You might be wondering — aren’t I a little late on the “Top 10 Films of 2013” list? Sigh. Yeah, I probably am. But at least I beat the Oscars. I refused to slide any further into the new year than Oscar Sunday. 2013 was a great year for movies, but it was a tough […]
When people ask me what my favorite movie is, I shudder. I hate that question. In fact, don’t ever ask me what my favorite anything is. The things I love in this world have a depth of variety and a multi-faceted nature that make it impossible to anoint one as “the best.” Ask me what […]
Whatever stigma exists about movies based on toys both in general and in your mind, “The LEGO Movie” will dismantle it — brick by glorious brick. The writer/director combo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” “21 Jump Street”) prove themselves yet again as masterful comic storytellers with an endless […]
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 […]
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 […]
Slavery is rightfully considered the darkest mark on America’s 237-year history. It was the issue that defined 19th Century America, and one of many examples in humanity’s narrative of the oppression of one people at the hands of another. “12 Years a Slave” is a brutal but necessary reminder of that evil. It is a […]
Nothing the Coen Brothers ever do is really a change of pace, but “Inside Llewyn Davis” is about as close to one as you’re likely to get from the filmmaking duo that has rolled out nothing but critically acclaimed hits since 2008 Best Picture winner “No Country for Old Men.” Even with a three-year break […]
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 […]
It’s not as hard to imagine artificial intelligence becoming a reality as it was 10 or 20 years ago. So even though “Her” is just a riff on the “robot who learns to love” plot from movies as far back as arguable “Pinocchio,” writer/director Spike Jonze makes this futuristic concept much more accessible and capable […]
A little before 2000, Disney began to phase out its animated movie musicals. It wasn’t that people stopped wanting enchantment at the movie theater, but rather a cold, hard fiscal decision: the films continued to gross less and less and newer ideas for family entertainment were capturing audience attention and dollars.
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.
For those not easily smitten by J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy tales, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” was a substantial letdown from “The Lord of the Rings” films, and the thought of enduring another immensely long trilogy too much to bear. But even they’ll agree with the biggest fans of “An Unexpected Journey” that part two, “The […]