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Friends with Benefits (Review)

Strong cast carries satire of romantic comedies

0 Comments · Monday, July 25, 2011
'Friends With Benefits' attempts to make fun of romantic comedies, while exploiting the same formula. It very nearly succeeds thanks to engaging performances from Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake as the titular booty buddies and director Will Gluck. Grade: B.  

Captain America (Review)

Comic-book adaptation is competent if uninspired

0 Comments · Sunday, July 24, 2011
Joe Johnston, the director of numerous effects-driven adventures over the years (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Jumanji and Jurassic Park III, to name a few), brings sleek efficiency to this 3-D adaptation of the latest Marvel Comics staple to make it to the big screen, which is a nice way of saying that Captain America is a competent if uninspired opening salvo in what Paramount hopes is its next mondo franchise. Grade: C.  

Queen to Play (Review)

French drama revels in the pleasures of chess

0 Comments · Thursday, July 21, 2011
Superlative performances and a restrained directorial touch elevate this French drama from a schematic outline into a compelling story about a woman who gradually discovers horizons where previously she had seen none. Grade: B.  

A Little Help (Review)

Finding small truths in tragic moments

0 Comments · Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Writer-director Michael Weithorn, a veteran from the televised situation comedy world ('Family Ties,' 'The King of Queens'), looks back almost a decade later at the period immediately following 9/11, approximately 10 months afterward, in this new film and unearths a completely unique perspective on the tragic event and delves into a more flawed human experience of the moment. Grade: B.  

Winnie the Pooh (Review)

Classic book adaptation recalls a bygone era

0 Comments · Monday, July 18, 2011
Disney's film adaptation of A.A. Milne's beloved children's book recalls bygone lazy afternoons of imaginative play and suffers because it's too short and sweet to be taken seriously as a feature film. Grade: B-.  

Page One: Inside The New York Times (Review)

Compelling documentary looks at the state of modern media

0 Comments · Friday, July 15, 2011
Andrew Rossi's fly-on-the-wall documentary focuses on whether traditional print media can survive in a world now dominated by 24-hour television news networks and the ever-expanding reach of the Internet. Grade: B.  

A Better Life (Review)

Heartfelt immigrant drama is too predictable

0 Comments · Friday, July 15, 2011
Versatile director Chris Weitz's latest rarely transcends its programmatic structure and predictable character arcs, although its immigrant, working-class milieu is drenched in realism and heartache. Grade: D-plus.  

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Saga says goodbye by reaching adulthood

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 13, 2011
If you’ve followed the cinematic adventures of Harry Potter over the last decade — whether in print or cinematic form — it’s hard to imagine how Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 could fail. A series that began as an investment in J.K. Rowling’s remarkable hero-quest narrative evolved, over the course of seven films, into something else: an investment in the coming-of-age of three young actors.  

Zookeeper (Review)

Kevin James comedy vehicle is a laugh-less mess

0 Comments · Monday, July 11, 2011
Kevin James steps into his usual nice schlubby-guy persona and throws the same slow-pitch game we’ve seen on the big screen and his television series 'The King of Queens,' except this time out he’s got talking animals giving him advice on how to get in touch with his inner wild thing to land the right woman. Grade: F.  

Horrible Bosses (Review)

Shameless, sporadically funny comedy lacks empathy or feeling

0 Comments · Monday, July 11, 2011
Director Seth Gordon and a quartet of screenwriters seem uninterested in dosing this course comedy with even a trace of empathy or feeling. The trio of one-note, caricatured bosses fare worst of all. But that's not to say that 'Horrible Bosses' isn’t sporadically hilarious. Grade: C.  

Submarine (Review)

Coming-of-age tale features real tenderness

0 Comments · Friday, July 8, 2011
Newcomer Craig Roberts takes at least a pound and a half of inspiration from Bud Cort's romantically inclined misfit in 'Harold and Maude' for his defiantly humorous portrayal of the 15-year-old Oliver Tate.   

Beginners (Review)

Mike Mills’ latest is an affecting look at the possibility of personal rebirth

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 6, 2011
“You think you’re you,” a man tells a dog named Arthur, before breaking it to Arthur, a Jack Russell, that his personality has everything to do with being bred that way. They’re just starting out — the man has inherited the dog from his dead father — but true beginnings are well-nigh impossible. From the moment of birth, we become imprinted by outside forces, most crucially those of our parents, so even if we resolve to scour clean Mom’s and Dad’s identifying marks on us, that very act of rebellion is a reaction to, and therefore a confirmation of, their ineluctable influence.  

Larry Crowne (Review)

Tom Hanks' sunny romantic comedy is refreshingly cynic-free

0 Comments · Friday, July 1, 2011
Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts join forces for what feels like an adult male fairy tale populated by hip scooter girls instead of fairy godmothers and wicked witches, and its calculatedly uncynical nature appreciates the happiness without worrying about the ever after. Grade: B.  

Monte Carlo (Review)

Lightweight teen fantasy somehow transcends chiches

0 Comments · Friday, July 1, 2011
"Monte Carlo" has all of the hallmarks of a girly teen fantasy in the Disney-Nickelodeon mode, yet somehow co-writer/director Thomas Bezucha sneaks in a bit of old-school campy romp and enlivens the tired cliches. Grade: B-.  

Buck (Review)

The original 'horse whisperer' teaches us to appreciate animals and life

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 29, 2011
'Buck' is about overcoming fear and pain, breaking free of a cycle of suffering. It offers an example of a man who figured out how to start over and helps others to do the same. It's for those who have an "interest" in living an ethical life like Buck Brannaman. Grade A.