner of the Booker Prize—by Canadian author Yann Martel.
By David Walsh, 10 November 2012
In Flight Denzel Washington plays Whip Whitaker, a highly skilled pilot with a serious drinking and drug problem, who becomes a hero when he averts a plane crash. However …
By David Walsh, 2 November 2012
German director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, Heaven) and Andy and Lana Wachowski, responsible for the Matrix films, have teamed up to adapt David Mitchell’s 2004 novel, Cloud Atlas, for the screen.
Toronto International Film Festival 2012—Part 6
Interviews with five filmmakers about life and art in India, Ivory Coast, Guatemala, Angola and Haiti
By David Walsh, 9 October 2012
A good many honest and intriguing films screened at the recent Toronto film festival. The WSWS interviewed a number of directors about their films and the conditions in their respective countries.
Toronto International Film Festival 2012—Part 4
By David Walsh, 2 October 2012
Far From Afghanistan is an effort by five US directors to come to terms with the decade-long Afghanistan war and its implications for both the Afghan and American populations.
Toronto International Film Festival 2012
Interviews with John Gianvito, Minda Martin and Travis Wilkerson—co-directors of Far From Afghanistan
By David Walsh, 2 October 2012
The WSWS spoke to three of the five directors of Far From Afghanistan.
Toronto International Film Festival 2012—Part 2
By David Walsh, 26 September 2012
Mahdi Fleifel’s A World Not Ours, one of the most remarkable films presented at the Toronto festival this year, is both a personal memoir and a tracing out of the Palestinian history and condition.
Toronto International Film Festival 2012
By David Walsh, 26 September 2012
The WSWS spoke to Mahdi Fleifel, writer and director of A World Not Ours and Patrick Campbell, co-producer (along with Fleifel) of the film, during the recent Toronto film festival.
Toronto International Film Festival 2012—Part 1
By David Walsh, 22 September 2012
The Toronto International Film Festival screened some 372 films this year from 72 countries. This year’s festival and the general state of the film world present a sharper contradiction than ever.
By David Walsh, 17 August 2012
In Jay Roach’s film, an incumbent Democratic member of Congress finds himself opposed by a local oddball, backed by a pair of evil billionaire brothers.
By David Walsh, 2 March 2012
A number of US media critics have attacked this year’s Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles with such venom that it invites a second look.
By David Walsh, 28 February 2012
At the 84th Academy Awards ceremony Sunday in Los Angeles, The Artist and Hugo took home the most awards. Comic Billy Crystal hosted the event.
Toronto International Film Festival 2011—Part 5
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 26 October 2011
The recent Toronto film festival screened several films from Iran—including This is Not a Film, about the house arrest of filmmaker Jafar Panahi, co-directed by Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, and Good Bye from Mohammad Rasoulof.
By David Walsh, 19 October 2011
The new film directed by George Clooney, The Ides of March, is set in the world of contemporary American politics.
Toronto International Film Festival 2011—Part 3
By David Walsh, 12 October 2011
Certain filmmakers are beginning to reckon with social questions as factors in human psychology and behavior. Others continue to take the line of least resistance.
Toronto International Film Festival 2011—Part 1
By David Walsh, 30 September 2011
The recent 36th Toronto International Film Festival screened some 335 features and shorts from 65 countries.
By David Walsh, 28 May 2011
In Win Win, the third feature film from writer-director Tom McCarthy, Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti) is an eldercare attorney whose practice is in trouble, a victim of the economic downturn.
By David Walsh, 21 May 2011
Hesher is an American independent film. It is the story of a grief-stricken family, and the troubled and troubling young man who imposes himself on them.
By David Walsh, 5 May 2011
A new edition of a critical study and biography of filmmaker Steven Spielberg has been published. David Walsh recently spoke with its author, Joseph McBride. This is the second part of the discussion.
By David Walsh, 4 May 2011
A new edition of a critical study and biography of filmmaker Steven Spielberg has been published. David Walsh recently spoke with its author, Joseph McBride.
By David Walsh, 8 April 2011
The Lincoln Lawyer is a thriller-courtroom drama centering on Los Angeles attorney Mickey Haller, directed by Brad Furman (The Take) and adapted from the best-selling 2005 novel by veteran crime writer Michael Connelly.
By David Walsh, 9 March 2011
George Nolfi’s film, The Adjustment Bureau, is loosely based on a 1954 short story by science fiction writer Philip K. Dick.
By David Walsh, 1 March 2011
The 83rd Academy Awards ceremony, held Sunday night in Los Angeles, yielded few surprises, in terms of either the various presentations and special appearances or the winners in the most-prized categories.
By David Walsh, 23 February 2011
Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) is a sheltered insurance agent from a small town in Wisconsin in Cedar Rapids, a comedy directed by Miguel Arteta.
By David Walsh, 9 February 2011
In The Company Men, writer-director John Wells aims to dramatize the devastating consequences of the financial crash of September 2008.
By David Walsh, 26 January 2011
The Academy Awards process, like a good many social events in the US at this point, has a largely ritualistic character. Very little is left to chance, either in the nomination process or the ceremony itself.
