movie reviews

July 9, 2014



Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater

Directed by: Richard Linklater

Want to know what it's like to be in on the discovery of a new American classic. Check out Boyhood. Richard Linklater's coming-of-age tale is the best movie of the year, a four-star game-changer that earns its place in the cultural time capsule. Since I locked eyes, mind and heart on Linklater's indie landmark at Sundance in January, I've been urging you to see it and judge for yourself. Here's why: Boyhood lets us watch Linklater come into his own as one of the grea... | More »

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes


Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell

Directed by: Matt Reeves

Do you remember how gobsmacked we were in 2011 when Rise of the Planet of the Apes opened and we all thought it would suck and, well, it didn't? Sequel fatigue from four follow-ups to the stellar 1968 original, plus Tim Burton's plodding 2001 reboot, had left us with less than zero expectations. And then, pow, Rise got our adrenaline pumping with actors playing apes in motion-capture suits, using digital technology to help register ferocity and feeling, even in the subtlest eye blin... | More »

Life Itself


Directed by: Steve James

America's most gladiatorial film critic (those thumbs!) is celebrated with bawdy humor and unabashed heart in Steve James' documentary Life Itself. Cancer ravaged Ebert's body and robbed him of his voice, but he blogged about film till the day he died, in 2013 at age 71. The film is really a love story between Roger and his courageous wife, Chaz, and Roger and the movies. He let the world flow into his plain-spoken reviews, seeing film as "a machine that generates empathy." Hav... | More »

June 26, 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction


Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci

Directed by: Michael Bay

Michael Bay has done the impossible. With Transformers: Age of Extinction, the start of a – everyone duck! – second trilogy in his metalhead franchise, the Bay-man has made the worst and most worthless Transformers movie yet. I know, hard to believe, right? How could any summer blockbuster be as dull, dumb and soul-sucking as the first three Transformers movies? Step right up. Bay, with the help of screenwriter Ehren Kruger, is telling the same damn story as he did before. But th... | More »

Begin Again


Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, Adam Levine

Directed by: John Carney

No disease. No teens dying. And yet Begin Again, from writer-director John Carney (the Irish dream-weaver of Once), hits the summer sweet spot by breezing in on waves of humor, heartache and ravishing romance. And irresistible music you can't get out of your head. Sure, Carney is redoing Once with bigger stars and a richer budget. Amazingly, you don't hate him for pulling it off. Begin Again wins you over by not overplaying its hand, allowing some feelings to go unexpressed. Dan, t... | More »



Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton

Directed by: Bong Joon-ho

I felt lip-smacking anticipation about seeing Snowpiercer, the first English–language film from South Korean menace maestro Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Mother). Just imagine: It's 17 years into the future. The world has frozen over, leaving almost everyone popsicles. The survivors are all living on a high-speed train – yup, the Snowpiercer – that keeps cracking through arctic blocks and zipping around the planet's periphery. Not everyone is equal. The have-nots, led by... | More »

June 19, 2014

Think Like a Man Too


Kevin Hart

Directed by: Tim Story

This will be quick. If you laughed at Tim Story's first Think, based on Steve Harvey's bestselling advice book for women, you'll probably ride along for this jacked-up, Vegas-set sequel in which dudes and dolls offer sexist approaches to throwing a bachelor party. The only reason I'd Think again is the return of Kevin Hart, who mines comic gold out of sloppy seconds. | More »

Third Person


Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde

Directed by: Paul Haggis

I don't like this movie. I don't like how it walks, talks, struts and sells itself. I find it contrived, tortured, humorless, infuriating and interminable. And yet if you care anything about film and the creative drive that still exists in the people who make them, then Third Person needs to be seen. Even if it's just to argue about it. Paul Haggis who wrote and directed Third Person, isn't dead inside like the hacks who work consistently in Hollywood. This Canadian maveri... | More »

Jersey Boys


John Lloyd Young, Vincent Piazza, Christopher Walken

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

It's the Four Seasons live. The band stomps the stage as Frankie Valli's iconic falsetto wails "Walk Like a Man" – four blue-collar Jersey boys in prom tuxes using music to rank out a girl who busted their balls: "Oh, how you tried to cut me down to size/Tellin' dirty lies to my friends." Eat your heart out, Justin Timberlake. The moves? The finger-snapping swagger? The sweaty, sexualized energy that drives a crowd wild? It's all there. At least it is if you buy a t... | More »

June 12, 2014

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