Latest Film Reviews
The Andy Griffith Show: Season 1 (1960)
A network sitcom with predictable conflicts meandering their way to 'all's well that ends well' resolutions, but the show—starting out on its now-historic eight-year run—functions not unlike its bucolic setting: it's a nice place to visit.
Driving Miss Daisy (2014)
This otherwise wispy two-hander-plus-one could easily collapse under a sociopolitical weight it isn't all that interested in lifting...so it's no surprise that the play has returned very much as a star vehicle, with old-pro actors...
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
What makes [it] more than just a thrilling science-fiction actioner is the past-present poignancy allowed by time travel and astral projection, indulging everyone's fantasy of telling a younger self what he or she needs to hear.
Purees your brain for two hours...proudly and pointedly credited as 'A Frank Coraci Movie'—not a film, y’hear? Nerd-os, go home!
Palo Alto (2014)
Coppola shows genuine interest in emotional detail, and it accumulates into a depth of real feeling.
Two Rode Together (1961)
Ford may have made it for a quick buck—or perhaps as a favor to Columbia chief Harry Cohn—but the impact of the resulting film is far more that of a provocative drama than a tossed-off oater.
All about the riff...it's not easy having less story than a Will Ferrell movie, but
In its broad strokes,
captures the intrigue of the real Dido, subject of a famously captivating portrait that is more fascinating and extraordinary than the film positioned around it.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Succeeds in being a largely well-produced comic-book movie extravaganza, but its weighty baggage may leave audiences wishing it had traveled light.
I Love Lucy: Ultimate Season 1 (1951)
There's never been a comedian quite like Lucille Ball before or since: with beauty she was entirely willing to contort for laughs and phenomenal comic instincts...the redheaded star was and remains impossible not to love.
The Other Woman (2014)
If this is girl power, we're experiencing rolling blackouts.
Particle Fever (2014)
Even a science dunce will walk away with a basic understanding of the project and a strong impression of the community around this important research...a film about the idealistic pursuit of knowledge...
Star Trek: Enterprise—Season Four (2001)
If not everything works in
's Season Four, it's certainly the most consistently entertaining and well-written season of the show, a bitter irony for a show that was doomed to cancellation.
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.
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