Latest Film Reviews
The Play (2015)
“The play”—since commemorated in merch aplenty, a Super Bowl ad, countless sports-TV retrospectives, and its own Wikipedia page—still makes great drama.
That '70s Show: The Complete Series (1998)
Depicts the teenage slacker ethic of avoiding responsibility whenever possible and clinging to youthful good times while they last. The show did the same, taking eight years (and 200 episodes) to depict [three].
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
Begin by imagining that a single story is being told in multiple ways throughout the film: a story of naive hopes, heartbreak, jealousy...Erotic, fear-ridden, and beautiful, Lynch's primal imagery has the abhorrent and alluring pull of death itself.
My Fair Lady (1964)
The well-nigh-irresistible 1964 film version of
My Fair Lady
...comedically softens Shaw's ending but nevertheless nearly single-handedly transcends the material's sexist leaning through the sheer humanism of Hepburn's deeply felt performance.
Resembles its own remarks about predictable patterns in the circuitry of arcade games: here is a series of crass caricatures, obvious setups and payoffs (not to mention a woman problem...), further suffocated by overweening commercialism...
The film's conspicuously irreverent style suggests that, blithe offenses aside, writer-directors Ron Clements and John Musker...have their heart in the right place: firmly situated in the anarchic comic tradition of Warner Brothers' Looney Tunes.
No movie can fully suppress the talents of Moore, Page, and Shannon, but in Ron Nyswaner’s script, every theme gets put in a character’s mouth, and every plot point gets telegraphed, mailed, emailed, and texted ahead of its arrival.
The Martian (2015)
Perhaps the purest ode to science mainstream cinema has ever produced, a love letter to NASA and STEM education.
Sleeping with Other People (2015)
Effectively has it both ways, with its dark neuroses and naughty humor giving way to a sweet consideration of the rarity of unconditional love.
A lavish, classy affair...But while long on beauty, Branagh's film falls short on whimsy...[and] the film's most affecting emotional moments...stand apart from the story's central conflict.
Pawn Sacrifice (2015)
Maguire isn’t obvious casting, but he convincingly owns the role...The actor pairs an oft-fevered, disheveled aspect with the fierce impatience and unwillingness to suffer fools that attend genius.
The Intern (2015)
A popular entertainment with two movie stars in likeable mode, a sunny Hollywood sheen, and a novel premise. And yet there’s something vaguely unsettling about how Myers’ mildly amusing comedy gets tangled up in political (in)correctness.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
’s heartfelt search and rescue of a feel-good result provides a perfect, even musical counterpoint to its regimented summer camp.
Black Mass (2015)
Stars Depp in a performance generating awards talk, makes a complicated story coherent without dumbing it down (much), lets a bunch of strong actors do their things, and yet inspires little more than adjectives like 'efficient' and 'workmanlike.'
Love & Mercy (2015)
Honorable...deeply moving...takes a considered approach to Wilson, sound in dramatic and editorial construction and insightful in its psychological subtexts.
Time Out of Mind (2015)
Though it’s hit and miss for audiences trying to forget Gere’s screen history, Moverman ably serves a slice of homeless life, dramatizing a problem we’ve contended with further back than we can remember.
Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine (2015)
For those who don’t yet know of Jobs’ dark side, Gibney’s documentary will be a useful eye-opener, but those looking to understand what made Jobs great in almost equal proportion to his nastiness will remain in the dark.
Two Days, One Night (2014)
Cotillard's heartbreakingly raw work carries the day, as she fleshes out both Sandra's suffering and emotional endurance on a journey of discovery that the latter, not the former, defines her.
Gotham: The Complete First Season (2014)
At times suffers from dull, dunderheaded, or dead-end plotlines [but]...There's enough here to keep hope alive that
could grow into more of a weekly treat than a fanboy obligation.
A Walk in the Woods (2015)
A broad comic tone...The few funny bits and sharp lines amount to fool’s gold scattered around a claim that never satisfactorily pays off.
We Are Your Friends (2015)
Does not miss its chance to blow...Every bit a screenwriter’s idea of what it takes to make it...while accidentally cultivating the pervading sense that real DJs would laugh their asses off at this movie and its endless dopey brodowns.
American Ultra (2015)
At times pokes fun at the genre's cliché in amusingly productive ways...More often than not, though, this conspiracy isn't the real deal, but rather an elaborate distraction.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)
[Not] played for cynical misanthropic laughs or as miserable tragedy, but...[in] an honest treatment devoid of the usual rush to judgment.
The Blacklist: The Complete Second Season (2013)
A week-in, weak-out study in same-y procedural storytelling and mythology stalling that's powered by the usual salacious crime exploitation and the unusual lead performance of James Spader.
Mistress America (2015)
Like Brooke, the film flies a strange and arresting course: if not quite a screwball, then certainly a change-up pitch.
A film every single American and, indeed, every world citizen should see and contemplate.
A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982)
Pure mid-period Allen, a muscle-stretching ensemble comedy with dramatic undertones and playful philosophical musings...Allen's characters ponder the permeable divide between lust and love, and the meanings of sexual intercourse...
Justice League: Gods and Monsters (2015)
Another solid entry in the DCU line,
Justice League: Gods and Monsters
works best as an entrée into what should be a fascinating and highly entertaining series of its own.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
Honors the original characters just fine, but the leads are lukewarm...the [action] mostly unmemorable ...and the split-the-difference jokey-serious tone errs...on the side of fashion-conscious and smug.
True Story (2015)
Does a lot of its work with its tongue-in-cheek title, a meta commentary on the not-so-broad spectrum of liar, actor, fiction writer, filmmaker and journalist.
Ricki and the Flash (2015)
That special brand of La Streep mugging—here applied to the character of a hot-mess bar-band deadbeat mom—will wear you into submission until nothing else seems to matter. Except that it should.
Best of Enemies (2015)
Like the debates it concerns,
Best of Enemies
entertains to a degree, enlightens to another, and asks us to ponder the relative merits of polar political ideologies and two complicated men who very publicly represented them.
Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation (2015)
McQuarrie doesn't make it easy to invest in the characters here, but paradoxically he does know how to make us grip our armrests as they face danger, and thus the mission is accomplished once more.
The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015)
Zimbardo insists he’s 'trying to understand how an institution affects an individual’s behavior.' Alvarez’s own dark study, empowered by potent acting, allows the audience to contemplate the many variations on that psychological dynamic.
House of Cards: Volume Three (2013)
'Do what you have to do.'...Netflix's flagship series addresses this dictum to many characters grappling with tough choices, but the core subject of [Season Three]...is the marriage of Frank and Claire Underwood.
With its playful use of scale,
drops a dollop of Lewis Carroll whimsy on the usual clashes of good and evil.
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015)
Shows little strain in maintaining its cute factor, thanks to the drily winning personalities of the likes of Smith, Dench, Nighy, and the comic ebullience of Patel.
The technical execution is strong...but the invention is weak...simply feels late to the party by spinning off sidekicks...as it trades on '60s style...
Batkid Begins (2015)
Celebrates a city united for fun and goodwill, and the rare, pronounced sense of play and energy adults are capable of rediscovering, as do those who toil excitedly and hopefully to give Miles 'a little bit of his childhood back.'
The Bridge (Die Brücke) (1959)
That it is Hitler doing the exploiting has little relevance to the overriding theme of tragic history humanity remains doomed to repeat: sending naive young men—and, at some times and places, boys—to their ends.
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