On the theater front, Matilda is a wonder to behold. From Rob Howell's playful sets and costumes to Tim Minchin's slyly spare score to the adorable kids who sing it, there isn't a false moment in this Roald Dahl adaptation by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
You know what an audience-friendly film is. It tells a story that engages you about characters you can like and root for. Yet those films -- movies that seek to tell a story that uplifts or inspires -- often get short shrift from critics for that reason alone.
If Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life was too much the dialogue-driven, story-heavy film for your liking, you'll probably be more in the mood for his latest, To the Wonder, which features Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Olga Kurylenko in its cast.
Granted, maybe Affleck and especially Kurylenko go overboard with the frolicking and gamboling in Malick's idiosyncratic take on lovers. But you don't need religion to savor this hymn about profane and sacred love -- and about light, maybe the film's central subject.