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Martha Marcy May Marlene

Elizabeth Olsen is a quiet revelation in psychological thriller

0 Comments · Thursday, November 10, 2011
Writer-director Sean Durkin introduces Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) as a member of a commune, one of the compliant women who have surrendered to the domestic duties, the listless routine, the second-class status, and the waiting to share the bed of Patrick (John Hawkes), the paterfamilias of this clan  

J. Edgar

Clint Eastwood's Hoover biopic needs more psychological depth

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Director Clint Eastwood and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black have as a subject one of American history's most enigmatic, polarizing figures in J. Edgar Hoover, and yet J. Edgar almost never offers the buzz of discovery. It's merely a 50-year kaleidoscope of American history, with the founder of the modern F.B.I. serving as Forrest Gump.  

The Cult of Horror

HorrorHound Weekend returns with a bevy of celebrity panels and more

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Whether they admit it or not, the horror genre has a special place in the heart of most movie buffs. That affinity is usually traced back to childhood, a period during which we are far more open to spooky, supernatural occurrences; the terrifying possibility of a crazy guy in a mask wielding a chainsaw; or the likelihood of a maniacal, blood-thirsty leprechaun cracking jokes and skulls.  

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

Stoner bros reunite in time for a high holiday

0 Comments · Monday, November 7, 2011
Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) aim to save 3-D effects and Christmas in their latest adventure, but first they’ve got to unite after drifting apart. Cho and Penn have lost their stoner bromantic mojo.   

The Interrupters

Steve James' doc tackles Chicago's gang problem

0 Comments · Thursday, November 3, 2011
Filmmaker Steve James is apparently incapable of making an uninteresting documentary, even when his subject matter might presumably be thoroughly played out. James, who has already garnered enough film-festival awards to merit multiple mantelpieces, tackles Chicago's soaring crime rate, and in particular the work of CeaseFire, a community-based interventional program founded by epidemiologist Gary Slutkin.   

Tower Heist

Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy and Co. deliver entertaining comedy

0 Comments · Thursday, November 3, 2011
Fast paced and fluffy, Tower Heist is a spectacle-laden comedy with widespread appeal. Even Alan Alda's Bernie Madoff-styled antagonist gets a soft treatment so as not to offend the "1 percent" of potential audience members his evil character represents.  

Take Shelter

Indie drama finds comfort and care in Jessica Chastain

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 2, 2011
It is time to take Jessica Chastain seriously. Forget the offensive she has launched on theaters in 2011 — The Tree of Life, The Help, The Debt, Take Shelter, Coriolanus, Wilde Salome and Texas Killing Fields, the final three titles of which have been relegated to impending status for regional viewers, although I was able to catch Coriolanus and Take Shelter during the Toronto International Film Festival.  

In Time

Action hijinks trump human drama in beat-the-clock thriller

0 Comments · Sunday, October 30, 2011
Writer-director Andrew Niccol (GattacaLord of War) knows his way around a tricky premise but with In Time ends up wasting his precious commodity on the action hijinks, which are not as inspired as we might expect and cannot beat the clock with the inherently rich human drama.  

The Rum Diary

Adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson book is appropriately wacked

0 Comments · Thursday, October 27, 2011
Loosely based on Hunter S. Thompson’s early years as a journalist circa 1960, The Rum Diary casts Johnny Depp once again as Thompson’s surrogate, this time a young writer named Paul Kemp. Flailing in his attempts at completing a novel, Kemp accepts a job at an English-language newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where the atmosphere is considerably less than quietly professional.  


Filmmaker Roland Emmerich tackles Shakespeare with mixed results

0 Comments · Thursday, October 27, 2011
Having spent most of his career destroying the world in grand computer-generated fashion, German writer-producer-director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012) apparently is ready to transition into a new filmmaking phase, as Emmerich sets his sights on ripping apart the notion that William Shakespeare was the actual author of the titles ascribed to his name.   

Puss in Boots

'Shrek' spinoff a well-crafted comical fantasy

1 Comment · Thursday, October 27, 2011
Spun off from the finally-adjourned Shrek franchise, Puss in Boots is a well-crafted DreamWorks animated movie that succeeds in spite of the aid of its extraneous 3-D treatment. Screenwriter Tom Wheeler deftly blends together nursery rhyme elements toward a comical fantasy that includes an enjoyable dose of cute animal realism.   

Sympathy for the Devil

Satan on screen for Halloween

2 Comments · Wednesday, October 26, 2011
The Devil. Beelzebub. Mephistopheles. Baphomet. Scratch. Old Nick. Lucifer. SATAN. The supernatural being who tempts man’s soul to sin and ruin from his fiery underworld throne goes by many names (and if Jagger and Richards are to be believed, he wants us to guess them, too). He’s a creature — mythical or otherwise, depending upon where you fall ideologically — of many different faces, as well.   

The Three Musketeers

Latest adventure adaptation lacks subtlety, logic

1 Comment · Monday, October 24, 2011
Paul W.S. Anderson’s new retelling of Alexandre Dumas’ classic tale features his usual action-oriented antics — explosions galore and hi-tech freeze-frame combat sequences — as well as his muse, Milla Jovovich.

The Mighty Macs

True story not dynamic or unique enough for big screen

0 Comments · Monday, October 24, 2011
Nothing about this true story really feels organic and competently structured, but as it passes from moment to moment, the movie begins to score a few sentimental baskets and maybe it even starts to believe in itself enough to win a few hearts.  

Paranormal Activity 3

Series continues with another satisfying fright fest

0 Comments · Monday, October 24, 2011
The creator behind this horror phenomenon (Oren Peli) has been able to successfully pass it on to others, first to director Tod Williams, and now to Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (of Catfish fame) with little or no negative return on the creative investment.