Review: The Martian


There’s not a whole lot of real substance in The Martian, and even less surprise. What it does nicely maintain, though, is a frisky well-above-average entertainment level. Director Ridley Scott has been around so long he practically makes cinematic moves in his sleep, and most of them work. While it may all seem a bit […]

Review: Sicario


Sicario (translation: Hitman) doesn’t fool around. With an uncanny intensity, it centers on a covert CIA mission to combat Mexican drug cartels–an exercise intended to “create chaos” and “dramatically overreact.” So says the group’s unlikely ringleader, Matt (Josh Brolin), who’s apparently so important he attends a high-level meeting with FBI officials clad in flip-flops and […]

Review: Black Mass


In its best scenes, Black Mass flirts with the extraordinary. The rest of the film, by no means prosaic, is propelled by a stellar ensemble cast in support of two unforgettable lead performances. Johnny Depp, who by now you know sports a killer baldcap, exorbitant latex makeup and two contact-lens-fueled blue eyes, inhabits the persona […]

Review: We Are Your Friends

For what it’s worth, I was a part-time club DJ from 1981until 2000. Although I hung up my headphones just before the advent of the laptop-era it was with more than passing interest I penciled in We Are Your Friends as a film to be checked out. Here was a movie purporting to cover the […]

Review: Mistress America


Highly observant yet often annoyingly mannered, American Mistress takes director Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha to the realm of farce. With casual dialogue as antic and fast-paced as a Marx Brothers movie, Baumbach, who again co-wrote with Greta Gerwig, explores another New York City fallen and frustrated, snarky character. Brooke (Gerwig) has a lot more audaciousness […]

Review: Diary of a Teenage Girl


The Diary of a Teenage Girl, a pedophile drama gussied up with non-judgmental makeup, strikes one as more odd than innovative. Fifteen-year-old Minnie Goetze (a rather good Bel Powley) opens the film declaring, “I had sex today,” and you sure can tell it changed her. Set in the free-love 1970’s in San Francisco, Marielle Heller’s […]

Review: Phoenix


Christian Petzold’s Phoenix creates a bracing tension between rediscovery and denial, between traumatization and angst. Nina Hoss, one of the world’s finest film actresses, portrays Nelly Lenz, a concentration camp survivor who undergoes plastic surgery that essentially grants her a new face after her old one was shot up by Nazis. At the film’s outset […]

Review: American Ultra


A stoner comedy by nature relies on an undercurrent of paranoia. In American Ultra Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) quickly loses the edge of thinking everyone is after him when–lo and behold–before long everyone is indeed after him. Also gone with the stoner conceit is the notion that this film is somehow a comedy. What looks […]

Review: The End of Tour

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A film consisting primarily of two writers talking to each other turns out to be The End of the Tour’s strength rather than its weakness. David Foster Wallace (an excellent Jason Segal) at one point says to Rolling Stone magazine profiler David Lipsky (Jesse Eiesenberg), “David, this is nice. This is not real.” As close […]

Review: The Man From U.N.C.L.E.


Given the plethora of technical bells and whistles in Guy Richie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (the extra punctuation is as wearying as much of this film so I will only reference the title once) the onus is on Richie to provide sufficient plot and character. He almost makes it on the character front but if […]

Review: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation


Still love old Tom Cruise Yet it’s the Ferguson lass Who thrills with much class 4 (out of 5) stars Send to Kindle

Review: Irrational Man

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Emma Stone, now firmly entrenched as Woody Allen’s actress of the moment, performs a rather difficult feat in Allen’s new film, Irrational Man. She manages to save a flawed if compelling production from potentially falling off the cliff. Allen’s tone here is one of almost seriousness. The subject: another rehashing of the Crimes and Misdemeanors/Match […]

Review: The Stanford Prison Experiment

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A well-known staple of Psych 101 textbooks, the 1971 exercise depicted in the film The Stanford Prison Experiment also has plenty of detractors in the field. As a docudrama, the film contains very good acting and, if you don’t bother to think about it too much, can seem quite the provocative conversation catalyst. Philip Zambrano […]

