Latest Film Reviews
All is Lost (2013)
As a 'man vs. wild' adventure in the Jack London mode,
All is Lost
has plenty of fearsome moments, but the deeper fears are existential: man in mortal contention with an indifferent universe.
Muscle Shoals (2013)
The lightning rod figure here is Rick Hall, 'the founder of the music business in Muscle Shoals'...At 80, Hall remains sharply opinionated, and his extensive recollections give
Hums along nicely as it diagnoses what Dr. Judith calls 'the least-parented, least-nurtured generation—ever.' It's funny without being broad, thanks to a fine ensemble...
Captain Phillips (2013)
May be obvious and it may be clumsy, but it's also at least a little bit thoughtful, and there's never a dull moment.
Romeo and Juliet (2013)
Please steer away your loved ones from this tone-deaf travesty, this misbegotten farrago, this offensive, rank, charmless, near-lifeless, anti-romantic twaddle, a classic tale 'told by an idiot.' Want to know what I really think?
Much Ado About Nothing (2013)
Whedon goes for a kind of radical naturalism, an understated approach that suggests the characters could be your friends and neighbors.
Moves us closer to an art-house/blockbuster hybrid paradigm that could be Hollywood’s salvation...a survivalist adventure that captures the primal terror of present death while exploring the will or won't to live.
Runner Runner (2013)
The odds of hitting a 'runner runner' flush (in Texas Hold 'Em) are 'roughly four percent.' Coincidentally, those are the same odds you'll be satisfied with your purchase of a ticket to
Typically slick, both overstated and undernourished when it comes to the drama. All the same,
makes for a pretty good fall night at the movies: fast and furious, but not too stupid.
Enough Said (2013)
A comedy of separation anxiety and conjoining anxiety...When Holofcener gets Dreyfus and Gandolfini alone,
is a beautiful thing.
The East (2013)
Intrigues not with good guy-bad guy shtick, but with the conundrum of how to live morally in an inherently immoral West.
Stand by Me (1986)
Exquisitely captures the vulnerability not only of youth, but of the male identity.
Short Term 12 (2013)
In a film full of humane performances, Larson stands out, personifying the necessary vulnerability and strength Cretton captures of the workplace.
Afternoon Delight (2013)
Feels rather 'been there, done that' for a movie that keeps (idly, as it turns out) threatening to turn transgressive. Still, by putting utility player Hahn front and center, Soloway earns instant good will.
Chasing Ice (2012)
While more detailed scientific analysis and greater discussion of impacts would have been welcome, the film's visual rhetoric is solid.
Supernatural: The Complete Eighth Season (2005)
The stars still deliver, the supporting cast (especially Collins and Mark A. Sheppard as demon Crowley) remains prized, and the writers keep coming up with witty variations on the show's
The X Files
Sons of Anarchy: Season Five (2008)
Sutter knows how to conceive inconceivable violence, and while it's fair to question whether or not such disgusting ideas are just cultural poison, one can't argue that he ignores the consequences of each act.
As violent, macho fantasies go, this one is surprisingly engaging, a throwback to '80s sci-fi actioners like
in its striking visual approach...its juicy pulp dialogue...and its unabashed hard-'R' gusto.
With a man-against-the-elements adventure like this one, the emphasis is, and should be, largely on spectacular depiction of the environment, and [the] directors...make use of the biggest budget yet afforded to a Norwegian film...
To Be or Not to Be (2013)
To Be or Not to Be
has all the hallmarks of a Lubitsch comedy: a solidly constructed plot, good comic pacing, a light touch, and strong performances from top to bottom.
The Iceman (2013)
The main selling point here—and it's a considerable one—is Shannon, who shows new shadings in the role of Kuklinski...
The Grandmaster (2013)
More than anything, perhaps,
is a feminist tragedy that, at least in this cut, seems to lose interest in Ip Man and pass the torch to the considerably more fascinating Gong Er...
does inspire escapism, as its title implies, but not in the way the filmmakers had in mind: rather, you’ll be looking for the exits.
Haneke has hit upon the most accessible, most universally understood experiential vehicle to explore his career-defining obsession with nihilism, or he has made his most emotionally sensitive film yet, a true love story.
Star Trek: Enterprise—Season Two (2001)
Season Two of
put a lot of fans to sleep in 2002, but out of that context of 'franchise fatigue,' these twenty-six episodes...are entertaining, well-executed
Closed Circuit (2013)
Despite breathless proclamations about 'the biggest, most high profile murder case in British history' and timely trappings of closely held government secrets threatening to come to light, it all turns out to be rather boilerplate.
The World's End (2013)
You can go home again. But it's going to involve a lot of drinking.
As a tart analogy for our escapism into literature and romantic comedies,
is, itself, enaging, if not particularly sharp.
Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season (2012)
Disney's latest grand experiment in televised synergy has old-fashioned, corny charm—just newfangled with girl power and CGI.
Killing Season (2013)
Comes full up with heavy-handed signifiers, from Ben's choice of reading (Hemingway...) to a hammered motif of lapsed Christianity (the climax takes place in a rotting church) that underlines the theme of living with the sins of the past.
Regular Show: The Complete First & Second Seasons (2010)
There are sometimes twisted lessons to be learned from their misbehavior, but it's more about the silliness, punctuated regularly by frat-boy gesticulation and verbal high-fives.
From Up on Poppy Hill (2013)
Sunny days, blue skies, and rippling blue waters lined with greenery...Plain nice, and there's nothing wrong with that.
The Spectacular Now (2013)
A mature film about immature people, tenderly performed by its young leads and skillfully adapted, by
(500) Days of Summer
screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, from Tim Tharp's YA novel.
Kick-Ass 2 (2013)
Give this to
: it's never boring...Even so,
has lost most of its transgressive charge along with its element of surprise and its heroes' disturbingly unwavering conviction.
Faced with almost three decades of complicated history,
does a fair job of telling the story of Apple and conveying something of what made its co-founder unique.
Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013)
Despite admirable work from Whitaker and Winfrey,
Lee Daniels' The Butler
is nearly crushed by its own symbolic weight and its contrivance of a central character arc from keeping one's head down to learning to stand up.
Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space (1970)
In many ways,
Spearhead from Space
is terribly clunky...[but it] remains an historically important adventure and one with recognizable influences on stories to come...
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013)
For all its apocalyptic fate-of-the-world theatrics, this...[adaptation of] the 2011 graphic novel
by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert...has an emotional core to give purpose to its crazy amounts of mayhem.
A highly personal tale of undergrown men and overgrown boys experiencing the growing pains of love turned unrequited, and the realization that nothing—not freedom, not security, not innocence, not love—lasts forever.
It's hard not to see
today as a corny contraption...
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