NPR: 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).



Thu May 26, 2011
Movie Reviews

'The Tree Of Life': A Creation Trip Worth Taking

Part creation epic and part family drama, The Tree of Life stars Jessica Chastain and Brad Pitt as the parents of three boys in the '50s. Critic David Edelstein says Terrence Malick's film is self-indulgent — but that some selves are better indulged than others.
Merie Wallace Fox Searchlight Pictures

The Tree of Life is Terrence Malick's big one — part creation epic, part Oedipal family drama, an answer to Kubrick's 2001 and maybe Paradise Lost. Malick's films all touch on Eden, the natural world into which humans are born, and the Fall, marked by male aggression as well as the soulless aspects of civilization.

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Thu May 19, 2011
Movie Reviews

A 'Paris' Review: Woody Allen, In Fine Form

Owen Wilson, playing the time-traveling hero Gil, wants to write novels instead of movies, much to the horror of his fiancee Inez, played by Rachel McAdams.
Roger Arpajou Sony Picture Classics

Woody Allen isn't religious, but he has a rabbinical side, and over the last decade his films have become more and more like Talmudic parables for atheists. On the surface, these movies are streamlined, even breezy, and they often have voice-over narration to get the pesky exposition out of the way fast. Philosophically, Allen has settled on resignation, a cosmic shrug: There's no God, no justice, people are inconstant, life is meaningless — so where do you wanna eat?

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Fri May 13, 2011
Movie Reviews

'Bridesmaids': A Raunchy, Hilarious Chick Flick

From left to right, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Rose Byrne, Ellie Kemper and Kristen Wiig plays bridesmaids in Maya Rudolph's wedding. David Edelstein says the movie is a "terrific vehicle for Wiig."
Photo Credit: Suzanne Hanover Universal Pictures

Judd Apatow has had his own Hollywood comedy factory for years now, but the charge that comes up again and again is that it's a boy's club — or rather a child-man's club, a place for nerds to write movies about nerds who act like juveniles before growing up and marrying thin, pretty women. Where, many of us have asked, is the female perspective?

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Fri May 6, 2011
Movie Reviews

'The Beaver': Redemption For Mel Gibson?

Every single person to whom I've mentioned The Beaver has announced that he or she has no intention of seeing another movie starring Mel Gibson — even if he's playing a nut job like they think he is in life.

But I couldn't wait. I think Gibson is a fascinating actor, and he was especially good playing crazy in the 1997 thriller Conspiracy Theory, a welcome change from the usual Make Mel Mad template where he's driven to take vengeance on those who kill or kidnap his wife or lover or child or dog.

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Thu May 5, 2011
Movie Reviews

Three New Action Movies Battle At The Box Office

Andrew Lau's Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen stars Donnie Yen as a fictional martial-arts Chinese hero played at times by both Bruce Lee and Jet Li. But this isn't another disposable B movie. Lau made Infernal Affairs, which was superior in every way to its Americanization, The Departed, and he grounds his action in historical traumas, in a legacy of oppression.

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Fri April 22, 2011
Movie Reviews

A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Horror

In the overture to Incendies, a group of small boys have most of their hair shaved off by soldiers. The boys are bloodied and bruised — some sort of attack has plainly just happened. The music underscoring this is Radiohead's sad, slurred, "You And Whose Army?," and one boy, who has three vertical dots tattooed on the back of his foot, stares into the camera with a look of monstrous hate — a stare that eats into the mind. It's not until the end of the film that you understand the full implications of that stare — what led up to it, and what happened afterward.

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Tue April 12, 2011
Movie Reviews

'The Conspirator': A Trying Trial For Lincoln's Foes

The Conspirator centers on the real-life trial of Mary Surratt, who ran a Washington boarding house that was regularly visited by men involved in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Among them: Surratt's son and the assassin himself, John Wilkes Booth.

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