In a season that's packed with big-budget headline-grabbers, it's hard for a quiet but compelling film such as California Solo to get a little attention. Make the effort to find it; you won't be sorry.
Steven Spielberg's Lincoln opens in wide release today, after a limited release last Friday -- and with luck, Barack Obama will not only see it but take it as a template for the current lame-duck session of Congress and for his impending second term.
It was supposed to be a documentary about the dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay. But the material he was reading about the pollution of the bay was too scary. So director Barry Levinson made a horror movie instead: The Bay.
Imagine investing the price of a movie ticket in as many fun-size candy bars as that sum will buy -- and then eating them all in one sitting. Imagine how you would feel -- and it would still be better than how you feel after sitting through Fun Size.
What is Cloud Atlas about? In various ways, it examines the nature of tyranny and the human instinct toward freedom. It is about the search for truth and the many obstacles that stand in the way of that search.
The dividing lines have already been drawn -- and continue to be drawn -- about what should or shouldn't be among the year-end awards contenders. And the biggest line, of course, has to do with The Master.
The best films about recovery from addiction are not about reaching rock bottom and making that choice to stop. Rather, like Smashed, they're about the very real and difficult task of going on, in an emotionally unshielded and intensely vulnerable way.
I'm not one who worships at the altar of Tim Burton, probably disliking his films as often as I am moved by them. But I fell hard for Frankenweenie, an extrapolation of a short film Burton made almost 30 years ago.
It's one thing when documentaries like Davis Guggenheim's Waiting for 'Superman and Madeleine Sackler's much better The Lottery look at problems in public education and offer some solutions (such as charter schools).