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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

PFF23 Review: Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere


Chadron, Nebraska has a solo traffic light which is the only one in three counties. The nearest mall is two hours away. It couldn’t be much further away from Lincoln and Omaha. Its population of 5600 are the quirky types you’d expect in an isolated prairie town. Dave Janetta’s Love and Terror on the Howling […]

Review Haiku: The Duke of Burgundy


A haiku: Sadomasochism, Two women love butterflies: All too civilized. Send to Kindle

Review: The Guest


Go no further than The Guest to satisfy your Halloween movie urge. Conjuring up memories of 1980s tongue-in-cheek, winking and slashing classics, The Guest boasts a smart, fascinating Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as a returning soldier who makes an unexpected house call to the parents of a comrade who died in action. The picture of […]

Review: The Tale of Princess Kaguya

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The Tale of Princess Kaguya, the latest film from Studio Ghibli, is based on the Japanese folktale “The Old Bamboo Cutter.” The most impressive part of this movie is the subtle changes the animation undergoes to reflect the feelings of the characters. Every frame of this film is like a beautiful painting straight from feudal […]

Review: Nightcrawler

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Lou Bloom is a sick pup. That he has no clue of his particularly eerie insularity makes him all the more entertaining. And scary. In a performance which is particularly outstanding, Jake Gyllenhaal gives us a Lou who is bent on making it in the big world out there–in this case, Los Angeles, and specifically, […]

Review: The Mule

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Based on true events, Tony Mahony’s comedic thriller, The Mule, features co-director Angus Sampson in the role of working class fool, Ray Jenkins: a nice, innocent, and naïve guy, living in a small neighborhood in 1983 Australia with his protective parents. He is forced out of his comfort zone when his childhood friend, Gavin (Leigh […]

Review: Goodbye to Language 3D


Jean-Luc Godard on several occasions in his new film, Goodbye to Languge 3-D, places two images atop each other. Close one eye, you’ll see one image; close the other, a different image. Do neither and you’ll get a headache. Small price to pay for the experience of indulging the French master and allowing him to […]

Review: 52 Tuesdays


The Australian drama 52 Tuesdays, directed by Sophie Hyde, follows 16 year old Billie as she struggles to adjust to her mother’s gender transition. When Billie’s contact with her mother is limited to Tuesdays after school and she is forced to live with her father, she undergoes her own transition into womanhood through unusual sexual […]

Review: Birdman


Long takes consisting of swooning, uniquely-angled camera shots are set to the riveting backdrop of a hypnotically spare solo jazz drum. Weaving Antonio Sanchez’s dazzling minimalist score around the action and as an ironic comment on it, director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarittu has created a movie that essentially plays as much like a brilliant piece of […]

Review: Whiplash


Channeling both Lee Marvin and Nurse Ratched, J. K. Simmons plays Terence Fletcher, absolutely nailing one of those rare movie performances that manages to go over the top without a trace of insincerity. He’s, of all things, the music instructor from hell–his veins popping out when he’s going off. His idea of teaching includes relentless, […]

PFF23 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 […]

PFF23 Review: The Last Five Years


The intermittently uplifting yet often pretentious The Last Five Years contains hardly any dialogue that is not sung. Pleasantly containing several songs of depth and wit, the film struggles with the thinnest of story lines and its pleased-with-itself structure. Anna Kendrick, who is very good, presents her character, Cathy’s story backwards from the end, while […]

PFF23 Review: Human Capital


Human Capital blends a razor-sharp depiction of Italian class tension with an engrossing mystery. Based on a novel by American author Stephen Amidon, the film unfolds in separate chapters, each of which repeats the same events from the different perspectives of various characters. The film, deriving its title from the world of insurance, boasts powerful […]

PFF23 Review: Girlhood


When Marieme establishes footing in a girl gang outside of Paris, she seems content to gain an identity she never was able to get from her traditional, broken family. A brother who treats her terribly eventually forces her to abandon her three girlfriends in the gang because she violates what he perceives as a cultural […]

PFF23 Review: Mommy


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

PFF23 Review – The Overnighters


A third act revelation either enhances or compromises the unique documentary The Overnighters–see it and decide. Pastor Jay Reinke opens his church and even his own home, to eventually thousands of migrant job-seekers, including some with criminal records, in the oil-boom North Dakota town of Williston. Reinke’s the kind of guy who would give you […]

