Latest Theatrical Reviews
300: Rise of an Empire (2014)
Both blood-bathetic and deliriously entertaining high camp...will appeal mainly to meatheads, but those with a tolerance for over-the-top violence may appreciate it on other levels.
Tim's Vermeer (2013)
Earns its keep by being informative and briskly entertaining. It helps that the likeably wry Jenison is such an interesting character in his own right, a true Renaissance man...
To look into García's face is to see the movie, a loving character study, in miniature at any moment: Gloria refuses to be your stereotype or a writer's stock character. She's complicated, like you...
The Wind Rises (2013)
As much as it deeply understands the artistic mindset of a driven creator, it also acknowledges the darker implications of a genius' tunnel vision.
A bit like its own villain, Mount Vesuvius: massive, full of hot air, and brainless.
Winter's Tale (2014)
Runs on Judeo-Christian good-versus-evil mythology and the firm belief that love conquers all, especially if you have a magic flying horse. I know that sounds pretty awesome, but...
[Has] a soupçon of military-industrial complexity...Judged on its own merits, this
pump-fakes in some interesting directions without getting to fully explore any of them.
The Monuments Men (2014)
It all feels a bit like an overearnest deleted subplot from someone else's war epic, rather than a confident Clooney picture.
The Lego Movie (2014)
Zany episodes...provide a clothesline on which to hang social satire and an overriding message that an individual's imagination can trump social and cultural oppression. Throw out the instructions, and make what you want of the world. Plus butt jokes.
Labor Day (2013)
A laughably precise, even parodic, archetype of a fantasy male...[and an] offensive stereotype of a female basket case who, more than anything, needs a strong man, preferably a bad-boy hunk with an easy touch for her and a slow hand for a Swiffer.
The Invisible Woman (2013)
Crucially, we stay at the side of the conflicted Nelly, and Jones proves as powerful in nuanced moments of quiet emotional availability as in Nelly's few, stirring allowances to speak truth to male privilege...
The Nut Job (2014)
Like many rodents, the plot runs in circles, covering over and over again the same ground...[Plus,] Psy, who parties like it's 2012.
Lone Survivor (2013)
The unwillingness to 'engage' in larger questions disconcertingly reduces a real-life tragedy to an action movie.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
Achieves some romantic uplift when Mitty dreams of Cheryl and literally takes flight, but most of the time, the picture strains to make any kind of sense, much less entertain.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Rests comfortably alongside Scorsese's masterpieces
, but carries a sting that even they don't by examining the most acceptable, yet most rapacious, of criminal swindles.
The Past (2013)
With patient sensitivity, Farhadi expertly elicits sympathy, followed by empathy, for each character, almost in turns, to resist misguiding the audience to easy answers.
Captures the zeitgeist of a tech-centric world that may be too 'smart' for its own good...It's about the life of the mind and emotional dysfunction as much as it is a quirky romance, and every scene opens up new questions.
American Hustle (2013)
There's a self-aware feel to the period pageantry, the alternatingly seductive and kinetic cinematography, and the actor's showcase this ramshackle contraption has been held together with spit and bailing wire to be.
Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
By neatly assembling an uplifting weepie out of a few choice lies, it’s almost as pleasant a fantasy as
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)
Had me at 'Ride Like the Wind.' But by 'Shilo,' I was not so sure.
Out of the Furnace (2013)
This material...isn't deceptively simple: it's just simple.
If you can grin and bear [certain] eye-rolling situations...there's found poetry in
's slow builds of respect and its deeply understated emotional climax: a father and son crossing past each other as they switch places.
The Book Thief (2013)
This craven refusal to risk offense demonstrates the length to which the film is willing to go for truth: not very far at all.
Delivery Man (2013)
Benefits from the estimable comic instincts of Vince Vaughn. It's just too bad that the movie around him is squishy.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
A competent sequel...
The Hunger Games
could be fairly accused of being what it satirizes, but it's not without a thought in its deadly little head.
The Armstrong Lie (2013)
Gibney frames his film as being somewhat catch as catch can, and it is...educates about the details of doping, the 'moral relativism' so pervasive in the age of juiced athletics, and the willful ignorance that attends it.
Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Classic 'Oscar bait,' and falls into some of the common traps of exploiting a true story. But it's also lively, funny, and scary...
Kill Your Darlings (2013)
A lurid yet fascinating look into Allen Ginsberg's formative influences...fearlessly explores dark places and the compulsion to exorcise the shadows and remake the world through art.
12 Years a Slave (2013)
The film succeeds by simply, plainly placing audiences in the emotional crucible of pre-abolition America and firing their imaginations.
The Counselor (2013)
Life may be meaningless, but Cameron Diaz doing the (commando) splits on your windshield makes for a momentary distraction. I think we can all agree on that.
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?
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.
Stand by Me (1986)
Exquisitely captures the vulnerability not only of youth, but of the male identity.
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