Reviews

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...

Review: “Focus”

Writer/director pair Glenn Ficarra and John Requa's ("Bad Santa," "Crazy, Stupid Love") latest romantic heist flick or 'rom-con,' Focus, is entertaining manipulation. Nicky (Will Smith) is an experienced con artist who has made a living orchestrating waves of small...

Review: “Kingsman: The Secret Service”

A smarter spoof than "Austin Powers," and free of the over-seriousness of the Bond movies, "Kingsman: The Secret Service" is a much-needed fresh take on spy fiction. It's a film that pays homage to the genre almost as...

Review: “Seventh Son”

Considering how hot high fantasy and young adult fiction are these days it comes as no surprise that a studio would attempt a hybrid of the two. What is surprising is that "Seventh Son" is as watchable as it...

Review: “Jupiter Ascending”

Once upon a time it was possible to at least excuse the cinematic overkill of the Wachowski siblings as a willingness to take chances in pursuit of high-concept storytelling, and the desire to push the special effects envelope. Their...

Review: “Black Sea”

When you think about it, the ocean depths are an even more terrifying environment than the void of space. In the farĀ reachesĀ of the cosmos one can at least see the stars; underwater, there's only pitch-black darkness waiting to crush...

Review: “Blackhat”

Let's face it: Hollywood has yet to make an effective cyber-thriller. The black art of hacking works great on the page, but actually getting it onto the screen in a compelling way has so far proven to be elusive....

Review: “A Most Violent Year”

"A Most Violent Year" is a movie with a somewhat misleading title. Despite one that implies action or, at the very least, some graphic content, the film rarely depicts onscreen violence, nor does it show anything particularly sexy or...

Review: “Into the Woods”

There's a certain joy that washes over me when I watch a good musical. Movies and music are wonderful mediums for artistic expression, as each find their own truths and meaning in their own distinct, separate ways, but combining...

Review: “Big Eyes”

Its been a while since Tim Burton has offered up a movie that wasn't drenched in weirdness-as-affectation, smothered in heavy-handed effects, beaten into delirium with gratuitous Johnny Depp, or all of the above. With "Big Eyes," however, he seems...

Review: “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”

The good news is that Peter Jackson's final installment of his unnecessarily long adaptation of The Hobbit shows improvement over its predecessors. The downside is that it's an a degree of improvement akin to the Star Wars prequels: better,...

Review: “Exodus: Gods and Kings”

Visually sumptuous but otherwise hollow, Ridley Scott's take on the Biblical tale of Moses could use a little more wrath of God to perk it up a bit. It's not a bad movie per se, it's just that it...

Review: “Inherent Vice”

"Inherent Vice" is the first movie based on a novel by Thomas Pynchon. Whether or not there will be another any time soon is anyone's guess. Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation (approved by Pynchon himself) is a rambling and largely...

Review: “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1”

Wait what? So you scrolled to the bottom of this film review to check the score to see what gush or venom that you're going to imbibe by reading, and there was nothing? Could it be that bad? Surely...

Review: “Dumb and Dumber To”

Imagine for a moment that 2003's disastrous "Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd" never happened and that 1994's hilarious "Dumb and Dumber" was left untainted as a comedy classic. Having laid dormant for 20 years, would a resurrection...

Review: “Rosewater”

A strong debut film by The Daily Show's Jon Stewart, there's still some room for improvement in the earnest and entirely nonthreatening "Rosewater". Some first-time filmmakers opt for going full-bore with their freshman work, laying on the style and...

Review: “Interstellar”

Christopher Nolan is a filmmaker's filmmaker, a creatively restless soul who challenges both himself to push the boundaries of his skills and his chosen medium, as well as to challenge the notions of viewers who show up for his...

Review: “Big Hero 6”

When Disney acquired Marvel in 2009, one's imagination couldn't help but go wild. What stories in the existing Marvel Universe could be told with the talented Disney affiliated minds behind them? The possibilities were endless, which makes it that...

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