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 […]
The truth is that January and a majority of February are really about catching up on 2014 awards contenders. Hollywood knows it too, which is why January, especially, is considered a dumping ground for bad movies. Heck, that’s why last year I did my “Top 10 Movies of 2013” list in January because I needed […]
Biopics have become so commonplace today that they often lack the prestige they carried 10-20 years ago. So when one stands out, it deserves an extra bit of recognition and praise, and “The Imitation Game” is one such film, commanded by a fascinating performance from Benedict Cumberbatch.
How I’ve never seen a stage version of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” is still a head-scratcher. My high school theatre department put on the twisted fairy tale the year after I graduated (much to my disappointment) and it has eluded me ever since. The point, excuse my digression, is it’s very rare for me […]
Did Peter Jackson really just conclude his second Middle Earth trilogy? His take on J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” was a completely exhausting adventure that in many ways feels like seven films, not three, while “The Hobbit” trilogy feels exactly like it is on paper: one straightforward adventure broken into three parts. “The […]
Washed up celebrities, surrealism, truth and the theatre converge into an extraordinary film from Alejandro González Iñárritu (“Amores Perros,” “21 Grams”), a master of weaving multiple story lines together tackling dark but powerful themes about human nature and love. “Birdman” does not veer from these themes, but it is a dramatic structural shift for Iñárritu; […]
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” takes a drastic turn from the previous two entries of North America’s biggest active movie franchise, but any fan of Suzanne Collins’ trilogy could tell you that was coming; what doesn’t change is the series’ devotion to character-driven drama. In fact, it takes center stage.
“Foxcatcher” is anything but a wrestling drama. Although based on the true story of Olympic gold medalist Mark Schultz and his brief years of training under multi-millionaire John du Pont, “Foxcatcher” expands well beyond the wrestling ring into the minds of two men longing to find greatness.
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 […]
If Christopher Nolan wasn’t already the most daring filmmaker of the 21st century, “Interstellar” seals the deal. Somehow, the “Dark Knight Trilogy” and “Inception” director manages to package theoretical physics, space-time travel and a doomsday scenario all in one film that even when it doesn’t make sense, still strikes several nerves both in terms of […]
Just when you think you’ve gotten away from Awards Season, it comes creeping right back. This year’s holiday movie slate has a ton of possible Oscar contenders with no clear favorites just yet, along with some big third installments in major movie franchises to balance out all the drama. Here are my 10 most anticipated […]
Directors don’t become synonymous with genres as often as they used to in Hollywood’s Golden Age, but play the word association game with “David Fincher” and you’re bound to hear “thriller” come up. There’s little doubt that if you’re producing an intense, dark, mystery-driven film, Fincher’s your first choice, and he proves it yet again […]
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 […]
Young adult sci-fi adaptations have run rampant since “The Hunger Games,” and “The Maze Runner” is the latest attempt to copy that model and hook the same audience. James Dashner’s tale of young boys trapped in a glade surrounded by a giant maze is much simpler than “Hunger Games,” so while it can’t achieve anywhere […]
The dash to awards season has begun, signified by the opening of the Toronto International Film Festival this past weekend, which served as the debut of many of the films on my fall watch list. So it’s time to leave those summer blockbusters behind, because you won’t find many of them in this year’s fall […]