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 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air .

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air .

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. The character of Superman first appeared in comic books in 1938 and Batman in 1939. But it's taken more than 75 years for them to appear together in a movie. "Batman Versus Superman: Dawn Of Justice" is the sequel to the 2013 blockbuster "Man Of Steel." Director Zack Snyder returns, along with Henry Cavill as Superman while Ben Affleck makes his debut as Batman. The film also stars Amy...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. The micro-budget indie drama "Krisha" won the narrative feature jury and audience award at the 2015 South by Southwest film festival and has already brought considerable attention to its first-time filmmaker, Houston-born writer-director Trey Edward Shults. He used members of his own family, among them his aunt, Krisha Fairchild, who plays the film's protagonist. Film critic David...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . Transcript DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. From 2004 to 2009, Kim Barker served at the South Asia bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune, covering Afghanistan and Pakistan. Her memoir of that period has been adapted into a movie called "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot." Tina Fey plays a character based on Barker, and the cast includes Martin Freeman and Margot Robbie. Critic David Edelstein has this review. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: As a...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . Transcript DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Film critic David Edelstein has a review of the new film called "A War." It tells a fictional story about Danish soldiers in Afghanistan, where Denmark, a member of the NATO alliance, has had a military presence. Written and directed by Tobias Lindholm, the film is one of five movies nominated for this year's foreign language Oscar to be awarded February 28. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: The...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. One thing nonreaders of comic books have come to realize is that Marvel has a lot of superhero characters. The latest one to hit the screen is Deadpool. Born Wade Winston Wilson, Deadpool appeared as a villain in early '90s comics before evolving into a rude, fast-talking hero. Now he has his own big-budget movie starring Ryan Reynolds as the ex-Special Forces soldier turned super...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Film critic David Edelstein has the review of the new movie from Joel and Ethan Coen. It's a comedy set in Hollywood in the 1950s called "Hail, Caesar!". Josh Brolin says plays a tough, resourceful studio executive trying to keep the studio afloat. The star-studded cast includes George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum. Here's David's Review. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: Years...

Given the recent expression of anger about the lack of racial diversity in American cinema, it's nice to be able to tell you about Jay Dockendorf's very fine indie feature Naz & Maalik , in which the title characters are African-American teenage boys who also happen to be devout Muslims who also happen to be gay. That's three outsider perspectives, which is a lot even for an indie. But the point is not representation for its own sake. The triple layer of alienation from mainstream culture...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. How U.S. officials responded to the attack in Benghazi is still controversial. The new film "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi" tells the story of what happened on the ground from the point of view of military contractors guarding the CIA base that was attacked on September 11, 2012, along with the U.S. ambassador's residence in Benghazi, Libya. The film is adapted from a 2014...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. The new film, "Anomalisa" uses stop motion animation to tell the story of a despairing middle-aged man and the young woman whose voice somehow penetrates his emotional fog. The script is by Charlie Kaufman, who co-directed the movie with animator Duke Johnson. Film critic David Edelstein has a review. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: Charlie Kaufman has a genius for creating characters, mostly...

Film critic David Edelstein had no shortage of material to consider when it came time to make his top 10 list this year. He shares his favorites with Fresh Air's Terry Gross: 1. Room
"The story of a woman held captive ... by a sexual psychopath and the child she raises remarkably well in that space." 2. The Big Short
"Adam McKay's rollicking adaptation of Michael Lewis' book about the 2008 collapse of the subprime mortgage market — talk about a mix of tones. ... I wasn't...

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Well, I'm very curious to hear what our film critic David Edelstein has to say about the new "Star Wars" movie, which is about to open. Advanced sales are astronomical. The director and co-writer is not series creator George Lucas, it's J.J. Abrams. But cast members from the original 1977 film, including Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, appear, joined by newer characters....

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/ . Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: Director Adam McKay is best known for his work with Will Ferrell on such comedies as "Anchorman" and "Talladega Nights." With his new film, "The Big Short," he moves to a more sober arena, the Wall Street culture of subprime mortgages and credit default swaps that led, in 2008, to the collapse of the economy. The film stars Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad...

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/ . Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Spike Lee's new movie, "Chi-Raq," is an adaptation of the ancient Greek comedy "Lysistrata." The female title character, whose name means army disbander, convinces the women of Greece to withhold sex as a way to get their men to stop fighting the Peloponnesian War. Lee's version is set in the present on the South Side of Chicago. Film critic David...

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/ . Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. The new film "Carol" is set in the 1950s, and is the story of an affair between a middle-aged married woman, played by Cate Blanchett, and a young department store clerk played by Rooney Mara. It's directed by Todd Haynes, who's known for such films as "Poison," "Far From Heaven" and "I'm Not There," and the HBO miniseries "Mildred Pierce." Film critic David...

