Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
45 Years (2015)
"45 Years is probably not a good date-night movie, but it bears a wisdom about the ways that even late in life marriage and selfhood can be destabilized and fissures can occur in the bedrock of long-term love. "
Dreams of a Life (2012)
"How awfully, strangely death can void a personal identity. The filling-in of the chalk outline remains sketchy, as Morley well knows. This docu-obituary's sharply aware of its own bit-ness, its partial-ness. "
"Nelson's work, feeling more fragmented than kaleidoscopic, falls short of '60s-activist docs The Weather Underground (2002) or 1971 (2014). But sobering images and snippets of poetic insight linger. "
Tokyo Godfathers (2003)
"Hana tends to swoon into stereotype, her theatricality and campiness infecting the other non-hetero characters here, with so many of them wailing or sobbing. The story's comedy and pathos can be similarly overwrought, too. "
The 5th Wave (2016)
"Mostly, the movie evaporates into misty clichés and sentiment. Military scenes play out like first-person shooter games. Cassie earnestly declaims, 'Hope makes us human,' but it's this movie's obvious hope for a sequel that makes it so Hollywood. "
Dark Star: HR Giger's World (2015)
"Only a few of the personal responses or reminiscences here are truly interesting. But it's Giger's images alone which hold our gaze, confronting and confounding us, intriguing and chilling, snaking and startling. "
Norm of the North (2016)
"Beyond the drawn-out patter of predictable story beats, Victoria's basic problem is that its wanton wanna-bes behave 'so stupid,' yet the movie keeps trying to give their sloppiness and its own scruffiness a mytho-poetic arthouse profundity. "
Bitter Rice (Riso amaro) (1949)
The Revenant (2015)
A Letter to Momo (2014)
"Here, magic-realism and emotional realism run together. The story can lapse into jokiness or drag its heels a little. But when Momo's anguish bursts, and she soon realizes how sad her mother's truly been, the film bursts to life. "
Perfect Blue (1999)
"The mood is spot-on, then deliriously spottier. As Mima's sense of what's real dissolves, the film spins mirror-plates of possible realities, shattering them on the set of Mima's film before a B-movie-ish action-climax and a too-pat whodunit? reveal. "
In the Heart of the Sea (2015)
"The images here lash and last; the story creaks and groans. Anthony Dod Mantle's cinematography is brilliant; it's as if we're looking back at this past through a water-sloshed spyglass, darkly. The simpler story's too rote and modern, though. "
"If this black-comedy horror had had more deep, dark laughs and less drawn-out, what's-around-the-corner horror, it could have been a helliday cult-classic contender. The movie loses too much of its satirical spirit. "
"It's a Dardennes-like move that Meier makes here, plunking us down, without judgment, in the middle of a low life. Just 13 here, Klein, who debuted in Meier's Home at 10 as the son Julien (a name he uses here as an alias) is remarkable. "
"Subtly, smartly, writer-director Ryan Coogler bobs and weaves around racial identity even as this Rocky 2.0 expertly does what it's been coached to do--belt us with one bruising, pulsating boxing movie. "
Mississippi Grind (2015)
"Its lead double-act and almost-pointed pointlessness are enough to nudge it over the line. There's a faintly raffish charm to most shuffling-along scenes here. In the end, though, the story bobbles. "
The Night Before (2015)
"Such a ragged, staggering, let-it-all-hang-out bro-comedy that the women feel parachuted in. Strains to be a Christmas movie for '80s babies now all grown up but umbilically attached to their smartphones. "
"The convicts are like actors trapped on a set, their awareness of a line between this-is-just-an-experiment and playing power-games dissolving. Zimbardo comes off as a Faustian fiend; the film itself glitters and glares a bit too simply and devilishly. "
Love the Coopers (2015)
"Lots of photogenic folks serve up white whine, usually weak laughs, or suddenly candid chats with strangers. The Hollywood contrivances are cringing. Dundering in its efforts to melt your heart to slush. "
Tales Of The Grim Sleeper (2014)
"The sordid yet mundane (making it all the sadder) story of a black community plagued by police unconcern, with the men closest to the accused almost shruggingly inured to his voyeurism and predation. (The impressive fighters here are female.) "
The Peanuts Movie (2015)
"Can be a bit frantic and antic; the ending's more schmaltzy than Schulzy. But the sad-sack, what's-the-point-of-it-all? adult humour sneaks in. Pretty much the least disappointing feature-film adaptation America's most famous comic-strip could get. "
