Latest Theatrical Reviews
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...
In its modern way,
is almost Dickensian in its intent, missing no opportunity for melodramatic confrontation as it puts a (baby) face on a social ill.
Bless Me, Ultima (2013)
The material calls out for a more expressive cinematographic treatment. Had the film been less antiseptic and more bold in its visuals and the emotional depths of its performances, it could have been a classic; instead, it's a rather ordinary indie.
The Gatekeepers (2013)
The 'other' Oscar-nominated feature about a war on terror, Dror Moreh’s documentary
proves more intellectually engaging than Hollywood’s
Zero Dark Thirty
, and at least as unsettling.
Safe Haven (2013)
Does Sparks have to treat people like total idiots...?...[A] soulless-cash-grab.
Identity Thief (2013)
McCarthy is a worthy successor to John Candy, who also had a gift for warming up caricatures with loveable humanity.
Doesn't avoid all of the traps of the genre, but Hoffman does show good taste, particularly in casting.
Rust and Bone (2012)
Has significant blemishes that don't quite come out in the wash...but the picture persists on the strength of its committed performances.
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.
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...
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?'
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...
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...
Playful...the most conspicuously repeated word is 'game,' the most dangerous of which Bond typically is, pursues, or plays.
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.
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...
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.
End of Watch (2012)
End of Watch
introduces as 'Once upon a time in South Central' may feel a bit old hat...
Playing a character that's almost entirely unsympathetic, Gere demonstrates the outward charm that's allowed Miller to accumulate his wealth and status, as well as the abyss-staring soul his showmanship conceals.
This psychodrama of ill-advised behavior may well leave you feeling dirty...for what you've watched helplessly and perhaps for what you've countenanced as an American citizen.
The Words (2012)
A fairly straightforward yarn with bluntly articulated themes of Regret, Guilt, Misplaced Trust, and the Vagaries of Fate.
Sleepwalk with Me (2012)
Film demonstrably isn't the best medium for this story...but [it] remains resonant, with its hidden-in-plain-sight metaphor of drifting unconsciously through life.
Tough-minded...In recounting 'the Great Franklin County Moonshine Conspiracy,'
does not lack for local color and local legend.
Robot & Frank (2012)
Cold-staring with a black, reflective visor, a robot helps a fading old man to see life, and himself, more clearly.
Hit and Run (2012)
Yee-haw, and so forth.
Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012)
A kinder, gentler divorce comedy...Jones' commitment to portraying Celeste at least as much for her flaws as her strengths winds up making the character more likeable.
Killer Joe (2011)
Friedkin’s pretty shrewd himself, in how he teases out the humor without indulging Letts’ immature glibness, and how he sidesteps Bible Belt baptism to waterboard us in the sewer of selfish human nature.
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