Review: Vacation


There’s the “hot spring” that turns out to be raw sewage. Add a ravishing female sports car driver who pulls up next to Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) and flirts herself all the way to a grotesque highway death. Then there’s the young brother (Steele Stebbins) who torments his far more delicate older brother (Skylar Grisondo) […]

Review: Southpaw


At no time will you mistake Southpaw for Rocky. Forget Raging Bull. It’s certainly no Nightcrawler, which contained a masterful Jake Gyllenhaal. Southpaw confounds, gives occasional reason for praise one minute, then slugs itself in the foot just as quickly. Gyllenhaal’s duke-it-out, hardscrabble performance here is the reason to see this movie. However, you’ll want […]

Review: Trainwreck


Rip-roaringly, outrageously funny, then in its final turns predictably conventional, the Judd Apatow-directed Trainwreck presents the one and only Amy Schumer. Both the film’s lead actor and its writer, Schumer portrays a character, Amy Townsend, who takes the words of her rough-hewn dad in the film’s opening scene, and boldly personifies them. “Monogamy isn’t realistic,” […]

Review: Amy


Director Asif Kapadia took what was the blessing of Amy Winehouse’s family and record company and then relentlessly actually made the film that needed to be made on the life of Amy Winehouse. His biopic wisely throws out any political correctness and eschews a safe approach for an ultimately honest one. The results offer a […]

Review: The Overnight


Jason Schwartzman, fresh off a relentlessly acerbic performance as a misanthrope writer in Listen Up Philip goes intense again in The Overnight. Similarly, it’s not his fault this film about would-be swingers comes up limp. Schwartzman goes into overdrive with a gushing likability this time that is practically the flip side of his rotten-egg personality […]

Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl


In a recurring animated sequence in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, a moose suddenly appears and instantly tramples a small unidentified mammal. Symbolic of the school knockout’s treatment of the film’s lead character Greg (Thomas Mann), the sequence sets the tone for this quirky, steadfastly unsentimental film about important stuff. It also reveals […]

Review: Jurassic World

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Director Colin Trevorrow, fresh off the delightful, small-budget ($750,000) Safety Not Guaranteed, steps up to the $150,000 million Jurassic World. To quote some street jargon, Trevorrow’s not playing. The first flat-out summer blockbuster, Trevorrow’s film knows when to go hard and when to tread lightly. In the spirit of executive producer Steven Spielberg, Trevorrow’s screenplay […]

Review: Spy


The low point of last year’s lousy Melissa McCarthy vehicle, Tammy, was when the film completely changed from shrill, unfunny comedy to banal bathos in one ludicrous scene. McCarthy mooing with co-star Mark Duplass looking down at Niagara Falls was enough to make you ill. It’s even worse than the scene where McCarthy holds up […]

Review: Love and Mercy


No doubt some crybabies will turn apoplectic at the stark contrast of Paul Dano and John Cusack splitting the challenging chore of portraying popular music genius Brian Wilson in the new biopic Love & Mercy. They’ll whine neither one (especially Cusack) looks like Brian and, furthermore, the two actors don’t even look like each other. […]

Review: Far From The Madding Crowd – A Comparison of Schlesinger and Vinterberg


Viewed without the accompanying perspective of John Schlesinger’s 1967 version of Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Vinterberg’s new version of the Thomas Hardy novel might seem sufficient in capturing the 19th century period of rural western England. Michael Sheen may also seem a fine enough brooding Mr. Boldwell, as well as Carey Mulligan a […]

Review: Good Kill


Tommy Egan (Ethan Hawke) suffers from a new kind of culture shock. An F-16 military pilot with six Iraqi tours under his belt, he now finds himself inside a claustrophobic trailer that serves as a drone command center near Las Vegas. Major Egan, surrounded by newcomers recruited because they “were a bunch of gamers,” has […]

