David Edelstein

David Edelstein is a film critic for New York magazine and for NPR's Fresh Air, and an occasional commentator on film for CBS Sunday Morning. He has also written film criticism for the Village Voice, The New York Post, and Rolling Stone, and is a frequent contributor to the New York Times' Arts & Leisure section.

A member of the National Society of Film Critics, he is the author of the play Blaming Mom, and the co-author of Shooting to Kill (with producer Christine Vachon).

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. The second feature by the 29-year-old director Damien Chazelle is called, "Whiplash" and centers on the agony of a drummer in a high-powered music school. The movie stars the young film actor Miles Teller from "The Spectacular Now" and J.K. Simmons, who is best known for his TV roles on "Law And Order" and "Oz." "Whiplash" won a grand prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival....

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. The film adaptation of Gillian Flynn's best-selling mystery novel, "Gone Girl" arrives in movie theaters today. It's directed by David Fincher, best known for "The Social Network" and "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo." And it stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike and in smaller roles, Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry. Film critic David Edelstein has this review. DAVID EDELSTEIN,...

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: The new film "Pride" gathers a group of actors, among them Bill Nighy and "The Wire's" Dominic West, to tell the story of a 1980's British coal miner strike unexpectedly joined by a coalition of gay men and women. Film critic David Edelstein has this review. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: The rah-rah-union, rah-rah-gay-rights, boo-hiss-Maggie Thatcher ensemble comic drama "Pride" grabbed me from the first...

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: Our film critic David Edelstein has a review of a new film "Starred Up" by the Scottish director David Mackenzie. Actor Jack O'Connell from the British TV series "Skins" and the upcoming film "Unbroken" plays a teenage inmate in a maximum-security adult prison. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: None of the inmates in the brutal British prison drama "Starred Up" thinks of escape or even imminent release. It's not...

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, BYLINE: Kevin Whitehead writes for Point of Departure and Wondering Sound and is the author of "Why Jazz?" He reviewed Jackie Byard, "The Late Show Live at the Keystone Korner Volume Three" on the High Note label. Coming up film critic David Edelstein reviews "Cavalry" starring Brendan Gleeson. This is FRESH AIR. This is FRESH AIR. In the new movie "Calvary" Brendan Gleeson plays an Irish village priest...

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, BYLINE: This is FRESH AIR. The newest film adaptation of a Marvel comic is "Guardians of the Galaxy," which features five Motley warriors against an armada of space villains. Film critic David Edelstein has this review. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: In the late '80s, when "Batman" directed by Tim Burton came out, most of us expected something campy and lightweight like the TV show. But Burton, following graphic...

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Our film critic David Edelstein has a review of the new film "Boyhood." It was written and directed by Richard Linklater, who also made the movies, "Slacker," "Dazed And Confused," "School Of Rock," "The Before Sunrise" Trilogy and "Bernie." "Boyhood" covers a dozen years and was shot over a 12 year period. It stars Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and newcomer Ellar Coltrane as the boy we watch grow up. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: Boyhood isn't a...

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Director John Carney had a surprise hit with his low-budget musical "Once." And he returns to the musical arena - this time in New York and not Dublin - with his new movie "Begin Again." Keira Knightley plays a heartbroken singer-songwriter who teams up with a down and out drunken producer played by Mark Ruffalo. Film critic David Edelstein has this review. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: The...

Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Opening today, in many theaters, is the fourth in Michael Bay's "Transformer" series, "Transformers 4: Age Of Extinction." It's inspired by the Hasbro toys that turn mostly cars and trucks into robots. Another very different kind of apocalyptic, action movie that rolls out today is "Snowpiercer" by South Korean director Bong Joon-ho, who made the acclaimed giant monster film, "The Host." Film critic David Edelstein has these reviews. DAVID...

Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Film critic, David Edelstein, reviews two movies based on shows he saw on Broadway - the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons musical, "Jersey Boys," directed for the screen by Clint Eastwood and the David Ives play "Venus In Fur," filmed by Roman Polanski. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: Many stage-to-film adaptations are either too stage-bound or to opened out, so they lose intensity. But octogenarian directors Clint Eastwood and Roman Polanski...

