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" Borg? Sounds Swedish "
— [?] as Lillie, Star Trek: First Contact

MRQE Top Critic

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Pic of the Week

Each week we pick a recommended "Pic" from our archives. Below are our most recent picks.

Frank

****2014, Lenny Abrahamson

There’s more to the absurd than just amusement

The first thing to know about Frank is that he never goes anywhere without his big fiberglass head. As his friend Don says, “you’re just going to have to go with this.”

Human Capital

***2013, Paolo Virzì

Italian film weaves three lives from different social strata into a complex whole

Human Capital is an Italian “network narrative” with overlapping threads in one-percenter-land and the middle class. The lowest member of society in the film, an overworked waiter catering a fancy party, is killed on his bike in the opening scene, which inconveniences the members of the other classes.

Like Father, Like Son

***1/22014, Hirokazu Koreeda

A heartfelt charmer from Director Kore-eda overcomes its contrived plot point

Of the three hundred films at Toronto, I made sure to see Like Father, Like Son because I had been charmed by a couple of director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s previous films, including I Wish, about two pre-teen brothers who dream of taking a bullet train to visit each other, and the bittersweet Nobody Knows, about four siblings who secretly raised themselves after their mother abandoned them.

The Bridge

***1/22007, Eric Steel

Documents the nature, circumstances, and motivations of suicide

The Bridge catalogs a year in the life of the Golden Gate Bridge, specifically the suicides and suicide attempts associated with the landmark.

Inside Llewyn Davis

***1/22013, Ethan Coen, and Joel Coen

Mythic tale of artistic rejection in the 1960s folk scene

Watching Inside Llewyn Davis is enjoyable enough. The Coen brothers offer humor, music, drama and funny cat videos. But it’s not until after the movie, chewing over its characters, events, and emotions that I began to really be impressed.

The Imitation Game

***1/22014, Morten Tyldum

Intriguing character study and exciting war drama rolled into one

A favorite at Telluride and the People’s Choice winner at Toronto, The Imitation Game stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, the father of modern computing.

Transformers 2

***2009, Michael Bay

A big, noisy, brash summer blockbuster entirely unashamed of those aspirations

A couple decades of human history down the road and this will be looked back on as “classic Bay.” Whatever that might mean is a debate for another time.

The Great Mouse Detective

***1986, Ron Clements, and Burny Mattinson

Basil of Baker Street finds a new DVD release.

Released one year after Disney’s highly-touted The Black Cauldron fizzled and three years before The Little Mermaid reinvigorated theatrical animated features, The Great Mouse Detective is a nice little diversion that holds its own charms and foreshadows the success to come more than recalls the failures of the past.

Juno

****2007, Jason Reitman

Introducing a screenwriter with raw talent and hot new actress

“This is a night of discovery for you,” Jason Reitman beamed proudly after the screening of his new comedy, Juno. The film had its Starz Denver Film Fest “Big Night” audience laughing all the way through, so much so that it was easy to miss subsequent lines in the hubbub. He explained that not only was this audience getting a chance to discover the actress playing the title character, Juno, but we were also getting our first taste of new screenwriter Diablo Cody’s work, whom he said wrote the screenplay in seven weeks at a Starbucks in a Target store and has “the closest thing to raw talent of anyone I have ever worked with.”

Teknolust

***2002, Lynn Hershman- Leeson

A big step ahead of Conceiving Ada

Teknolust is a bright and airy sci-fi comedy. But I wondered while watching it, are we laughing at the right jokes? The obvious attempts at humor are only half clever, yet because there are some amusing moments it seems to be funny in spite of itself. Still, it is a big improvement over Conceiving Ada, director Lynn Hershman Leeson’s first effort at sci-fi with a feminist slant.