In the world of young adult book adaptations with a fantasy/science fiction edge, “Divergent” is one of the few to actually fall in between really good and intolerable. It’s no “Hunger Games,” but director Neil Burger (“Limitless”) and writers Evan Daugherty (“Snow White and the Huntsman”) and Vanessa Taylor (“Game of Thrones”) do a respectable […]
Category: "Reviews (Archive)"
The story of God telling Noah to build an ark, all the animals coming aboard in twos, and then there being a great flood, has largely been deemed children’s stuff. Given the last on-screen version of this story was the Steve Carell family film “Evan Almighty,” this stigma of biblical films has held true. That […]
What is the distance between fame and obscurity? “20 Feet from Stardom” filmmaker Morgan Neville not only shines a spotlight on the world of backup singers, but in doing so, also uncovers the mysterious set of laws that seem to dictate fame in our world.
Time travel is one of the more hit-or-miss story conceits in film; it’s certain to get people’s attention, but almost as certain to expose the film to a barrage of criticism related to logic and the butterfly effect. In the hands of filmmaker Richard Curtis, however, today’s finest purveyor of charming little films (“Love, Actually,” […]
Woody Allen has proved to be a filmmaker of many talents in his five-decade career, yet he continues to — every few films — push himself into new territory, and he’s done so with “Blue Jasmine.” Cate Blanchett stars as the severely troubled titular character and she and Woody prove to be a perfect match […]
In a time when TV is dominated by shows about morally twisted main characters you can’t help but root for, “Dallas Buyers Club” fits right in, plus it adds a layer of historical relevance and social responsibility those shows usually lack.
“The Spectacular Now,” based on the novel by Tim Tharp, does us the unusual favor of depicting teenage relationships without any romanticism or moral agendas. It’s a little surprising that it was adapted by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, writers of “(500) Days of Summer,” because that film definitely exaggerated its core romantic relationship, […]
They’ve done it again. The 2010 hit “Despicable Me” offered up a kind of family-friendly entertainment that only a cold-hearted cynic could actually despise. Its “Looney Tunes”-like slapstick offered light and lovable counter-programming to the visually stunning and emotion- filled animated films of the big studios such as DreamWorks and Pixar. In “Despicable Me 2,” […]
Summertime — there’s no season more influential in a young person’s coming of age. Being out of school means a chance for a new experiences and self-discovery, and spending that time in a new location always feels like a fresh start. In “The Way Way Back,” Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (“The Descendants”) portray the […]
Even an outrageous stoner comedy can successfully appeal to a wide audience with a little ingenuity. “This Is the End” could’ve stopped at being a comedy in which a bunch of friends are faced with the apocalypse, but what really makes Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen’s film work is that there’s a big glass window […]
Tales of 20-somethings in New York City epitomize the independent film scene, as does the star and co-writer of “Frances Ha,” Greta Gerwig, the indisputable indie queen. Together with writer and director Noah Baumbach, “Frances” is practically the comfort food of independent film, a genre label usually reserved for something edgy and different. However, despite […]
Aardman Animations has probably been more consistent than Pixar, especially of late, yet the stop-motion powerhouse doesn’t get half the attention. “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” didn’t buck the box-office trend, but it proves that even with the most generic of premises, Aardman knows how to appeal to a diverse audience.
In telling chapters of history, films have the benefit of hindsight. As obvious as that statement sounds, Oscar-winning screenwriter Brian Helgeland takes advantage of almost 70 years of history in writing/directing “42,” to the point where he can set the stage with the perfect emotional tone for telling the story of Jackie Robinson, one of […]
Who says all “based on a true story” movies have to take themselves seriously? Regardless of how true-to-life the events of “Pain and Gain” are, the film offers a ballsy take on a crime thriller, namely in being unafraid of comic territory.
For a totally preposterous magician caper, “Now You See Me” has a surprising meta edge to it. The film talks a big talk about deception with its Morgan Freeman voice-over narration (“the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see”), but in spite of its high levels of ludicrousness, it delivers exactly […]