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Reviews and Ratings
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reviewed The Bling Ring. January 25
posted in Movie Hype
The Bling Ring
"The Bling Ring" is an odd, funny, somewhat artsy film from Sofia Coppolla based on a fascinating Vanity Fair article by Nancy Jo Sales titled "The Suspects Wore Louboutins."  …
reviewed The Lone Ranger (2013 film). September 12, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
The Lone Ranger (2013 film)
   It seems like all Native America wanted to talk about this summer was "The Lone Ranger" and whether it honored or offended Native Americans. I've read articles from Native people …
reviewed Silver Linings Playbook (2012 film). July 17, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
Silver Linings Playbook (2012 film)
       David O. Russell is making a name for himself by taking terribly conventional scripts/plots and turning out remarkably original movies full of life and energy.  He …
reviewed Man of Steel (2013 film). July 17, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
Man of Steel (2013 film)
   OK, let's get this out of the way right up front. Superman is 80 years old. (Not the character, the franchise.) That means there are 80 years of history and tradition surrounding the …
reviewed Monsters University (2013 film). June 29, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
Monsters University (2013 film)
Monsters University is an enjoyable film, a riff on the college comedy, borrowing liberally from "Revenge of the Nerds."   But the more I think about it, the more problems I detect with …
reviewed Wreck it Ralph. June 08, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
Wreck it Ralph
<a style="font-size: 13px; line-height: Taking a page out of the "Toy Story" book, "Wreck It Ralph" is about the characters that populated our childhood, and what they do …
reviewed Epic. May 31, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
Epic
      I'm getting tired of reviewing animated children's films and saying "it's not Pixar" -- and it's growing irrelevant, as Pixar's last two outings …
reviewed Tabu. May 24, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
Tabu
Sometimes I think critics include a movie on their top 10 lists simply because it's the last one they remember seeing. That might be the case with "Tabu," which showed up on more than …
reviewed Of Gods and Men. July 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Of Gods and Men
“Of Gods and Men” is a French film, based on a true story, about a small group of monks in Algeria. It is a quiet, reflective film, more interested in exploring the ways people of faith make …
reviewed My Dog Tulip. July 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
my dog tulip
It’s hard to tell a story about a beloved pet without getting all sentimental and treacly. I think this is probably because owning a pet is, essentially, a sentimental thing to do; it almost requires …
reviewed The Adjustment Bureau. July 04, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The Adjustment Bureau
Are we free to make our own choices, or is someone/something controlling are guiding them? This is an age-old question, perhaps because the human mind struggles to wrap itself around either the idea of …
reviewed Sanctum. July 04, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Sanctum
“Sanctum” is a film about a group of people who aren’t very comfortable in the real world, with its messy relationships and mortgage payments, mixed motivations and emotional complexity …
reviewed Cars 2. June 26, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Cars 2
For the last five years, Pixar has been on quite a roll, churning out one reliably solid animated film every summer. The last four have won Oscars for Best Animated Feature, and the last three (WALL-E, …
reviewed Super 8 (2011 film). June 20, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Super 8
The first 20 minutes or so of “Super 8″ are so clogged with references to a series of great movies from the ’80s that you start to wonder if it’s ever going to gain its own footing …
reviewed Another Year. June 17, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Another Year
Mike Leigh has always been known for making movies more about characters than stories, building his script around the improvisation of his actors as they learn who their characters really are.   …
reviewed Daydream Nation. June 15, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Daydream Nation
If you’re going to name your movie after an iconic and beloved rock album, a precise and perfectly executed mood piece, you better know what you’re doing. Unfortunately, first-time director …
reviewed Farewell (L'affaire Farewell). June 03, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Farewell (L'affaire Farewell)
“Farewell” is a throwback sort of spy film, both in period and in tone.  Set in the Cold War 80′s, it’s a spy thriller, but these spies aren’t Jason Bourne or Veronica …
reviewed The Hangover Part II. May 30, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Hangover 2
Much like its predecessor, “Hangover Part II” is a thoughtful reflection on the duality of human nature, and the darkness that lies within the best of people, and the prettiest of places. …
reviewed I Saw the Devil. May 27, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I Saw the Devil
It can be difficult to find a way in to the cinema of another culture, and, even despite its impressive catalog of really excellent films, the Korean New Wave is no exception.   Park Chan Wook's …
reviewed Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger.... May 23, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Here’s a sequence from the new Pirates of the Caribbean flick: Penelope Cruz is Angelica, and Ian McShane is Blackbeard her father.  Johnny Depp is, of course, Jack Sparrow (there should …