By David Walsh, 2 December 2010
Why do make people make films? Why do people go see them? These questions come up in relation to Morning Glory, a film about the television business, directed by Roger Michell, because it seems such an essentially empty exercise.
Toronto International Film Festival 2010—Part 5
By David Walsh, 14 October 2010
Films from Iran, China and Romania, including a conversation with Iranian filmmaker Rafi Pitts, director of The Hunter.
San Francisco International Film Festival 2010 Part 2: Susa—The type of life that requires illusions
By David Walsh, 11 May 2010
Susa, directed by Rusudan Pirveli and written by Giorgi Chalauri, comes from Georgia, the former Soviet Republic. The title character (played by Avtandil Tetradze) is a boy living in bad conditions, somewhere outside the capital city of Tbilisi.
By David Walsh, 3 April 2010
Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale and Margot at the Wedding) has directed a new film, Greenberg. Its lead character, Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller), has come out to Los Angeles from New York, after experiencing some kind of a nervous breakdown.
By David Walsh, 5 March 2010
The Ghost Writer centers on a British writer who makes his living writing about other people’s lives in their name. He is hired by a major US publishing firm to work up the memoirs of a former British prime minister.
By David Walsh, 21 January 2010
Scott Cooper’s new film, with Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Robert Duvall, follows “Bad” Blake, a veteran country singer, as he attempts to resurrect his career and his life.
By David Walsh, 23 December 2009
After more than a decade since the release of his last feature film, writer-director James Cameron returns with his latest “blockbuster,” a technically innovative, but dramatically weak science fiction film.
By David Walsh, 2 December 2009
The decade of the 1960s receives a great deal of attention in English-language films and television. For the most part, the presentation of that period is superficial and simplistic, if not downright misleading.
By David Walsh, 18 November 2009
Filmmaker Roman Polanski remains in a Zurich jail cell, while his lawyers fight the efforts by US authorities to extradite him. The director has a half-century-long artistic career that needs to be assessed.
Toronto International Film Festival 2009—Part 6
By David Walsh, 17 October 2009
Lars von Trier from Denmark, once associated with the Dogme 95 group, has been making films for some two decades. His latest effort is Antichrist. It is a murky, hopelessly contrived, and, frankly, ridiculous film.
Toronto International Film Festival 2009—Part 4
By David Walsh, 10 October 2009
Where are the extraordinary and captivating film dramas, and comedies, that go to the heart of our time?
By Joanne Laurier and David Walsh, 6 October 2009
Veteran documentary filmmaker Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story sets out to examine the recent financial collapse. His aim, he suggests, is a critique of the existing economic set-up.
Toronto International Film Festival 2009—Part 2
By David Walsh, 3 October 2009
Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein have directed at least three remarkable documentaries about the US invasion of Iraq and its consequences: (Gunner Palace (2004), The Prisoner or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair (2006), and now, How To Fold a Flag.
By David Walsh, 29 July 2009
In Atom Egoyan’s Adoration, Simon is a high school student in Toronto, whose teacher, for reasons of her own, encourages him to pose as the son of a would-be terrorist.
By David Walsh, 15 July 2009
The most recent effort from Woody Allen is a very poor film, unconvincingly and even cartoonishly written and performed, accomplished with little humor or grace.
By David Walsh, 30 May 2009
Lymelife, directed and co-written by Derick Martini (along with his brother Steven), takes place in a New York City suburb in the late 1970s or early 1980s. The film has its share of clichés, but it also reveals a certain insight.
By David Walsh, 28 April 2009
State of Play is a political thriller, based on a mini-series broadcast by the BBC in 2003. The filmmakers have transposed the events to the US and condensed six hours to two. The general shape of the events has remained the same.
By David Walsh, 8 April 2009
In Christine Jeffs’ film, set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, two sisters (Amy Adams and Emily Blunt) go into business together--cleaning up crime scenes.
By David Walsh, 27 March 2009
After the relatively critical edge of Michael Clayton, filmmaker Tony Gilroy appears to offer an olive branch to Hollywood in the form of the trivial, unengaged Duplicity.
By David Walsh, 13 March 2009
Films are only going to get worse before they get better, if Watchmen and the noisy, bombastic trailers accompanying it are any indication.
By David Walsh, 9 January 2009
In Clint Eastwood’s newest film, the actor-director plays a retired auto worker, Walt Kowalski, who’s chosen to go on living in his old, seriously deteriorating neighborhood in metropolitan Detroit.
By David Walsh, 3 January 2009
Doubt takes place in the Bronx, New York in 1964. A conflict emerges at a Catholic school between a relatively young and ‘progressive’ parish priest, Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and a battle-ax of a nun, Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep).
By David Walsh, 31 December 2008
2008 will be remembered as the year of a great economic crash and a turning point in modern history. It will not be recalled as a great year in filmmaking, despite a few bright spots.
By David Walsh, 24 December 2008
Israeli director Ari Folman’s Waltz With Bashir is one of the most extraordinary and haunting films of the year. Folman has made an animated film that ends with the tragic events at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in 1982.