Review: Tomorrowland


Tomorrowland comes off like an expanded Super Bowl TV advertisement: cocksure of itself and sure to dazzle but ultimately a hollow, superficial gewgaw. Director Brad Bird (the excellent Ratatouille and The Incredibles) even has a wonderful young actress (Raffey Cassidy) and two venerable pros (George Clooney and Hugh Laurie) going for him, but the film’s […]

Review: About Elly


With his third film released in this country, Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi continues his growth in stature and deserves to be included among the very best international auteurs. The brilliantly absorbing About Elly was filmed two years before Farhadi’s Oscar-winning gem A Separation (2011) and withheld from domestic distribution until now. Like A Separation and […]

Review: Hot Pursuit (More like Hot Mess…)


Never at a loss for finding ways to disappoint us, Hot Pursuit is utterly devoid of a basis in anything resembling reality. Unfortunately, a comedy depends of plausibility every bit as much as a drama. Thus, this new Reese Witherspoon/Sophia Vergara female buddy flick becomes fatally unfunny almost as soon as it begins. Officer Cooper […]

Review: D-Train


Trying to come off as simultaneously cynical and warm-and-fuzzy, D-Train succeeds somewhat tantamount to a flat tire. Starting with an insipid premise, and scaling new heights in screenplay vapidness, the new Jack Black vehicle possesses a jittery, shifting point of view and a horrid plausibility quotient. Its main character, Dan Landsman (Black), part schizoid and […]

Avengers: Age of Ultron–Spoiler Free Review


I have seen the new Avengers movie, and it is beautiful. Avengers: Age of Ultron combines action and comedy the way the first Avengers did to make a well-crafted summer blockbuster. However, it is not without its flaws. One of the biggest problems Avengers: Age of Ultron will face is simply being the sequel to […]

Review: Ex Machina


“What will happen to me if I fail your test? Do you think I might be switched off?” asks the lovely and stone-serious android Ava. Her examiner Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), startled by her comment, need not look any further in answering his own question of whether Ava possesses a self-awareness, and perhaps, a consciousness. To […]

Interview: Tenured Director Christopher Modoono

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Based on his short film Teacher of the Year, Chris Modoono’s Tenured follows depressed elementary school teacher, Ethan Collins, who the administration is desperately trying to fire. Tenured is Modoono’s first feature and we recently got the chance to speak with him about the process of transitioning from a 17 minute short to a full […]

Review: Avengers – Age of Ultron


Complaining about Avengers: The Age of Ultron may be as futile as complaining about the weather, but next to the first film in the series, the new installment is a dull cloudy day compared to its relatively sunny predecessor. Basically a non-aficionado who merely dabbles in the Marvel world, I identified with the deer-in-the-headlight gaze […]

Interview: Misery Loves Comedy Director Kevin Pollak


“Do you have to be miserable to be funny?”  That’s the question posed by Misery Loves Comedy, Kevin Pollak’s labor of love to the comedy world.  Kevin is a comedian, actor, and, with the debut of this film, director who has been performing stand-up since he was 10 years old.  I spoke to Kevin about […]

Review: 5 to 7


When Brian Bloom spots her, it’s purely love at first sight as he crosses the street toward the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan. More a magazine-cover caricature than a character of the flesh-and-blood variety, Arielle (Berenice Marlohe, Skyfall) will consistently stymie this well-meaning but insipid rom-com. She’s first of all French, we’re insistently reminded. The […]

Tribeca Film Festival: The Driftless Area–Review


The Driftless Area has unintentionally given critics and the critical masses the perfect adjective to describe the film: driftless. Toted as a “neo-noir dark romantic drama-comedy”—I’m serious, google it—The Driftless Area follows Pierre (Anton Yelchin), a bartender from a small Midwestern town who finds himself mixed up in a surreal relationship with Zooey Deschanel’s Stella, […]

Review: True Story


The lowest point of the uneven True Story occurs when Jill Barker (Felicity Jones) pays an impromptu prison visit to accused murderer Christian Longo (James Franco). Longo is charged with unceremoniously offing his wife and three kids and stuffing their bodies in suitcases, which he then threw over a bridge. He also curiously impersonated Jones’s […]

