(Most of) ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ is Martin Scorsese’s best feature in 20 years

Martin Scorsese's latest movie is sprawling and vulgar. It's also scathingly funny, and an acid social critique. Even though there's little violence here, the similarities to his earlier gangster pictures are precisely the point. Read more [...]

Worst of 2013: What did literature ever do to deserve movies like ‘Austenland’ and ‘Salinger’?

A super-size version of Salinger plays on PBS next week, but spare yourself: Both Austenland and Salinger are so awful that they suggest American filmmakers are ill-suited to making movies about literary culture. Read more [...]

Cinematic highlights of 2013: That weekend in Paris in ‘Frances Ha’

One of 2013's best, Frances Ha proved that laughs and filmmaking artistry are compatible, despite the evidence of far too many comedies coming out these days. And no sequence in the movie was funnier than Frances' trip to Paris — scored to an incongruous, irresistibly schlocky 1970s hit. Read more [...]

‘Berlin Blues’ and films by Detlev Buck, at the L.A. Goethe-Institut

Wednesdays this fall at the L.A. Goethe-Institut: Films directed by and/or starring the award-winning German writer, actor and filmmaker Detlev Buck. For me the biggest attraction here is Berlin Blues, co-starring Christoph Waltz, about a West Berlin deadbeat whose drinking is interrupted by the fall of the Wall in 1989. Read more [...]

Pasolini’s ‘The Hawks and the Sparrows’: A comic Marxist fable — how often do you get to see one of those?

Pasolini’s engaging fable The Hawks and the Sparrows (1966) is the work of a filmmaker who’s still able to make his points with humor. It's a far better way to remember Pasolini than Salo. Read more [...]