reviewed The Mechanic (2011). May 20, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The Mechanic
“The Mechanic” opens with a stylish, clever and ruthlessly executed assassination.  Jason Statham efficiently drowns a millionaire in his own swimming pool, and then escapes unnoticed …
reviewed Helplessness Blues. May 18, 2011
posted in Music Matters
helplessness blues
It took almost three years for Fleet Foxes to follow up their critically acclaimed debut album; that's long enough in the indie music world to forget a band entirely. But "Helplessness Blues" …
reviewed Waiting For Superman. May 18, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Waiting For Superman
Documentarian Davis Guggenheim is some kind of miracle worker. He's managed, twice now, to make documentaries that get lots of attention and accolades and even significantly affect the national debate …
reviewed Rabbit Hole. May 16, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Rabbit Hole
“Rabbit Hole” is a film about a couple who have recently lost a child in a tragic accident and are trying to figure out how to go on living.  I’m not sure who the target audience …
reviewed The Green Hornet (2011 film). May 14, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The Green Hornet (2011 movie)
I think Seth Rogen is at his best when he keeps his mouth shut.  Which, unfortunately isn’t hardly ever these days, and is almost completely never in “The Green Hornet.”   …
reviewed Somewhere. May 11, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Somewhere
“Somewhere” opens on a long, long shot of a Ferrari going solo around a racetrack, over and over again.  This is both the central metaphor for the film – it’s about a youngish …
reviewed Thor (2011 movie). May 10, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Thor (film)
Kenneth Branagh seems like an odd choice to direct a summer blockbuster superhero film.  Branagh was almost singlehandedly responsible (with a nod to Baz Luhrman) for the Shakespeare revival we …
reviewed Fast Five. May 08, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Fast Five
I watched “The Fast and the Furious” some years ago, and found it to be pretty stupid and mildly entertaining, but not enough to compel to me keep up with the all the sequels since then. …
reviewed The Way Back. May 07, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The Way Back
What is the furthest distance you’ve ever walked?   For me, it probably tops out somewhere around ten miles, and that was in good weather, wearing good shoes.  Still, my feet felt like …
reviewed The Illusionist (2010). May 04, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The Illusionist (2010)
I absolutely loved Silvain Chomet’s 2003 film, “The Triplets of Belleville,”  so much so that I watched it twice in one evening.  It was such a beautiful mix of unusual animation, …
reviewed The Music Never Stopped. April 25, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The Music Never Stopped
I have two young children, and I love music. Right now, my kids are really too young to love music with me, though I can sometimes get my two year old to dance with me.  I often wonder if I’ll …
reviewed The Town. April 21, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The Town
  Ben Affleck’s directorial debut, “Gone Baby Gone,”  starred his baby brother and the city of Boston, one of the few settings in recent movies that can almost function as …
reviewed Never Let Me Go (2010 movie). April 21, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Never Let Me Go
If I were to pick an “it” girl and boy right now, by which I mean an actress and actor who are receiving media attention and celebrity more for their star potential than for their achievements …
reviewed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:.... April 21, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
As a general rule, if I think a book is eventually going to be made into a movie, I’ll hold off on reading it until I’ve seen the movie.   How many times have you heard someone come …
reviewed The Fighter (2010 film). April 17, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The Fighter
“The Fighter” plays like “Rocky” set in the same neighborhood as “Gone Baby Gone;” indeed, Ben Affleck ought to watch this film to understand why his first film was …
reviewed Young Islands. April 17, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Young Islands
“Young Islands” is a small indie film about a young man, played by Steven Hamilton, who drifts through the last few days of his summer break.  He has nothing to do and he wants nothing …
reviewed TRON: Legacy. April 09, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Tron Legacy
The great thing about the advances in CGI and animation the last few years has been that so many things look so much more realistic than they used to. This is also the terrible thing about these advances, …
reviewed Source Code. April 04, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Source Code
Sometimes it feels like original ideas are against the rules in Hollywood; most of the movies that get made, even the good ones, are rehashes of the same old ideas. This year's Best Picture winner, …
reviewed Summer Wars. March 30, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Summer Wars
  “Summer Wars” starts out like the worst kind of romantic comedy; a cute girl pays a nerdy guy to accompany her on a trip back home, and then shocks him by telling her family he’s …
reviewed Inside Job. March 30, 2011
INSIDE JOB
You approve a bunch of subprime mortgages,  package those loans together into a CDO, then pay to get your CDO a “AAA” rating.  Then you sell that CDO to a retirement fund, and take …
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