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Film Review

Smarter Than Your Average Documentary

by Laura Leon April 24, 2014


  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


  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


  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 ...

Hard to Like

by Shawn Stone April 24, 2014


  Jude Law is very entertaining as the ex-con and safecracker Dom Hemingway. He’s thoroughly believable as he brings out the various facets of the character: desperate convict, jealous ex-con, deliriously happy free man, coke-snorting lunatic, ...

Game On

by Laura Leon April 17, 2014


  Kind of like Moneyball for the professional football, Draft Day manages to find suspense, drama and, of course, humor—it’s directed by Ivan Reitman—in the inner machinations that make the annual NFL college draft so compelling ...

Grown Up Wrong

by Shawn Stone April 10, 2014


  Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman, who proves as talented a director as actor) behaves like he doesn’t give a damn about anyone but himself—and that may indeed be the case. He’s an 8th-grade dropout on the ...

All American Hero

by Laura Leon April 10, 2014


  I know what big-budget movie I’m going to see again this year, and that would be Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And get this—neither my 8- nor 11-year-old accompanied me the first time. Sure, it ...

Rough Sailing

by Ann Morrow April 3, 2014


  The Old Testament contains strange creatures and semi-celestial beings along with its primordial stories. Some of those creatures, called the Watchers, are co-stars in Noah, Darren Aronofsky’s often wondrous, sometimes difficult imagining of the Great ...

The Yawner Games

by Ann Morrow March 27, 2014


  In 2011 Neil Burger directed Limitless, a nifty little sci-fi flick starring Bradley Cooper. This director also helmed a twisty and rather original 19th-century costume drama with Edward Norton called The Illusionist. The Neil Burger ...

A Wonderful Contraption

by John Rodat March 27, 2014

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL - 2014 FILM STILL - Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight

  I’m not sure which group should be most eager to see Wes Anderson’s newest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel: his fans or his passionate detractors. Those who have enjoyed Anderson’s work thus far will find ...

There Is No Cure

by Laura Leon March 20, 2014


  Sam Rockwell can make just about any movie that much better than it ought to be. He has the uncanny ability to be sort of handsome, sort of goofy and sort of dangerous—all at once—with ...

The Empire Strikes Out

by Ann Morrow March 12, 2014


  Leonidas (Gerard Butler), now, he was a hero. Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton), well, he’s a good strategist. And that is a very different thing cinematically, especially in an action movie, and even if the action is ...

A Dog and His Boy

by Laura Leon March 12, 2014


  Saturday mornings growing up were nothing to my brother and me without the adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle and their assorted friends, especially Mr. Peabody and Sherman. The improbable adoption of a boy by an ...

Still the Greatest

by Laura Leon March 6, 2014


  Last year, the enormous success of the miniseries The Bible stunned those who don’t really interest themselves much in matters of Christian faith, or think it’s something largely confined to fly-over states and a once-a-year ...


by Ann Morrow March 6, 2014


  Hear the metallic grind of a large and powerful vehicle screeching to a halt? In Non-Stop, that is not the sound of a fuselage in flames hitting the tarmac, but the breaking of Liam Neeson’s ...


by Laura Leon February 27, 2014


  The Past isn’t just the title of Asghar Farhadi’s latest film, a worthy follow-up to A Separation, but a character in and of itself. Like in DuMaurier’s Rebecca, the past is ever present, encircling the ...

High Time

by Ann Morrow February 27, 2014


  The Great Beauty is indeed a beautiful film, a sumptuous pageant of the sights and sounds and various social strata of Rome, especially its sophisticated and decadent nightlife. The undisputed star of this fantastical nightlife ...


by Laura Leon February 19, 2014


  It’s a rare thing indeed to see women onscreen doing the mundane things that real-life women do every day: vacuuming the car, waxing, taking yoga classes, working. Rarer still is to see women “of a ...

Snow Job

by Ann Morrow February 19, 2014


  In the war between good and evil, everyone has a miracle they can use. In 1916, a Russian couple being turned away at Ellis Island apparently don’t know anyone with an extra miracle or two, ...

Missed Adventure

by Laura Leon February 13, 2014


  Near the end of World War II, President Roosevelt commissioned a few middle-aged artists, sculptors and architects to go behind enemy lines on a special mission: to rescue the great artworks of Western civilization, which ...

He Was the Best of Men, He Was the Worst of Men

by Ann Morrow February 10, 2014


  Charles Dickens, the writer: charming, witty, the life of every party, and so magnetic that he was in huge demand as a speaker. In The Invisible Woman, this Dickens (Ralph Fiennes) is marvelous company, and ...


Love is Strange

by Laura Leon February 10, 2014


  Set in 1987 over the course of a long, hot weekend, Labor Day tells the melodramatic tale of a socially stunted woman, Adele (Kate Winslet), whose life, and that of her son Henry (Gattlin Griffith), ...

Love Hurts

by Shawn Stone February 10, 2014


  The trailer for The Broken Circle Breakdown, a Belgian musical drama nominated for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film, neatly suggests the depths of passion, love and anger the film explores. But only suggests: This ...


by Shawn Stone January 30, 2014


  The Nut Job is an animated comedy set among our furry friends in an urban park, circa fall 1949. Winter is coming, and, under the stern but fair leadership of Raccoon (voiced by Liam Neeson) ...

Tested, Found Wanting

by Laura Leon January 23, 2014


  The fifth edition of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan franchise, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, is meant to be the start of something new. It’s a combination origin story-reboot (because writers in Hollywood can’t seem to dig ...