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Movie Reviews

Get Hard: A Review

Dwight Brown | Posted 03.26.2015 | Entertainment
Dwight Brown

Check your social consciousness at the door. Forget the formulaic script and lackluster direction. Get Hard features two genius comic actors working their craft like magicians. Hart and Ferrell make this movie raunchy, silly, hysterical and fun.

Movie Review: While We're Young -- Aging Ungracefully

Marshall Fine | Posted 03.26.2015 | Entertainment
Marshall Fine

Films about the generation gap tend to pit parent versus child, old values against new, youth versus age, experience against optimism. Which is what makes Noah Baumbach's While We're Young such a treat...

Why you Should See Kingsman: The Secret Service

Paul Cantor | Posted 03.25.2015 | Entertainment
Paul Cantor

It's one of those sleeper hits, kinda like how John Wick was last year, with a premise and plot so invariably silly and unbelievable that you say, oh wow, this is ridiculous and... kind of amazing?

Movie Review: Get Hard -- Hardly

Marshall Fine | Posted 03.24.2015 | Entertainment
Marshall Fine

Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart seem like a match made in the acquisitions or marketing department, aiming for the merger of two different comedians' respective audiences, which don't necessarily overlap.

'The Divergent Series: Insurgent'

Dwight Brown | Posted 03.20.2015 | Black Voices
Dwight Brown

The Divergent Series: Insurgent doesn't change that dynamic much, but during its final minutes, it ups the visuals to a level that almost compensates for a weak beginning.

Movie Review: The Gunman -- Cashing the Check, Paying the Price

Marshall Fine | Posted 03.18.2015 | Entertainment
Marshall Fine

Unfortunately, the script, while making broad political points, otherwise plays as by-the-numbers action fodder.

ReThink Review: The Hunting Ground -- Sexual Assault and the Colleges That Won't Stop It

Jonathan Kim | Posted 03.06.2015 | Entertainment
Jonathan Kim

If you still think rape culture is some sort of exaggerated feminist faux-conspiracy, The Hunting Ground will dissuade you of that belief.

Zaki's Review: Chappie

Zaki Hasan | Posted 03.06.2015 | Entertainment
Zaki Hasan

The sci-fi fable, about a robot that gains sentience, has an intriguing premise at its core, but it's rare to see a talented filmmaker with so many tools and so much talent at his disposal squander a compelling idea so thoroughly.

Movie Review: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel -- Checking out

Marshall Fine | Posted 03.05.2015 | Entertainment
Marshall Fine

No one wants to be deemed second-best, yet there it is, right in the title of the film: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The result when you succumb to sequel-itis: Let's take this delightful little surprise hit and try to duplicate its success without doing anything original. 

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Dwight Brown | Posted 03.04.2015 | Black Voices
Dwight Brown

Ol Parker is back as the screenwriter, and John Madden returns as the director. Both try to give this sequel the same feel as the first, but they've run out of ideas. Buying a new hotel seems like a giddy capitalistic exploit.

Movie Review: An Honest Liar -- Art of Deception

Marshall Fine | Posted 03.04.2015 | Entertainment
Marshall Fine

As this entertaining and touching nonfiction film reveals, that has been Randi's most important work over the years: debunking charlatans who profit from their supposed ability to contact the dead or otherwise harness the supernatural. 

Focus Movie Review

Dwight Brown | Posted 02.27.2015 | Entertainment
Dwight Brown

Will Smith carries this film on shoulders. His cool demeanor and devil-may-care attitude are appealing. He has tremendous stage presence, and he knows how to work the camera.

Movie Review: Maps to the Stars -- Cul-de-sac

Marshall Fine | Posted 02.27.2015 | Entertainment
Marshall Fine

Writer Bruce Wagner's script for David Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars is of a piece with his other work. It blends a cynical vision of people with an even darker examination of the worship of the superficial that is Hollywood life.

