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Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Alex of Venice -- Mopey

Marshall Fine | Posted 06.18.2015 | Entertainment
Marshall Fine

The directing debut of actor Chris Messina, Alex of Venice is as notable for what it doesn't do as for what it does. This is the story of a married parent suddenly forced to realign priorities when their spouse walks out. Think Kramer vs. Kramer - and then make the central character a woman instead of a man.

ReThink Review: Clouds of Sils Maria -- Actors Can Be Smart

Jonathan Kim | Posted 06.17.2015 | Entertainment
Jonathan Kim

An actor's preparation is one of the main subjects of the excellent Clouds of Sils Maria, where Stewart co-stars with the luminous Juliette Binoche in a film that reveals aspects of an actor's life few ever see.

Movie Review: True Story -- Faking it

Marshall Fine | Posted 06.15.2015 | Entertainment
Marshall Fine

True Story is not a bad movie; indeed, it's a creepy little tale that has moments that will unnerve you. But the limitations of its script and of Jonah Hill's performance in the central role keep it from transcending its shortcomings.

Our Movie Debut

Randi Evans | Posted 06.13.2015 | Women
Randi Evans

How often is a small town girl from Ohio confronted with an opportunity to show her son what making a movie is all about? NEVER! So I thought... what the heck, why not? We spend most of our weekends watching movies, why not be in one?

ReThink Review: Ex Machina -- Our Androids, Ourselves

Jonathan Kim | Posted 06.10.2015 | Entertainment
Jonathan Kim

There are so many questions we don't seem to be asking right now about the arrival of these potentially intelligent machines. And that is the genius of Alex Garland's film Ex Machina, a must-see that is one of the best, smartest, and most elegant films about artificial intelligence ever made.

Freetown

Dwight Brown | Posted 06.07.2015 | Black Voices
Dwight Brown

Freetown doesn't tell its story with the eloquence and understatement of Abderrahmane Sissako's Timbuktu or the solid dramatic flourishes of Terry George's Hotel Rwanda. Still, the film depicts a part of African history that is worth knowing and sharing.

Zaki's Review: Furious 7

Zaki Hasan | Posted 06.03.2015 | Entertainment
Zaki Hasan

With the tragic and unexpected death of star Paul Walker in late 2013, the Fast & Furious franchise was hit with a nearly insurmountable challenge heading into its seventh lap. The franchise's minders deserve all the props in the world for pulling it off with Furious 7.

Movie Review: Woman in Gold -- The Art of Justice

Marshall Fine | Posted 06.01.2015 | Entertainment
Marshall Fine

Does it matter that Woman in Gold, Simon Curtis' moving drama about a woman seeking the return of art the Nazis stole from her family 50 years earlier, seems stenciled from a familiar template?

"Life Itself"  --  Roger Ebert and the Everlasting Power of Movie Criticism

Paul Cantor | Posted 05.31.2015 | Entertainment
Paul Cantor

That much I gleaned from watching Life Itself, the acclaimed documentary from director Steve James (Hoop Dreams), which is based on Ebert's 2011 memoir, and is actually streaming on Netflix now.

'Furious 7'

Dwight Brown | Posted 05.31.2015 | Entertainment
Dwight Brown

Can't say this is the best film of the franchise, because so many of them have been excellent. But it's easily the most daring. Fasten your seat belts and test the airbags. This one accelerates real fast.

Get Hard: A Review

Dwight Brown | Posted 05.26.2015 | 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 05.26.2015 | 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 05.25.2015 | 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 05.24.2015 | 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 05.20.2015 | 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 05.18.2015 | 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 05.06.2015 | 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 05.06.2015 | 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 05.05.2015 | 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 05.04.2015 | 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 05.04.2015 | 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 04.29.2015 | 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 04.29.2015 | 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 04.28.2015 | 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 04.22.2015 | 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.