"Beyond its tardy, fitful contribution to the undead evolution, this teen flick's apparently never heard of the actual women's revolution. So we're treated to some B-horror fun here and there, increasingly buzzkilled by horny-moan, male-it-in humour. "
Steve Jobs (2015)
"Too theatrical, hyper-chatty, and self-involved to become truly involving or insightful. Then comes its crash of an ending, a system-error so staggeringly redemption-reaching that you may glimpse the ghost-image of Christ himself on the frozen screen. "
The Last Witch Hunter (2015)
"Exposition, backstory, and action-dialogue cliché are all tossed into the pot and stirred up real bad. A hocus-pocus hodge-podge of balderdash and humbuggery. The only smells wafting from this cauldron are the odour of silliness and stench of stupidity. "
Crimson Peak (2015)
"Sumptuously stylized and sound-scaped; there are a few Victorian moments of sublimated psychosexuality. But the sensation-novel plot and ghost-story atmosphere are too steamed-out here, chugging on; the ending gets too stabby, brutal and modern. "
"A postmodern splish-splash, this film ziplines here, there, everywhere. The movie's feel skids from circus-tent carnivalesque to amusement-park giddiness. Never boring, Pan's also never sure what it wants to be. "
Hyena Road (2016)
The Martian (2015)
"This stranded-astronaut movie can't muster all that much drama. Watney's crewmates just can't convey much emotion; Watney mostly emits smart-ass movie lines. NASA's tech and its astronauts' gutsiness and smarts are glorified to the point of porn-iness. "
"Horror masquerading as action-thriller; a desert-Gothic descent into the nightmare-grotesquerie of Mexico's narco-war. Brutal and dismal in its Stygian twists, Sicario indicts the drug-war as a relentlessly macho, end-justifies-any-means battle. "
The Intern (2015)
"Faux-feminist and whitewashily liberal. A movie that wants us to feel bad for a female executive-who's actually high-power-privileged-only for a great white father-substitute to be her perpetual personal cheer-er is far from feminist and damn near stupid. "
"A more incisive, complex, contextualized (and less stilted) discussion of delivering babies and then delivering milk to them may not go down as easily, but it would be more nutritious food for thought than we ultimately get with Milk. "
"Boilerplates the YA-gloomy-future fad down to an obstacle-course at the worst-ever summer camp. Plot points are struck with predictable force; line after line battles hopelessly with cliché; camera shots are fired so routinely they feel pre-programmed. "
"Everest, the movie, in showing how the mountain conquers man, never explains the torturous trek's appeal, and that monstrous Himalayan peak ends up dwarfing the human stories here, struggling for air. "
The Visit (2015)
"'Welcome to M Night Shyamaland! What's that? The new one? Well, there's creepy stuff, a Hansel and Gretel bit, grandma gets loony, the ride gets a bit Psycho with a kitchen knife and a basement, and...well, the last section's a bit rickety, really.' "
A Walk In The Woods (2015)
"Here, Bryson's a wizened cipher, wrapped in a grizzled grump, inside a pickled jerk. Patter gets pat, wise old-guy talk vies with lame wisecracks, and slapstick turns slapschtick. This slog's a waste of time and space. "
Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet (2015)
"Too child-directed and broadly characterized; the commercial-minded, Disney-style high-stakes is a padding out of pondering-ness to ponderousness. This adaptation's more pose-y and cutesy than question-posing or poetically profound. "
No Escape (2015)
"The Amazing Race remixed with The Killing Fields as a disaster-film, with anti-Asian racism simmering hatefully up from the bottom of the pot. An atrocity in its retrograde, racist exploitation of civil strife for tawdrily thrilling ends. "
The Hateful Eight (2015)
"Many times I admired it for its craft, its game performances, its deft way with suspense... Yet by the time Hateful Eight was over, that admiration was overshadowed by its lazy cynicism disguised as western revisionism. "
The Assassin (2015)
"All I can suggest is to try and come to this extraordinary, rapturous work -- as much a sequence of meticulous paintings and soundtracks as a movie per se -- with expectations in check, eyes wide open and ears tuned in. "
In Cold Blood (1967)
"Chief among the film's distinctions are the beautiful gloom of Conrad Hall's monochromatic cinematography... There are the fearless, wonderfully contrasting performances by Robert Blake and Scott Wilson as the sociopathic killers. "
Coming Home (2015)
Manhattan: Season 1 (TV, 2014)
The Player (1992)
"The Player has enough truly hilarious bits and inspired sequences-that baroque opening-sequence shot is a masterpiece in itself-to make it well worth your time, its very silly story is ultimately a fairly paltry piece of social commentary. "
My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)