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Film Review

Dude, Where’s My Brain?

by Shawn Stone July 31, 2014


  It’s hard not to be impressed by Luc Besson’s audacity in his latest actioner, Lucy. The director and/or producer of such decade-spanning, high-octane entertainments as La Femme Nikita, The Professional, The Transporter and Taken isn’t ...

Popcorn Gods

by Ann Morrow July 31, 2014


  The ancient Greece of Brett Ratner’s enjoyably silly Hercules is mostly backdrop for an action-packed tale of a wandering warrior and his merry band of followers, and as such, the classical world works well enough ...

Shadows Enthrall

by Laura Leon July 31, 2014


  Out of the roiling murk of a river in Hamburg emerges Issa (Grigoriy Dobrygin), a bearded mess of Chechen humanity seeking asylum. Through the kindness of a Turkish family, he is put in touch with ...

Chimps Ahoy

by Shawn Stone July 17, 2014


  When last we left the rebooted Planet of the Apes series, Caesar (Andy Serkis) had led his genetically enhanced ape friends into the forests north of San Francisco, and the genetically engineered drug that altered ...

The Nihilism Express

by Ann Morrow July 10, 2014


  Snowpiercer is a train, but it might as well be called the Ark, for it contains the only survivors of an environmental apocalypse. This near-future scenario, starting 17 years after the Earth’s surface froze over ...

It’s My Life

by John Rodat July 3, 2014


  Chances are, Obvious Child will not be a particularly controversial movie. Few indie romantic comedies are; they just don’t have the visibility. (And, the armchair sociologist in me thinks, they tend to be screened at ...

Robot Redux

by Rick Marshall July 3, 2014


  It’s worth noting up front that I hail from that portion of the moviegoing populace that generally enjoys Michael Bay’s Transformers films for the silly, escapist eye candy that they are. And perhaps that’s why ...

Gonzo Artistry

by Rick Marshall June 26, 2014


  It becomes clear early in For No Good Reason that the life of the film’s subject, British artist Ralph Steadman, is so inextricably linked to that of the late gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson that ...

Let’s Hang On

by John Rodat June 26, 2014


  The first hit for the Four Seasons, “Sherry,” was released in 1962. That’s 52 years ago. Fifty-two years before that, Thomas Edison was reluctantly abandoning his wax cylinder for the more popular platter-style recorded disc, ...

Killers on the Road

by Laura Leon June 26, 2014


  “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


  “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


  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 ...


by Shawn Stone June 12, 2014


  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


  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 ...


by Ann Morrow June 5, 2014


  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


  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 ...


by Laura Leon May 30, 2014


  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


  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


  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


  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


  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


  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


  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, ...