Latest Theatrical Reviews
May not be wildly fresh, but it does wriggle against its genre straightjacket, and if it doesn’t quite escape, it puts on a great show in the process.
Where to Invade Next (2015)
Moore finds a galvanizing climax by rallying around the notion that idealism trumps, if you’ll pardon the word, defeatism.
The Oscar® Nominated Short Films—Live Action and Animated (2015)
The 88th Academy Awards® ceremony airs on Sunday, February 28, 2016…now you have another way to get ready.
45 Years (2015)
Implications, about the long odds for romance, the deeper psychology of mating, and the devastating possibility that love isn’t an absolute but a willful, occasionally mutual, delusion.
The Finest Hours (2016)
One can easily understand why this story swiftly became Coast Guard legend...but its dim wall-of-grey visuals and narrative longueurs make much of the two hours a challenge to the attention span for viewers of any age.
The Lady in the Van (2015)
Though at times precious, Bennett’s sly script masks that deeply sentimental core with comic edge and a writer’s willful, mercenary remove.
Son of Saul (2015)
One man’s last grasp at humanity amidst the dehumanizing horrors of Auschwitz...dramatizes those extraordinary circumstances under which even the meanings of life and death become foreign and in desperate need of rediscovery.
Ride Along 2 (2016)
All the blithe sexism and tin-eared comedy of a Michael Bay movie and none of the budget excess...gives new meaning to 'lazy.'
Yet another midlife-crisis white guy on the big screen...but it’s undeniably an artful rendering of the post-millennial man adrift, in search of any port than the one he’s made for himself.
The Hateful Eight (2015)
[A] general absence of something to say...Recycles the filmmaker’s own work: the leaner if no meaner dog-eat-dog plotting of
...and a roster of no-longer-shocking offenses...
The Revenant (2015)
A certain breed of film geeks will snap fingers in approval, but most viewers—having been pummeled into acknowledging the film's muscular 'greatness'—will feel little more than dazed, and ready more for a nap than a conversation.
Though everything around this resilient central figure is wan sitcom, 'Joy the Doer' provides a rooting interest potent enough to justify the film.
The Big Short (2015)
Elucidate[s] the fiscal rigamarole leading up to the bursting of the housing and credit bubble circa 2008, while also whipping up a palatable froth of cynicism and absurdity.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
[SPOILER-FREE] Can be dimwittedly obvious and self-plagiarizing, with little of real-world consequence and less that’s new to say [but it's still] a fun-filled adventure at the movies...
For a long two hours, Sorrentino flatters old white men, devalues women, and annoys with his lush coffee-table-book photography as he plays his own 'Simple Songs' of frustrated old age and tantalizing youth...
Helgeland revels in the violence and depravity, setting a dubious tone that, in that final act, has as much of a struggle as Reggie in going straight.
In the Heart of the Sea (2015)
Depict[s] a writer’s process of scavenging and soul-stealing...[as well as] being “in the oil business” to the exclusion of morality and ethics, and with implications for the ecosystem.
Plays not as straight hagiography but rather as a portrait of a flawed hero...Cranston gives a floridly theatrical leading performance in keeping with Trumbo’s wit...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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