PFF23 Review: Breathe

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Lou de Laage excels as Sarah, the new kid in town in Breathe, the impressive, confident first feature directed by French actress Melanie Laurent (Inglorous Basterds, Beginners, Enemy). The story of an opposites-attract teenage friendship between Sarah and Charlie (Josephine Japy) that gradually turns abusive never feels fake. As secrets about Sarah are gradually revealed, […]

Review: Fury

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Imagine the chilling opening beach scene from Saving Private Ryan–only for an entire film. It’s no wonder since director David Ayer (the vastly underrated LAPD flick, End of Watch) is at the helm. No brutality, however gory and explicit, is spared. No doubt there will be cries of “war porn” with Fury but they would […]

Review: The Best of Me is Bested by Most Other Romantic Films

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The Best of Me opens on a peaceful image of water overlooking a huge oil rig and set against an orange sky. This peaceful imagery is reminiscent of the sort of epic beauty made familiar by previous and more prominent romantic films (i.e. The Notebook). Dawson Cole ( James Marsden), our hero, works on repairing […]

Men, Women & Children is not the Anti-Social Media Film You’ve been Waiting For


Writer-director, Jason Reitman, addresses the subject of social media and how it affects the way human beings interact with one another in this solid adaptation of Chad Kultgen’s novel, Men Women & Children. As bad as this movie could have been, especially with a cast lineup that includes Adam Sandler and teen heartthrob du jour […]

Review: Kill the Messenger

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Jeremy Renner made a splash in the Oscar-winning Hurt Locker. After equally talented performances in supporting roles in American Hustle and The Immigrant, he’s back in a starring role in the well-intentioned, occasionally stirring Kill The Messenger. Renner plays Gary Webb, a journalist with the minor-league newspaper The San Jose Mercury News in 1996. Iran/Contra, […]

Review: The Judge


Hank, a slick, iconoclastic Chicago defense lawyer (Robert Downey Jr.) asks prospective jurors what message is on their bumper sticker. In the very first scene, he also pees on his opposing prosecutor while they both visit a men’s room. The wildly uneven yet ultimately successful The Judge constantly veers between a deep, estranged father/son tale […]

Review: Gone Girl


The less said about the plot of Gone Girl the better. Suffice it to say it is a biting, grisly crime film equally concerned with the nature of secrets in marriage, public media image, and the criminal mind than with the nuts and bolts of linear narration. Yet the story is so mind-blowing it would […]

Review: Annabelle


Despite the constant opportunity to fall short Annabelle, the spinoff of James Wan’s The Conjuring, manages to be a genuinely scary and satisfying addition to the franchise. By its nature, Annabelle presents a lot of challenges that could be damning for a less skilled filmmaker.  Not only is it a horror film about a haunted […]

Review: The Skeleton Twins


Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader, playing estranged twins with depression issues, discordantly slip into Saturday Night Live mode once too often during The Skeleton Twins. At the film’s outset Maggie (Wiig) shows up in the hospital room of Milo (Hader) after he unsuccessfully tried to kill himself. The call to inform her of this event, […]

Review: The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them


The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them is a distillation of two separate movies subtitled “Him” and “Her.” Viewers will get a chance to see the original two films in October. After watching “Them” a disturbing paradox presents itself. Admittedly, what seems like a half-baked, occasionally dull synthesis might have been caused by too harsh a […]

Review: A Walk Among the Tombstones


Veteran screenwriter Scott Frank (Get Shorty, the underrated Out of Sight) directs revenge movie honcho Liam Neeson in this at once ugly and grim suspense-cum-horror tale. Based on the novel by Lawrence Block, Neeson portrays Matthew Scudder, an unlicensed private investigator and former NYPD cop. The film contains plenty of familiar crime movie fodder: Scudder’s […]

Review: The Drop


A viewing of The Drop prompted a repeat examination of Tom Hardy’s “one man” film from earlier this year: the unique and compelling Locke. Taken in tandem, it’s hard to think of two recent performances that have displayed such a stunning array of acting chops. In The Drop, Hardy plays Bob Saginowski, a skittish, deliberate, […]

