movie review

Movie Review: The Zero Theorem

Oct 3, 2014

Where, you may ask, has been director Terry Gilliam of late? He’s had a couple of misfires that never finished production, particularly his Don Quixote film. But he’s back with a new film titled The Zero Theorem, which takes him back into the realm of existential science fiction. In fact, he refers to this film as the third leg of a trilogy, which started with Brazil and continued with The Twelve Monkeys.

Movie Review: Boyhood

Aug 8, 2014

Every so often a film is released that causes both critics and audiences to become besotted with praise. Such films are compared to Citizen Kane, and are predicted to sweep the Oscars. The last time such a furor erupted it was for Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Joaquin Phoenix. I hated it.

Movie Review: Life Itself

Jul 25, 2014

A really good documentary film is at its best when it chronicles the life, times and works of a truly exceptional individual. Such is the case with Life Itself, based on the autobiography of arguably the most famous film critic of all time, Roger Ebert. Oscar-nominated director Steve James, most famous for his basketball epic Hoop Dreams, was given an all access pass to Ebert during his final months before he died of cancer. It didn’t help his condition that a botched surgery left him with no lower jaw, unable to speak or eat.

Movie Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Jul 21, 2014

The old saying goes “everything old is new again.” Except when it comes to the summer movie crop of 2014, in which all the retreads, reboots, and remakes seem like those that came before. And Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is no exception. This particular cycle of cinema began in 1968 with the original film Planet of the Apes, which spawned four sequels, two TV series, a 2001 remake from director Tim Burton which was less than well-received, then 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which I recall was actually pretty good. Now comes the 2014 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which is pretty much a casserole of plot points, social commentary, and high-tech action scenes in yet another effort to mine bags of box office coin from a proven commodity.

Movie Review: Snowpiercer

Jul 11, 2014

If you’re tired of the sci-fi genre being hijacked just so Tom Cruise can make another movie, or director Michael Bay can churn out another overlong, turgid Transformers epic, then there’s a new film you should flock to immediately. It’s called Snowpiercer and it’s not playing everywhere, so you’ll have to seek it out.

Hollywood's classic car flicks

Jun 20, 2014

Once again it’s summertime, and the living is… well, in many instances… mobile. What with enjoying the seasonal events and travels, and the upcoming weekend of big racing at the Kentucky Speedway, I started thinking about the symmetry between two of Americas great loves: cars and movies.

Movie Review: The Angriest Man in Brooklyn

Jun 13, 2014

With all the various platforms available for movie delivery these days, there are some films that totally slip by unnoticed, since they don’t get a regular theatrical release. Such is the case with The Angriest Man in Brooklyn. It had a one-week run in New York and Los Angeles, and then went to the video-on-demand section of your cable or satellite provider. Despite the title, and presence of star Robin Williams, it’s not a comedy. Williams plays an attorney in Brooklyn whose hard knocks have completely soured him on life, and he’s determined to take it out on anyone who’s handy, which he does with great regularity. A minor incident causes him to go to his doctor, who is out of town. The attending physician tells Williams that a previous scan revealed a brain aneurism and that he is likely to die within the next ninety minutes. So what would you do in such circumstances? Live it to the fullest? Try to reconnect with those from whom you are estranged? Or be even angrier?

Movie Review: Cold in July

Jun 6, 2014

In the never-ending search for critical adoration and separating moviegoers from their hard-earned dollars, filmmakers seem to embrace the theory that “more IS more.” They try to cram 10 pounds of “stuff” into every two-pound bag to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. That’s to be expected with the blockbuster films, but it sometimes works its way into the smaller, low-key titles as well.

Movie Review: Godzilla

May 30, 2014

It’s summertime, and the movies are, generally, quite predictable. During this high-volume season of ticket sales, the major studios seem preoccupied with loading the schedule with masters of disaster. If it’s not a remake, reboot, retread, or sequel, then it’s not on their radar. Every so often, that’s not a bad thing, such as last summer’s hero-packed epic The Avengers, or this year’s second Captain America tale. But more often than not, the studios either sidestep or totally ignore what the vision should be for any given summertime movie.

Such is the case with Godzilla, the first atom age monster spawned in Japan in 1954 as a mournful cry against the surge of the uber weapons. The very first Godzilla film was not welcome in America in its original form, since it was against something we were promoting… nuclear weapons. It wasn’t released here until two years later in a badly cut version with added scenes of American actor Raymond Burr, just on the verge of becoming TV’s Perry Mason, as a reporter telling the story from a different perspective. And, of course, dubbed in English.

Movie Review: Ida

May 16, 2014

We are all on a journey of discovery from birth to death, and most of us have the help of friends and family to fill in the blanks. But what if you had to connection to your past, and were ready to enter adulthood with no clue as to who or where you came from.

Movie Review: Fading Giggolo

May 9, 2014

It’s quite easy to be a fan of John Turturro, the actor. He’s turned in a wide range of quality performances since 1980. Most notable on his resume are three films with the Coen Brothers, Miller's Crossing, O Brother Where Art Thou, and Barton Fink, four with Spike Lee including his terrific Do the Right Thing, and even stepping up to the high-tech action genre with a recurring role in three of the Transformer films.

Movie Review: Le Week-End

Apr 25, 2014

Movies have always had a love affair with Paris going way back when most films were shot in a studio, to the Oscar-winning An American in Paris with Gene Kelly singing and dancing all over the place to Gershwin’s music, to the more recent Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen’s love letter to the great city.

There’s a new film out now in which Paris once again is a character. It’s titled Le Week-End and despite the French title and Parisian locales, it’s in English. In Le Week-End, two Brits who have fond memories of the town in which they once honeymooned, decide that a return visit may help recapture what they’ve been losing over the years as their marriage cracks and strains.

Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Apr 11, 2014

I recall the first Captain America film from a couple of years ago being an exciting, well-done action film based on the legendary comic book character. Now comes Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in which our hero, whom we last saw during World War II, emerges from his cryogenic sleep in the 21st century. Naturally, there needs to be a catastrophic crisis from which the Captain must save the world. Yes, the plot is that simple, but it’s all the other ingredients in this second outing that makes Captain America: The Winter Soldier such a spectacular thrill ride.

Movie Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Apr 4, 2014

After last year’s Moonrise Kingdom, I wasn’t sure if Wes Anderson could top, or even equal, himself with his next movie. He has. The Grand Budapest Hotel is a shaggy dog story, or in this case, a shaggy hotel story, set in a fictitious European country between the two world wars and into the years of communism.

Movie Review: 3 Days to Kill

Feb 28, 2014

I’m guessing that, in the course of your movie-watching career, you have found yourself in the position of choosing a film even though it sounds totally illogical, perhaps even stupid, but yet turns out to be well done and incredibly entertaining.  Such is the case with 3 Days to Kill. In some ways, it’s the typical action flick, but at the same time the atypical action flick.