Christopher Orr
Christopher Orr
Christopher Orr is a senior editor and the principal film critic at The Atlantic. He has written on movies for the New Republic, LA Weekly, Salon, and The New York Sun, and has worked as an editor for numerous publications.
  • Thoughts on Alan Rickman

    The first film in which I recall seeing Alan Rickman was his big-screen debut in Die Hard, as the instantly iconic criminal mastermind Hans Gruber. The second was Truly, Madly, Deeply, a bittersweet love story in which he played a moody—and perpetually chilly—ghost. (Our mutual affinity for the film was one of the early signs that my wife and I were meant to be together. Anyone in the market for a Rickman-related cry need look no farther than the video above.)

    The two roles set the template for much of the film career that followed, as Rickman displayed a remarkable aptitude both for sneering villainy (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the Harry Potter films) and for deep melancholy, whether quiet (Sense and Sensibility) or otherwise (Dogma, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). He was a unique talent and, by all accounts, a unique human being. To say that he will be missed is the grossest of understatements.

    David has more on Rickman’s remarkable life and career here, and Megan looks at his roles as a romantic lead here.

  • Phil McCarten / Reuters

    The 2016 Oscar Nominations: From Mad Max to Room

    Thoughts on this year’s Academy Award nominees

  • 20th Century Fox

    The Revenant: Beauty and Brutality in Equal Measure

    While Alejandro Iñárritu’s new film displays uncommon grace, it can be hard to endure.

  • Tarantino Falls Into a Rut, Cont'd

    In an earlier note, I shared a few macro thoughts on what The Hateful Eight tells us about Quentin Tarantino’s career. (Short version: nothing good.) This time, I wanted to go micro and delve a little more deeply into what’s probably the most memorable scene—not in a good way—in Tarantino’s new film, the confrontation between Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) and Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern). Be forewarned that spoilers follow.

  • Tarantino Falls Into a Rut

    The Weinstein Company

    I have a few quick thoughts that I wanted to add to David’s excellent review of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. First off: yes to the 70mm film and to the special “Roadshow” stagings across the country. It would be nice if other directors had the nerve to take such aesthetic and experiential gambles.

    But no, I fear, to pretty much everything else. At a full three hours, this is famously Tarantino’s longest film (with the exception of the reattached Kill Bill, which the studio was considerate enough to release theatrically in two portions). It’s also his most violent, which is saying quite a bit. And, as David noted, its most memorable scene “indulges all of Tarantino’s worst impulses to shock his audience with embarrassingly gross content.” (More on this in a subsequent note. Update: It’s here.)

    But as important as The Hateful Eight’s excesses are its paucities. The dialogue is the flattest that Tarantino has yet committed to screen. The plot, insofar as it exists at all, is dull, plodding, and repetitive: In the hands of a less self-serious auteur, it could have been knocked off in a slender 90 minutes or less. And the resolution of the movie’s central mystery—the payoff for which we are made to wait so very long—is a shocking letdown, a deus ex machina that would have Agatha Christie spinning in her grave.

  • Lucasfilm

    The Force Awakens and a Critical Turnaround

    A few final thoughts on J.J. Abrams’s film, nostalgia, and the expectations game

  • Pixar / Warner Bros / 20th Century Fox ...

    The Best Movies of 2015

    The Atlantic’s film critic picks the top titles—and doles out some less conventional awards.

  • Lucasfilm

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens Is a Mashup Masterpiece

    J.J. Abrams’s reboot may be completely derivative, but it is a delight nonetheless.

  • Trump and Terrorism Loom Over Marrakech

    Members of the jury and winners pose during the closing ceremony on December 12. (Youssef Boudlal / Reuters)

    I was lucky to attend the Marrakech International Film Festival last week. Though only in its 15th year, it has quickly risen to prominence, in part thanks to the large number of films shot in Morocco over the years—from Orson Welles’s Othello all the way back in 1949 to Lawrence of Arabia, The Last Temptation of Christ, Gladiator, Spectre, and many, many others—and in part thanks to the fact that Marrakech is a highly desirable tourist destination.

    The festival thus attracts a strong array of films—I saw good ones by directors Cesc Gay, Julien Leclercq, and Sergio Castellitto—and some intriguing guests. Among those receiving tributes this year were Bill Murray, South Korean director Park Chan-wook (with whom I spoke briefly), and Willem Dafoe. (The last was unfortunately not in attendance: more on this in a moment.)

    Yet looming over questions of cinema throughout the week were the issues of terrorism and anti-Muslim bias.

  • The Two Types of Film Criticism a Director Receives

    Park Chan-Wook receives an award today from Bollywood actress Richa Chadda (L) during an event to pay tribute to him at the 15th Marrakech International Film Festival. (Youssef Boudlal / Reuters)

    The seminal South Korean director Park Chan-wook—best known for his “Vengeance Trilogy,” and in particular, its middle chapter, Oldboy—received an tribute Wednesday night at the Marrakech International Film Festival, where I am lucky enough to be in attendance.

    Park is currently working on The Handmaid, an adaptation of Sarah Waters’s lesbian crime novel Fingersmith set in Japanese-occupied South Korea, but before his breakthrough with the 2000 movie Joint Security Area, he made a living principally as a film critic, becoming quite popular and well-known in South Korea. (His criticism, alas, has yet to be translated into English.) When, in an interview with a handful of other journalists, I asked him how he had approached being a critic, his answer was, essentially, that he accentuated the positive—though for two disparate reasons.

  • Disney / Pixar

    The Good Dinosaur: Pixar’s First Movie Just for Kids

    Despite solid execution and some beautiful visuals, the studio's latest may be its least ambitious to date.

  • Lionsgate

    Mockingjay—Part 2: A Dull Slog to the Bitter End

    Following two excellent installments, the Hunger Games franchise stumbles to its grim, claustrophobic conclusion.

  • Kerry Hayes / Open Road Films

    How to Get Journalism Right, Via the Movies

    Spotlight is a lesson in how to be a reporter; Truth is a lesson in how not to.

  • MGM Studios

    Spectre: Bond Doesn’t Need an Origin Story

    The 24th film in the franchise—likely Daniel Craig's last—dazzles early but sputters by the end.

  • Sony Pictures Classics

    Truth: A Terrible, Terrible Movie About Journalism

    James Vanderbilt's directorial debut gets almost everything wrong about its putative subject.

  • Universal Pictures

    In Steve Jobs, a Fascinating Subject Remains Elusive

    Despite Aaron Sorkin's shrewd script, Danny Boyle's sharp direction, and a riveting performance by Michael Fassbender, the movie never quite gets under the skin of its protagonist.

  • FX

    The Giddy Genius of Fargo

    After a strong but uneven debut last year, Noah Hawley's show has hit its magnificent stride.

  • 20th Century Fox

    The Collaborative Excellence of The Martian

    In a story in which everything goes wrong, the filmmakers and stars do everything right.

  • Lionsgate

    The Almost-Greatness of Sicario

    Denis Villeneuve's stylish, moody drug-war thriller begins as one film, before becoming another not quite as good.

  • Isaac Brekken / AP

    Scott Walker Was Never All He Was Reputed to Be

    The Wisconsin governor may have won election three times in a blue state, but he was always less uniter than divider.