Review: Starred Up


When it comes to an intensely raw portrayal of prison life, it would seem hard for any film to top Steven McQueen’s Hunger (2008). Startlingly, Starred Up submerges itself into even deeper territory. Weaving a father/son (they’re new prison mates) plot with starkly observed, uncanny realism, David Mackenzie’s film also includes three of the year’s […]

Review: Trip to Italy


British comics Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan share an amusing penchant for performing incessant spot-on impressions in The Trip To Italy. In Michael Winterbottom’s sequel to 2011′s The Trip, the semi-fictional pair have the enviable task to take an all-expenses-paid excursion along Italy’s Liguria and Amalfi coast. Their mission: write a few reviews of high-end […]

Review: When The Game Stands Tall


Family values, family values. It’s not whether you win or lose but how you play the game. There’s no “I” in team. The wording of these bromides is changed slightly but they come thick and heavy in When The Game Stands Tall. Jim Caviezel plays high school coach Bob Ladoucer whose team at De La […]

Review: Rich Hill


As a chaser to Richard Linklater’s monumental Boyhood, take a peek at this Sundance award-winning documentary profiling three destitute white kids from rural Missouri. Their level of poverty and all-around impoverishment makes Linklater’s screen kid look like he’s part of the Trump family. Three distinctively different kids emerge. One is all-get-out upbeat, another, mostly dour […]

Review: The Giver


The goal: get rid of suffering and dissension and along with them, any shade of diverse thinking. First, trash emotion–have everyone pop pills everyday to suppress it. Leave out books, animals, and any changes in the weather while we’re at it. Now eliminate color. Yes, color. Such is the world of The Giver, the new […]

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy


Way back when Marvel Studios announced Guardians of the Galaxy, fans collectively raised an eyebrow. Even those of us who are familiar with the comics were perplexed as to why Kevin Feige and company would create a franchise around such an obscure group of characters. However, after seeing the finished product, I can definitely say […]

Review: Get On Up


The main thing I wished to grab hold of from a James Brown biopic was a facsimile of the incredible rush I’d received when I saw him live at The Arena in Philadelphia in the late 1960′s. Get On Up may not quite get all the way there there but it’s a more than adequate […]

Review: Magic in the Moonlight


Colin Firth plays Stanley, a frenetic, highfaluting Houdini-like magician who performs in Chinese makeup and relishes debunking spiritual mediums in his spare time. In Woody Allen’s Magic In The Moonlight, his 44th film, Stanley poses as an “import-export” businessman and goes after young spiritualist Sophie Baker (Emma Stone). Stanley, according to his fellow magician sidekick, […]

Review: A Most Wanted Man


It’s hard not to wonder how throughout his career Philip Seymour Hoffman’s gearing up for roles like John le Carre’s Gunther Bachmann may have fed his demons. In his last starring role before his untimely death from a drug overdose earlier this year, Hoffman’s character, a German intelligence agent specializing in defusing potential terrorist operations, […]

Review: Boyhood


Like Seinfeld, Boyhood is about nothing in particular. Yet its staggering charm is that it manages to be about the things that matter most. The Richard Linklater film accomplishes no small miracle in reflecting a slice of life that, as it stretches over 12 years, boasts an authentic take on existence itself. It is unique […]

Mixed Review: Wish I Was Here


In our first ever “mixed review” Don and I (Steve) will both be reviewing Zach Braff’s new film “Wish I Was Here” since we were both on completely opposite ends of the spectrum. An effective lead character in a comedy-drama (dramedy) need not be particularly likeable. Depth or charisma are traits that often compensate when […]

Review: Land Ho! (Video)


A pair of ex-brothers-in-law meet for the first time in years and take a break from the frustrations in their lives to road trip the expansive, Icelandic countryside. Mitch, the New Orleans native, is a recently retired surgeon bored with the dreariness of his post-career life; and, so eager to meet young, attractive women that […]

Review: Begin Again


You can make the same movie twice if you’re Woody Allen, or, of course, Michael Haneke. Less famous directors know the risk going in, yet John Carney stuck to his guns in putting forth essentially a bigger-budget, A-list version of his similarly themed, very good 2007 film, Once. Once (later a hit Broadway musical) evoked […]

Review: Snowpiercer (w/ Video)