Review: Clouds of Sils Maria


Clouds of Sils Maria contains an acting clinic and so much more. French director Olivier Assayas (Summer Hours, Carlos, Irma Vep, Demonlover) takes many chances with his solid, often wondrous, occasionally mystifying material. The viewer needs to do some work here but the rewards are plentiful. His screenplay is straightforward enough but teasingly opaque like […]

Review: Unfriended


Proof that movies need not be cinematic to be potent, Unfriended contains basically one set: the desktop of teenager Blaire (Shelley Hennig). We find her online revisiting the suicide of her friend Laura Barns on the anniversary of her death. A flirtatious Skype session with Blaire’s boyfriend Mitch (Moses Storm) ensues until it is interrupted […]

Review: Man from Reno

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Man from Reno is a dank motherfucking film. It’s fun, it’s sexy, and by God does it take you by the balls and keep running. So you best run with it. The film starts a bit slow with parallel storylines – one in the life of suicidal author of a bestselling detective series named Aki […]

Review: While We’re Young


The hits barely outnumber the misses in While We’re Young, Noah Baumbach’s latest offering. A New York City-based comedy of manners that focuses on Ben Stiller’s and Naomi Watts’ characters’ mid-life crisis, the film has much of the feel of vintage Woody Allen. Well, not quite. I can’t remember Woody Allen ever getting anywhere near […]

Review: Furious 7


Vin Diesel has stated that the latest installment in the Fast and Furious franchise, Furious 7, or as director James Wan wants it to be spelled, “Furious Seven,” was the hardest film he ever had to make due to the passing of Paul Walker.  Behind all of the puns, jokes, and ridiculousness of the stunts […]

Welcome to the Dogpocalypse: White God–Review

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White God is a film which goes out of its way to defy your expectations. Directed by Kornél Mundruczó, the film starts with a girl on a bike in a post-apocalyptic city: empty roads, cars with open doors, and a crushing silence. From around the corner come 200 dogs. The film jumps between genres a […]

Review: Get Hard


Venemous comes to mind when attempting to describe this jittery new “buddy” comedy with Will Farrell and Kevin Hart. Followed closely by clueless. A stillborn yarn about a super-wealthy stuffed-shirt, James King (Farrell) who suddenly finds himself sentenced to time in prison, Get Hard is a barrage of hollow sketches sewn together with racism and […]

Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella Offers a Fresh Take on a Classic


Let’s face it: practically nobody was asking for a live-action remake of one of Disney’s most iconic films, the 1950 classic Cinderella. Aside from Disney seeking out some easy money, there really wasn’t any reason to take such a beloved animated film and remake it as a live-action film with actors your children probably don’t […]

Review: Wild Tales

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Beginning with a chills-inducing Twilight Zone-esque vignette aboard an airliner and ending with the quintessential disrupted wedding reception, Wild Tales was a deserved Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film. Superbly directed with a jaundiced eye by Argentinian Damian Szifron, its six separate stories share a penchant for the perverse side of human nature. Overflowing with […]

Review: Buzzard


Marty Jackitansky is hardly a character who elicits empathy. I found his nihilism amusing but also wouldn’t have minded a bit if someone punched him in the face. To say he lacks ambition is to say Freddy Krueger lacks menace. Oh, by the way, there’s a running theme in Buzzard where Marty (Joshua Burge) not […]

Sundance Shorts: Hotel 22


Hotel 22 documents the long nights of the many homeless people in Silicon Valley who use the 22 bus line between Palo Alto and San Jose for shelter. I sat down with director Elizabeth Lo, a graduate of NYU Tisch and current MFA student at Stanford University, to talk about documentaries and the parts of […]

Review: Focus


It’s one thing to encounter a film with an imaginatively playful screenplay that takes occasional liberties with common sense. It’s quite another to have your intelligence insulted in a manner as blatant and as numbing as the new Will Smith movie, Focus. Just when we are asked to fall for one outrageous scenario, another one […]

