Blu-ray Review: Criterion Veers Onto The Formidable MULHOLLAND DRIVE

The beauty of a David Lynch film, particularly in works such as Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway, is that they allow for individual interpretations. Living probable parallel lives, many Lynch characters cry, connive, manipulate, murder, and cheat through their stories.... More »
  

Review: TRUMBO Hits The Right (Typewriter) Keys

For people who pound away at keyboards for a living, Trumbo is inherently nostalgic, presenting a romantic vision of a life enjoyed by only a few. Slumped in a bathtub to ease his back pains, Dalton Trumbo slaves away, staring... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

Review: SPECTRE Does Not Rid The Bond Series Of Its Demons

Any review of a James Bond film should probably start with a short overview of the reviewer's opinions with regards to the whole franchise. What kind of Bond does he or she prefer? Which tropes are considered delightful, harmful, funny... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Review: SCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE Earns The Crassness Merit Badge

There's a long history of teens setting out into the woods only to be confronted with cruel horrors beyond their control or understanding. In this case, three Boy Scouts (although the film is careful to not actually identify them as such,... More »
By Jim Tudor   
  

Review: BURNT, In Search Of Excellence (And A Story, And Authentic Characters, And...)

Bradley Cooper is not content with two stars. Oh no, no, no, he wants three stars, dang it, because that is what leading men always want: more, more, more! In Burnt, a new film by pedestrian director John Wells (The... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

Review: OUR BRAND IS CRISIS, Politics In A Familiar Nutshell

What an odd little beast! Neither fish nor fowl, the highly-fictionalized Our Brand Is Crisis acknowledges that it was "suggested" by Rachel Boynton's same-titled 2005 documentary. That film, which I have not seen, revolved around two male political strategists --... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

Review: PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION, A Test Of Patience

Returning to the scene of the original crime, the sixth installment in the Paranormal Activity series is the weakest yet, lacking a compelling reason to exist, beyond a desire to extend the franchise. The previous edition, Paranormal Activity: The Marked... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

Review: THE LAST WITCH HUNTER, A Brightly Burning Candle

A good, fun ride for what it is, The Last Witch Hunter is the kind of movie that starts to fall apart as soon as the credits roll. Perhaps the closest, easiest comparison is to Tommy Wirkola's Hansel & Gretel:... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

New York 2015 Review: BRIDGE OF SPIES, A Thrilling Throwback To An Earlier Era

The New York Film Festival's transition in the past few years from being more or less purely a showcase for the crème-de-la-crème of world cinema (which it still largely is) to being an increasingly prominent stop on the way to... More »
  

Review: CRIMSON PEAK, A Gothic Romance For The Ages

Delving into a Guillermo del Toro movie is like visiting a great museum. Superficially there's all this pretty stuff going on, with images that often startle as much as they entertain. Dig a bit deeper and there's meaning to... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Review: PAN, Far From The Disaster You Might Want It To Be

Following his adaptations of Pride & Prejudice and Anna Karenina, Joe Wright next turns his attentions to J.M. Barrie's boy who never grew up. But instead of bringing the adventures of Peter, Wendy and Captain Hook to the big screen,... More »
By James Marsh   
  

Review: GOOSEBUMPS, A Fleet-Footed Easy Read

A frightfully fun fright flick for families, Goosebumps is witty and dark, never descending into terribly distressing territory, but neither thumbing its nose entirely at the idea that nothing scary ever happens in the real world. Jack Black stars as... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

New York 2015 Review: STEVE JOBS Is A Dud

The first question is: do we really need another Steve Jobs movie? Then, what merits does the life of the billionaire co-founder of Apple have, to prompt three movies (Jobs, Steve Jobs: the Man in the Machine, and now Steve... More »
By Dustin Chang   
  

Review: MISSISSIPPI GRIND Not A Bad Deal

According to an official description of the new drama Mississippi Grind, the film is intended to play as a textured human tale with grit, evoking everyone's favorite golden era of cinema, the 1970s. The description is not far off, as the... More »
By Jim Tudor   
  

Sundance Hong Kong 2015 Review: Only A Mother Could Love JAMES WHITE

The debut feature from Josh Mond, producer of Simon Killer and Martha Marcy May Marlene, is a tough coming-of-age tale featuring a couple of top-notch showboating performances. However, the desperate circumstances alone do not make for an engaging drama, and... More »
By James Marsh   
  

Sundance Hong Kong 2015 Review: SONGS MY BROTHERS TAUGHT ME, Good With Reservations

The debut feature from Beijing-born Chloe Zhao focuses on the unlikely subject matter of adolescent Lakota indians in South Dakota. Beautifully photographed and confidently directed, Songs My Brothers Taught Me is a notable first film, marred only by a rather... More »
By James Marsh   
  

New York 2015 Review: THE WALK Showcases Robert Zemeckis's Stereoscopic 3D Wizardry

Forget about Joseph Gordon-Levitt's ridiculous Pepé Le Pew French accent. Forget about his weird toupé and blue contact lenses, forget about the candy colored fairyland a.k.a. Paris in the first hour. Robert Zemeckis's new film The Walk still works as... More »
By Dustin Chang   
  

Sundance Hong Kong 2015 Review: ADVANTAGEOUS, Underachieving Sci-Fi For Tiger Mums

Jennifer Phang's ambitious sci-fi drama presents some intriguing ideas about identity and sacrifice in a uniquely female context, but she invests her budget into the wrong elements, and is unable to fashion her final film into anything particularly engaging.In the... More »
By James Marsh   
  

Sundance Hong Kong 2015 Review: THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT Wields Significant Power

The events that went down at Jordan Hall in August 1971 have been recounted numerous times and inspired at least two films already - Oliver Hirschbiegel's excellent Das Experiment (2001) starring Moritz Bleibtreu and Paul Scheuring's American remake from 2010, starring... More »
By James Marsh   
  

Review: PAY THE GHOST Is Average, But Nicolas Cage Does Great Work

I don't think I have to be the one that reminds you about the certain infamous recognition that Oscar-winner actor Nicolas Cage has nowadays. We all know about his projects, why he chooses them, how he fares in them, and... More »
  
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