Movie Review: Focus -- Hard to Miss the Misdirection

Marshall Fine | Posted 02.26.2015 | Entertainment
Marshall Fine

Focus works hard and does manage to generate entertainment. But, the strain shows, and the creative team (also responsible for writing Bad Santa and I Love You Philip Morris) can't seem to blend wit with plot complexity. 

Wild Tales

Dwight Brown | Posted 02.20.2015 | Entertainment
Dwight Brown

Slivers of life gone awry take you in funny or perverted directions, and they'll make you reconsider your rash actions and ponder karma. Credit Szifron for the brilliant storytelling and astute direction: The actors move along like checkers on a checkerboard.

Zaki's Review: McFarland, USA

Zaki Hasan | Posted 02.20.2015 | Entertainment
Zaki Hasan

The true-life tale, directed by Whale Rider's Niki Caro and featuring Kevin Costner as the harried coach of an underdog cross country team in California's Central Valley, tells its by-the-bootstraps story so winningly that, predictable though it may be, it's still hard not to find it thoroughly rousing.

Movie Review: Wild Tales -- Hang On Tight

Marshall Fine | Posted 02.20.2015 | Entertainment
Marshall Fine

Truth in advertising. Damian Szifron's Wild Tales is exactly that: an anthology of surprising and unexpectedly wild short stories. Though it feels like there's going to be a connection, the individual stories share neither characters nor plotlines. Instead, they align along a similar theme: revenge, with an occasional overlay of class struggle.

Zaki's Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service

Zaki Hasan | Posted 02.19.2015 | Entertainment
Zaki Hasan

When it comes to screen spies, 007 is the undisputed distance champion, and where the failed xXx franchise went wrong was in attempting to take the piss out of the old man without first earning that privilege.

Movie Review: McFarland USA -- On the Right Track

Marshall Fine | Posted 02.19.2015 | Entertainment
Marshall Fine

Sports movies starring Kevin Costner: It could be a category on Jeopardy. But that's not really a bad thing. While the Costner oeuvre has its share of titles devoted to athletic themes, he hasn't made many bad ones.

It's Okay If You Didn't Like 'Boyhood', And Here Are Many Reasons Why

Bob Cesca | Posted 02.17.2015 | Entertainment
Bob Cesca

For several days now, I've been struggling to understand why I'm so out of the loop on this one. It's not because I don't like experimental films or Richard Linklater. I didn't like Boyhood because it wasted my time with mostly unlikable characters, generally bad storytelling, and a whole lot of nothing.

A Guide to Using Facebook on Valentine's Day... and Beyond

David Fagin | Posted 02.14.2015 | Comedy
David Fagin

So as a Valentine's Day present, here are three fun examples of how Facebook is adding to the already impossible to solve problem of Love...

ReThink Review: Fifty Shades of Grey -- Why Now?

Jonathan Kim | Posted 02.13.2015 | Entertainment
Jonathan Kim

Timing and technology may have conspired to make a story like Fifty Shades of Grey a runaway success, but its poor grasp of bondage and dominant/submissive power dynamics may send a dangerous message farther and faster than we would ever want.

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus

Dwight Brown | Posted 02.12.2015 | Black Voices
Dwight Brown

Spike Lee, the old guard of black indie filmmaking, gets his mojo back with this classy, urbane, bloodsucking art film that is a beauty to behold. Sophisticated, demented, eerie, erotic -- prepare to be shocked and flabbergasted.

Movie Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service -- Bloody Entertaining

Marshall Fine | Posted 02.12.2015 | Entertainment
Marshall Fine

When James Bond rebooted with Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, the blend of old-school spy tale and modern-action sensibility seemed right -- if still a little restrained. Imagine now what would happen if James Bond were put in the hands of someone who was willing to not just rethink the secret-agent film but blow it up all together.

Oscar and Me

Tricia McCallum | Posted 02.10.2015 | Entertainment
Tricia McCallum

Some years were quieter celebrations, but just as ceremonial. Even watching them on my own, I bowed to the sense of occasion. I lined up my time-honored snacks, burrowed under my favorite quilt and glued myself to the proceedings, shouting at the screen the entire time.