Latest Film Reviews
In Old Arizona (1929)
The first major Western in sound...One can occasionally feel the filmmakers showing off the technology, with close-ups of a crying baby or sizzling ham and eggs.
Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
Oz the Great and Powerful
gets saved from the junk heap by Franco and especially by director Sam Raimi, who happily treats the enterprise as a sandbox.
The Newsroom: The Complete First Season (2012)
By setting the show in the recent past, Sorkin can productively remind or inform a broad audience of the pith of important news we've lived through...a subplot about [NSA] wiretapping...[even] gets ahead of the curve...
A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)
Once blithely acceptable as American id, McClane's become the archetypal American idiot.
Falling Skies: The Complete Second Season (2011)
Cannily plays in equal measure to the sci-fi TV crowd and families, to red states and blue states, and it's a formula—refined in Season Two—that seems to be working.
The Internship (2013)
Although Vaughn's riffing skills remain in fine form, as do Wilson's, the story makes every obvious and conventional choice.
Now You See Me (2013)
So preposterous in its particulars, so ludicrous in its lowdown, that you're liable to kick yourself silly for having bothered to play along.
What remains most striking about
may be the...conspicuous emphasis on intense close-ups. They force an inescapable emotional intimacy in relation to issues the mainstream, at least at the time, would rather have looked away from.
3:10 to Yuma (1957)
Distinguished by its thoughtfulness regarding the nature of Western heroism, as defined not only by dead-eye gunplay, but by family, community, and moral rectitude.
Nothing new, but given its solidly built kids' adventure, I'm not going to, y'know, look down on it.
The Hangover Part III (2013)
Less like a movie and more like a contractual obligation.
Stand Up Guys (2012)
The awfulness of the narrative is plain to see, and yet...no one can say
Stand Up Guys
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
Smart or...dumb? Yes, and...fun to hang around with for a couple of hours.
Shanghai Noon (2000)
Though the film nakedly seeks a wide audience through conventional plotting and characterization—and despite being (like most action movies) guy-centric—
provides good, clean 'family' fun.
Shanghai Knights (2003)
This innocent, sixties-style, big-budget comedy-romance-action-adventure romp is solid family entertainment that would make any self-respecting kid's jaw drop for a good two hours.
Star Trek: The Next Generation—The Best of Both Worlds (1990)
As good as, if not better than, any of the feature films that would later star the
Star Trek: The Next Generation—Season Three (1989)
Not only did the third season mark a quantum leap in non-niche popularity for the series, but a greater consistency in the show's writing and execution that meant a precipitous drop in fan complaints.
The Great Gatsby (2013)
Luhrmann approaches the story and directs his actors in ways that hold them at a distance from us: the overkill plays less as bold art and more as lack of trust in the source material.
In the House (2013)
Inviting photography and a relentless pace complement Claude's unfolding narrative, but the big thrills are in the deftly drawn characters...and the incisive satire...
At Any Price (2012)
Works best when it sticks close to Henry, whose broad grin fails to mask a growing desperation. Quaid not only makes a believably corn-fed patriarch, but he captures the mien of one who is slowly ceding his soul...
Perhaps it's damning
with faint praise to call it agreeable, but Gilles Bourdos' film...shows an admirable restraint, quiet simplicity, and lush pictorial beauty.
The Pink Panther (1964)
All the ingredients for a great evening at the movies: lively music, eye-catching scenery, larger-than-life comic set pieces, suave men and beautiful women, and odd-man-out Clouseau, played to perfection by the one and only Peter Sellers.
The Place Beyond the Pines (2013)
The most satisfying cinematic experience we've had at the multiplex thus far this year, and largely through its disinterest in playing along with movie trends.
Evil Dead (2013)
There are two types of people in the world. Those who should under no circumstances see the horror sequel/reboot
and those who just
Day-Lewis...wears well the weariness of the office and Lincoln's puckish yet subdued sense of humor, scaling the man closer to life-size than Mount Rushmore monumental.
The Host (2013)
Do not consume
before operating heavy machinery. Side effects may include spontaneous coma or fits of giggling.
A Royal Affair (2012)
Supplements its palace intrigue with the good old-fashioned pull of romance and costume drama...Mikkelsen's magnetism and sly expressiveness hold the film's center with a quiet potency.
Monsieur Verdoux (1947)
can boast a screenplay with a highly unusual moral complexity and a deeply philosophical bent...Yes,
is a film that name-drops Schopenhauer, but it's also damn funny...
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
By most cinematic measures,
Zero Dark Thirty
is one of the best-made films of 2012. It also probably shouldn't exist.
The Croods (2013)
Appears to have been market-tested to within an inch of its life, so despite a theme of finding the capacity to evolve, the picture remains mired in the tar pit of formula.
On the Road (2012)
This pretty period-pictorial companion piece to the novel fatally misses out on the brain-firing raw buzz that Kerouac felt and passed on to his readers...
Park’s skills for surreal subjectivity and the mischievously weird certainly don’t hurt, but they can’t quite banish
’s narrative speed bumps and draughts of cold air...
Life of Pi (2012)
In the hands of Ang Lee, a true film artist,
Life of Pi
elegantly walks Martel's philosophical line while also brilliantly using every modern cinematic tool to spin an epic yarn.
Swims upstream against high-definition with a defiantly lo-fi approach that's also ingeniously evocative of the historical period.
Greedy Lying Bastards (2013)
The film isn't a worldbeater as either old-school journalism of rigorous reportage or dazzling showmanship...will be of most use as a time capsule of sorts...
The mealy half-truth director Peter Webber...and screenwriters Vera Blasi and David Klass settle for just winds up a waste of everyone's time.
Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
Built for fun...in its dazzlingly elaborate production design and kinetic 3D action...perfect casting...
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
-esque video-game-character cameos, and a cramming of clever comic touches...
A Place at the Table (2013)
Provides plenty of moving case studies...[but] it's most useful for its prismatic look at the problem of American hunger, examining the problem's recent history, its root causes...and its inextricability from other national crises...
The Master (2012)
begs for a reorientation of the viewer, perhaps requiring more than one viewing...there's nothing easy or conventional about this account of a doomed search for external meaning, doubling as a meditative tone poem on human frailty.
A Star Is Born (1976)
While in its romantic and romanticized particulars, this
A Star Is Born
can often seem silly, hoary, disjointed or meandering, the essence of the showbiz narrative still exerts a powerful pull...
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