Los Angeles and gangsters. Before “Gangster Squad,” the first film that ought to come to mind is “L.A. Confidential.” For Ruben Fleischer’s latest, that creates an outrageous comparison point. The “Zombieland” and “30 Minutes or Less” director was probably not aiming that high. Even if he weren’t, he’s still not even aiming to add a [...]
Category: "Reviews (On DVD)"
I can’t count the number of acclaimed foreign films centered on characters who cannot mobilize half or all their limbs on one hand—if you’ll excuse the awkward phrasing. “The Intouchables” appears to be just another one of those bizarre common niche films, and in many ways it boils down to just that. But with memorable, [...]
My how things would be different today if in 1995, instead of getting Sylvester Stallone in “Judge Dredd,” we were treated to director Pete Travis’ “Dredd.” And I’m not just talking about visual effects advances in the last 17 years. “Dredd,” starring Karl Urban as the helmeted anti- hero, does classic, ’80s and ’90s-style action [...]
If I were to pitch you a movie about two police officers who are partners on patrol in South Central Los Angeles, one of your first inclinations might be “not another buddy copy comedy.” While “End of Watch” is often funny, the newest film from “Training Day” writer David Ayer, is no comedy.
To Hollywood, the MIdwest is that amorphous blob in the middle of country that allows for the satire of corn-fed American values. Whenever a place such as Iowa serves as a film’s setting, as it does in “Butter,” you can be sure that small-town life is about to get put through the ringer.
The timeless narrative of people who do bad things getting what they deserve has become so entrenched in the way we look at books, movies, television and more. For that reason, many who finish “Arbitrage” will find themselves rather bewildered.
Ever since “The Nightmare Before Christmas” there has been an inexplicable connection between stop-motion animation and horror motifs. Tim Burton has been responsible for most entries in this small but noticeable canon, but Laika has found an equally quirky yet more mainstreamed alternative in Chris Butler’s “ParaNorman.”
If you think it’s tough to think or talk about old people having sex, try being one of said old people. “Hope Springs” pairs two Oscar-winning and well-aging talents in Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones as Kay and Arnold, who endure the ups and downs of couples counseling with the main goal of rekindling [...]
William Friedkin is a name you know, but not one you hear much about these days. The “French Connection” and “The Exorcist” director hasn’t delivered anything of that quality since those days in the ’70s, but he shows he’s still a skilled and relevant filmmaker with his film version of the Tracy Letts play “Killer [...]
Twisting history can be amusing and in some cases even insightful. Seth Grahame-Smith aimed for both with his book, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” but his film version doesn’t exactly achieve the balancing act.
Steven Soderbergh and a movie about male dancers are two things most commonly found on opposite sides of a video store (or completely different categories on your Netflix recommendations, if we’re being modern), but behold “Magic Mike,” a film that is both, and a film that works surprisingly well.
The martial arts showcase movie, completely pure and unapologetic, has become a lost genre it seems. If nothing else, director Gareth Evans uses “The Raid: Redemption” to bring pencak silat to audiences all over the world in this manner, but he also manages to create an action movie that satisfyingly merges B-movie violence with a [...]
When time travel is part of a sci-fi thriller or action-adventure film, we usually get caught up in how it all works and excitement of a journey that defies our current scientific capabilities. “Safety Not Guaranteed” takes the indie approach, exploring the more grounded aspects of time travel (as oxymoronic as it sounds), or in [...]
The moment “Moornise Kingdom” graces the screen, it is a Wes Anderson film. The first major sequence, the symmetrical exploration of the Bishop house, couldn’t be mistaken for any other filmmaker’s style — nor could the rest of the film, honestly. So if Anderson is just as divisively quirky as ever, why has “Moonrise Kingdom” [...]
When you let a child play with the same toys over and over again, you’re going to end up with some stale make-believe. Tim Burton has pulled his Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter dolls out of his play chest again and decided this time they’re engaged in a supernatural love story taking place in [...]