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Rio (Review)

Computer-animated feature revisits a seemingly long-lost style

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Plenty of contemporary animated features are trying so hard to be clever that they forget to be fundamentally enjoyable — and as for the emotional depth, we can appreciate Pixar's impressive track record without dismissing everything that doesn't live up to that standard. 'Rio' manages to be entertaining by working within an unlikely formula: making something that's fun for kids, in the style of movies that their parents would have watched when they were kids. Grade: B.  

Arthur (Review)

Russell Brand replaces Dudley Moore in comedy remake

0 Comments · Friday, April 8, 2011
Thirty years ago, Arthur was a spoiled drunk who needed to grow up, but now, in this remake starring Russell Brand, there’s something darker, maybe even edgier in the mix. Grade: B-.  

Hanna (Review)

Science-fiction action hybrid possesses no sense of logic

0 Comments · Friday, April 8, 2011
Hanna adeptly evades danger and doles out the requisite ass-kickings, but there's no sense of logic or reason to her motivations. She might as well be a robot. Director Joe Wright has gone astray here. Grade: C.  

Jane Eyre (Review)

Classic novel turned into lush big-screen gem

0 Comments · Friday, April 8, 2011
Director Cary Fukunaga vividly portrays Charlotte Bronte's classic novel's bleak social constraints and wistful natural surroundings. Moira Buffini's considerably compressed screenplay is fleet yet retains the dynamic poetry in Bronte's use of language and experience. Grade: B-plus.   

Of Gods and Men (Review)

Impressively restrained Cannes winner transcends its true-life story

0 Comments · Friday, April 8, 2011
Winner of the Grand Prize at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, Xavier Beauvois' impressively restrained humanist drama centers on eight French Trappist monks whose faith is tested when the remote Algerian monastery in which they reside is threatened by a group of ruthless Islamic fundamentalists. Grade: B.  

The Music Never Stopped (Review)

Music-laden period drama never quite ignites

0 Comments · Friday, April 8, 2011
Producer-turned-first-time-director Jim Kohlberg is unable to wrench much life or visual flair from this music-infused medical mystery, although it will elicit some tears from those sensitive to its emotional tugs. Grade: C.  

Miral (Review)

Julian Schnabel tackles hot-button issue from an unexpected angle

0 Comments · Friday, April 8, 2011
Filmmaker Julian Schnabel’s glaring light seeks to expose the complex truth of the Palestinian situation and generally does so, despite having a less-than-compelling center in the undeniably beautiful Freida Pinto. Grade: B-.  

Your Highness (Review)

Incoherent period comedy needs to lay off the weed

0 Comments · Friday, April 8, 2011
From the pen of Danny McBride and under the command of 'Pineapple Express' director David Gordon Green, 'Your Highness' professes a love of the tacky swords-and-sorcery epics of the past but in reality is far more entranced by its smoke rings, penis jokes and its potty mouth. Grade: D-plus.  

Win Win (Review)

Marriage of genres delivers smartly observed humor and real-word dymanics

0 Comments · Thursday, April 7, 2011
Tom McCarthy's latest tweaks expectations by blurring the genre lines, offering smartly observed humor and real-world economic and family dynamics beyond the cookie-cutter situation comedy mold. Grade: A-  

Soul Surfer (Review)

True story focuses on family, not action heroics

0 Comments · Thursday, April 7, 2011
The film adaptation of surfer Bethany Hamilton's life unabashedly embraces family values and religion over action heroics and simplistic 'Rocky' underdog poses, placing love and faith and hope up on the big screen and daring audiences to turn away. Grade: B-.  

Player's Coach

Tom McCarthy discusses Win Win, his latest character-driven genre-juggler

0 Comments · Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Stories about real people dealing with real situations are an endangered species in a contemporary American moviemaking landscape dominated by lowest-common-denominator teen-oriented fare and creativity-deficient sequels, remakes and the like. Writer/director Tom McCarthy is doing his best to fight against this development.  

Hop (Review)

Who knew the Easter Bunny was so boring?

0 Comments · Saturday, April 2, 2011
'Hop' leaves you with the sense of boredom that doesn’t even result in a slumbering escape; you only end up pondering how many other unpleasant situations you could have found yourself in that would have been preferable to the time spent trapped in this particular theater surrounded by families whose children are as bored as you are. Grade: D.  

Insidious (Review)

Effective genre effort blends horror convention with humor

0 Comments · Saturday, April 2, 2011
Director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell introduced us to the soap-operatic torture porn of the 'Saw' world, while producer Oren Peli gave birth to the 'Paranormal' phenomenon, so the combination of talents and visions promises to be, well, quite insidious, right? The short answer is hell yes. Grade: B.  

Source Code (Review)

Science-fiction thriller is entertaining if flawed

0 Comments · Friday, April 1, 2011
Yes, there's a certain validity to the pitch-meeting shorthand that would describe this science-fiction thriller as "'Groundhog Day' meets 'Quantum Leap,'” but that doesn't detract from what it manages to do right. Grade: B.  

Kill the Irishman (Review)

True-life gangster drama centers on a Cleveland enforcer who took down the Mafia

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 30, 2011
In the new film by writer-director Jonathan Hensleigh (following up his 2004 multi-hyphenate effort 'The Punisher'), we discover that the story of Danny Greene (Ray Stevenson) is not just another dark journey down the back alleys behind the barrel of a gun but a true story of a war that nearly ripped apart the city of Cleveland and led to the eventual crippling of the American crime syndicate.