A good film requires strong Focus

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

4/5 stars Focus. Starring Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro. Kramer and Sigman Films. 104 min. 14A. Comedy/Crime/Drama. Focus is a smooth crime film, with strong leads and meticulous attention to pace. Its strengths don’t come from pushing the narrative envelope or venturing into new cinematic ground; it sticks to the basics. But, it does […]


Cinderella tells an old story like new

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Revamp stays traditional—but perhaps too much Cinderella. Starring Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, and Helena Bonham Carter. Walt Disney Pictures. 112 mins. Rated PG. Adventure/Drama/Family. 3/5 stars After all of the live action Cinderella stories told with a twist that have come out over the years, (Ella Enchanted, Ever After, A Cinderella Story, shall […]


Chappie: A movie with as much heart as the robot for which it is named

Friday, March 13th, 2015

4 out of 5 stars Chappie. Starring Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Ninja, Yolandi Visser, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Hugh Jackman, and Sigourney Weaver. Columbia Pictures. 120 mins. Rated R. Action/Sci-fi/Thriller. The story of a robot finding his own humanity is not new to Hollywood, as films like I Robot and Terminator 2 have created high standards […]


Horrible Bosses 2: A beautiful cliché

Friday, March 6th, 2015
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Horrible Bosses 2. Starring Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz, Kevin Spacey, and Jennifer Aniston. 108 mins. Rated R. New Line Cinema. Action/Comedy 3 out of 5 stars When I went to watch Horrible Bosses 2, I had high expectations. The first movie of the series was a hilarious box office […]


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
Blackhat (Screengrab)

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 […]