Obvious Child centers on Donna Stern, an aspiring standup comic in her late 20s who's out of her depth in the grown-up world. After getting smashed and having unprotected sex with a guy she barely knows, Donna discovers she's pregnant and decides to have an abortion. It shouldn't be a particularly earthshaking turn. But in a world of rom-coms like Knocked Up and Juno, in which the heroines make the heartwarming decision to go ahead with their pregnancies, this modest little indie movie feels...

I know people who cried at the trailer of the romantic teen cancer movie The Fault in Our Stars — at the movie they'll need a life preserver to keep from drowning in a flood of tears. Me, I didn't cry, though at times my tear ducts tingled; I was on the verge. The film is a little slick for my taste, too engineered . But it's gently directed by Josh Boone and beautifully acted. Whatever the faults, it's not in the stars. Shailene Woodley plays 16-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster, whose life was...

Transcript DAVIE DAVIES, HOST: Since 1954, the fire-breathing behemoth Godzilla has had many incarnations. In the Japanese original he was a thinly disguised symbol of the atom bomb but in later films he would fight other giant monsters and even space aliens. In 1998 there was a poorly received American remake by Roland Emmerich. Now comes another American version at a time when the restored original is also in theaters and available on DVD. The latest "Godzilla" is directed by Gareth Edwards...

Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: Philip Seymour Hoffman, in one of his final film roles, stars as Mickey in "God's Pocket," the new movie directed by John Slattery. Slattery is famous for his role as Roger Sterling on TV's "Mad Men" and over the years has directed several episodes of that AMC series. He makes the transition to feature film directing with "God's Pocket" which he and Alex Metcalf adapted from the 1983 novel by Pete Dexter. In addition to Philip Seymour Hoffman, "God's Pocket"...

Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: The Polish-born director Polish-born director Pawel Pawlikowski's is best known for the English-language movie "My Summer of Love," a lesbian coming-of-age film that was a breakthrough for actress Emily Blunt. His new film is called "Ida," spelled I-D-A and centers on an orphan who learns the secret of her past when she's on the brink of becoming a nun. Film critic David Edelstein has this review. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: To call "Ida" a female coming-of-age...

Locke is a most unusual film. It might not seem so odd as a radio play or even a stage play. The protagonist, his situation — they're fairly conventional. But to do what Locke does as a movie — that takes daring. The film is set in one space at one time. The arc of action is continuous. There is only one character on screen and just the top third of him, a man in a car, southbound on a motorway toward London. His name is Ivan Locke, he's played by Tom Hardy, and he's upending his life in...

Every so often a high-toned arthouse director dips a toe into the horror genre and the results are uplifting: You realize vampires and space aliens are subjects too rich to be the sole property of schlockmeisters. That's the case with two new arty genre pictures: Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin and Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive — both slow, expressionist, non-narrative, the kind of films that drive some people crazy with boredom and put others in their thrall. Under the Skin is...

Transcript (SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: Darren Aronofsky had a surprise hit in 2010 with "Black Swan," which won an Oscar for its star, Natalie Portman. His latest film, "Noah," is a big budget Bible epic based on the story of Noah's Ark. Russell Crowe plays the title character, and the movie also features Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson. Film critic David Edelstein has this review. DAVID EDELSTEIN: Darren Aronofsky's biblical flood epic "Noah," generated controversy before...

Lars von Trier's latest provocation is an episodic sexual epic called Nymphomaniac , which comes in two two-hour parts, or "volumes," though it's basically one movie sliced in half. The thinking must have been, "Who wants four hours of hardcore sex and philosophizing?," and if you say, "Me, me!," I suggest seeing both back to back: It's an art-house orgy! Should you see it at all? I recommend it guardedly. It's dumb, but in a bold, ambitious way movies mostly aren't these days, especially...

