Latest Film Reviews
Ice Age: Collision Course (2016)
The mammoths and their mammalian buddies...take direction from [a] lunatic weasel...to SAVE THE WORLD by DIVERTING THE PATH OF AN ASTEROID (emphasis mine).
Captain Fantastic (2016)
The film’s saving graces are the uniformly strong performances...and its intriguing subject matter...[but it] develops third-act problems as it devolves into calculated contrivances, didacticism, and sentiment.
Our Little Sister (2015)
Moves at a rhythm akin to the gently lapping waves...yet somehow swiftly establishes the personalities of the three sisters, a contradiction that speaks to the resonance of the performers and Koreeda’s skill at eliciting emotional truth.
Should you see Sony’s new
remake? Yes. Yes, you should. Will you be entertained? Yes. Yes, you will. Will you also be a little annoyed? Well, yeah, probably...it’s all a bit too self-consciously self-conscious...
The Boss (2016)
Needlessly starting out on such a false, bombastic note emblematizes the film's mistake of blowing up the character past what made her recognizable, and thereby funny, in the first place.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
Has more genuinely funny moments than most so-called comedies at the multiplex, abetted by Waititi’s now-practiced comic sensibility, his stylized snap of performance and editing.
Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words (2016)
From the evidence of Thorsten Schütte’s found-footage documentary...Zappa saw the interview as sometime endurance test, sometime amusement, and all-the-time chess match he could never lose, played as it was against lesser lights.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016)
For Zeus's sake...as warm and fuzzy and comforting (or not) as a Disney Channel show marketed more to parents than to their kids.
Central Intelligence (2016)
Even if the material's not always up to the title's ironic reference to wit, the cast and their director carry the day with a good stock of laughs.
Finding Dory (2016)
If the plotting at first feels overly familiar (and, in many ways, is), its elegance becomes apparent in the reinvigorating final movements, which also confirm
's ultimate theme of building self-confidence through self-discovery.
only reluctantly comes around to its crime-solving story, that’s understandable: the good stuff resides in the characterizations and the morality play around them, decrying fear of the other.
The Conjuring 2 (2016)
When there’s somefin strange...in your neighbor’ood...’oo you gonna call?
Kill Your Friends (2015)
As adapted by screenwriter John Niven from his own novel,
Kill Your Friends
has a decidedly been-there, killed-that feel to it.
Hail, Caesar! (2016)
In a way, the amusing, preposterous
, for all its arch postmodernism, becomes what it pastiches, resembling the kind of '50s film we can now watch and admire for a kind of cultural reflection without exactly considering it a success.
Triple 9 (2016)
A dark crime drama the rough-and-tumble Samuel Fuller no doubt would have loved.
Me Before You (2016)
The sort of film to starkly divide audiences: hard cases will wince at the clichés and Clarke’s performance; starry-eyed weepie fans will get what they came for.
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
For all its failings, including the crime of not being exhilarating,
remains a competent sci-fi actioner.
Maggie's Plan (2015)
A not-unpleasant 98 minutes that’s nevertheless understocked with comic zest and thematic incisiveness.
The Witch (2015)
for what it is: a refreshingly baroque respite from the jump-scares that typify today's horror.
The Lobster (2015)
Investigates the nature of our need for a partner (who else will apply that pain-relief cream to the small of your back?), how we cling to superficial similarities to justify our matches, and our denial, at our peril, of our animal nature.
The Finest Hours (2016)
One can easily understand why this story swiftly became Coast Guard legend...but its dim wall-of-grey visuals and narrative longueurs make much of the two hours a challenge to the attention span for viewers of any age.
The Angry Birds Movie (2016)
Even though 'Anger is not always the answer,' sometimes it has to be, or there’s no movie, and here’s where
The Angry Birds Movie
will divide audiences.
Dark Horse (2015)
Osmond doesn't belabor style in any way, opting to shape the story simply and directly through the new interviews, available archive materials, and efficient montage.
The Man Who Knew Infinity (2016)
Can repeat its formula by rote, but develops no breakthrough theory of its own.
Where to Invade Next (2015)
Moore finds a galvanizing climax by rallying around the notion that idealism trumps, if you’ll pardon the word, defeatism.
The Meddler (2015)
A delightfully humane comedy...doesn’t insist upon the meddling as a 'premise' but as an important part of the film’s psychological reality.
Son of Saul (2015)
One man’s last grasp at humanity amidst the dehumanizing horrors of Auschwitz...dramatizes those extraordinary circumstances under which even the meanings of life and death become foreign and in desperate need of rediscovery.
Tastes awfully stale...those with a high tolerance for 'nice' movies will happily roll with this
. But know that it is proudly unsophisticated in its storytelling.
Elvis & Nixon (2016)
A story of great power and great delusion, of the absurdities of politics and the strange effects and arguably undue reach of celebrity. These potentially heady themes are really beside the point of a movie that’s a hoot and knows it.
The Lady in the Van (2015)
Though at times precious, Bennett’s sly script masks that deeply sentimental core with comic edge and a writer’s willful, mercenary remove.
Miles Ahead (2015)
Not everyone will agree with how Cheadle answers the key questions, but only a fool would say his take lacks creativity, heart, energy, and a gutsy willingness to take risks (as Davis says in the film, 'Be wrong strong').
The hero of the new dramedy
at one point muses, 'For some reason, everything’s becoming a metaphor.' Boy, you can say that again.
Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)
I Saw the Light (2015)
It’s all so dully realized that we grow starving for idiosyncratic detail, desperately latching on to Williams’ love of ketchup or his drunkenly being tickled pink by his new garage-door opener.
The Hateful Eight (2015)
[A] general absence of something to say...Recycles the filmmaker’s own work: the leaner if no meaner dog-eat-dog plotting of
...and a roster of no-longer-shocking offenses...
Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Series (1999)
Had a lot going for it: a strong creative vision from authorial forces who would go on to take Hollywood, a talented cast that would essentially do the same, and that premise.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
[SPOILER-FREE REVIEW:] This is not a drill, comic-book geeks.
Fear the Walking Dead: The Complete First Season (Special Edition) (2015)
There's nothing to take this show over the top, and in a crowded marketplace of quality TV storytelling, that's a troubing knock, but the show does a good job of wedding weekly genre thrills to creeping plot and character developments.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2 (2015)
If the franchise continues to feel a bit dull—heavy on the drama and light on the excitement, with pageantry long in the rear-view—there’s a respectable purity in the films’ political cynicism and populist fervor.
Knight of Cups (2015)
For all its thrumming profundity...has just as much sleepwalking self-parody: all of the actors’ pacing and arm-flapping and gazing off into the distance suggests, as much as an art film, the world’s longest prescription drug commercial.
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