Movie Reviews

Film Review: An American story from the director of 'Amelie'

The title character in “The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet” often tells people he's an orphan. In truth, he isn't ... but the film about him is (or might as well be).

Film Review: Cast buoys film of errant psychology experiment

Film Review: Cast buoys film of errant psychology experiment

Academic experiments rarely achieve fame, but, of the few that have, the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment — the subject of a new like-titled movie from director Kyle Patrick Alvarez — is only equaled by the earlier Milgram study, which dealt with similar issues in a smaller, more...

Film Review: Amy Schumer plays gender for laughs in 'Trainwreck'

Film Review: Amy Schumer plays gender for laughs in 'Trainwreck'

Amy Schumer has built her relatively young career on (among other things) transgression.

Film Review: Classic 'The Third Man' coming to local theater

Film Review: Classic 'The Third Man' coming to local theater

“The Third Man” — the second of three collaborations between director Carol Reed and novelist Graham Greene — slipped into public domain decades ago. As a result, the copies in video stores and TV libraries have generally been generations of dupes away from the original...

Film Review: Only Arnold impresses in latest 'Terminator' film

Film Review: Only Arnold impresses in latest 'Terminator' film

The titular villain in James Cameron’s original “Terminator” wasn’t kidding when he said, “I’ll be back.” Shot, smashed, incinerated, he kept coming back (even when he didn’t promise to).

Documentary's shut-ins raise unanswered questions

Documentary's shut-ins raise unanswered questions

The six Angulo brothers spent most of their teen years in a crowded apartment in a New York housing project. They didn't merely live there; they lived there. That is, their strict father refused to allow them to leave those few rooms. Once or twice a year, he relented, but, otherwise, the family was...

Film Review: Newest 'Bovary' takes conventional route

Film Review: Newest 'Bovary' takes conventional route

Ahhh! It seems like only yesterday that I reviewed an adaptation of Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary.” How our minds play tricks with the passage of time! Why, it was actually a whole three weeks ago that I wrote about Anne Fontaine’s meta-adaptation “Gemma Bovery.” Yet,...

Film Review: 'Jurassic World' follows familiar formula

Film Review: 'Jurassic World' follows familiar formula

“Jurassic World”? Perhaps there was some fear that a mere park might not meet all your basic Jurassic needs. How else to justify the making of an entire world?

Film Review: Third 'Insidious' revisits familiar ground

Film Review: Third 'Insidious' revisits familiar ground

Oren Peli launched his career by writing, directing and producing the very low-budget “Paranormal Activity,” which became a phenomenon — grossing more than a $100 million on a shooting budget of $15,000. James Wan and Leigh Whannell created the “Saw” franchise, which...

Film Review: 'Gemma Bovery' -- an adaptation of an adaptation

Film Review: 'Gemma Bovery' -- an adaptation of an adaptation

Amid all the graphic novel adaptations about superheroes, here comes “Gemma Bovery” (based on Posy Simmonds’ graphic novel of the same name), whose hero is anything but super.

Film Review: A film critic turns his eye on himself

Film Review: A film critic turns his eye on himself

Several years ago, an enterprising TV news show tried to game the Nielsen ratings during sweeps week by programming a series of reports on “The Nielsen Families.” Clever, but Nielsen threw out the results.

Film Review: French mob story chases emotional truth

Film Review: French mob story chases emotional truth

French director Andre Techine has been making films for 40 years, rarely getting as much attention in the U.S. as many lesser contemporaries.

Film Review: Schwarzenegger plays it straight in 'Maggie'

Film Review: Schwarzenegger plays it straight in 'Maggie'

Even those who dislike Arnold Schwarzenegger's films have to concede that his career has defied expectations time after time. No one thought that a massive bodybuilder could become an action movie star; that the action movie star could effortlessly switch to comedies; or that the comedy-and-action...

'Age of Ultron' emerges as worthy sequel

'Age of Ultron' emerges as worthy sequel

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” is nominally a sequel to “The Avengers” (2012), which, at over 600 million dollars, is currently the third highest grossing film ever — that is, the highest grossing non-James Cameron film ever. That’s domestic box office: the worldwide...