Wes Anderson has his share of groupies and his somewhat smaller share of skeptics who find him a tad precious. As someone who leans toward the precious view, but is open to his grace notes, I found The Grand Budapest Hotel mostly delightful. It's a madcap comedy, but with hints of tragedy lurking outside the usual Anderson dollhouse frames. The central character is Gustave H., played by Ralph Fiennes. He's the concierge of a kitschy, opulent, high-class European hotel between World Wars I and...

Transcript DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Liam Neeson became a bankable action hero in 2008 with the thriller "Taken." Now almost 62, he's still getting out of tight corners with his fists in the new action thriller "Non-Stop," most of which unfolds on a transatlantic flight from New York to London. The film also stars Julianne Moore and Michelle Dockery. Film critic David Edelstein has this review. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: For tens of millions the world over, in markets major and...

The 73-year-old Japanese animation titan Hayao Miyazaki says The Wind Rises is his final film, and if that's true — and I hope it's not but fear it is, since he's not the type to make rash declarations — he's going out on a high. The movie won't, I'm afraid, appeal to kids the way Ponyo or Spirited Away does. It's monster-, ghost- and mermaid-free. It centers on grown-ups and is gently paced — maybe 15 minutes too long, I'd say, but you can forgive those longueurs when the work is this...

George Clooney's The Monuments Men tells the largely true story of a squad of art experts who, near the end of World War II, are assigned to protect the masterworks of European society from Nazi theft and Allied bombardment. You'll notice those are two separate goals. The first is to stop the flood of art from occupied countries to Germany. Hitler, you see, isn't just a genocidal maniac but also a pretentious aesthete who wants to dictate taste — who sells off what he doesn't want to fund his...

Transcript DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. "Gloria" is a new film from Chile that centers on a late-middle-aged divorced woman whose life is full of uncertainties. She's played by Paulina Garcia, who won the top acting prize - the Silver Bear - at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival, where the movie was a surprise hit. It opens this week in New York and Los Angeles, and wider next month. Film critic David Edelstein has this review. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: The Chilean drama "Gloria" is a...

A franchise is what we used to call a Burger King or a Shell station, but nowadays the word appears more often in relation to movies: the Star Wars franchise, the Hunger Games franchise, the Jack Ryan franchise — or in the case of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, the Jack Ryan franchise reboot. I don't know what's more depressing: that what fires up studio execs is the hunt for a new franchise or that critics have adopted this business lingo uncritically. Maybe a business reporter would be the best...

Transcript DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross. The new film, "The Invisible Woman," charts the hidden relationship between Charles Dickens and a young actress for whom left his wife, but who for years never showed up in biographies of Dickens. It's the second film directed by Ralph Fiennes, who also plays Dickens and features Felicity Jones as the actress, Nelly Ternan. Film critic David Edelstein has this review. DAVID EDELSTEIN: The question at the...

Her is the best film of the year by a so-wide margin. It's gorgeous, funny, deep — and I can hear some smart aleck say, "If you love it so much, why don't you marry it?" Let me tell you, I'd like to! I certainly identify with the protagonist, Theodore Twombly, who falls in love with his computer operating system, his OS, which calls itself — sorry, I gotta say " who calls her self" — Samantha, and who sounds like a breathy young woman. When Her begins, it doesn't seem as if it's going to be a...

David O. Russell hovers at the top of my list of favorite directors. He captures the messy collision of self-interests that for him defines America. In American Hustle, he whips up a black comedy based on Abscam, the late-'70s FBI sting that centered on a bogus sheik and led to the bribery convictions of sundry U.S. politicians. But he doesn't tell the real Abscam story; he adapts it to fit his theme, which is that most of us are busy reinventing ourselves and conning one another. Christian...

The films of Joel and Ethan Coen pose a challenge: How do we reconcile their wildly disparate tones? Consider O Brother, Where Art Thou? , a burlesque of Homer's Odyssey centering on three stumblebums — but with a soundtrack assembled by T Bone Burnett of heartfelt historical gospel and country music. Ditto The Ladykillers : venal idiot characters, soaring African-American spirituals. The ridiculous and the sublime sit side by side, with no spillover. Now comes Inside Llewyn Davis . It's a...

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