Review: The Last Five Years

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The intermittently uplifting yet just as often pompous The Last Five Years contains hardly any spoken dialogue. Pleasantly containing several songs of depth and wit, the film struggles with the thinnest of storylines and its too-pleased-with-itself structure. Anna Kendrick, who is very good, presents her character Cathy’s story backwards from the film’s end, while Jeremy […]

Review: Timbuktu


A woman vehemently refuses to put on gloves (recently required) while selling fish in an outdoor market. A group of young men play fake soccer (recently banned) as they run around with an imaginary soccer ball. A coed group of friends risk playing live music (also recently banned) despite a potentially stringent penalty. The scene? […]

Review: Kingsman


Director Matthew Vaughan (Kick-Ass, Layer Cake) sends his fetish for over-the-top chuckles and mayhem into an orbit of mostly unfunny inanity in the spy-flick send-up Kingsman: The Secret Service. Colin Firth, typically prim and proper and even more properly dressed, makes a valiant attempt to save the material from the abject failure it might have […]

Review: Leviathan


It’s no wonder Kolya (a memorable Alexey Serebryakov), the main character of Leviathan, swigs vodka like it’s water. After witnessing an arbitrary and stiff, motor-mouthed reading of a local court ruling against him, it is no wonder an individual like Kolya comes to feel isolated and utterly powerless. It is not just that the insolent, […]

Review: 50 Shades of Grey


Dakota Johnson is the best thing about Fifty Shades of Grey yet for all her acting chops here, she doesn’t hold a candle to her mom, Melanie Griffith, in, say, the zany, intense Something Wild. And if you’re trying to get a grip on this “dominant/submissive” thing, this film comes up squeaky clean (and half […]

A Dance Of A Challenge: Ballet 422 Review


The lights dim, the audience quiets, the curtains lift, and an ensemble of strong, graceful men and women move through the air about the once empty stage in a traditional performance by the New York City Ballet Company. Ballet 422 takes its audience through the theatre wings and into the studio to show the step […]

Review: Jupiter Ascending


Time is the most precious commodity in the universe, says Kalique (Tuppence Middleton) of the moderately bizarre yet pompously predictable House of Abrasax family, rulers of the world if you will. Ironically, the notion of time–as in wasted time–kept occurring during the screening of this latest offering from Andy and Lana Wachowski, filmmakers once responsible […]

PFM Sundance – Interview With Tim Marshall (Followers)


Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Tim Marshall is a filmmaker who wrote, directed, and edited the short film, Followers. The film tells the story of Lynn, an elderly woman, who feels terribly lonely after her husband’s recent death and finds solace in an apparition of Jesus on a young gay man’s swimming trunks at her adult swimming […]

Sundance Reviews: Saturday


On April 15th 1989, thousands of Liverpool supporters traveled to Hillsborough Stadium for what was described as “a fine day for football”, but 96 never came home. Too many fans entered the same sections of the stadium, causing crushing and overcrowding.  The event remains infamous to this day.  However, Saturday, directed by Mike Forshaw, does not follow […]

Review: Mommy


French Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan (he made and starred in I Killed My Mother at 19) seriously gets in your face with the extravagantly jarring Mommy. The brutal arguments between tantalizing, violent-prone, just-released-from-juvenile-detention, ADHD 15-year-old Steve (Antoine-Olivier Platt) and his tough yet unconditionally compassionate single mom, Diane (a great Anne Dorval) have to be seen […]

Review: Black or White


Director and screenwriter Mike Binder will be called on the carpet by the gripe-happy protectors of the politically correct. He’ll be accused of tripping over stereotypes as he presents the story of a custody battle over a racially mixed seven-year-old, Eloise. Despite being a little obvious around the edges, Black or White essentially presents a […]

Review: Two Days One Night


In the haunting Two Days, One Night, directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne add a profound level of morality drama to their customarily brilliant trove of social reality themes explored since their outstanding first film, Le Promesse (1997). What is unique this time is they are working with an actress who is emerging as one of […]

