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leonardmaltin
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Leonard Maltin

The Debt—movie review

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • August 31, 2011 4:31 AM
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  • 15 Comments
Sometimes a film seems to have everything going for it and still comes up short; such is the case with The Debt. Its credentials are impeccable: a fine cast headed by Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, and Jessica Chastain, just for starters, directed by John Madden, and written by three talented Brits, Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman, and Peter Straughan.

Higher Ground—movie review

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • August 30, 2011 4:24 AM
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  • 2 Comments
How stimulating, and utterly refreshing, it is to see a movie with a distinctly female voice that deals with faith, and how one woman grapples with it, through good times and bad, throughout the course of her life. That Vera Farmiga gives an honest, empathetic performance should come as no surprise; she is one of the most gifted and daring actresses of our time, as she’s proved in such films as 'Down to the Bone',' Breaking and Entering', and 'Up in the Air'. This movie allows her to add “director” to her résumé.

Brighton Rock—movie review

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • August 26, 2011 6:41 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Sometimes one can admire a film without truly liking it; that’s how I feel about the ambitious British remake of Brighton Rock. Graham Greene’s 1938 novel, first filmed in the late 1940s, has been cleverly reworked to take place in 1964, at the time of the “mods and rockers” riots in Brighton, signifying a time of change in England. That is just one of many clever moves by writer-director Rowan Joffe, who is able to explore some of the seamier aspects of the novel that censorship (and matters of taste) made impossible in 1947.

Dont Be Afraid Of The Dark—movie review

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • August 26, 2011 5:28 AM
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  • 4 Comments
As you may already know, that modern master of Grand Guignol, Guillermo del Toro, saw the 1973 TV movie Don’t be Afraid of the Dark when he was a boy, and it scared the daylights out of him. He’s wanted to remake it ever since, and wrote a script with Matthew Robbins around the time he made his first American feature, Mimic (1997). Years went by, and when the pieces finally fell in place to put it into production he was busy with The Hobbit, so he selected newcomer Troy Nixey to fill his shoes after seeing an impressive short-subject he made. (The picture was finished two years ago but went into distributor limbo, from which it has just emerged, thanks to the newly-formed FilmDistrict.)

Conan The Barbarian—movie review

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • August 19, 2011 4:30 AM
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  • 8 Comments
Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the movies, they’re resurrecting concepts and entire films from the 1980s like Footloose (so help me) and Conan the Barbarian, based on Robert E. Howard’s pulp magazine hero. Beefy Jason Momoa steps into Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sandals to star in the new screen adaptation, which (for once) makes vivid and entertaining use of 3-D.

One Day—movie review

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • August 19, 2011 4:20 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Sometimes, a successful play or a popular book—even a comic book—has qualities that just don’t transfer to the screen. One Day is based on a best-selling novel, and the producers hired its author, David Nicholls, to write the screenplay, since he’s had plenty of experience making films and television series. I still think something has been lost in the translation.

Amigo—movie review

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • August 19, 2011 4:15 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Amigo ought to be a great film: the subject is fascinating and still resonates today, even though it takes place over a hundred years ago. The Philippine-American war has been pretty much ignored, by textbook authors as well as moviemakers (but for the 1937 Hollywood movie The Real Glory). As a result, writer-director John Sayles has a lot of information to get across in order for us to get the lay of the land, and understand the central characters and their conflicts.

Film History On A Platter—DVD reviews

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • August 15, 2011 4:30 AM
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  • 5 Comments
If you believe major studio spokespeople, the DVD business is dying, to be replaced by downloading and cloud storage of films and TV shows. But the business-related news stories that repeatedly state these facts don’t take account of smaller companies like Criterion, Flicker Alley, and Kino that cater to film buffs and still provide a valuable product that can’t be replicated online.

The Help—movie review

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • August 12, 2011 4:30 AM
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  • 18 Comments
Any time a book strikes a chord with a vast number of people, as Kathryn Stockett’s The Help did, there is a mixture of anticipation and trepidation about its transition to the screen. Overall, I think writer-director Tate Taylor has done a good job bringing the book and its characters to life, in concert with an exceptional cast. And, crucially, he has managed to recreate the look and feel of a Southern town in the 1960s, with its separate but unequal citizenry: the well-to-do white folks and their black servants.

30 Minutes Or Less—movie review

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • August 12, 2011 4:15 AM
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  • 19 Comments
What can I say about a movie that made me want to take a shower and cleanse myself afterward? 30 Minutes or Less is so shallow, self-satisfied, and downright repulsive that I hesitate to discuss it at all. It has none of the qualities of director Ruben Fleischer’s debut feature, Zombieland, and it’s a long way from Jesse Eisenberg’s Oscar-nominated The Social Network. In fact, I’d call this movie antisocial.

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