Latest Theatrical Reviews
The Good Dinosaur (2015)
Sweet in that canned-with-heavy-syrup way: kids will dig it, but it’s not exactly a delicacy.
Questionable as a film (sparring with formula), good as a movie, and brilliant as a franchise-extender. It’s shameless, near-surgically effective cross-generational corn for guys.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2 (2015)
If the franchise continues to feel a bit dull—heavy on the drama and light on the excitement, with pageantry long in the rear-view—there’s a respectable purity in the films’ political cynicism and populist fervor.
Even if you don’t like the film—though it’s a fair bet you will—it will prime you for a spirited discussion about the choices of its hero...who strives to sort out her best judgement from her impulses, her hope from her naivete...
The 33 (2015)
There’s too much stilted acting here and too little psychological insight to render an interesting, or even credibly true, story of humanity in crisis.
Smart and stinging,
excels not only in depicting the stonewalling around the scandal but also the double-talk conversations from within and without the Globe that don’t say—but don’t not say—'Don’t go there
The Craig Bonds...continue...questioning the dark and destructive psychology of this masculine icon, this preternaturally skilled but insanely reckless secret agent—his greatest secrets being his own hurt and loss and loneliness.
Revives history we could all stand to know better, and proves most useful in clarifying both what was at stake and the rules of the game...
The Play (2015)
“The play”—since commemorated in merch aplenty, a Super Bowl ad, countless sports-TV retrospectives, and its own Wikipedia page—still makes great drama.
Though the [film]...cannot pretend to be free of its own leanings, Vanderbilt allows a reading of Mapes’ tragic errors amidst its melancholy diagnosing of TV-news’ slow, painful death march from the public trust into modern corporate product.
For two hours, Larson and Tremblay make their struggles our struggles, Ma and Jack’s perceptions challenging our own...the most potent pairing on screen this year.
The Assassin (2015)
A Hou film and, therefore an aesthete's delight...
breathes more than it talks, patiently taking in its landscapes and its silk-curtained interiors.
Steve Jobs (2015)
In attempting to “pull back the curtain” on a man, reveals behind its own theatrical curtain nothing much worth paying attention to...
No movie can fully suppress the talents of Moore, Page, and Shannon, but in Ron Nyswaner’s script, every theme gets put in a character’s mouth, and every plot point gets telegraphed, mailed, emailed, and texted ahead of its arrival.
The Martian (2015)
Perhaps the purest ode to science mainstream cinema has ever produced, a love letter to NASA and STEM education.
Sleeping with Other People (2015)
Effectively has it both ways, with its dark neuroses and naughty humor giving way to a sweet consideration of the rarity of unconditional love.
Pawn Sacrifice (2015)
Maguire isn’t obvious casting, but he convincingly owns the role...The actor pairs an oft-fevered, disheveled aspect with the fierce impatience and unwillingness to suffer fools that attend genius.
The Intern (2015)
A popular entertainment with two movie stars in likeable mode, a sunny Hollywood sheen, and a novel premise. And yet there’s something vaguely unsettling about how Myers’ mildly amusing comedy gets tangled up in political (in)correctness.
Black Mass (2015)
Stars Depp in a performance generating awards talk, makes a complicated story coherent without dumbing it down (much), lets a bunch of strong actors do their things, and yet inspires little more than adjectives like 'efficient' and 'workmanlike.'
Time Out of Mind (2015)
Though it’s hit and miss for audiences trying to forget Gere’s screen history, Moverman ably serves a slice of homeless life, dramatizing a problem we’ve contended with further back than we can remember.
Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine (2015)
For those who don’t yet know of Jobs’ dark side, Gibney’s documentary will be a useful eye-opener, but those looking to understand what made Jobs great in almost equal proportion to his nastiness will remain in the dark.
A Walk in the Woods (2015)
A broad comic tone...The few funny bits and sharp lines amount to fool’s gold scattered around a claim that never satisfactorily pays off.
Tailor-made for the great Lily Tomlin...Yeah, the circumstances are contrived, but easy enough to accept as long as they’re forcing interesting dynamics into seriocomic confrontation.
We Are Your Friends (2015)
Does not miss its chance to blow...Every bit a screenwriter’s idea of what it takes to make it...while accidentally cultivating the pervading sense that real DJs would laugh their asses off at this movie and its endless dopey brodowns.
American Ultra (2015)
At times pokes fun at the genre's cliché in amusingly productive ways...More often than not, though, this conspiracy isn't the real deal, but rather an elaborate distraction.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)
[Not] played for cynical misanthropic laughs or as miserable tragedy, but...[in] an honest treatment devoid of the usual rush to judgment.
Mistress America (2015)
Like Brooke, the film flies a strange and arresting course: if not quite a screwball, then certainly a change-up pitch.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
Honors the original characters just fine, but the leads are lukewarm...the [action] mostly unmemorable ...and the split-the-difference jokey-serious tone errs...on the side of fashion-conscious and smug.
Ricki and the Flash (2015)
That special brand of La Streep mugging—here applied to the character of a hot-mess bar-band deadbeat mom—will wear you into submission until nothing else seems to matter. Except that it should.
Best of Enemies (2015)
Like the debates it concerns,
Best of Enemies
entertains to a degree, enlightens to another, and asks us to ponder the relative merits of polar political ideologies and two complicated men who very publicly represented them.
Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation (2015)
McQuarrie doesn't make it easy to invest in the characters here, but paradoxically he does know how to make us grip our armrests as they face danger, and thus the mission is accomplished once more.
The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015)
Zimbardo insists he’s 'trying to understand how an institution affects an individual’s behavior.' Alvarez’s own dark study, empowered by potent acting, allows the audience to contemplate the many variations on that psychological dynamic.
With its playful use of scale,
drops a dollop of Lewis Carroll whimsy on the usual clashes of good and evil.
The technical execution is strong...but the invention is weak...simply feels late to the party by spinning off sidekicks...as it trades on '60s style...
Batkid Begins (2015)
Celebrates a city united for fun and goodwill, and the rare, pronounced sense of play and energy adults are capable of rediscovering, as do those who toil excitedly and hopefully to give Miles 'a little bit of his childhood back.'
Terminator Genisys (2015)
Any senses of suspenseful stakes or human-scale relationships have turned weightless, leaving us with crashing and bashing, running and gunning, and a whole lot of head-scratching. The experience is utterly numbing...
Links all-American patriotism with military righteousness, religious faith, and socially conservative family values...when Max isn’t leaping around,
rolls over and plays dead.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)
A disappointing 'film' but, at least for its target audience of white middle-class teens (and probably their parents), a deeply satisfying 'movie.'
Jurassic World (2015)
The culture has had just enough time to miss this franchise, and director and co-screenwriter Colin Trevorrow...has met the challenges with an appealing self-awareness.
When Marnie Was There (2015)
This latest gentle, sensitive, unhurried tale from Studio Ghibli...excels not only at natural beauty, touched with supernatural flourishes, but also at acute psychological perceptiveness...
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