Film Review: Donnie Yen leads an HK cavalcade of stars

Film Review: Donnie Yen leads an HK cavalcade of stars

Donnie Yen ("Iron Monkey," "Ip Man") now reigns as the top martial arts star in Hong Kong cinema. Since being discovered by Hollywood, Jackie Chan's domestic output has slowed down. (Plus Jackie is now 61, and his stunt bravado is no longer so crazy.)

Film Review: Levin's '5 to 7' doesn't always add up

Film Review: Levin's '5 to 7' doesn't always add up

Victor Levin’s “5 to 7” — written and directed by the TV veteran (“Mad Men,” “Mad About You”) — feels as though it was intended as a romantic comedy, and it certainly fulfills the promise of that phrase's first word. It does far less well with...

Film Review: Baumbach skewers the generation gaps

Film Review: Baumbach skewers the generation gaps

Your response to films revolving around generation gaps is very likely to be informed — or even dominated — by your own generational affiliation. Writer/director Noah Baumbach is in his mid-40s, as are Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts, the stars of his new “While We’re Young,&...

Film Review: Lawrence and Cooper can't save 'Serena'

Film Review: Lawrence and Cooper can't save 'Serena'

At this exact moment in time, it's hard to imagine a film starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence getting only a token theatrical release after debuting on VOD. Are there any rising stars hotter?

Film Review: Romantic drama '3 Hearts' trips over its tropes

Film Review: Romantic drama '3 Hearts' trips over its tropes

French director Benoit Jacquot is best known for such period dramas as “Tosca” (2001), “Deep in the Woods” (2010) and “Farewell My Queen” (2012), but there are times he goes modern, and his new “3 Hearts” is one of them. Most of the central plot...

Film Review: Secrets are revealed in 'An Honest Liar'

Film Review: Secrets are revealed in 'An Honest Liar'

Justin Weinstein and Tyler Measom's documentary “An Honest Liar” looks at the life and work of James Randi (aka the Amazing Randi, birth name Randall James Hamilton Zwinge), professional magician and devoted exposer of paranormal claims. Randi used to show up frequently on TV in the...

Film Review: Film predecessors give life to 'Chappie'

Film Review: Film predecessors give life to 'Chappie'

Neill Blomkamp — creator of the excellent “District 9” (2009) and the somewhat less excellent “Elysium” (2013) — returns with “Chappie,” a film about a sentient robot. It might seem more satisfying if this turf hadn't been so repeatedly picked over...

Film Review: Madness haunts Cronenberg's Hollywood story

Film Review: Madness haunts Cronenberg's Hollywood story

Director David Cronenberg (“The Fly,” “A History of Violence”) takes on Hollywood in his strange new “Maps to the Stars.” More than his other recent work (“Cosmopolis,” “A Suitable Treatment”), “Maps to the Stars” has a few...

Film Review: Vampire mockumentary 'What We Do in the Shadows' has comedic teeth

Film Review: Vampire mockumentary 'What We Do in the Shadows' has comedic teeth

Why New Zealand should have a propensity for horror comedies is anybody's guess, but the new “What We Do in the Shadows” can proudly join the ranks of “Black Sheep” and Peter Jackson's early low-budget “Brain Dead” (aka “Dead Alive”).

Film Review: Hugh Grant visits familiar territory in 'The Rewrite'

Film Review: Hugh Grant visits familiar territory in 'The Rewrite'

In “The Rewrite,” Hugh Grant plays Keith Michaels, a Hollywood screenwriter on the skids. Keith won an Oscar for “Paradise Misplaced” some 15 years earlier. His next two films bombed, and now he’s so broke that he has to take a job teaching screenwriting at a small...

Film Review: Jason Statham's 'Wild Card' doesn't pay off

Film Review: Jason Statham's 'Wild Card' doesn't pay off

It's been roughly 15 years since Jason Statham surfaced in Guy Ritchie's first two films, “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “

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