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/ . Transcript DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. The final film adaptation of Suzanne Collins' best-selling dystopian "Hunger Games" novels is "Mockingjay - Part 2." The movie concludes the story of Katniss Everdeen, who won a government-sponsored, televised battle-to-the-death against other children and has since become the face of a revolution. Jennifer Lawrence returns as Katniss, and the cast includes...

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/ . Transcript DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Actress Saoirse Ronan was nominated for an Academy Award for the film "Atonement" and went on to starring roles in "The Lovely Bones," "Hanna" and "The Host." But it's her performance as an Irish immigrant in the new movie "Brooklyn" that's made her the toast of many critics. Our film critic, David Edelstein, adds his own praise for the actress and the film....

Nowadays, the news is full of stories about sexual assaults on children by priests and other religious authority figures, as well as battles over compensation for victims. There were many such cases in the last half of the 20 th century, but the idea that such revelations would someday be routine — and be centered all over the U.S., in Ireland, in South America — was unimaginable. The tipping point was in 2002, when a group of Boston Globe reporters uncovered not just a vast number of...

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/ . Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. “Our Brand Is Crisis” is both the title of and a line from a new political comedy about American consultants who take over a Bolivian presidential campaign. The film is directed by David Gordon Green and stars Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton and Anthony Mackie. Film critic David Edelstein has this review. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: “Our Brand Is Crisis”...

Michael Almereyda's movie, Experimenter , revisits a controversial 1961 social science experiment, which explored whether volunteer subjects would press a button and shock other volunteers if so ordered. Experimenter centers on Stanley Milgram, the social scientist best known for his 1961 study at Yale on the nature of obedience. It works terrifically onscreen. We see Milgram, played by Peter Sarsgaard, and his assistants direct their subjects — who are told to think of themselves as ...

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/ . Transcript DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. In Emma Donoghue's best-selling 2010 novel "Room," a boy named Jack tells the story of his mostly happy life with his mother in a small room that he thinks for a while is the whole world. The novel's now a film directed by Lenny Abrahamson, starring Brie Larson as the mom and Jacob Tremblay as Jack. Film critic David Edelstein has this review. DAVID EDELSTEIN,...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. The new movie "The Martian" is based on a novel by Andy Weir, the son of a particle physicist and an electrical engineer who immersed himself in the mechanics of spaceflight and the environment of Mars while working as a computer programmer. The story first appeared in installments on his website. It became a best-selling book. In the film, directed by Ridley Scott, Matt Damon...

The most powerful morality plays work like drama instead of melodrama, so you're not just on the side of the victim, you also see the world through the eyes of the oppressor. Wall Street did that, although Oliver Stone made the devil-mentor of the wide-eyed protagonist, Gordon Gekko, so charismatic that a generation of moneymen adopted him as a role model. Ramin Bahrani's 99 Homes works on the same principle, with one key difference. The villain is Rick Carver, a predatory Florida real estate...

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/ . Transcript DAVE DAVIES, HOST: Sicario is an ancient word for assassin that's been resurrected by Colombian and Mexican drug cartels to describe a modern-day hit man. It's also the name of a new film about a military task force on the hunt for a notorious drug lord. The film stars Emily Blunt as an FBI agent, along with Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro. Film critic David Edelstein has this review. DAVID...

Sleeping With Other People has the arc of a conventional mainstream rom-com, but the beats are scrambled and the movie gets a climactic event out of the way in the prologue. The film actually opens with the male and female protagonists having sex — taking each other's virginity. We first see Alison Brie's Lainey as a college student pounding drunkenly on the door of a teaching assistant she has a crush on. Another student, Jake, played by Jason Sudeikis, steps in to keep her from getting...

The documentary Meru charts the attempts of a trio of American climbers to be the first to scale Meru Peak, a 21,000-foot Himalayan mountain that begins near the headwaters of the Ganges River in India. It's the sort of movie that's frequently called "inspiring" for its depiction of humans testing themselves physically, emotionally and perhaps even spiritually against the elements, and I get that. But I wasn't inspired. I was nearly out of my mind with terror. Although no one in the film...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. (SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL") BEL POWLEY: (As Minnie) My name is Minnie Goetze. I'm a 15-year-old living San Francisco, Calif., recording this onto a cassette tape because my life has gotten really crazy of late, and I need to tell someone about it. If you're listening to this without my permission, please stop now. Just stop, OK? GROSS: That's a...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Meryl Streep sings on-screen in the new film "Ricki And The Flash." She's done that before, but this time she also plays guitar, belting out bar band versions of hits from the likes of Tom Petty, U2 and Bruce Springsteen. Jonathan Demme directed the film from a script by Diablo Cody. Film critic David Edelstein has this review. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: In "Ricki And The Flash," Meryl...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. The new movie "The End Of The Tour" is adapted from a series of interviews between the novelist David Foster Wallace and a Rolling Stone reporter after the publication of Wallace's 1996 novel, "Infinite Jest," the book that made him a literary celebrity. Twelve years later, Wallace killed himself. Our film critic David Edelstein has a review of "The End Of The Tour." DAVID EDELSTEIN,...

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