Latest Theatrical Reviews
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...
San Andreas (2015)
Succeeds at exploiting a proven disaster-movie formula without troubling itself much with little things like plot, character, and dialogue.
At times one feels there's an interesting film here struggling to break free (free as a bird!)...but what's made it to screen sends eyes aloft in its symbolism and its character dynamics.
Curiously vacant characters and curiously pulse-less whimsy...lumbers, middlebrow and tiresome, when it should be daytripping the light fantastic...
Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)
Though the thrill of invention is gone, there's enough comic fertility and accumulated goodwill to sustain
Pitch Perfect 2
through to its splashy and socially optimistic finale...
Clouds of Sils Maria (2015)
Assayas implies that what transpires between the characters of
Clouds of Sils Maria
, between artists and art, and between art and audiences contains its own beautiful mystery that's nourishing, maddening, and essential.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Pure, uncut comic-book fantasy...Whedon tames the beast into something spectacularly epic, if a bit exhausting: bursting with destructive mayhem but grounded by interesting character beats, rife with dark implications but seasoned with good humor.
The Grief of Others (2015)
While the subject matter...amounts to standard fare, audiences can all the more appreciate the thoughtful rigor applied by a team of artists working from page to screen.
Monkey Kingdom (2015)
Assess to what extent we're witnessing man-ufactured monkey life...[or] just pay no attention to the men and women behind the curtain and simply enjoy the underwater photography of monkeys swimming.
While We're Young (2015)
The obvious shots at hipster scenes...eventually sour into a complex critique of modern ambition in a changing cultural landscape.
The Longest Ride (2015)
A Nicholas Sparks movie is like cinematic Jello. It sells well, the number one ingredient is sugar, and there's always room for it.
Woman in Gold (2015)
Corny, commercial, predictably platitudinous, and tear-jerkingly weepy...also an inevitably thought-provoking dramatization of facing the "ghosts" of the past on an individual level and a national one.
Winds up sawing logs...instead of locating hard truths of the human condition,
lumbers through the motions.
Another conspicuously packaged product seemingly designed to wear down an audience more than entertain it. While wee ones won't notice, they probably won't remember
by the time the car ride gets them back to the real thing.
Lean, mean...Director Yann Demange and screenwriter Gregory Burke (the prominent Scottish playwright of
) twist the knife by serving Gary with constant reminders of boyish innocence corrupted...
What We Do in the Shadows (2015)
Taps a fresh vein of humor to transfuse the horrific and the mundane.
McFarland, USA (2015)
What could be an inspirational teacher-student, coach-player story keeps playing the race card of simple non-whites not being able to see their own way to prosperity without a guiding white light, who in turn learns from their unsophisticated purity.
The DUFF (2015)
Will...[strike a chord] with teen girls, if they can get past the casting of the healthy, but hardly plus-sized Whitman, as well as the changes made to sanitize the book...
Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
Absolutely ludicrous, dramatically clumsy, fifty shades of wrong, but...If audiences can cool their loins long enough, they may have a productive think about the nature of their desires...
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)
Doubles down on glib ultraviolence while pressing buttons of class-consciousness and teasing out pop-culture allusions and self-aware witticisms. But this time, the postmodernism feels played out.
Jupiter Ascending (2015)
To the extent we still demand rich characters and sensible plotting, the Wachowskis' latest is a few planets short of a galaxy.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015)
A nominal theme—complete with theme song—of teamwork. But really,
Sponge Out of Water
is about little more than fast food and ice cream, with the same promise of empty calories.
Black or White (2015)
Sorting through prejudices and nuances of racial perception occasionally takes
Black or White
into intriguing territory...[more often] a rather mushily obvious, TV-movie-style courtroom drama built on straw-man arguments.
Still Alice (2014)
still hums with humanity in the person of Moore, whose towering performance shows a staggering technical proficiency while never losing a whit of emotional resonance.
A Most Violent Year (2014)
An unsettling examination of moral drift, over a year in the life of a man and a generation in the life of a country.
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