The days of the classy ’60s spy films seemed long lost. The world has gotten too complicated for simple stories of agents in tuxedos squaring off with megalomaniacs. Yet in walks “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” based on a Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons offering that sleek look and those beloved spy genre conventions but with […]
Category: "Reviews (Archive)"
The stories of great people, particularly the great thinkers, have been source material for a number of acclaimed and awarded biopics, a sub-genre that has evolved a lot in the last decade. You can tell just by comparing two of 2014’s best, each focused on one of the greatest British minds of the 20th century. […]
How is John Carney the only filmmaker who knows how to make a contemporary musical? The “Once” filmmaker recaptures some of that film’s magic in “Begin Again,” a more mainstream approach for a wider American audience. With a team of terrific songwriters and a top-notch cast, “Begin Again” is a welcome reminder of why and […]
New parents take on frat boys in “Neighbors,” the latest dirty R-rated comedy from director Nicholas Stoller (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Get Him to the Greek”) and produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s Point Grey Pictures. Yet what separates “Neighbors” from the heap has a lot to do with the script, written by novices Andrew […]
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 […]
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,” […]
The man made famous for glorifying the mob moves over to Wall Street —Martin Scorsese’s latest, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” based on the memoir of crooked stockbroker millionaire Jordan Belfort, is a tale of excess: money, drugs, profanity, nudity, sex — even (pardon the cliché) rock ‘n roll, given the soundtrack. So how does […]
If you’re an actor with any degree of prominence, you’ve probably asked your agent to get you into the next David O. Russell picture. Including “American Hustle,” the dude has helped his actors to 11 Oscar nominations in his last three films, with a nod in every major acting category each of the last two […]
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 […]