The Big Screen

Sunday mornings during Cincinnati Edition
  • Hosted by Larry Thomas

Our local movie expert, Larry Thomas, explores some of the well-known and little-known films that are coming to a theatre near you.

An archive of movie reviews can be found here:

Movie Review: The Bling Ring

Jun 28, 2013

Did you ever wonder where the faux famous come from? You know… the ones who are famous for just being famous. Perhaps you may get some insight from Sofia Coppola’s new film The Bling Ring. It’s based on true events in Los Angeles, with, as they say, only the names changed.

Movie Preview: Mindbenders Film Series

Jun 21, 2013

There’s something new coming up next weekend on the cinema scene in Cincinnati. The Art Academy of Cincinnati in Over the Rhine is hosting “Mindbenders Film Series: A Far-Out Film Series,” presented by Pumpkin Productions and the newly reinvigorated Cincinnati Film Society. Screenings will be held Friday through Sunday, June 28-30, in the Art Academy’s auditorium, with a different film each day. There are two Cincinnati premieres, and the premiere of a restored classic.

Movie Review: Now You See Me

Jun 14, 2013

Four street magicians answer a mysterious summons and within a year have been transformed into The Four Horsemen, a big, new glitzy Vegas act that promises to rob a bank in France while standing on the stage. As in all works of illusion, nothing is really what it seems. But in the film Now You See Me, the talented cast pulls off this scam in a very enjoyable manner.  The Four Horsemen are played by Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco… yes, James Franco’s younger brother, Isla Fisher, and Lebanon’s own Woody Harrelson, in what is probably his best performance since The People vs. Larry Flynt. Working for the law we have Mark Ruffalo as an FBI agent, who is saddled with a novice partner from Interpol, played by Melanie Laurent who gained worldwide attention in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. And naturally there has to be a couple of elder statesmen to follow the action, comment on and drop clues to what’s going on. Or so we think. Those roles fall to hard-working old pros Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.

Movie Review: Stories We Tell

Jun 7, 2013

In 2006, talented Canadian actress Sarah Polley took a chance on making her first feature as a writer-director. The film was Away From Her, a sad yet hopeful story about a woman with Alzheimers, which managed to nab Oscar nominations for both Polley for her screenplay, and her star Julie Christie for Best Actress. Now Polley is back with another journey of discovery, but more about her than anyone else, in Stories We Tell. Polley’s mother died early, and as she grew up, kept hearing rumours that her father might not actually be her father. Both parents had been actors and stories abounded. Dad was an introvert, who could do well without a lot of people around. Mom was a loving, living free spirit who needed to express herself.

Movie Review: Fast and Furious 6

May 31, 2013

You would think any movie franchise with the number 6 after its title would have ended up on my screening list along the way. Not so with Fast & Furious 6. I have never seen entries one through five. So at least I can report from a reasonably fresh perspective, instead of just more of the same.

Movie Review: The Great Gatsby

May 17, 2013

I have not been a fan of director Baz Luhrmann from day one. I was completely underwhelmed by Strictly Ballroom; managed to miss his take on Romeo and Juliet; and his epic Valentine to his home country, Australia, was as turgid and unwatchable as just about anything can be. Until I got to Moulin Rouge, which was thoroughly annoying to the point it was one of the few films that had me heading to the exit long before it was over. Needless to say, that track record had me anticipating The Great Gatsby with the same joy as a day at the dentist. Imagine my surprise when I watched the entire film without a twitch, or a fidget, or a glance at the time. I really liked it. 

Movie Review: Mud

May 10, 2013

In his third feature film, Mud, writer-director Jeff Nichols has delivered a stirring coming of age tale that’s part Stand by Me, part Hickleberry Finn, and part William Faulkner. If it had been made in the mid-fifties, I can imagine a young Paul Newman as the title character. As it is, Matthew McConaughey, who keeps adding to his acting laurels with each chosen role, plays Mud. From Bernie to Killer Joe to Magic Mike, and now Mud, McConaughey seems determined to break out of the Hollywood rom-com pigeonhole and create characters that impress and intrigue. And maybe even get him an Oscar nomination one day.

Movie Review: From Up on Poppy Hill

Apr 19, 2013

I have a confession to make. I have never seen a film by Japan’s master animator Hiyao Miyazaki, one of Japan's greatest animation directors, and founder of the legendary Studio Ghibli. His films have earned him international renown from critics as well as public recognition within Japan. Among the titles you may have heard are Kiki's Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke. Miyazaki is often referred to as the “Japanese Walt Disney.”

Movie Review: Jurassic Park 3D

Apr 12, 2013

I have been contemplating an essay for some time about what I call “second chance movies.”  You probably have some of these in your cinematic past. A second chance movie is one that, upon first viewing, fell somewhere between seriously disappointing and absolutely hated. And that experience could have been due to a variety of factors: your age at the first viewing, where you saw it, something in it hit too close to home… you get the idea. Then later in life, when you decide to see that particular film again, imagine your surprise when it turns out to be not only good but also ends up as one of your favorites.

Movie Review: Admission

Apr 5, 2013

You might see the trailer for Tina Fey’s new movie Admission and think, “oh, a nice comedy.” Sorry, but no. It’s at best a “dramedy.” Tina Fey plays an assistant admissions officer at Princeton University, a position she’s had for sixteen years. The head of the department is about to retire, and Fey is in direct competition with snarky Gloria Reuben to take over. Along the way toward that goal, she meets people who, in effect, turn her life upside down, and she has to face her past and assume some responsibility. Hence, the title Admission has a double meaning. It refers not only to her vocation, but she must own up to her errors in life.