The year is 2031 and as a result of climate change as well as humanity’s drastic response to it, the Earth has fallen into a post-apocalyptic winter. The remaining survivors are forced on board a train that circles the globe at breakneck speeds. The train has become a microcosm for society at large, with its […]

Review: Tammy


Sorry to bring up Lucille Ball, one of the comic icons of the early TV generation in relation to–er, Melissa McCarthy. Yet I can’t help but liken the rotund, too-easily-misunderstood McCarthy to a sorry replica of Ball (Lucy on steroids if you will). You want to grasp the thrill of experiencing an underdog who digs […]

Review: Happy Christmas (Video)


Writer/Director Joe Swanberg has quietly become a very prolific filmmaker, turning in over 10 films since 2011 many of them with largely improvised scripts. But his last movie, Drinking Buddies, was met with greater enthusiasm thanks largely to its relatable subject material and cast of known actors. Happy Christmas is a movie that has similar […]

Review: Obvious Child

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Obvious Child tackles the subject of an aspiring stand-up comedian (played by real life stand-up Jenny Slater) who decides to get an abortion after a one-night stand. Just when this bracingly funny film seems too intent on toying with its subject, Slater and director Gillian Robespierre soon shift gears into a resonant realism. The rest […]

Review: Jersey Boys


Let’s first get something out of the way. It’s just too good to be true that a running theme in Jersey Boys depicts a creative relationship between Four Seasons group members Bob Gaudio and lead singer Frankie Valli (both executive producers of the film) while leaving out a key element in the group’s success. Producer […]

Review: The Grand Seduction


In a perfect world, by its sheer innocuousness a film like The Grand Seduction would deflect harsh judgement. Problem is, the goings-on in this film reach so far into the corny corner, they did finally transform this viewer’s tolerance from initial submission straight to irritability. Heaven forbid how much dumber still this would have been […]

Review: Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon


Nowadays 68-year-old Shep Gordon loves his home in Maui and reflects on having hung out with the Dalai Lama. Before he goes on to manage the likes of Alice Cooper and Anne Murray, start a film studio, and amass a probable vast fortune and a wealth of celebrity friends, we are treated to his reminiscence […]

Review: 22 Jump Street


The history of sequels is tricky. For every Back to the Future 2, there’s a Teen Wolf Too. For every Toy Story 3, a Madagascar: Europe’s Most Wanted. And for every Godfather 2 there’s a Godfather 3. While making a sequel to a well-liked movie seems like common sense to most, the truth is that […]

Review: How to Train Your Dragon 2


Return to Berk, a magic land where Vikings ride Dragons. Follow Hiccup, sexy, sexy, older Hiccup, as he explores uncharted territories with his faithful buddy Toothless. Watch as our hero once again proves to his dad, the evil Drago, and others that they just need to give peace and love a chance, man. The sequel […]

Review: Edge of Tomorrow


It’s a small pity many more viewers will catch this admittedly entertaining film than 2011′s far better Source Code. While both are sci-fi endeavors with a Groundhog Day-like time-loop as their touchstone, Edge Of Tomorrow edges into a muddled zone of plausibility despite its highly engaging first half. Luckily, Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt play […]

Review: The Fault in Our Stars


You would think disease films are the bane of critics far and wide. The casual assumption is here comes another Love Story in its umpteenth incarnation replete with maudlin sentimentality and wooden stereotype characters. This film treatment of the wildly popular young adult novel The Fault In Our Stars manages to avoid much of the […]

Review: Maleficent isn’t Maleficent in Maleficent

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When it was announced that Disney would be making a movie starring Maleficent with Angelina Jolie cast in the lead role, the news was met with unfiltered excitement from people raised on the Disney Princess classics. So much excitement that you briefly forget we’re culturally motivated to instinctively push back against the idea of a […]

Review: Fed Up


Trying to swim through the haze of food warnings these days can be trying. In the documentary Fed Up a convincing case is made that we are often lost in the thicket of corporate advertising, ill-advised government subsidies, political posturing, and shoulder shrugging at all levels. Though it’s emotionally a lot harder for many of […]

Review: Ida


Learning devastating truths can be daunting. Experiencing the unnerving discovery of post-war realities in as spare yet vivid a manner as presented in Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida verges on breathtaking. Pawlikowski shoots in black-and-white, uses an almost square screen format, has long stretches without dialogue, and forces the viewer to focus intently on the micro reactions […]

