Latest Film Reviews
A throwback to the fear-mongering science fiction of the past...the lab-bound likes of
The Andromeda Strain
, circa the paranoid '70s.
Draft Day (2014)
This combo of 'inside football' and Capra-corn fable of being one's own man in the face of total opposition...amounts to a corporate training film full of Trump-card koans...
The Raid 2 (2014)
Evans can't compete with more or less obvious influences like
, but he's certainly no slouch in the sadism department, making his films in some ways exhilarating but also wearying, for better and worse.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
never strays far from preposterousness, the picture's real-world implications give its high-flying action at least a tug of gravity.
August: Osage County (2014)
Absent the electricity of live-wire live performance, the play's paucity of depth becomes more obvious. What's left to carry the day are a nasty streak of black comedy and the redoubtable acting ensemble.
Bad Words (2014)
Doesn't seem to know what to do with itself once it gets where it's going...And yet, it's hard to throw on the trash heap, because Jason Bateman.
The Hidden Fortress (1958)
The play of light and dark elements in what's arguably Akira Kurosawa's most broadly appealing and entertaining picture...explores a dichotomy of the idiocy of greed and the rewards of sacrifice.
Though Coogan's the avowed funnyman, twinkly-eyed Dench makes beautiful comic music with him...and though Dame Judi's the classically trained tragedian, Coogan holds his own when matters get serious.
The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza) (2013)
Plays at times like a more conventional, less daring version of 1972’s
...On its own merits, Sorrentino’s film ain’t half-bad, but it’s no Fellini picture.
Ma vie en rose (1997)
About the unimaginative struggle to maintain conventional respectability, and the transgender child who is having none of it...
Muppets Most Wanted (2014)
The state of the Muppet union remains strong...self-reference sits comfortably along hip pop-cultural references for the 'rents: stylish parodies and retro musical numbers along with vintage Muppet gags...
The Lunchbox (2014)
The picture belongs to world-class actor Khan. I'll wager right now that there won't be a better performance all year, though it's not the type to win awards.
300: Rise of an Empire (2014)
Both blood-bathetic and deliriously entertaining high camp...will appeal mainly to meatheads, but those with a tolerance for over-the-top violence may appreciate it on other levels.
Tim's Vermeer (2013)
Earns its keep by being informative and briskly entertaining. It helps that the likeably wry Jenison is such an interesting character in his own right, a true Renaissance man...
To look into García's face is to see the movie, a loving character study, in miniature at any moment: Gloria refuses to be your stereotype or a writer's stock character. She's complicated, like you...
The Wind Rises (2013)
As much as it deeply understands the artistic mindset of a driven creator, it also acknowledges the darker implications of a genius' tunnel vision.
A bit like its own villain, Mount Vesuvius: massive, full of hot air, and brainless.
King of the Hill (1993)
King of the Hill
—or to discover it—is to realize how seldom American cinema deems it worthwhile to tell a child's story with anything approaching serious psychological intent.
Foreign Correspondent (1940)
A fitfully crackerjack picture with astonishing mise-en-scène...some memorable set pieces to take advantage of same, and flashes of Hitchockian wit...
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Though the film, by necessity, expands Dahl's original story and fuses it to the sensibility of Anderson, author and auteur share a common tone of twisted twee...
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
Nervy and unnerving...arguably the purest expression of Allen's cinematic vision.
Winter's Tale (2014)
Runs on Judeo-Christian good-versus-evil mythology and the firm belief that love conquers all, especially if you have a magic flying horse. I know that sounds pretty awesome, but...
[Has] a soupçon of military-industrial complexity...Judged on its own merits, this
pump-fakes in some interesting directions without getting to fully explore any of them.
The Monuments Men (2014)
It all feels a bit like an overearnest deleted subplot from someone else's war epic, rather than a confident Clooney picture.
The Lego Movie (2014)
Zany episodes...provide a clothesline on which to hang social satire and an overriding message that an individual's imagination can trump social and cultural oppression. Throw out the instructions, and make what you want of the world. Plus butt jokes.
The wild pulp adventure that prefigured Raimi's eventual direction of the
franchise...If you've a taste for Hollywood-funded outré,
is one of those rare films that fits the bill.
Labor Day (2013)
A laughably precise, even parodic, archetype of a fantasy male...[and an] offensive stereotype of a female basket case who, more than anything, needs a strong man, preferably a bad-boy hunk with an easy touch for her and a slow hand for a Swiffer.
The Fifth Estate (2013)
Cumberbatch gives a commanding performance, but corrective rewrites to the worrying early drafts of the script obviously were too little, too late to do justice to the nuanced complexities of [Assange] and his revolution.
The Invisible Woman (2013)
Crucially, we stay at the side of the conflicted Nelly, and Jones proves as powerful in nuanced moments of quiet emotional availability as in Nelly's few, stirring allowances to speak truth to male privilege...
The Nut Job (2014)
Like many rodents, the plot runs in circles, covering over and over again the same ground...[Plus,] Psy, who parties like it's 2012.
Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor (2013)
A culminative reflection on the reboot's characterization of the Doctor, a respectful hat tip to the decades that preceded the show's return to the airwaves in 2005, and a jumping-off point for...the next fifty years of
20 Feet from Stardom (2013)
Neville does a good job of highlighting songs that are especially characterized by backup singers, like Lou Reed's 'Walk on the Wild Side,' and introducing us to some of the 'unsung' talent that made those hits possible.
Archer: The Complete Season Four (2009)
is coming for you. Phrasing. Boom!
Lone Survivor (2013)
The unwillingness to 'engage' in larger questions disconcertingly reduces a real-life tragedy to an action movie.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
Achieves some romantic uplift when Mitty dreams of Cheryl and literally takes flight, but most of the time, the picture strains to make any kind of sense, much less entertain.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Rests comfortably alongside Scorsese's masterpieces
, but carries a sting that even they don't by examining the most acceptable, yet most rapacious, of criminal swindles.
The Past (2013)
With patient sensitivity, Farhadi expertly elicits sympathy, followed by empathy, for each character, almost in turns, to resist misguiding the audience to easy answers.
Captures the zeitgeist of a tech-centric world that may be too 'smart' for its own good...It's about the life of the mind and emotional dysfunction as much as it is a quirky romance, and every scene opens up new questions.
The Lone Ranger (2013)
Prompts 'The Cosplay Kid' of the Comic-Con era of cinema to swallow the sins of our forefathers and the ones we countenance today.
American Hustle (2013)
There's a self-aware feel to the period pageantry, the alternatingly seductive and kinetic cinematography, and the actor's showcase this ramshackle contraption has been held together with spit and bailing wire to be.
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