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Movie Reviews

'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.

Zaki's Review: McFarland, USA

Zaki Hasan | Posted 04.22.2015 | 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 04.22.2015 | 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 04.21.2015 | 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 04.21.2015 | 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 04.18.2015 | 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 04.16.2015 | 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 04.15.2015 | 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 04.14.2015 | 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 04.14.2015 | 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 04.12.2015 | 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 04.12.2015 | 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 04.06.2015 | 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 04.01.2015 | 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.