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Fantastic Mr. Fox

When most directors repeat themselves, it’s typically a sign of artistic exhaustion or perhaps unshakable fixation. In Wes Anderson’s case, his visual repetition has become an irresistible thumbprint, and one of the great moviegoing joys I’ve encountered in recent years is the opportunity to watch this supremely gifted filmmaker use his leather-bound imagination to impart varying stories of eccentric outsiders and their enduring emotional wounds, with each film connected by exotic aesthetic degrees of detail-oriented splendor. Now Anderson takes his cinematic language to the hand-woven field of stop-motion animation for “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” and, yet again, the filmmaker shapes a breathtaking cinematic marvel; he finds a magnificent home nestled firmly in the luxurious textures of the animation, the dancing vocal performances, and delicious wry tone that makes for stunningly fanciful cinema.

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Rating: A

How to Train Your Dragon

This is a wonderful motion picture. Perhaps Dreamworks, in their frantic need to push the movie to every demographic, has lost sight of the film itself, but abysmal marketing efforts aside, “How to Train Your Dragon” is a rousing success; a soaring, endearing adventure feature that plays smart and fierce. Now stop giving your money to Tim Burton’s wheezy imagination and see something with genuine magic. An actual, effective, multi-dimensional wonderland.

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Rating: A-


“Chloe” opens with a clinical description of the female orgasm, and then spends the following 100 minutes displaying increasingly more frenzied examples of it. Director Atom Egoyan returns to his favorite thematic playground with this sexual thriller, working the levers and polishing the knobs on a juicily plotted, tantalizing chiller that cooks in an appealingly heated state of submission to the bitter end.

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Rating: B

The Eclipse

To its credit, “The Eclipse” is a difficult film to summarize. A bizarre concoction of literary world misery and ghostly visitation, the picture takes its time unfolding, revealing horrors almost by accident as it probes the lives and loves of three characters, each with their own private reservoir of suffering to confront over the course of a long weekend in Ireland.

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Rating: B


Fools, gangsters, and a suitcase filled with money. Now there’s a recipe for an exhilarating cinematic adventure, filled with thrills, chills, and the quivering lure of greed. The caper “Ca$h” (the production’s spelling, not mine) offers inept cinematography, stiff performances, and Sean Bean using a kitchen sink sprayer to mimic urination. The picture doesn’t exactly live up to the sizzling potential of the genre.

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Rating: D