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).

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,...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Amy Schumer’s rise has been swift, from standup comedian to star of her own sketch comedy TV series. Now she stars in a movie she also wrote - a romantic comedy called “Trainwreck.” The film is directed by Judd Apatow and features Bill Hader and Tilda Swinton. Film critic David Edelstein has this review. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: In “Trainwreck,” Amy Schumer plays a magazine...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. One of the sensations in this year's Sundance Film Festival was Sean Baker's film, "Tangerine," which is set in the Los Angeles subculture of transgender sex workers. Much of Baker's script was constructed out of stories he heard from the actors themselves, and he shot the entire film on an iPhone with an assortment of low-cost adapters. Film critic David Edelstein has this review....

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. The major studio releases of the July 4 weekend are sequels - the fifth in the "Terminator" series, "Terminator Genisys," starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, and "Magic Mike XXL," which picks up the story of a former male stripper, played by Channing Tatum. Here's what our film critic David Edelstein has to say about these two films. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: A film producer once told me...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Film critic David Edelstein has a review of "Inside Out," the new movie from Pixar Animation Studios. It's co-written and directed by Pete Docter, who made "Up" and had a hand in the script for "WALL-E." Amy Poehler provides the voice of Joy, who is the actual emotion joy in a young girl's head. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: Most of Pixar's new masterpiece "Inside Out" is set inside the...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVE DAVIES, HOST: The winner of the Grand Jury Prize for a documentary at this year's Sundance Film Festival was a film by Crystal Moselle about a group of teenage brothers she encountered by chance on a street in New York. It's called "The Wolfpack." Film critic David Edelstein has this review. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: In the stunning documentary "The Wolfpack," we meet the six Angulo brothers of New York's Lower East...

Copyright 2015 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 espionage comedy "Spy," which stars Melissa McCarthy and features Jude Law and Rose Byrne. McCarthy's breakout performance in the 2011 comedy "Bridesmaids" earned her a supporting actress Oscar nomination. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: Back when Hugh Grant made his name as an adorably abashed romantic lead in "Four Weddings And A...

Much of Brad Bird's Disney sci-fi adventure Tomorrowland is terrific fun, but it's one of the strangest family movies I've seen: Bird's not just making a case for hope, he's making a furious, near-hysterical case against anti-hope. After a perplexing prologue in which George Clooney in a futuristic suit addresses an unseen audience, Bird flashes back to perhaps the 20th century's most enduring symbol of technological optimism: The 1964 New York World's Fair. Clooney's character, Frank Walker,...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. The character Mad Max is an Australian cop whose family is murdered and who wanders the desert after the collapse of civilization, preferring to remain alone. Mel Gibson played Max in three films directed by George Miller, the last in 1985. Max has returned, this time played by Tom Hardy, in the long-awaited fourth installment, "Mad Max: Fury Road," which also stars Charlize Theron...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. In the new zombie film "Maggie," Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Wade, a Midwestern farmer trying to keep his infected daughter, played by Abigail Breslin, from being taken away. The film opens in theaters today and also can be seen on demand. Film critic David Edelstein has this review. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: "Maggie" isn't a great movie, but it's a haunting one. It's like a one...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. The blockbuster season begins with "Avengers: Age Of Ultron," the second film to bring together heroes from different Marvel screen adaptations to battle an enemy too big for just one. Here, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk and many others are united under the direction of Joss Whedon. Film critic David Edelstein has a review. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: Two decades ago, film...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVE DAVIES, HOST: Iranian film director Asghar Farhadi won an Oscar for his 2011 film, "A Separation, but a film he made in 2009 has just been released in the United States. It's called "About Elly," and it's a mystery that centers on a kindergarten teacher invited on a beach trip by the mother of one of her students. Film critic David Edelstein has a review. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: What can I tell you about Elly, the...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. In 2002, journalist Michael Finkel conducted a series of interviews with accused murderer Christian Longo, who'd actually been impersonating Finkel when he was captured. Those interviews are now the core of the new movie "True Story" which features Jonah Hill as Finkel and James Franco as Longo. Film critic David Edelstein has this review. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: Here's the...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Kristen Stewart impressed the critics at last year's Cannes Film Festival for her supporting role in the new film "Clouds Of Sils Maria." Stewart plays the personal assistant to an aging movie star played by Juliette Binoche, who is about to appear in a play opposite an infamous young Hollywood actress. Film critic David Edelstein has this review. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: "Clouds...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. In 2010, writer-director Noah Baumbauch and actor Ben Stiller collaborated on the abrasive comedy-drama "Greenberg." Now they've reunited with something more upbeat - a comedy called "While We're Young." Stiller and Naomi Watts play a married couple in their 40s, befriended by a 20-something couple, played by Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried. Film critic David Edelstein has this...

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