Fine By Me

Here’s an interesting site I came across this week:

This is the site of film critic Marshall Fine, who writes reviews for the the New York Daily News and other news outlets,  He has written three biographies and runs a film club in Pelham, NY. HIs website also contains his commentary and interviews.

When it comes to his reviews, Fine’s mission is noble: He wants to “Get in, give it what it’s worth–and get out”

He does just that in his latest post, reviews of six movies that opened in NYC on Friday (9/25). These are short, two-paragraph reviews that have room for neither spoilers nor drawn-out opinions. I read some of his longer reviews on older posts, which are more thorough.

Here are reviews of three short reviews from Fine’s most recent post:

99 Homes

Dennis : Badass sleazoid
Michael Shannon: Badass sleazoid

Plot: A sleazy realtor, played by Michael Shannon, conducts foreclosures for the banks, including on the home owned by Andrew Garfield’s character. Garfield, thrown out of his house along with his mother and his son, makes ends meet by working for Shannon. He does what  the sleaze did to him–throw people out of their homes.

Spoilers skimmable? Pretty much, yes. The one spoiler is minor, but I’d still prefer not to know it.

Bottom line:  “You keep watching this movie” because of Shannon’s performance, which “almost blows Garfield off the screen.”

Yes, but is it worth beginning to see it?

Interesting point: Very few, if any, major motion pictures (ie not indies) have been made about the 2008 financial crises.


No comment
No comment

Plot: A teen who has just moved into town makes friends with his next door neighbor, played by Mickey Rourke. Rourke’s character is a retired CIA hitman with a terminal illness and who decides that his last mission is to kill the people who hired him. It’s a coming of age movie that sounds like a dramedy.

Spoilers skimmable? Yes! There are none.

Bottom line: Don’t bother. “This is the kind of movie that you’ll happen upon someday on TV and stick with.”

Great line:

“….it remains distracting to actually stare at Rourke’s face which, in the right light, looks like a bad pottery experiment.”

Labyrinth of Lies

Alexander Fehling plays a good-looking prosecutor in Labyrinth of Lies
Alexander Fehling plays a good-looking prosecutor in “Labyrinth of Lies”

Plot: It’s a German film that takes place in 1950s Germany. A young prosecutor named Johann learns of a former Auschwitz guard who has become a schoolteacher. Not only has Johann never heard of Auschwitz, he “is outraged that his countrymen—who perpetrated these crimes—have gone unpunished and faded back into daily life as teachers, bakers, bankers and the like.”

Johann tries to prosecute these people, but runs into a brick wall.

Spoilers skimmable? Yes.

Bottom line: I think Fine likes it: it’s “a headlong legal thriller in pursuit of a truth that is being fervently covered up. It’s a serious film that is never solemn, bristling with energy while reminding us that there is no statute of limitations on one’s conscience. (My emphasis on that last bit. What a great turn of phrase!).

Two interesting points: 

  1. “This film, by Giulio Ricciarelli, dramatizes a moment of necessary cleansing: an owning-up by Germans to their recent shame and acknowledgment of societal complicity.”
  2. “While government and military officials were punished after the Nuremberg trials, many of the soldiers who staffed the death camps simply melted back into society in the post-war chaos.”

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