PFM Sundance – Actresses Director Interview


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Review: American Sniper


Far from an excerise in yahoo-ism, American Sniper offers us a film startlingly immediate in its action scenes. Coming to be known as “The Legend,” Navy Seal Chris Kyle, its subject, went through four tours in the Iraq War, in which he performed around 160 official “kills.” (and apparently another hundred unofficial ones). The film […]

Review: Inherent Vice


Inherent Vice will likely be a polarizing film. It is bound to either bring belly laughs and fresh insight on the one end of the spectrum, or confusion perhaps to the point of walking out of the theater on the other. Those hidebound filmgoers who see the need to evaluate every film in terms of […]

Review: Selma


Selma builds its way toward a celebration of the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Sharply focused on the key months leading up to a series of three nonviolent protest marches in Selma, Alabama, it agonizingly captures the textures of human toil and determination that led to the momentous legislation. Director Ava DuVernay […]

Interview with Selma Director Ava DuVernay


Ava DuVernay is one of the most poetic and thoughtful cinematic minds working today, these traits often come up in not just her screenwriting and directing but in the relationships she’s forged as a filmmaker. Her films have been marked by the wonderful presence of David Oyelowo and the expressive beauty of cinematographer Bradford Young’s […]

Review: Big Eyes


The paintings in Big Eyes remind one of the most insipid examples of a summer boardwalk art show. Bulging-eyed lonesome-looking urchins, pretty much in cookie cutter fashion, dominate each canvas to the point where the rest of the painting seems to have disappeared. In many ways, a miscast Christopher Waltz, normally a very fine actor, […]

A Film Critic’s Thoughts on Film in 2014


In a year where two highly innovative English language films (Birdman and Boyhood) stood above the pack, it was foreign language films in 2014 that contained much of the lifeblood of the year’s cinema. Pawel Pawlikowski weaves a magical, deeply meditative spell with the lean and sublime Ida, a black-and-white film shot in a nearly […]

Worst Films of 2014

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No matter how many great films were released this year, there’s no such thing as a “perfect” year in Cinema. Each year a slew of great movies will hopefully be released, but no matter how good they are they will perpetually be accompanied by a tidal wave of dreck. Simply put, for every No Country […]

Best Films of 2014: Part Two

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Every year Cinedork compiles a list of the Top 20 films released from the beginning of January through the end of December based on which films earned the highest marks on the infamous Pretentious Film Majors Five Star Scale. As in years past, our list is dotted with likely Oscar contenders as well as several […]

Best Films of 2014: Part One

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Every year Cinedork compiles a list of the Top 20 films released from the beginning of January through the end of December based on which films earned the highest marks on the infamous Pretentious Film Majors Five Star Scale. As in years past, our list is dotted with likely Oscar contenders as well as several […]

Review: Into the Woods


Rife with colorful characters and brimming with the signature rhyming banter of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, Into The Woods is the closest thing this Christmas season to a rewarding family film. Just don’t expect things to come with a ribbon wrapped around them. If the mashing of familiar Grimm fairy tales into a not-so-conventional […]

Review: Unbroken


Even before the release of Unbroken, Angelina Jolie had already enough of a track record to discredit Sony honcho Amy Pascal’s recent hacker-leaked statement that Jolie was “minimally talented.” Jolie’s acting work has been more than adequate, and occasionally has exhibited great strengths. Her first directing job, In The Land Of Milk and Honey, whose […]

Review: The Imitation Game


If you’re looking for a crowd-pleaser among the handful of films released nationally on Christmas Day, look no further than The Imitation Game. Benedict Cumberbatch gives one of the year’s best performances as the genius dork with zero social skills and a heavy dose of what we would now recognize as Asperger-like traits. Appealing in […]

Cinedork’s Picks for the Best Christmas Movies

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  As Christmas day draws near, you and your family may be looking for a movie to get everyone in the holiday spirit. Look no further! We here at Cinedork have complied a list of our favorite holiday films to make choosing what to watch a little easier. No matter what kind of Holiday you […]

Interview: The Gambler Director Rupert Wyatt

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Based off the 1974 film with the same name, The Gambler tells the story of Jim Bennett (played by Mark Wahlberg), an eccentric English professor with an interesting gambling addiction who’s in debt with a couple of moneylenders and only has a week to pay it all back.  While this gambling thriller may seem like […]

