Great Performances Can’t Save the Clichéd and Relentlessly Downbeat 'Out of the Furnace'
Published 12/11/2013 at 11:06 a.m. 0 comments
When we first meet Harlan DeGroat, the squirrelly New Jersey hillbilly played with unnerving ferocity by Woody Harrelson in Out of the Furnace, he forces a woman to swallow a hot dog whole, then nearly beats a stranger to death ...
'Frozen' Co-Director Jennifer Lee Helps Disney Subvert Some of Its Own Gender Conventions
Published 12/4/2013 at 9:53 a.m. 0 comments
Here’s a pair of cold facts for you: Frozen is the 53rd animated feature to roll out of the storied Walt Disney Animation Studios since 1937, when Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs became the highest-grossing sound film of its ...
'Catching Fire': A So-So Movie That Would Make Excellent TV
Published 11/26/2013 at 3:26 p.m. 0 comments
Director Francis Lawrence brings a bleaker tone that suits the darkening mood, but loses the keen spectacle that made Ross’ film such an accessible (and satirically pointed) introduction to the post-apocalyptic country of Panem.
'Blue Is the Warmest Color' Rises Above Its Controversial Sex Scenes
Published 11/20/2013 at 10:26 a.m. 0 comments
Blue Is the Warmest Color turns on a love affair, but it’s really a character study of one young woman.
'Thor: The Dark World' May Not Make Much Sense, But It’s Got Plenty of Hammer Time
Published 11/13/2013 at 11:13 a.m. 0 comments
I think, whether you’re a comics fan or not, we can all agree that Thor is an exceptionally goofy character—goofiness, mind you, does not preclude charm and badassery—and easily the toughest to pull off on the big screen. Kudos, then, ...
Cormac McCarthy’s Screenplay for 'The Counselor' Might Have Been a Good Novel, But It Makes for a Lousy Movie
Published 10/30/2013 at 10:40 a.m. 1 comment
It’s a commonly held dictum that great novelists often make very bad screenwriters. Cormac McCarthy, certainly one of our best living novelists, follows in the footsteps of no less than F. Scott Fitzgerald with The Counselor, the sleazy, mean, and ...
Director Kimberly Peirce Offers an Unsettling, Perceptive Take on Horror Classic 'Carrie'
Published 10/23/2013 at 10:34 a.m. 0 comments
We’d do well to remember that some of the best genre films of the past few decades—John Carpenter’s The Thing and David Cronenberg’s The Fly immediately come to mind—have been remakes. Not that Boys Don’t Cry director Kimberly Peirce’s take ...
Paul Greengrass and Tom Hanks Elevate 'Captain Phillips' Above Standard Hollywood Action Movies
Published 10/16/2013 at 11:00 a.m. 0 comments
If there’s any doubt that Paul Greengrass has become one of the world’s most consistently excellent action directors, Captain Phillips should put it to rest.
Alfonso Cuarón’s 'Gravity' Justifies Its Hype
Published 10/9/2013 at 10:58 a.m. 0 comments
By now, you’ve probably heard or read much of the fanfare that has accompanied Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity into theaters. It’s all true—the stranded-in-space odyssey really is the cinematic milestone that critics and moviegoers are claiming it is.
'Rush' and 'Don Jon' Offer Dueling Perspectives on Male Obsession
Published 10/2/2013 at 10:36 a.m. 0 comments
Rush might end up being the biggest cinematic surprise of 2013. It’s an exhilarating, full-throttle sports movie about two men who are completely obsessed with racing—or, more specifically, with racing one another.
'Prisoners': Two Very Different Films in One, Both Worth Seeing
Published 9/25/2013 at 11:06 a.m. 0 comments
You can bounce a quarter off any frame in the first two hours of Prisoners, the American debut from acclaimed Quebecois director Denis Villeneuve (Incendies). From its first moments—a father and son stalking a deer in a snowy Pennsylvania forest—the ...
Director James Wan Haunts Familiar Territory With 'Insidious: Chapter 2'
Published 9/18/2013 at 11:15 a.m. 0 comments
It’s easy to argue, as many have, that this sequel is thoroughly unnecessary, and its component elements don’t prove as durable as Insidious fans like myself might have hoped. It’s a common problem with horror stories: They lose much of ...
Fumbling in the Dark: Try as it Might, Riddick Can't Recapture the Brutal, Bloody Magic of Pitch Black
Published 9/11/2013 at 11:17 a.m. 0 comments
And now there’s Riddick, the third feature film in the series.
Arthouse Auteur Wong Kar-wai’s Kung-Fu Epic 'The Grandmaster' Is a Mixed-Up Mess
Published 9/4/2013 at 10:36 a.m. 0 comments
Discerning movie lovers have learned to turn to Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai for neo-Nouvelle Vague romance, for Asian gamines and 24-hour urban bustle and yearning glances, for bittersweet shaggy-dog stories of missed connections and lonely apartments. Kung fu, not ...
Edgar Wright Brings His Parody Trilogy to a Surprisingly Poignant Close
Published 8/28/2013 at 11:46 a.m. 0 comments
The World’s End is sharp, hilarious, and surprisingly melancholy, but the team’s genre send-up schtick is beginning to show the faintest signs of wear around the edges.