Author Archive for Jen Chaney

12 Years a Slave, Reviewed

Shortly after it screened at this year’s Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals, 12 Years a Slave became the anointed one, the film lauded as so jaw-droppingly powerful it already seemed like a foregone conclusion as 2013’s best picture. But could it really be that moving, that immediately recognizable as Oscar-worthy?
The answer is yes, with the [...]

Short Term 12, Reviewed

Just three minutes into the exceptional Short Term 12, a breathless escape attempt takes place. The runner is a scrawny, shirtless redhead named Sammy who’s trying to make his regularly scheduled dash from the state-run foster care facility where he lives. But before he can make it off the grounds, three counselors tackle him and [...]

The Hunt, Reviewed

The distressing events in The Hunt unfold during the weeks before Christmas, a time that’s supposed to celebrate good will toward men and a grasp of the difference between naughty and nice. But in this carefully rendered Danish film, good will dissolves, the truth about allegedly bad behavior recedes, and one man’s life suddenly implodes.
Mads [...]

AFI Docs: Letters to Jackie, Reviewed

Letters to Jackie wraps its hands around our Camelot-era heartstrings and for 90 minutes, just tugs, tugs, tugs. An impressionistic revisitation of John F. Kennedy’s presidency and the somber days that followed his 1963 assassination, Bill Couturié's film recruits a number of prominent actors—Viola Davis, Michelle Williams, Jessica Chastain, Channing Tatum, and others—to read, in [...]

To the Wonder, Reviewed

It’s only April, but it seems fair to assume that To The Wonder contains more frolicking than any movie that will be released this year. Actually, it’s not mere frolicking that dominates the latest visually rapturous work from Terrence Malick, the same filmmaker who entranced some moviegoers and maddened others with 2011’s The Tree of [...]