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No Ordinary Western

Filmmaker Kelly Reichardt discusses Meek's Cutoff

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 25, 2011
On the Oregon Trail in 1845, a wagon train of three families led by the mountain man Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood) is perilously lost, even though none are yet fully aware of that fact. It’s here that director Kelly Reichardt’s film begins. Actually, Meek’s Cutoff opens in silence, or, more accurately, with the sounds that become prominent in the absence of conversation.  

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Review)

Captain Jack is back, but he's not enough to save this meandering mess

1 Comment · Friday, May 20, 2011
There’s nothing particularly strange about the latest outing of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). Granted, many seemingly key elements have changed, yet there’s the sense that the general proceedings have remained more than vaguely familiar, which is not necessarily a good thing. Grade: D-plus.  

Priest (Review)

Stylized apocalyptic tale lacks heart and soul

0 Comments · Thursday, May 19, 2011
Scott Charles Stewart (Legion) reteams with Paul Bettany in this adaptation of Min-Woo Hyung’s graphic novel series, which seems to have tried to transform Underworld into a religious adventure   

The Beaver (Review)

Mel Gibson strong in Jodie Foster's latest directorial effort

0 Comments · Thursday, May 19, 2011
Mel Gibson's cinematic mea culpa might not equate to a public apology to the countless people he's insulted in recent years. Still, and more importantly to moviegoers, the embattled actor turns in a memorable performance as a suicidal character grasping for straws in 'The Beaver.' Grade: B-.  

Elektra Luxx (Review)

Upper-crust actors can't save this unmitigated flop

0 Comments · Thursday, May 19, 2011
How writer/director Sebastian Gutierrez got upper-crust actors like Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Julianne Moore to take part in this unmitigated flop is a mystery. Everything about this movie is off. Grade: D.  

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (Review)

Morgan Spurlock doc investigates product placement in movies

0 Comments · Thursday, May 19, 2011
There’s a sense of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants vibe to the approach of documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock. In the case of 'The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,' Spurlock entices several leading national brands to chain themselves together with him with often amusing results. Grade: B-.  

Queen of the Sun (Review)

Documentary looks that at the importance of honeybees

0 Comments · Thursday, May 19, 2011
Taggart Siegel documentary investigates how we’ve now managed to screw up the life of honeybees — there’s a crisis of what’s known as “colony collapse disorder,” in which the worker bees are disappearing from hives — and how this has a threatening impact on the entire world. Grade: B.   

Making Connections

FilmDayton is a family reunion for area filmmakers and audiences

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 18, 2011
From Dayton/For Dayton is the theme for this year’s FilmDayton Festival, but you could just as easily think of it as FilmDayton’s family reunion because the focus of this event is the film community, the film family born and raised in the region.  

The Big Uneasy (Review)

Harry Shearer looks at why the New Orleans levies failed

0 Comments · Friday, May 13, 2011
Harry Shearer, the 'This Is Spinal Tap' actor and humorist, has decided to get serious about the reasons New Orleans' levies failed during Hurricane Katrina in this muckraking documentary. It’s a worthy effort, filled with great insight into the making of the flood and the troubling revelations about the arrogant way the Corps does business and is protected by the U.S. Congress. Grade: B.  

Bridesmaids (Review)

Kristen Wiig shines in raucous comedy

0 Comments · Friday, May 13, 2011
Just because 'Bridesmaids' walks down the box-office aisle a few weeks before the second edition of 'The Hangover,' don’t assume that this is a golden bridal shower before that big event. Of course, there’s an ensemble gang and they are most certainly ready to par-tay. Grade: B-plus.  

Everything Must Go (Review)

Will Ferrell brings dramatic chops to the world of Raymond Carver

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Everything comes crashing down on Nick Halsey (Will Ferrell). The functioning alcoholic loses his upper-level management position due to a questionable after-hours situation with a female employee and it’s obvious that Halsey has used up all of his lifelines with the firm. When he arrives at home, he finds all of his possessions on the front lawn and he quickly realizes that his wife has changed all the locks, cancelled access his credit and banks cards and basically frozen him out of his own life.  

Jumping the Broom (Review)

Soapy drama contains too many subplots

0 Comments · Friday, May 6, 2011
Veteran television director Salim Akil helms this tricky, overstuffed marriage of subjects and styles with verve and requisite sass, thanks in large part to a pair of seasoned matriarchs, Angela Bassett and Loretta Devine. Grade: C-plus.  

Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Review)

Werner Herzog illuminates the world's oldest cave paintings

0 Comments · Thursday, May 5, 2011
Werner Herzog's latest fascinating documentary (shot in effective 3-D) enters Southern France's usually sealed Chauvet Cave, which holds the world's oldest known artwork — rock paintings from nearly 33,000 years ago. Grade: A-.  

I Am (Review)

Tom Shadyac's documentary an exercise in self-absorption

0 Comments · Thursday, May 5, 2011
This clumsy talking-head-heavy documentary raises some interesting ideas, but director Tom Shadyac isn't content to simply let his interview subjects speak for themselves. Grade: D-.  

Potiche (Review)

French comedy is a lightweight but tasty morsel

0 Comments · Thursday, May 5, 2011
Francois Ozon's 'Potiche' never acquires any psychological depth or narrative flourish but the film’s delightful performances and brilliant color palette see it through any rough patches. Grade: B.