Review: A Million Ways To Die in the West


Substituting a plethora of fart jokes and sudden bull-goring for actual brains, the screenplay for A Million Ways To Die In The West runs the gamut from raunchy to silly. Though not as frequent as in Seth McFarlane’s previous film, Ted, the laughs here spew forth despite the film’s fits and starts. You may need […]

Review: The Immigrant


Even a strong performance from the estimable Marion Cotillard and a fairly good one from the always irascible Joaquin Phoenix fail to ignite the stodgy, humdrum The Immigrant. Supporting characters are uniformly stock, the story stretches plausibility, and Ellis Island seems like Alcatraz one day, a Barnum Bailey circus the next. Jeremy Renner as a […]

Review: The Double


The downright vapidness of the character of Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg in one of dual roles) is best summarized in a nursing home scene with his aged mother. After she remarks that her favorite song is now playing, he coldly replies, “There is no song; and you hate music.” Simon will go on to frustratingly […]

Review: Does Adam Sandler Even Want to be in Blended?! (Video)


Adam Sandler turns 48 years old later this year, and Billy Madison is a year from its 20th anniversary. If that sentence makes you feel old, just imagine how it must feel to the most successful movie man-boy of the last two decades. 2014’s Adam Sandler is not the same star he used to be. […]

Skip Million Dollar Arm & watch Sugar Instead

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Starring Jon Hamm as sports agent J. B. Bernstein, Million Dollar Arm tells the true story of the contest that found two MLB-quality pitchers in the slums of India. But another recent movie about a foreign-based baseball pitcher does what Million Dollar Arm attempts to do much more successfully. Find out more in this Multiplex […]

Review: Chef


You don’t have to be a food and restaurant aficionado to get a gratifying kick out of Chef but it certainly will heighten your sensual pleasure from this crowd-pleaser by Jon Favreau. Favreau stars in the film as Carl Caspar, an acclaimed Los Angeles chef who’s talented, hard-working, street-wise, and stone technologically-deficient. Taking a break […]

Review: Million Dollar Arm


Varnished to a fault, the wildly uneven Million Dollar Arm throws one too many gopher balls yet enjoys an admirable relief effort from Jon Hamm, and a terrific save from Lake Bell. The based-on-a-true-story yarn of the recruitment of two novice pitchers from India, the film unabashedly gives an intentional walk to baseball details in […]

Review: Palo Alto


Bouncing between early-afternoon high school soccer team practices, and late-night suburban house parties, April (Emma Roberts) finds her love life stuck in the adolescent paralysis of virginity. She holds a secret crush on cute but troubled Teddy (Jack Kilmer, son of Val), and timidly flirts with the soccer coach Mr. B (James Franco, who wrote […]

Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla is a Masterful Mess of a Summer Blockbuster

  The most exciting thing about this new version of Godzilla is the approach that was taken by its director, Gareth Edwards, who as most critics have pointed out was clearly influenced by the big event movies of Steven Spielberg such as Jaws and Jurassic Park. So is Gareth Edwards the next Steven Spielberg? Probably […]

Review: Neighbors


There are two different types of audiences for comedies; those who go to Seth Rogen movies, and those who go to Zac Efron movies. With one lining up to see a bunch of men in their thirties, smoking weed and spitting out one-liners typically involving sex or drugs, and the other expects a more family-safe […]

Review: Belle


Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson could probably save a popsicle from melting on a hot day. While saving the film Belle from disaster may not be as big a challenge, the duo manage to camouflage the movie’s weaknesses and provide a buffer against this somewhat whitewashed story of race, class and gender. Dido (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), […]

Review: Neighbors


Neighbors isn’t nearly original enough or nasty enough. Or funny enough. Lactation jokes, air bag gags, innumerable marijuana cracks–what else have you got, director Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which was equally forgettable as this one)? Any frat comedy starring Zac Ephron already has two strikes against it. The presence of Seth Rogen might be […]

Review: Locke (Tom Hardy Never Leaves His BMW)


On a late night highway drive into London, Tom Hardy navigates a series of phone calls that unravel his life in close to real time, despite his never leaving the confines of a BMW X5. If that idea doesn’t intrinsically sound compelling, there is little in Locke that will convince you otherwise; however, its subtle-yet-bold […]

