David Thomson

Not Every Scandal Needs a Movie
The Only Good Lance Armstrong Film Would Star Lance Himself
February 01, 2013

The prospect of seeing Al Pacino play Joe Paterno, or anyone play Lance Armstrong, is reason enough to give up the film critic business.

'Parade’s End': Ford Madox Ford’s Masterpiece Comes to the Screen
'Downton Abbey' for grown-ups
January 27, 2013

Imagine the production values of “Downton Abbey,” but aimed at a grown-up audience.

Why Helen Hunt Deserves a Best Actress Oscar for The Sessions
January 19, 2013

The Oscars are odd. It’s just about the only reason left for having them; that and for the sake of the people who make red carpets. Every year when the nominations come out, there are three or four days of stories about the “surprises” and the people who were “snubbed.” So Tom Hooper and Kathryn Bigelow were overlooked, but Michael Haneke was remarked on. And Helen Hunt got a supporting actress nod for The Sessions. No, I’m not suggesting that she was undeserving—far from it.

Django Unchained Is All Talk With Nothing to Say
January 05, 2013

Tarantino says his new movie is a tribute to spaghetti Westerns. What it is is ridiculous, prolonged, and nauseatingly bloody.

"Zero Dark Thirty" Has All the Depth of a John Wayne Movie
December 21, 2012

Chastain's character has the depth and personality of a placard, but if you like World War II films, you’ll enjoy this.

Richard Burton Was a Great Writer
December 20, 2012

The Richard Burton DiariesEdited by Chris Williams (Yale University Press, 693 pp., $35)   JUNE 14, 1969, and for a dawn moment he was calm, remembering Wordsworth and Dylan Thomas: “I love my wife. I love her dearly. Honest. Talk about the beauty, silent, bare.... Sitting on the Thames with the river imitating a blue-grey ghost. My God the very houses seem asleep.

The Best Movie of the Year: Michael Haneke's Amour
December 12, 2012

Amour is an unsentimental film about an intense, selfish love,

A Terrifying New Quasi-Documentary About a Woman's Mysterious Death
December 05, 2012

Joyce Carol Vincent lay dead in her London flat for three years before being found. A disturbing new film asks how this could have happened.

Life of Pi's Clumsy 3D Storytelling
November 28, 2012

 “I think it's one of the most noble risks we have ever taken.” This comes from an executive at Twentieth Century Fox, the studio that gave us Sunrise, Shirley Temple, and The Robe. When a corporation has ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous, talk of nobility is often a warning sign of stupidity. So sane producers may have read Yann Martel’s 2001 novel, seen that it was selling 9 million copies across the world, and concluded that there was no need for a movie of Life of Pi—the same escape clause I raised a week ago in connection with the latest Anna Karenina.

An Atrocious and Unnecessary Anna Karenina
November 19, 2012

The novel was published in the mid-1870s, but how old is Anna Karenina herself? The book places her around 28, though the husband, Karenin, is 20 years her senior. There was a film in 1935, with Garbo, who was 30 at the time, and Basil Rathbone as Karenin, when he was 42. That’s a fair gap, but what was better still, those two seemed to have aged and grown bitter in their marriage. There was another version, in 1948, with Vivien Leigh (35) and Ralph Richardson, who was 46. This time, we have Keira Knightley, 27, and Jude Law, who is 40.

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