Editorial: What Sony’s Decision to Pull ‘The Interview’ Means for the Film Industry

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Seth Rogen and James Franco have made their careers out of raunchy comedy. In 2013, the two comedians released This Is the End, a tongue-in-cheek, self-referential, and blatantly offensive R-rated comedy. Critics and audiences loved it, while a vocal minority accused it of being disgustingly sexist. I haven’t seen This Is the End, so I […]

Review:The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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Gather round kids, it’s time for another unnecessary sequel, because The Hobbit: The battle of the Five Armies is here. As if turning one book into a trilogy wasn’t bad enough, when asked if this would be the end of the Middle-Earth saga, Peter Jackson replied, “It doesn’t have to be.” One can only hope […]

Review: Top Five


A down in the doldrums Andre Allen (Chris Rock) makes a serious film (“Uprize!”) about a Haitian slave rebellion. He intends to deflect the lingering stereotype associated with years of making dumb “Hammy The Bear” movies, in which he actually wears a bear suit. In the best tradition of art imitating life, Top Five, also […]

Review: Wild


Reese Witherspoon, adeptly portraying Cheryl Strayed, author of the 2012 memoir of redemption, Wild, often seems distractingly preoccupied with her backpack. Scripted by English novelist Nick Hornby, and directed by Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club), the movie itself too often seems satisfied with rather meek surface things at the expense of going deeper. Witherspoon is […]

Review: Point and Shoot


Stricken with obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew Van Dyke nonetheless acquires a masters degree in Middle Eastern studies at Georgetown University. Then a new obsession joins his old one. Lamenting his knowledge of the Middle East as one confined to the intellectual plane, Van Dyke sets off on a backpacking motorcycle excursion of the area. Covering 35,000 […]

Review: The Babadook


The horror genre gets a chilling redo with the critically acclaimed Australian film, The Babadook. Taking its cues from the 1950s and 1960s ghost stories that slyly suggested horror rather than threw it in your face, it also marks the feature directorial debut of Jennifer Kent. Much has been made that The Babadook represents a […]

Interview: J.B. Smoove TOP FIVE

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J.B. Smoove’s career is marked by a diverse slate of roles. His stint on Saturday Night Live demanded that he showcase a wide range of comedic styles for every new sketch while his time on Curve Your Enthusiasm allowed him to display a more deadpan sense of restraint. His recent work on The Millers allowed […]

You’ve Probably Never Heard Of It: Layover


  In his feature film directorial debut, Joshua Caldwell explores territory that similar films often avoid. Layover finds its characters during their post coming-of-age lives as they try to figure out what to do next. They are trapped in society’s assumption that they’ve already lived their lives in their twenties and it’s time to settle […]

What Devils in Disguise means for Niche Filmmaking


Guillaume Campanacci is the type of person who makes the people he talks to feel like they’ve known him for a long time. His easy-going and colloquial tone makes one immediately feel comfortable. It’s almost hard to believe that inside such a pleasant man’s brain is the dark storytelling sensibility that resulted in Devils in […]

Interview: Guillaume Campanacci ‘Devils in Disguise’

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I got to sit down for a Skype interview with Guillaume Campanacci, the writer/director of the new independent film Devils in Disguise which was shot for only $4,200. If you are interested and want to help fund post-production and festival distribution for the film, then head on over to the Devils in Disguise IndieGogo page. […]

Review: Foxcatcher


It’s as dramatic as when you first lay eyes on Robert DeNiro in Raging Bull. In Foxcatcher, Steve Carell is not at all the Steve Carell with whom we’ve become accustomed. There’s not a sliver of the character from The Office or The 40 Year Old Virgin to be found. Nor does Carell, fitted with […]

Take 2: Nightcrawler

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Not sure what to check out at the movies this week? With all the hype surrounding Foxcatcher and next week’s release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1, it’s easy to forget the films that are settling their theatrical runs. As remedy to that problem, we offer “Take 2” a series of reviews released a few weeks […]

