Latest Film Reviews
Gangster Squad (2013)
The sheer bulk of talent involved (top-tier technicians and designers included) turns out to be a case of water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.
Flipping the cautionary themes of Mary Shelley’s original source material,
plays out as a primarily pro-science parable...goes out of its way to encourage free-thinking square pegs to avoid gaping round holes.
The Impossible (2012)
Takes dicey material—the story of one privileged family's suffering during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami—and transcends its political incorrectness by focusing on the human condition.
Parental Guidance (2012)
The Baby Boomer teaming no one was asking for—Billy Crystal and Bette Midler—melded to that most moribund of genres, rugrats 'comedy'...
Les Misérables (2012)
A mixed bag of suitable and not-so-suitable choices. On balance, though, it's about as compelling a screen version of
as we have any right to expect...Pop a dramamine and you'll be fine.
Django Unchained (2012)
There's a case to be made that blood-spattering revenge pictures, no matter how evil the villain, are cultural poison, but if this is what it takes to [get] Don Johnson as a dyed-in-the-wool racist done up as Colonel Sanders, well, so be it.
Jack Reacher (2012)
[McQuarrie] spreads a unearned veneer of intelligence over...a plot one character aptly describes as 'grassy-knoll ludicrous.'
The Guilt Trip (2012)
Silly and nice, basically unfunny but basically innocuous—so as satisfying as your average leftovers.
This is 40 (2012)
Mostly succeeds on its own merits...[but] many comedic and musical distractions pad the 134-minute running time and stray from the implicit promise of that title: the film has little to say about middle age...
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (2012)
Even for an episodic kiddie farce,
seems overly familiar in its comic premises (oh no! peeing in the municipal pool!) and conflicts...but it’ll all be new to its intended audience...
Holy Motors (2012)
As playful as it is
has the power to haunt as much as to amuse.
Playing for Keeps (2012)
Another day at the Romantic Comedy Factory:
'...Pull me down a Gerard Butler and a Jessica Biel, will ya?'
The Bourne Legacy (2012)
Just remember, kids, you’re not paranoid if they’re really out to get you…or your movie dollars.
Star Trek: The Next Generation—Season Two (1988)
became famous in large part for its (often corny) science-fiction morality plays...Few episodes of either series achieve this goal more elegantly than Melinda Snodgrass' 'The Measure of a Man.'
Finding Nemo (2003)
Though some scary parts may make the very young fret unduly, the film also puts forward some thoughtful messages for both children and their parents.
It's beginning to seem as if Pixar's delivery of one of the very best films of the year will be an unstoppable annual tradition.
Men in Black 3 (2012)
Has no MSG. I mention this because many will probably want to make a meal of it and, it should be said, it's both pretty tasty and will leave you feeling hungry an hour later...
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.
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