David Edelstein

David Edelstein is a film critic for New York magazine and for NPR's Fresh Air, and an occasional commentator on film for CBS Sunday Morning. He has also written film criticism for the Village Voice, The New York Post, and Rolling Stone, and is a frequent contributor to the New York Times' Arts & Leisure section.

A member of the National Society of Film Critics, he is the author of the play Blaming Mom, and the co-author of Shooting to Kill (with producer Christine Vachon).

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11:54pm

Thu November 3, 2011
Movie Reviews

'Crazy' In Love, And Feeling Every Moment Of It

In Drake Doremus's drama Like Crazy, the lovestruck Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones) are forced to separate when Anna violates the terms of her student visa.
Fred Hayes Paramount Vantage

Movies are often about falling in love and sometimes falling out of love, but the best for my money are about falling in and out of love in a way you'd need a higher order of physics to graph. That higher physicist could start with Drake Doremus's drama Like Crazy, which evokes as well as any film I've seen the now loopy, now jagged flow from infatuation to intoxication to addiction to withdrawal to re-addiction. It's not an especially deep or psychological movie. It's just crazy painful.

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9:19am

Fri October 28, 2011
Movie Reviews

Shakespeare, Thompson: Stick To The Print Versions

Rhys Ifans plays the Elizabethan aristocrat Edward de Vere in Roland Emmerich's Anonymous. The movie speculates that de Vere, not Shakespeare, was the real author of the bard's works.

Reiner Bajo Columbia Pictures

Two new films show how tough it is to do justice to good writers on-screen. Johnny Depp certainly means to do right by his pal Hunter S. Thompson in The Rum Diary. He played Thompson in Terry Gilliam's rollicking but not especially watchable Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and narrated a documentary about him.

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4:02pm

Thu October 20, 2011
Movie Reviews

'Margin Call': A Movie Occupied With Wall Street

Kevin Spacey gives "a major performance, his best in a decade," as a Wall Street executive trying to do the right thing in the middle of a financial panic.

JoJo Whiden Roadside Attractions

The timing is almost too good: a terrific Wall Street melodrama at the moment the Occupy Wall Street protests are building. We haven't seen the like since Three Mile Island had a near-meltdown a couple of days after The China Syndrome exploded into theaters. Now, Margin Call seems anything but marginal.

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3:30pm

Thu October 13, 2011
Movie Reviews

Almodovar Gets Under The 'Skin,' But How Deeply?

Originally published on Fri October 14, 2011 1:54 pm

Vera (Elena Anaya) is both patient and obsession for plastic surgeon Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas), who is bent on creating a synthetic skin that can resist any kind of damage.

Sony Pictures Classics

At festivals and in interviews, Pedro Almodovar is such a furry cuddle bear that it's possible to forget what a perverse filmmaker he can be — that is, until you watch something like his nasty new gender-bent Frankenstein picture, The Skin I Live In. It's a self-conscious, madly ambitious work, rife with allusions to countless other films. But does it have a soul? I couldn't detect one amid all its borrowed tropes.

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4:32pm

Thu October 6, 2011
Movie Reviews

'Ides Of March': These Days, All Politics Is Lowball

Ryan Gosling plays a cheeky campaign press secretary facing a scandal that could destroy his candidate.

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Before it turns predictably cynical, George Clooney's campaign melodrama The Ides of March plays like gangbusters. The banter is fast, the cast in clover: Actors love to play hyperarticulate characters, people who actually know what they're talking about, and there are lots of good details here about How Things Work behind the scenes in a political campaign.

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4:34pm

Thu September 29, 2011
Movie Reviews

An Atmospheric 'Shelter' For Era Full Of Foreboding

Dark Skies: Jeff Nichols' haunting Take Shelter centers on an Ohio man (Michael Shannon, with Tova Stewart) plagued with nightmares about a coming apocalypse.
Sony Pictures Classics

It's easy to giggle at the hero of Jeff Nichols' second feature, Take Shelter. Michael Shannon is Curtis, a crew chief for an Ohio sand-mining company who's ravaged by apocalyptic visions and nightmares. He's wiggy to start with and increasingly more unhinged, on a switchback track to madness that threatens to devastate his family. Curtis sees funnel clouds, locusts, even people staggering through the night like zombies. He knows it might all be in his head: His mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia at about the same age he is now. But in the end, he follows his dreams.

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6:23am

Fri September 23, 2011
Movie Reviews

'Moneyball': A 'Bad News Bears' For MBAs

Brad Pitt plays the former Oakland A's General Manager Billy Beane who revolutionized the recruiting analysis in major league baseball.
Melinda Sue Gordon ASSOCIATED PRESS

The film of Michael Lewis's game-changing nonfiction bestseller Moneyball is inside baseball, literally, but it wouldn't be so rousing if that were all it was. The book tells the story of Billy Beane, the General Manager of a small-market ball team, the Oakland Athletics. Heading into the 2002 season, he has a quarter the amount of money to pay players as the near-perennial champions the Yankees.

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4:33pm

Thu September 15, 2011
Movie Reviews

A Twisty, Brutal 'Drive' For A Level-Headed Hero

The Fast Lane: A Hollywood stunt driver (Ryan Gosling) earns a little extra by driving getaway cars by night.
Richard Foreman FilmDistrict

The hero of Drive is called "Driver" because that's what he does, and in a thriller this self-consciously existential, what he does is who he is.

He's played by Ryan Gosling as a kind of anti-blowhard. He's taciturn, watchful, cool. He works as a mechanic and sometimes a Hollywood driving stuntman. He also drives getaway cars with astonishing proficiency and a computer-like knowledge of L.A. surface streets, holding a matchstick between his teeth as if to keep his mouth from moving, and his feelings under wraps.

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1:36pm

Wed August 31, 2011
Movies

A Graceful Search For 'Higher Ground'

Vera Farmiga plays Corinne Walker, a woman who decides to join and then flee a fundamentalist religious group. The film, directed by Farmiga, is based on Carolyn S. Briggs' memoir This Dark World.
Molly Hawkey Sony Picture Classics

Vera Farmiga's Higher Ground centers on a woman who joins and, after a decade, flees a fundamentalist religious order, but the tone isn't irreverent: The film is flushed with wonder, hope, and, finally, heartbreak. In the memoir on which it's based, This Dark World, writer Carolyn S. Briggs never stops longing for a connection to God.

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10:00am

Thu August 18, 2011
Movie Reviews

Four Hours In 'Lisbon': A Rich And Dreamy Voyage

Pedro da Silva, an orphaned boy trying to uncover his family history, appears in two different incarnations in Mysteries Of Lisbon (including Afonso Pimentel as his older self). He stages all of the events of the film on his own puppet stage, forcing viewers to question what's real and what isn't.
Music Box Films

Chilean-born director Raoul Ruiz is 70 years old has made more than 100 films, only a few of which have been distributed in the U.S. — but he's beloved at festivals and in film studies programs everywhere. I've seen seven of his movies, and five struck me as less than meets the eye — not just difficult but pointlessly disorienting, the disjunctions like manic tics meant to break up the relationship between image and language.

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9:57am

Wed August 10, 2011
Movie Reviews

Heavy-Handed 'Help' Saved By Great Acting

From left: Bryce Dallas Howard, Sissy Spacek and Octavia Spencer star in The Help, based on a novel by Kathryn Stockett.
Dale Robinette Dreamworks Pictures

Few fictional films wear their political messages as proudly or loudly as The Help, which centers on black female domestic servants in Jackson, Miss., in the early 60s and a 23-year-old white woman who induces them to tell their stories for a book to be called, appropriately enough, The Help.

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