Posted in: Review

The LEGO Movie

“Everything is awesome” is the goofy, satiric musical refrain that plays over the opening sequences of The LEGO Movie. It’s purposely grating, on-the-nose in the most comedically intentional way, and yet there is no more appropriate descriptor for this film. Everything is truly awesome in The LEGO Movie, which is the cinematic realization of our […]

Posted in: Review

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Here we are, on leg two of Peter Jackson’s three-part adaptation of The Hobbit. One book, three films. Seems like overkill, doesn’t it? That very question has been at the center of debate about this epic Lord of the Rings prequel since it was first announced that original LOTR franchise director, Peter Jackson, would be […]

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Saving Mr. Banks

P.L. Travers would probably have a lot of complaints about Saving Mr. Banks — there are plenty of historical inaccuracies and Disneyfied whitewashes. Irksome though they are, however, my chief issue is with the film’s devolution into a simpering slog. One might expect the Mouse House’s recounting of the behind-the-scenes rigors of mounting the film version […]

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Dallas Buyers Club

In form, Dallas Buyers Club would appear a rollicking, globe-hopping ride, complete with a compelling kingpin figure and a sprawling mega-heist at its center. In execution, however, the film walks quite a steep tightrope, since the kingpin figure is a hateful bigot and the mega-heist involves the smuggling and thinly-veiled distribution of unapproved drug cocktails […]

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The Fifth Estate

Irony of ironies – the much-anticipated “WikiLeaks Movie,” which dramatizes the inception of an organization responsible for some the most incendiary and controversial information leaks in recent history, turns out to be a rote, by-the-numbers thriller. The Fifth Estate, director Bill Condon’s re-entry into the land of serious filmmaking (after a psychotropic stint on the […]

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Captain Phillips

With measured satisfaction, I can report Captain Phillips is a solid thriller. Satisfaction is “measured” because, with the filmmaking talent behind the film, it could’ve been so much more. Director Paul Greengrass has made a career out of twisting expectations, taking straight thrillers like the Bourne films and infusing them with geopolitical subtext and emotional […]

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Don Jon

Two things are readily apparent on the basis of Don Jon. First, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is clearly a talented filmmaker and a thoughtful, empathetic storyteller. Second, the guy has obviously never been caught in the grip of true addiction. In this, Gordon-Levitt’s debut as a writer-director, addiction — specifically, porn addiction — is the force  that […]

Posted in: Review

Jug Face

As Jug Face begins, it toes the line between thoughtful indie thriller and B-movie schlockfest. Very quickly, it fully crosses over into the latter category. Not merely because the film is amateurish, though it unfortunately is — there are only so many legitimate thrills that can be created by shaking the camera and layering cheap […]

Posted in: Review

We’re the Millers

First there was The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, which imported the tame style of 1990s comedy into 2013. Then there was The To Do List, which mocked ’90s culture in order to fulfill its decidedly post-millennial comedic mindset. Now there’s We’re the Millers, another in the trend of old-fashioned comedies in 2013, though its chief inspiration […]