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Film Review

Killers on the Road

by Laura Leon June 26, 2014

GUY PEARCE AND ROBERT PATTINSON,
STILL BY MATT NETTHEIM

  “Not everything has to be about something,” remarks Eric (Guy Pearce), a gaunt loner intent on recovering his stolen car amid the devastatingly bleak backdrop of a post-apocalyptic Australia. He’s speaking to Rey (Robert Pattinson), ...

Let’s Do It Again

by Laura Leon June 19, 2014

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  “Nobody cared about the Jump Street reboot,” intones Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) to officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum), but because it somehow worked, Dickson goes on to explain that the department has ...

Dumbed Down

by John Rodat June 19, 2014

Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche star in Words and Pictures.

  In Words and Pictures, two teachers at a Maine private high school square off over the issue of which of their disciplines is the more powerful: literature or visual art. Does this seem like a ...

Bad Faith

by John Rodat June 19, 2014

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  Look, I’m not heartless, OK? I cry at those seasonal McDonald’s commercials, just like everybody else; and that one episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? I’m not a monster. But Precocious Kids With Cancer ...

A Mild Chill

by Ann Morrow June 12, 2014

cold in july michael hall star movies grownups review

  Richard Dane is a dweeby frame-shop owner living in 1980s Texas. He’s a family man, probably a born-again Christian, and oddly meek considering his obvious manliness. And then one night he shoots and kills an ...

Lost

by Shawn Stone June 12, 2014

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  Rule of thumb: If a movie is in some way about the Holocaust, the filmmakers have failed if the audience walks out “inspired” or feeling uplifted in some way. Director and co-writer Pawel Pawlikowski has ...

Do It Again

by Shawn Stone June 12, 2014

thumb_24cinpicEDGE

  Esteemed director Doug Liman finally figured out a way to make Tom Cruise, leading man, sympathetic: Have Emily Blunt shoot him in the head. Repeatedly. In the alien-invasion actioner Edge of Tomorrow, Cruise is an obnoxious ...

Deficient

by Ann Morrow June 5, 2014

thumb_23cinpicMALEFICENT

  Angelina Jolie is Maleficent, the witch queen, and Angelina Jolie is Maleficent, the movie. Because without the delectable wickedness she gives to the embittered witch, the movie (adapted from Disney’s 1959 animated classic Sleeping Beauty) ...

The Hideous, the Bad and the Ugly

by John Rodat June 5, 2014

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  The plot summation for Seth MacFarlane’s comedy Western, A Million Ways to Die in the West, goes something like this: A cowardly rancher is forced into a showdown with murderous outlaw after he falls for ...

Tasty

by Laura Leon May 30, 2014

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  When Chef Carl Casper’s (Jon Favreau) ballistic tirade against a pompous, and critical, food blogger (Oliver Platt) goes viral, it’s clear the former culinary wunderkind needs a change of pace. He’s been successfully delivering a ...

Fractured Franchise

by John Rodat May 30, 2014

thumb_22cinemapicXMEN

  I will give Bryan Singer credit: X-Men: Days of Future Past is not the total wreck it should be. It’s an ambitious and watchable superhero flick, with several solid performances and a small handful of ...

An American Nightmare

by Ann Morrow May 30, 2014

thumb_22cinpicIMMIGRANT

  Two forlorn women on a boat peer through the mist and see the Statue of Liberty. They are headed for Ellis Island, but as the title of The Immigrant indicates, only one of them is ...

The Lady Charms

by Laura Leon May 30, 2014

thumb_22cinpicBELLE

  Not to be confused with the Disney heroine of Beauty and the Beast, the title character in Amma Asante’s period drama is a graceful, opinionated woman of color, living in Georgian-era England, raised a lady ...

Whose Film Is It Anyway?

by Shawn Stone May 22, 2014

thumb_21cinemapicGODZILLA

  Dear Warner Bros. Pictures: The name of this movie is Godzilla. Why, then, is the titular character reduced to a supporting role? What makes this frustrating is that the producers got so many things right. First, ...

Marked for Death

by Ann Morrow May 22, 2014

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  Sugar is poison. Maybe you’ve heard this, and maybe you don’t believe it, since so many people, maybe most people, eat too much sugar and usually do so without dropping dead. But Fed Up, an ...

Your Mileage May Vary

by John Rodat May 22, 2014

thumb_21cinemapicLOCKE

  Writer-director Steven Knight’s Locke is almost more a dramatic or threatrical stunt than a movie: Save a very short introductory bit, the entire film takes place in an SUV as the main character, Ivan Locke, ...

Too Cool for Everything

by John Rodat May 15, 2014

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  By the late ’80s, Jim Jarmusch was a kind of lo-fi rock star of indie film. Films like Stranger Than Paradise, Down by Law and the marvelous Mystery Train were deadpan celebrations of idiosyncratic individuality: ...

The Party’s Over

by Laura Leon May 15, 2014

thumb_20cinpicNEIGHBORS

  Animal House meets Thirtysomething: Neighbors is a comedic shambles of a movie that only occasionally hits paydirt, even as it somehow manages to deliver a cogent message about the fear of aging and taking on ...

Web Master

by John Rodat May 8, 2014

thumb_19cinemapicSPIDER

  Low expectations can be extremely helpful. I went to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2 motivated, in great part, by the fact that it was my nephew’s 8th birthday. If an 8-year-old boy in a Spider-Man ...

Unknown Heroes

by Ann Morrow May 8, 2014

thumb_19cinpicWALKING

  The heroic actions of Elek Cohen during the Nazi occupation of Hungary—he impersonates an S.S. officer to save hundreds of Jews—would be unbelievable if they weren’t true. Cohen is based on Pinchas Rosenbaum, a real-life ...

Closure

by Ann Morrow May 1, 2014

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  During the forced march to Thailand following the fall of Singapore in 1942, captured British soldier Eric Lomax asks a Japanese guard, “What river is this?” It is the Kwai, immortalized in the movie The ...

Payback Sisters

by Laura Leon May 1, 2014

thumb_18cinemapicOTHER

  A wobbly hybrid of Bridesmaids and The First Wives Club, The Other Woman seeks to give modern-day women a reason to feel emboldened, even if that is by way of giving a two-timing husband diarrhea ...

Smarter Than Your Average Documentary

by Laura Leon April 24, 2014

thumb_17cinpicBEARS

  When I was a kid there were nature films showing at the theater a few times a year. These were horrid events, very dry and hardly entertaining, unless you were a budding veterinarian. (I was ...

Swamp Gothic

by Ann Morrow April 24, 2014

thumb_17cinemapicJOE

  Joe is about a hard-luck, hard-drinking foreman of an illegal lumber operation who hires a 15-year-old boy who is trying to earn enough money to feed his family and get away from his alcoholic, drifter ...

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The Vamp Who Fell To Earth

by Ann Morrow April 24, 2014

thumb_17cinemapicUNDER

  The opening visuals flicker and mutate, and eventually, a fully formed human eye gazes out of the screen. The eye belongs to a female being, an alien presumably, and after she is fitted out in ...