Reviews

Review: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" isn't a perfect movie (none are), but it is a damn good one that delivers the goods. It pay homage to its predecessors, stays true to its source, and opens up George Lucas' creation...

Review: “In the Heart of the Sea”

Ron Howard's latest may strengthen the cliched argument that 'truth is stranger than fiction,' but it also suggests that it is often more boring too. Howard and screenwriter Charles Leavitt half-heartedly adapt Nathaniel Philbrick's novel of the same name, itself...

Review: “Victor Frankenstein”

In all fairness to screenwriter Max Landis (Fantastic Four) and director Paul McGuigan (Sherlock), finding a fresh spin on Mary Shelley's classic novel is no easy feat. On the surface of it, re-jiggering the story as a mildly demented...

Review: “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2”

Even though the Hunger Games series feels a little tired at this point, it manages to end with a bang - which is a pleasant surprise given the lukewarm dramatics of Mockingjay Part 1. Part 2 is by no...

Review: “Spectre”

While Spectre is far from bad, it is likely to frustrate many fans, especially given its unenviable position of following on the heels of the near-perfect Skyfall. The latter flew in the face of expectations and pushed the boundaries of...

Review: “The Walk”

Biopics are often tributes to eccentrics with grandiose - and often unusual - obsessions. In the case of "The Walk," veteran filmmaker Robert Zemeckis ("Back to the Future," "Forrest Gump") has found a subject with a curious fixation indeed,...

Review: “Sicario”

"Sicario" is the moral-grey-zone crime drama for those of us who felt burned by season two of "True Detective". There are few heroes and even fewer clearly defined villains in this taught, gruesome, and disquieting narco-thriller written by Taylor...

Review: “Black Mass”

James "Whitey" Bulger was a real-life bogeyman in Boston during the 1970s and '80s. A vicious, possible psychotic, and seemingly untouchable criminal kingpin, his name commanded varying degrees of fear and grudging respect among cops and crooks alike. It is...

Review: “Everest”

Spectacle film-making with a purpose, "Everest" is a welcome throwback to the testorone-heavy adventure flicks of past decades. Based on the true story of the tragic May 10-11, 1996 excursion to the summit of the world's highest peak that...

Review: “The Martian”

Much like its protagonist, "The Martian" is a film that's captivating, inventive, resourceful and widely appealing. Not only does it deliver a long overdue quality movie about the red planet after a wake of big disappointments (thank you Val...

Review: “American Ultra”

The epitome of the failed genre mash-up, "American Ultra" probably played better on paper than it does on the screen. The idea is sound - stoners turn out to be super-agents and wackiness ensues - but the passion is...

Review: “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”

Adapting a TV series to film is usually a recipe for disaster, and dropping a dated spy-fi franchise in late summer between the twin juggernauts of Mission: Impossible and James Bond is something akin to a box office suicide...

Review: “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”

It comes as a pleasant surprise that the series' cartoon spy-fi lunacy still plays, that leading man Tom Cruise can still play a convincing and charismatic action hero - and do his own bat-sh-t crazy stunts - at age...

Review: “Pixels”

If there's one actor working today that is hated by seemingly every moviegoer and critic across the globe, it's Adam Sandler. There's a good reason for that, as he pukes out a new film every year, each one seemingly...

Review: “Ant-Man”

Travel back to 2008 with me for a moment. Remember when "Iron Man" was released? Back then, Iron Man wasn't considered a top tier superhero. Among the non-comic fans, at least, there was Batman, Superman, Spiderman and only a...

Review: “Trainwreck”

Amy Schumer and Judd Apatow do the world a long-overdue favor by zinging the hell out of the ubiquitous "Professional Woman Who Tries to Have It All and Find Romance in the Big City" rom-com formula, and do it...

Review: “Terminator Genisys”

Terminator Genisys, the latest installment of the humans vs. robots saga, riffs heavily on elements from the first two James Cameron-helmed movies in the series and largely (and wisely) ignores the third and fourth movies. It opens with humanity's...

Review: “Magic Mike XXL”

If there was ever a movie that didn't need a sequel it was Steven Soderberg's Magic Mike. That's not to say that Soderbergh's 2012 film was a failure or a flop; quite the opposite in fact. A pseudo-biographic dramedy...

Review: “Jurassic World”

Jurassic Park hit theaters way back in 1993 at just the right time - Michael Crichton's novel, which had become an instant bestseller three years earlier, was perfect for film and big-budget blockbusters hadn't yet become over-saturated in CGI...

Review: “Tomorrowland”

It's slickly packaged, but below its surface Brad Bird's Tomorrowland is a preachy, chaotic jumble of themes and style at odds with itself from the get-go. Its message of fighting for the future while we still have one is...

Review: “Slow West”

An alt-western with plenty of quirk but little bite, John MacLean's Slow West is a wasted opportunity kept afloat by a bevy of skilled actors. It goes for a revisionist approach to the genre, but misses the mark. That's disappointing,...

Review: “Pitch Perfect 2”

Depending on the genre, it's easy to make a sequel from a successful first entry. All you have to do for an action movie, for example, is do exactly what made the first one so fun and make the...

Review: “Mad Max: Fury Road”

A 70-year-old filmmaker who's spent the last 25 years of his career making comedies, dramas, and children's movies decides to revive the action franchise that put him on the map in the 1980s, but has been inert for 30...

Review: “Drown”

The setting for Dean Francis' "Drown" is one ripe for a fascinating exploration of a very specific kind of masculinity - that of the modern Australian male. As someone who grew up around the specific lifesaving culture the...

Review: “Avengers: Age of Ultron”

More polished, but less cohesive as a whole, "Avengers: Age of Ultron" is ultimately a respectable and easily enjoyable sequel that maintains the quality of its predecessor just enough that many a debate will be had about which is...

Review: “Furious 7”

The strange franchise arc of the Fast and Furious series continues, though the returns have diminished slightly. That's to be expected of a franchise that's now on its seventh outing, when most series tank on their third installment. The...

Review: “Get Hard”

The premise of "Get Hard" is a simple one. Will Ferrell is an oblivious, white, super rich Ivy League banker with zero street smarts. Kevin Hart is an African-American family man with a cute kid and a smart...

Review: “Run All Night”

Liam Neeson shooting people. If that sounds like a familiar premise for a film, it's for good reason. Over the last seven years, ever since Neeson surprised everyone with the solid action film, "Taken," it seems to be the...

Review: “Cinderella”

Nobody captures magic as well as Disney. For decades, they have delivered some of the most memorable and wonderful films time and again with rarely a stumble, at least when looking at their impressive animated filmography. No matter if...

Review: “Chappie”

Neill Blomkamp ("District 9," "Elysium") is the closest thing to a cyberpunk filmmaker working today, blending a fascination with emerging technology with a gritty social awareness while asking some uncomfortable philosophical questions. Unfortunately, his ability to explore that territory has...

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