• wide-tomorrowland-movie-2015-wallpaper

    Review: Tomorrowland

    Friday, May 22, 2015

    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 […]

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  • about-elly

    Review: About Elly

    Monday, May 11, 2015

    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 […]

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  • hot-pursuit-02

    Review: Hot Pursuit (More like Hot Mess…)

    Friday, May 8, 2015

    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 […]

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  • dm

    Review: D-Train

    Friday, May 8, 2015

    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 […]

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  • dd7fa75c-fe9c-4bb9-8841-3c2f22343acf

    Avengers: Age of Ultron–Spoiler Free Review

    Friday, May 1, 2015

    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 […]

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Oct
21

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 […]

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Oct
21

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 […]

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Oct
21

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 […]

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Oct
21

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 […]

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Oct
21

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 […]

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Oct
21

PFF23 Review: Breathe

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, […]

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Oct
17

Review: Fury

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 […]

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Oct
17

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

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 […]

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Oct
10

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 […]

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Oct
10

Review: Kill the Messenger

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, […]

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Oct
10

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 […]

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Oct
9

Global Perspectives: Jean-Claude Djereke on Françafrique and Film

  Last semester I took a French course, and on the last day of class my professor gave an impassioned speech on the state of his country. He informed us of the injustice that French-colonized African countries still face. A few days later I got the chance to talk to him to learn more. We […]

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