Star Trek Into Darkness
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III
[A]chingly lovely... so full of bittersweet melancholy and yet so fixedly hopeful without ever having to touch on the sentimental...
These Fitzgeralds are loud, selfish and often maddening, but they're a loving group, and you wouldn't mind spending more time with them.
| Original Score: 3/4
Burns remains an agreeable presence throughout, and the emotions mostly ring true, even if the comic elements feel overly broad and individual episodes are hit-and-miss.
A holiday-themed piece shot through with humor and heartbreak. No bull. And low on sappy.
The dysfunctional silbling-squabbling delivers diluted holiday cheer.
| Original Score: 6/10
Burns' latest demonstrates the workmanlike skill with which he's produced a new relationship drama every one or two years.
| Original Score: 6.2/10
Manages the considerable feat of interweaving the personal dramas of nine members of a boisterous Irish-American clan into a coherent mosaic with a streamlined narrative drive.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
Burns has assembled such a fine cast that we leave feeling satisfied, as if we didn't get the iPad mini we wanted, but a pretty good novel instead.
| Original Score: 3/5
The Fitzgerald Family Christmas is extremely perceptive about certain angles on life in a big family.
Anchoring the film as much as his character does his family, Burns displays such an affable screen presence that one is able to overlook the film's hoarier aspects.
A genuine charmer with appealingly natural performances and the kind of holiday warmth that can't be manufactured.
A fertile battlefield of sibling discontent and parental resentment, creating a prickly but inviting familial atmosphere that offers enough variation in woe to ease the script out of its occasional dalliance with clumsy melodrama.
| Original Score: B+
Burns's job as director is differentiating and spotlighting everyone in this large ensemble, a storytelling challenge to which he responds with a brisk pace and an eye for revealing moments.
A holiday drama that depicts the miracle of forgiveness in the midst of a storm of familial conflict and misunderstandings.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
An unpretentiously ingratiating dramedy about members of an Irish-American clan drawn together, whether they want to be or not, for a yuletide celebration.
A terrific holiday movie. Edward Burns' most invigorating, heartfelt picture in years.
Resentments, pregnancies, cancer, spousal abuse and the struggle of a recovering alcoholic all come and go on cue.
| Original Score: 2/4
The ensemble cast is mostly agreeable, but the script eventually bogs down amid too many characters and too many contrivances.
Too much of the film is taken up by creaky plot devices and one sibling vowing to track down and talk to another one to resolve a problem.
So little action takes place that really, the setting could just be adjoining couches, with characters shouting affectionate quips and insults at each other.