Adam Nayman

Movie Review: Man on a Ledge

Man on a LedgeGenre: ThrillerDirector: Asger LethStars: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth BanksRate: **An effectively simple premise is ruined by endless convolutions in Man on a Ledge, which casts Sam Worthington as an ex-con who has mysteriously and perilously planted himself on the wrong side of a...

Friday, January 27, 2012, 5:24 AM

Movie Review: Monsieur Lazhar

Monsieur LazharGenre: Drama/ComedyDirector: Philippe FalardeauStars: Fellag, Sophie NelisseRate: *** 1/2Philippe Falardeau’s Oscar-nominated drama about an Algerian immigrant (Fellag) who unexpectedly takes over a Montreal elementary school class is smoothly directed and beautifully acted: the...

Friday, January 27, 2012, 5:20 AM

Not a typical teacher film

“It’s a sweet spot,” says Philippe Falardeau when asked about his position after the success of Monsieur Lazhar, which has already copped major awards from the Toronto International Film Festival and the Toronto Film Critics Association before its theatrical release on Friday.“I don’t think anybody...

Monday, January 23, 2012, 4:14 AM

Movie Review: Coriolanus

CoriolanusGenre: DramaDirector: Ralph FiennesStars: Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Brian Cox Rate: *** 1/2Ralph Fiennes’ ferocious adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s least-known plays has been calibrated for present-tense relevance: the director casts himself as the resentful, battle-scarred general...

Friday, January 20, 2012, 3:25 AM

Movie Review: The Swell Season

The Swell SeasonGenre: DocumentaryDirectors: Nick August-Perna, Chris Dapkins, Carlo Mirabella-DavisStars: Glen Hansard, Marketa IrglovaRate: ** 1/2The triumphant Oscar acceptance speech that introduced the world to Falling Slowly songwriters Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova is not the climax of...

Friday, January 13, 2012, 4:01 AM

The price of progress

When Harold Crooks and Mathieu Roy’s documentary Surviving Progress premiered in September at the Toronto International Film Festival, it was already considered to be ‘timely.’Adapted from Ronald Wright’s bestselling Massey Lecture about the fallout of technological progress and unsustainable...

Friday, November 25, 2011, 3:14 AM

Movie Review: Mysteries of Lisbon

Genre: DramaDirector: Raul Ruiz Stars: Adriano Luz, Ricardo Pereira ****The late Portuguese filmmaker Raul Ruiz ended his career with this sprawling, four-hour near-masterpiece, which criss-crosses 19th Century Europe to unravel its young protagonist’s complex family history.The elegant camera...

Thursday, November 10, 2011, 11:28 PM

Movie Review: Le Havre

Genre: ComedyDirector: Aki KaurismakiStars: Andrew Wilms, Kati Outinen****The Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki is a kind of dour deadpan genius, and if Le Havre isn’t quite as funny as his previous work, it’s no less charming.Set in a French port city shot and lit to look like a Hollywood backlot,...

Friday, November 4, 2011, 3:20 AM

Movie Review: Buck

BuckGenre: DocumentaryDirector: Cindy MeehlStars: Buck Brannaman, Robert RedfordRate: **Aside from a thrilling late sequence in which its subject tries to tame an especially wild equine, Cindy Meehl’s Buck is mostly boring stuff: a portrait of a real-life “horse whisperer” given to whispering...

Friday, October 28, 2011, 3:02 AM

Movie Review: Circumstance

Genre: DramaDirector: Maryam KeshavarzStars: Nikohl Boosheri, Sarah Kazemy**1⁄2An impassioned but underwhelming drama, Circumstance concerns a pair of Tehranian teenagers in love.The twist — and the problem, given the nature of the theocratic state in which they live — is that they’re both girls.As...

Friday, October 7, 2011, 3:44 AM

Movie Review: The Interrupters

Genre: DocumentaryDirector: Steve James***1⁄2Though it lacks the epic sweep of Hoop Dreams, Steve James’ new documentary consolidates his commitment to socially responsible filmmaking.It’s a portrait of a Chicago community-activist group dedicated to “interrupting” gang violence — a noble, perilous...

Friday, October 7, 2011, 1:56 AM

Movie Review: Marathon Boy

Genre: DocumentaryDirector: Gemma Atwal***It’s hard to believe that by the age of four, an Indian orphan named Buddha Singh may have run 48 full marathons, but truth is stranger than fiction.If Gemma Atwal’s documentary doesn’t exactly break any new ground in terms of presentation, it’s at least...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011, 2:24 AM

Movie Review: A Matter of Taste: Serving up Paul Liebrandt

A Matter of Taste: Serving up Paul Liebrandt Genre: Documentary Director: Sally Rowe Stars: Michelle Micale Rate: ***There’s nothing in this profile of the titular New York City chef that other kitchen-set do-cumentaries haven’t done before, but there’s still pleasure in watching a brilliant...

Friday, September 30, 2011, 2:28 AM

Movie Review: Higher Ground

Genre: DramaDirector: Vera FarmigaStars: Vera Farmiga, John Hawkes ** 1/2Vera Farmiga’s directorial debut concerns a devout Midwestern housewife in the throes of a spiritual dilemma.Taking the lead role for herself, Farmiga the actress does strong work even as she fails to generate much interest on...

Friday, September 23, 2011, 1:34 AM

Movie Review: Limelight

Genre: DocumentaryDirector: Billy CorbenStars: Moby, Michael Alig, Edward I. Koch **The coke-fuelled antics of New York’s after-hours scene is documented in Limelight, which shows how club owner Peter Gatien took on Rudolph Guliani in a pitched culture war.The film is caught between showcasing the...

Friday, September 23, 2011, 1:28 AM

Movie Review: Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life

Genre: DramaDirector: Joann SfarStars: Eric Elmosnino, Doug Jones ***This mildly unconventional, at times overly precious biopic about the late French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg benefits from a fine lead performance: Eric Elmosnino is a dead-ringer for his character.The usual artist-career...

Friday, September 16, 2011, 2:03 AM

Movie Review: Ingredients

IngredientsGenre: DocumentaryDirector: Robert BatesStars: Bebe NeuwirthRate: **Bebe Neuwirth’s deadpan narration lends a sense of tone to this otherwise shapeless documentary about the local food movement: no surprises that it concludes that mass-processed goods is a bad thing. That’s true enough,...

Thursday, August 25, 2011, 11:14 PM

Movie Review: The Guard

The GuardGenre: ActionDirector: John Michael McDonaghStars: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle Rate: *** 1/2Brendan Gleeson gives a towering, hilarious performance in this pungent Irish thriller, which casts him as a small town cop who runs afoul of some nasty drug-runners. Gleeson gives his one-liners a...

Thursday, August 25, 2011, 11:10 PM

Movie Review: Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo ShootsGenre: ComedyDirector: Jian YiStars: Wang JianboRate: ***A hastily packed prophylactic is this gentle Chinese satire, about a small-town peasant trying to spare his community embarrassment: the offending condom was stuck in a box of bamboo shoots being sent as a gift to town officials...

Thursday, August 25, 2011, 11:00 PM

Movie Review: A Gun To The Head

A Gun to the HeadGenre: ComedyDirector: Blaine ThurierStarring: Craig Anderson **1/2As a director, Blaine Thurier isn't quite as deft as he he is tweaking keyboards for The New Pornographers. A screwball farce like this requires equal measures of finesse and hopped-up energy, and unfortunately,...

Thursday, August 11, 2011, 8:33 PM