Review Haiku: Dumb and Dumber To


A haiku: Cringe-worthy, inane. Jim Carrey had me laughing: Guess that is enough Send to Kindle

Review: Rosewater


Oppressive, delusional regimes will use nearly anything to preserve power, including the demeaning brutality of solitary confinement. In Jon Stewart’s powerful, perceptive adaptation of journalist Maziar Bahari’s memoir of his 118 days in an Iranian prison in 2006, we see the resiliency of the human spirit. We also witness a prisoner fighting back by exploiting […]

Review: The Theory of Everything


In Les Miserables, Eddie Redmayne sang a song called “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables. In The Theory of Everything, playing Stephen Hawking, Redmayne might very well have changed the words to “Missing Answers to Begging Questions.” Redmayne and co-star Felicity Jones, who portrays Hawking’s first wife, Jane Wilde, do a fine job but director James […]

Review: Laggies


It gets a little complicated when assessing Laggies. Sam Rockwell has become such a mesmerizing force onscreen he often elevates a work he appears in by several notches. Last year’s The Way, Way Back would have been a rather good film without him; with him, it rose to one of the year’s best. In Laggies, […]

Review: Force Majeure

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Force Majeure presents a situation between a married couple that forces us to reflect on how our own response to the same situation might be similar or different. Swedish Director Ruben Ostlund demonstrates great control with a deft sense of humor that bursts forth to perfectly offset the many tense moments of conflict. Philosophical speculation […]

Review: Interstellar


Human perception of reality has always baffled me. Everything mankind has observed in the universe is translated into ideas that we can understand only through observation, consequently taking some unknown percentage of what exists out of the picture. We only see the light which our brains convert into the images by which we define our […]

Review: Revenge of the Green Dragons


Revenge of the Green Dragons is the largest mess of a film I have ever seen. Directors Andrew Lau and Andrew Loo managed to create a film based on true events that somehow transcends all sense of time and reality. The film supposedly starts out in the early eighties, but it immediately feels like a […]

Editorial: Channing Tatum Finds Variety in Consistency

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Despite high levels of commercial success over the past few years, many people still feel that Channing Tatum is a one dimensional actor. However, buzz surrounding Foxcatcher, which premiered to rave reviews at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and the recent announcement that he will be a key player in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight have quieted most of […]

Review:Big Hero 6


Curiously enough, Cars 2 was on TV the day before I watched Big Hero 6. Needless to say, the juxtaposition had a very positive effect on my viewing experience of the latter. Big Hero 6 is the next Disney Marvel adaptation, only this time it’s animated and completely unrelated to the Marvelverse. This was a […]

Review: Listen Up Philip


Writer-director Alex Ross Perry is no stranger to controversy. When his prior film, The Color Wheel, dropped a particularly vile plot bomb at its climax, it seemed like a crude tack-on from another movie. In Listen Up Philip, Perry launches a much slower-igniting agitation but one equally demoralizing. Jason Schartzman plays Philip Lewis Friedman, a […]

INTERVIEW: Jess Weixler talks The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

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When did you first meet Ned, and what was it like getting approached with this project? Ned and Jessica and I were all roommates 5 or 6 years ago. When I first moved to LA, we all lived together and he was writing these movies and wrote this sister character for me because he wanted […]

Review: Art & Craft Explores a Hermit and His Passion

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Art & Craft opens on a quiet, bald man. He’s entering an arts & crafts store to pick up some paper, a few brushes and other miscellaneous tools any artist would need. However, Mark A. Landis is not just any artist. He is the greatest forger of all time.  For more than thirty years, Landis […]

Review: Horns Is About As Corny As It Gets


Daniel Radcliffe plays Ignatius Perrish, a man (though audiences will have trouble seeing him as anything other than Harry Potter) who literally becomes the devil and brings out the devil in everyone he meets, all by the unbreakable power of two awkward-looking horns—hence the title. Aside from a cute opening and corny phrases like “Are […]