Kingsman: The Secret Service is both a love letter and a pioneer (Review)

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
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Kingsman: The Secret Service. Starring Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Mark Hamill, Samuel L. Jackson, and Michael Caine. Twentieth Century Fox. 129 min. Rated R. Action/Adventure/Comedy. Love letter films are often some of the best movies to go see. They serve as both an homage to older genres that see less attention nowadays and […]


Fifty shades of disappointment

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

2/5 stars Fifty Shades of Grey. Starring Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eloise Mumford, and Luke Grimes. Focus Features. 125 min. Rated 18A. Drama. Fifty Shades of Grey, based on E.L. James’ fan-fiction turned novel of the same name, is stylistically definitive and competently performed, but brought down by its many narrative weaknesses. Fifty Shades follows […]


American Sniper: Clint Eastwood’s far right-wing love letter

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

American Sniper. Starring Bradley Cooper, Kyle Gallner, Cole Konis, Ben Reed, and Elise Robertson. Warner Bros. 132 min. Rated R. Action/biography/drama.  I’ve been a huge Clint Eastwood fan for many years.  His directorial debut Play Misty for Me, in which he also starred, is a classic of the psychological thriller genre.  Mystic River is a […]


Mortdecai misses the mark

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Mortdecai. Starring Jonny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany, Ewan McGregor, and Olivia Munn. Infinitum Nihil. 107 min. Rated R. Action/Comedy. In any film, it is important that the focus is clear. This is not to say that the presentation needs to be obvious, but that the various cinematic elements of a given film should work […]


Project Almanac is a surprisingly character-driven found-footage film

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

Project Almanac. Starring Jonny Weston, Sofia Black D’Elia, Sam Lerner, Allen Evangelista, Virginia Gardner and Josh Wallner. 106 mins. Rated PG-13. Paramount Pictures. Sci-Fi/Thriller. 3.5 out of 5 stars Time-travel and found-footage are a fitting combination. Both are high-concept genres of film that ask for a certain suspension of disbelief from their audience. Those who […]


Blackhat a snooze-inducing cybercrime thriller (Review)

Monday, January 26th, 2015
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Blackhat. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Leehom Wang, Wei Tang, Viola Davis, Manny Montana and William Mapother. 135 mins. Rated PG-13. Universal Pictures. Action/Crime. 2.5 out of 5 stars Cybercrime thrillers are a difficult genre to execute well. So much of what makes the act of computer hacking an interesting subject is hard to convey without extensive […]


I laughed, but The Interview isn’t worth the hype (Review)

Saturday, January 10th, 2015
James Franco;Seth Rogen

The Interview. Starring James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park, and Diana Bang. 112 mins. Rated R. Columbia Pictures. Action/Comedy. 3 out of 5 stars When I read about the controversy surrounding James Franco and Seth Rogen’s new movie The Interview, I rolled my eyes. Threats had been made that if the movie was […]


Into the Woods goes gracefully from stage to screen (Review)

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Into the Woods. Starring: Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp. Walt Disney Pictures. PG. 124 min. Adventure/Comedy/Fantasy. 4.5/5 stars After 28 years of stage performance, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s spectacular Broadway musical Into the Woods has been adapted for the big screen. With direction by Rob Marshall, a […]


The Imitation Game is limited by mass appeal (Review)

Saturday, December 27th, 2014
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The Imitation Game. Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech, and Matthew Beard. 114 mins. PG-13. Biography/Drama/Thriller. 3.5 out of 5 stars The Imitation Game is a film that makes efforts to ensure easy digestion by a diverse audience. In many ways, it’s successful in this endeavor. However, the choice to play […]


While padded, the final Hobbit film is a worthy conclusion (Review)

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies. Ian McKellan, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom, Dean O’Gorman, Aidan Turner, and Ryan Gage. 144 mins. PG-13. Adventure/Fantasy. 3/5 stars More than a decade later, the epic film series that started all the way back in 2001 has finally reached its conclusion. While flawed in many […]