Posted in: Review

Computer Chess

Subtle and mesmerizing, Computer Chess informally meditates on the nature of consciousness, our capacity for comprehension, and group sex. Andrew Bujalski (Funny Ha Ha, Mutual Appreciation, Beeswax) convincingly places us in the early ’80s where a few dozen young computer scientists from various prestigious universities (as well as one outspoken maverick with serious social boundary issues named […]

Posted in: Review

The Contrarian: Ridley Scott Hasn’t Made a Good Movie Since Blade Runner, and Blade Runner Isn’t That Good

I wish I could have written this column before the stupefyingly miscalculated Prometheus had put so many Scott apologists on their back foot, because to strike at the man’s oeuvre now seems a bit exploitative, or even sadistic.  Still, such is the integrity of my mission that I don’t mind kicking a man while he’s […]

Posted in: Review

The Contrarian: Attack of the Clones is a Film of Incalculable Historical Significance

What does Palme d’Or winner Amour, Sundance Grand Jury winner Winter’s Bone, and The Evil Dead remake all have in common?  They might never have been made were it not for the unwavering vision of George Lucas and a little movie called Star Wars: Episode 2 – Attack of the Clones. Clones was the first […]

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21 & Over

It’s a college sex comedy that’s neither sexy nor comedic, but it does take place on a college campus so… there’s that I guess. 21 & Over, written and directed by the writers of the first Hangover movie (Jon Lucas and Scott Moore), is an unembarrassed attempt to simply remake that movie with characters 15 […]

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Quartet

An exquisitely humane essay on death, Quartet, like the ensemble at the center of the story, deserves to be remembered more than it probably will be. Quartet takes place at a well-appointed retirement home in a bucolic English countryside for aged virtuosos of various stripes called Beecham House, and as such the film’s gorgeous soundtrack is […]

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The Contrarian: The Hobbit is Way Better than Any of the LotR Movies

That The Two Towers, the weakest of the LotR movies, is one of the most critically lauded films of the last ten years and that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, as of writing this piece, is certified rotten by the “Top Critics” on Rotten Tomatoes is a tragic miscarriage of filmic justice.  An Unexpected Journey is not only the best […]

Posted in: Review

Identity Thief

Effectively without merit, Seth Gordon’s (Horrible Bosses) tiresome Identity Thief still managed to make $172 million.  Good news for Melissa McCarthy, I guess.  Bad news for American comedy, though, as now Seth Gordon will continue to make movies. Let’s begin with the premise which, even for a broad comedy, is unusually lacking in credibility.  Sandy […]

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Admission

Modern rom-coms and Ivy League schools actually have a lot in common.  They’re both vestigial organs from a bygone age when men were Wiffenpoofs and women married typewriter salesmen after high school (or else mooned over their English professors at Sarah Lawrence).  They’re also mutually indistinguishable from one another, even while they remain convinced of their perfect singularness with a certitude […]

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Gangster Squad

An unconvincing facsimile of a crime drama, Gangster Squad, in the end, is merely a podunk action movie in a nice suit. Gangster Squad concerns a group of cops led by John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) who are forced to confront organized crime kingpin Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), vigilante-style, on account of their police department’s corruption.  The […]

Posted in: Review

The Call

I know you, reader. I know how you feel about things. You’ve often said to yourself “You know, I really want to like The Silence of the Lambs, but I just wish that the serial killer’s motive made no sense, that the smart procedural aspect was replaced by a series of increasingly improbable coincidences, and […]

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Silver Linings Playbook

Though hamfisted at times and ultimately predictable, Silver Linings Playbook still manages to bring some real brio to a genre long since sodden with platitudes and empty humor.  And despite some serious errors in judgement, Silver Linings Playbook is one of those rare love stories with actual heart. After coming upon his wife in flagrante delicto having shower-fun-time with […]

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Stand Up Guys

It’s boring, hacky, pandering, maudlin, pleased with itself, and vacant of almost any believable human moment, but at least it’s also stupendously sexist. This could have been a good movie, that’s what kills me, and not just because it’s got good actors in it because, frankly, Pacino misses the mark by quite a lot in […]