Review: Blue Ruin


Breaking the mold of the revenge thriller, director Jeremy Saulnier’s Blue Ruin avoids numbing caricatures and limp cliches. Its edge-of-your-seat suspense is earned through sharp editing and tight composition yet what propels its intriguing storyline more than anything is its nervous, apologetic main character, Dwight Evans (Macon Blair). A train wreck of a human being, […]

Interview: Alexander Berman and Edouard de Lachomette (App)

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APP is a short film that examines the relationship between technology and love.  It tells the story of a man who must prove that his wing-woman mobile app is worth investing in by using it to pick up a girl at a bar.  It’s a funny and touching story written by Alexander Berman and produced […]

Review: Under the Skin


Alright, a movie where Scarlett Johansson plays a mysterious alien who tries to see how fast she can lure men into her van must be the cat’s meow, right? She’s not shy about shedding her clothes, either. Piquing your interest, you say? Not a bad turnaround from Johansen’s role in Her, where we didn’t get […]

Review: Only Lovers Left Alive


The highly uncommon Only Lovers Left Alive oozes atmosphere and maintains a perfect tone–down-tempo, suave, irresistible. It’s formal rigor leaves not a hair out of place. It’s three primary actors don’t merely raise the bar for vampire movies, they shatter it. Tilda Swinton nearly singes a hole in the screen, Tom Hiddleston is scary with […]

Review: The One I Love (Tribeca Film Festival)


WOW! The One I Love is incredible, completely original and a knockout experience. I can’t go into plot details too much without ruining what is sure to be one of the greatest twists of the year (well two twists really) so I’ll just give you the setup: an unhappily married couple (Mark Duplass, Elizabeth Moss) […]

Review: Walking With the Enemy


When a director needs to mention not once but twice in the opening credits that his film is based on a true story, we might be wise to take it as a harbinger of what exaggerations lie ahead. In Walking With The Enemy, a man in Nazi-occupied Hungary actually impersonates a Nazi officer in order […]

Tribeca Review: Manos Sucias

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Set against the same Colombian backdrops as unimaginable amounts of drug warfare, Manos Sucias is a look at narco-drug trafficking without the glamour that often accompanies this genre. Structuring the narrative largely within the course of two days, first-time filmmaker Josef Wladyka creates a narrow focus on a big subject. Manos Sucias follows Delio, a […]

Tribeca Review: Gueros


Nowadays it is very easy to identify a coming-of-age story when you see one.  Usually it makes its’ presence known by compounding the audience with a number of clichés that range anywhere from montages of flashbacks or an elder character attempting to guide a younger, seemingly lost character onto the path of self discovery and […]

Tribeca Review: Garnet’s Gold


There was a brief period in my early childhood where I went through a phase of wanting to be a pirate.  Sailing on ships seemed cool and pillaging villages looked like a lot of fun, but the big appeal came from searching for lost treasure.  Having the chance to go on a larger than life […]

Tribeca Review: Chef (Jon Favreau directs)


While Chef may have had a relatively light premise its star studded cast was still enough to lend it some legitimacy. What keeps you engaged with the relatively shaky premise of this film is its heavy use of of technology and social media along with a number of geographic culture shocks that provide occasional laughs, […]

Tribeca Review: Below Dreams


An uncommonly loose portrait of life in New Orleans, Garret Bradley’s debut feature film uses a documentary-like cinema verite style to create a movie that values tone over narrative. Weaving together *but just barely) the lives of three very different people, only connected by the city they share, Below Dreams’ naturalistic approach to scene structure […]

Tribeca Review: In Order of Disappearance


Stellan Skarsgård has a unique set of skills in Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland’s In Order of Disappearance, and among them is operating a snow blower. Set against the sparse, snow-soaked landscapes of Norwegian, Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland’s In Order of Disappearance casts Skarsgård in the old-guy-after-revenge role that’s been popularized by Liam Neeson […]

Review: Joe


There comes a point in David Gordon Green’s Joe where main character Joe (an excellent Nicholas Cage) starts to act as if he might be insane. Hardly restrained up to this point, the film proceeds to take two steps forward and one step backward in terms of finesse. Green, whose sharp-focused observations ultimately fail to […]