movie reviews

July 31, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy


Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper

Directed by: James Gunn

Maybe you never heard of Guardians of the Galaxy, the Marvel comic franchise that wilts in the shadows while Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Avengers get all the love. Maybe you think a big-ass movie about wanna-be Marvel icons isn't worth your time. Snap out of it. Guardians of the Galaxy does the impossible. Through dazzle and dumb luck, it turns the clichés of comic-book films on their idiot heads and hits you like an exhilarating blast of fun-fun-fun. It's insanely, shamel... | More »



Dwayne Johnson

Directed by: Brett Ratner

Everything Guardians of the Galaxy gets right with its mix of action and comedy, Hercules botches. OK, I'm biased. I never needed to see another Hercules epic, especially after Twilight's Kellan Lutz stunk up the myth of the Greek demigod in January's dead-on-arrival The Legend of Hercules. But, geez, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson seems born for the role. Apologies to Steve Reeves, Lou Ferrigno, Kevin Sorbo and the other muscle Hollywood hired to flex for the camera, but Johnson pa... | More »

Get On Up


Chadwick Boseman

Directed by: Tate Taylor

To play Dodgers hall of Famer Jackie Robinson in 42, Chadwick Boseman skillfully eased into the role of the contained, cautious outsider who historically crossed the color line in major-league baseball. To play James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, in Get On Up, cautious just won't cut it. No worries. Boseman tears into the role like a man possessed. You can't take your eyes off him. Boseman's got the moves, the pompadour, the funk and the swagger to play the abandoned, abused S... | More »

Child of God


Scott Haze, James Franco

Directed by: James Franco

For some reason, James Franco keeps getting pissed on by the media for doing too much: acting, writing, directing, producing, teaching and taking classes for his Ph.D. I mean, why isn't this dude out partying with Lindsay Lohan and starting his own fashion line? Instead, Franco exercises his literary bent by starring on Broadway in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and making films of the William Faulkner novels As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury. The Franco film opening righ... | More »

July 24, 2014

A Most Wanted Man


Philip Seymour Hoffman

Directed by: Anton Corbijn

The late Philip Seymour Hoffman will show up again onscreen in the supporting cast of the next Hunger Games. But the last full-scale Hoffman performance – and it's a master class in acting – comes in A Most Wanted Man, Anton Corbijn's tense, twisty and terrific spy thriller, based on John le Carré's 2008 novel. Hoffman, who died in February, plays Günther Bachmann, a German intelligence operative. Since 9/11, Günther has been heading a small-scale spy uni... | More »

Magic in the Moonlight


Colin Firth, Emma Stone

Directed by: Woody Allen

Let others decide if film is an art. For Woody Allen, filmmaking is a reflex. Since 1969's Take the Money and Run, he has written and directed a movie damn near every year, screw fickle critics, public scandal and the Hollywood rule of dumb. At 78, Allen shows no sign of slowing down. Not every Allen film reaches the heights that extend from Annie Hall, Manhattan and Hannah and Her Sisters to Crimes and Misdemeanors, Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine. But each bears the unique stamp of ... | More »



Scarlett Johansson

Directed by: Luc Besson

Remember Limitless, the 2011 thriller in which Bradley Cooper becomes a whirling killer dervish from a drug that lets him access 100 percent of his brain? Well, Lucy is basically the same movie with Scarlett Johansson in the Cooper role. It's not a good trade-off. Johansson's Lucy is 100 percent in the looks department. Otherwise she's just a student in Taiwan who gets tricked into becoming a drug moll for the sadistic Mr. Jang (Choi Min Sik). When the drug implanted into her ... | More »

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 »

Movie Reviews

  • Child of God
    star rating
    Well Go USA Entertainment
  • lucy
    star rating
    Universal Pictures
  • star rating
    IFC Films
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