Posted in: Review

Bears

Nature documentaries have long been a staple of elementary school classrooms and Sunday afternoon television programming. They’re a great, if occasionally dry, way to learn about the many species with whom we share the planet. DisneyNature has been moving the genre into new, exciting directions in recent years, using high-tech cameras and other modern equipment […]

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Blue Ruin

Revenge isn’t so sweet in Jeremy Saulnier’s Blue Ruin, an unblinking look at a journey down the winding road to retribution and beyond. The writer-director organizes the ugliness in a subdued mood piece that entertains and provokes. This Coen-esque thriller communicates clearly without getting bogged down in over-explanation of character motivations or plot minutiae. We […]

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Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown: The Problem With Chick Flicks Today

Michelle Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Condoleezza Rice, Christiane Amanpour, Oprah Winfrey, Tina Fey. What do they all have in common? They are considered to be some of the smartest, most accomplished, and most inspiring women of our time. Each has been wildly successful in her chosen field, showing that talent and ability are not bound by […]

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The Other Woman (2014)

You have to feel sorry for the actresses in The Other Woman. Instead of being given characters to play, they’ve been handed recognizable female stereotypes, accented with occasional scatology and slapstick. Clearly influenced (poorly, one might add) by the entire Bridesmaids theory of “you go girl” power, we have the naive, nutty ditz (Leslie Mann), […]

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Brick Mansions

Brick Mansions is an efficient and effective B-movie. It doesn’t reinvent the action genre so much as tunnel through the often imitated tropes of the type to deliver its limited delights. As a Luc Besson production, we get borrowed bits in abundance. The film’s premise is lifted almost directly from RoboCop by way of District 13 (which this film is a […]

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Locke

Few actors can make 85 minutes of cell phone conversations wholly engrossing. In Locke, Tom Hardy proves he’s one of them. When you consider that many of the calls he makes are about a concrete pouring job, it makes his performance all the more impressive. Writer/director Steven Knight never takes the focus off his star, […]

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Proxy

Any great thriller earns that definition by keeping its audience off-balance. We crave control in the real world, but not when it comes to the movies – if we have a grasp of what’s to come, we chide a film or filmmaker for being too predictable. Zack Parker has a firm understanding of this basic […]

Posted in: Review

13 Sins

The biggest sin of 13 Sins is its failure to meet its potential. Like the much better Cheap Thrills, this remake of a 2006 Thai thriller explores how low someone will sink for financial gain, but it’s more interested in twists and telegraphed gotcha moments than in generating any real payoffs. In order to reach […]

Posted in: Review

Festival Report: TCM Classic Film Festival 2014

Only at the Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival can you show up 10 minutes before the screening of an obscure Rosalind Russell comedy and end up sitting in the front row because there are no other seats available. That’s how my experience at this year’s festival started, and while the front row is probably […]