Latest Film Reviews
Reenactment cinema...On balance,
is about as entertaining and as trustworthy as a tabloid.
Rise of the Guardians (2012)
Even if the cause and effect of the plot proves fairly impenetrable...one can't deny the film is frequently visually resplendent and imaginative...
Anna Karenina (2012)
Who's for 130 minutes of alienation?...We're able to intellectualize why we should care (those social strictures are crushing hearts!), but we're too distracted to be moved.
Red Dawn (2012)
John Milius' 1984 original may not have been a paragon of clear-headed foreign policy, but...Dan Bradley's remake predictably sidesteps—and, in one case, mocks—its source material's most interesting moments...
Even when it's not quite running on all cylinders, LeRoy's
is never less than cute, and sometimes, it's a good deal more.
It would be criminal to reveal how the plot unfolds, other than to say it's impressive dramatic origami, manipulated deftly by an ideal cast and one of Hollywood's all-time top directors.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 (2012)
Heavenly shades of night are falling: it's
time...[for a series which] has always been borderline comical in its moments of greatest sincerity...
The Watch (2012)
According to an old showbiz saw, the key to comedy is timing. Well, the new big-budget sci-fi comedy
has a problem there.
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)
'Be excellent to each other.' Out of the mouths of babehounds...
Playful...the most conspicuously repeated word is 'game,' the most dangerous of which Bond typically is, pursues, or plays.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
One character innocently asks Peter, as he looks for an ID badge, 'Are you having trouble finding yourself?' Maybe just a little, but consider the franchise relaunched...
This version...won't be remembered as a major one—it's too faithful and too wobbly for that—but it's an entertaining novelty version, largely justified by the casting and Gemignani's slavish devotion to the original Broadway orchestrations.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Strikes just the right balance of irony and sincerity...genuinely heartwarming, from its opening dedication to Henson and Hunt to its joy-to-the-world finale.
Despite...misguided commercial instincts,
offers much that's productively unsettling, anchored by Washington's old-school movie-star performance...
Cloud Atlas (2012)
The Wachowskis and Tykwer are determined to make you understand eternity, and in that and only that, they succeed: by the time you get to the film’s endless series of endings, you’ll feel as if you’ve lived lifetimes.
Chasing Mavericks (2012)
There’s a nobility in a well-made teen movie, not least because of the rarity of the breed...[this] sports movie concerned with the physical, emotional, and moral development of a young man fruitfully aspires to the likes of
Simon and the Oaks (2011)
Foreign-film comfort food...at its best in exploring the psychology of the adopted.
is deep, after all, with Weyland Corporation standing in for 20th Century Fox in an allegory for Scott's artistic aspirations: funding and undermining his ambitions at the same time.
Seven Psychopaths (2012)
Smart enough to work on multiple levels: as a witty salute to masculine '70s cinema...as a deconstruction of same...and as an existential consideration of the role of self-expression in ascribing meaning to life...
Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
Entirely larky...for Beatlefans, what's not to like?
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012)
'Eat Gray Love'...the whole enterprise [is] too platitudinous, but with powerhouse actors like Dench, Nighy and Wilkinson, even a critic can agree it's better to be plucky than a sour stick-in-the-mud.
Taken 2 (2012)
The ludicrous plot devices that allow Mills to go from point A to point Z insult the intelligence of the character and the audience.
American Horror Story: The Complete First Season (2011)
Murphy and Falchuk don't go after anything deep...they just want the reflected glow of America's collective nightmares as they peddle their own ambitious, at times affecting, but generally klutzy serialized/recurring bad dream.
The French Connection (1971)
With its deathless car chase, Friedkin's film became an instant American classic...
General Education (2012)
What have I learned? High school movies can be duller—and more sour—than previously thought possible...The least generic element of
is its openly hostile attitude toward gay people.
Where Do We Go Now? (2011)
Part religiopolitical satire, part smalltown sitcom, with a hint of romance,
Where Do We Go Now?
is pleasingly populated with 'characters' and light farce that occasionally breaks out into a movie musical.
Modern Family: The Complete Third Season (2009)
While fully embracing the single-camera and mockumentary trends that have all but taken over modern sitcoms, the show hearkens back to...snugly-fitted farcical plotting and traditional sitcom writing...
End of Watch (2012)
End of Watch
introduces as 'Once upon a time in South Central' may feel a bit old hat...
Damsels in Distress (2012)
Since the halfwitty
Damsels in Distress
wants to have it both ways, its satire is about as cutting as a plastic knife through a porterhouse.
Playing a character that's almost entirely unsympathetic, Gere demonstrates the outward charm that's allowed Miller to accumulate his wealth and status, as well as the abyss-staring soul his showmanship conceals.
This psychodrama of ill-advised behavior may well leave you feeling dirty...for what you've watched helplessly and perhaps for what you've countenanced as an American citizen.
The Words (2012)
A fairly straightforward yarn with bluntly articulated themes of Regret, Guilt, Misplaced Trust, and the Vagaries of Fate.
An anti-musical...based on The Who's 1973 "rock opera" concept album...all the more brilliant for this seemingly counter-intuitive approach.
Sons of Anarchy: Season Four (2011)
It's good that
Sons of Anarchy
has pointed itself more clearly in the direction of an end game, as narrative wheel-spinning doesn't serve the show well.
Sleepwalk with Me (2012)
Film demonstrably isn't the best medium for this story...but [it] remains resonant, with its hidden-in-plain-sight metaphor of drifting unconsciously through life.
Tough-minded...In recounting 'the Great Franklin County Moonshine Conspiracy,'
does not lack for local color and local legend.
Homeland: The Complete First Season (2011)
The Manchurian Candidate
as a television series, and you have a pretty good idea of what you're in for with Showtime's paranoid thriller
, adapted from the Israeli drama
Prisoners of War
Once Upon a Time: The Complete First Season (2011)
The reach for epic status sets
Once Upon a Time
apart; one hopes that reach will result in more grasp during the upcoming sophomore season.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)
Eighty-eight minutes of sublime silliness...should appeal in equal measure to adults as to children.
Monsieur Lazhar (2012)
A sensitive and fairly subtle work, with the deceptive simplicity of a well-honed short story.
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