Posted in: Review

Divergent

It’s hard to say if the film adaptation of Veronica Roth’s successful YA franchise Divergent is a success. Compared to its predecessors, it’s light years better than Twilight but just can’t match the Jennifer Lawrence-fueled charisma of the Hunger Games films. In fact, it’s safe to say that, within the realm of already offered wannabes […]

Posted in: Review

Muppets Most Wanted

Like the Looney Tunes, and in some cases, the earliest Disney catalog titles, the Muppets were never really meant for the kiddies. Instead, they were expression-filled puppets who took adult material and turned it into sly, slick satire — albeit, dressed in nursery school sentiments. Once Sesame Street came along and the popularity of Jim […]

Posted in: Review

Cheap Thrills

There are real stakes in Cheap Thrills. Its humor is inky black and the depths of its depravity are bottomless, but neither the laughs nor the wickedness are cut-rate. A script from David Chirchirillo and Trent Haaga that stays the crazy course, along with steady direction from E.L. Katz, provide a method for the madness. […]

Posted in: Review

Le Week-End

Like many movies about couples who treat their relationship as a sparring ring, Roger Michell’s Le Week-End dares you to choose sides. Do you plunk down your support for the affable but retiring bookish bloke Nick (Jim Broadbent)? Or do you take the side of the skittery and cat-like Meg (Lindsay Duncan). He pokes at […]

Posted in: Review

Veronica Mars

Veronica Mars, the movie, is not really a movie. It nonetheless has plenty of things that many actual movies selfishly neglect: it’s got a beginning, middle, and end; it showcases a wonderfully endearing cast of characters who often speak in snappy dialogue; it even has some thematic resonance about the way our past can take […]

Posted in: Review

Need for Speed

The need for speed is not a new desire. Cinematically speaking, the most famous example of the addiction was shared by Maverick and Goose in Top Gun nearly three decades ago. Borrowing bits from that, and several other velocity-centric films, Need for Speed adds little to carsploitation cinema. It attempts to be a souped-up hybrid […]

Posted in: Review

Bad Words

There are several bad words that could be used to describe Bad Words. Since most of the ones used in the movie aren’t fit to print here, let’s go with uninspired, humorless, belabored, pointless, monotonous, and irritating – for starters. As soon as the novelty of seeing an abrasive 40-year-old man-child compete against fifth graders […]

Posted in: Review

The Art of the Steal

Regardless of what’s being stolen or who’s stealing it, caper films typically tread a well-worn path, and The Art of the Steal is no different. Though an opening voiceover dismisses the “one last job” cliché, this lighthearted mix of Ocean’s 11 and early Guy Ritchie comes complete with rhythmic banter between colorful characters, an overly-elaborate […]

Posted in: Review

300: Rise of an Empire

If movies could be classified as crazy, 300: Rise of an Empire would earn an easy “bugnuts insane” rating. Not really a sequel so much as a weird wraparound which both explains and expands on the specious Greek history offered by the first film, this movie is just plain loopy. One minute, director Noam Murro […]

Posted in: Review

Mr. Peabody and Sherman

Oh, those sly ’60s animators. Just when we kids thought we were enjoying quality cartoon satire, these tricky pen and inksters came along with something called “Peabody’s Improbable History” as part of the equally subversive The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and, before we knew it, we were learning about the great feats and individuals of […]

Posted in: Review

Grand Piano

It’s a fine line that separates astute homage from cheap facsimile. Liberally taking cues from Hitchcock and De Palma, Grand Piano is far too fun and well-crafted to come off as forgery. The premise of the thriller is preposterous:  a renowned pianist with shredded nerves is threatened by an unseen sniper. If he plays a […]