Movie Reviews

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.

Zaki's Review: Jupiter Ascending

Zaki Hasan | Posted 02.11.2015 | Entertainment
Zaki Hasan

Unfortunately for the filmmakers, the audience, and (given the $175 mil price tag) the studio, Jupiter Ascending isn't exactly the second coming they were hoping for. Instead, it's a melange of misplaced ambition that's asphyxiated by tangled plot threads that are at once overcooked and undernourished.

Movie Review: Jupiter Ascending -- Not Terrible, Not Great

Marshall Fine | Posted 02.04.2015 | Entertainment
Marshall Fine

There aren't many films from the past 15 years that bowled me over the way The Matrix did. Unfortunately, the Wachowskis -- Andy and Lana -- haven't come close since then.

Can Ewan McGregor Pull Off A Convincing Jesus?

Religion News Service | Dick Staub | Posted 02.01.2015 | Religion

PARK CITY, Utah (RNS) Publishers discovered a long time ago that Jesus sells magazines, so it should be no surprise that one of the hottest tickets he...

New to Netflix: February 2015

PureWow | Posted 01.30.2015 | Entertainment
PureWow

Now that you've sufficiently binged your way through Friends, your schedule is free and clear for one recent SAG winner -- Mr. Kevin Spacey.

Zaki's Review: Black or White

Zaki Hasan | Posted 01.30.2015 | Entertainment
Zaki Hasan

While it attempts some measure of high-minded resolution to the many complicated issues it raises, it's simply casting too wide a net to feel truly satisfying. In trying to be color blind, it just comes off as tone deaf.

'Black or White' Tackles a Touchy Subject

Dwight Brown | Posted 01.28.2015 | Black Voices
Dwight Brown

Only a very perceptive filmmaker could tackle the topic of race relations and be remotely successful. It would require a writer/director to be smart, balanced, sensitive and able to see both sides of the issue.

Timbuktu

Dwight Brown | Posted 01.23.2015 | Black Voices
Dwight Brown

As Islamic fundamentalists encroach on the basic liberties of people in Africa and the Arab world, we hear about it, but it's hard to put it into context and understand the magnitude of the situation. Leave it to veteran, Mauritanian filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako to boil a complicated social phenomena down to a simple allegorical tale.

ReThink Review: American Sniper -- Can There Be Heroes on the Wrong Side of History?

Jonathan Kim | Posted 01.23.2015 | Entertainment
Jonathan Kim

I see soldier worship as harmful because it so easily morphs into support for wars, no matter how unjust, by letting our affection for our fellow citizens in uniform and our desire to see them come home alive obscure the truth behind what they're supposedly fighting and dying for, which is rarely as black and white as we are told or wish it to be.

Movie Review: The Boy Next Door -- Get a Fence

Marshall Fine | Posted 01.22.2015 | Entertainment
Marshall Fine

How can J-Lo ignore The Boy Next Door? She can't, obviously, because he's a blazing wackjob with an erotic obsession for his new neighbor.

Zaki's Review: American Sniper

Zaki Hasan | Posted 01.21.2015 | Entertainment
Zaki Hasan

The very fact that American Sniper asks to be accepted as an artifact that will stand for time immemorial virtually necessitates a higher degree of investigation then the film is able or willing to offer.

Movie Review: Black Sea -- In Deep Water

Marshall Fine | Posted 01.21.2015 | Entertainment
Marshall Fine

Black Sea, a crisply tense film from Kevin MacDonald, is always compelling and even, occasionally, surprising. While submarine films inspire the guessing game of who will be the next to die horribly and who might survive, Black Sea never quite goes where you expect it, thanks to the script by British playwright Dennis Kelly.