""Vacation" attempts to recreate the charm of the classic with actors who know how to read the lines but don't embody the characters. And they're forced to speak within a lazily written story that doesn't add enough to justify coming back. "
"The epitome of an idea that far outweighs its execution, "Pixels" is a bittersweet blunder that had all of the elements to be geeky great but ends up being cheesy mediocre. I could literally feel its potential, but the film ultimately fails to realize it. "
"Thanks to a perfectly cast leading role by Paul Rudd and a hilarious supporting choice in Michael Peña, "Ant-Man" is a much funner-than-expected summer blockbuster that's as kid-friendly as it gets for the superhero genre. "
The Gallows (2015)
"Despite the production power of the trite Blumhouse horror machine, "The Gallows" harnesses real originality from new filmmakers (in a genre that's been lacking it) and effectively creates genuine scares because of it. "
Magic Mike XXL (2015)
"Showing little differentiation from a substanceless soft porn with cheesy dialogue and a non-existent story, the nichely entertaining "Magic Mike XXL" treats you like you're a dumb monkey just wanting a jiggling banana. "
Jurassic World (2015)
""Jurassic World" doesn't buck blockbuster trends. Rather, it cleverly plays into them. More than a visual feast to marvel at, its new Indominus villain leaves us with a human lesson to heed: there's a price to pay for overmeddling with nature. "
San Andreas (2015)
"When the story is as weak as the film's fault lines and the character development never develops, the problem with blowing $100 million mostly on special effects is all you're left with is unintelligent disaster porn. "
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
"Hitting society's central nervous system through the real fear of AI gone horribly rogue, this complete sequel package weaves together a rich story, rousing special effects and the sacrificial duality of being a superhero versus the layman. "
Furious 7 (2015)
"A tactful and touching legacy for Paul Walker, "Furious 7" is a relentlessly action-packed thrill ride that actually has a story, too. Its fun is propelled by characters you give a frick about even if you've never called yourself a franchise fan before. "
"Often motivated by financial greed, many sequels satiate businesspeople while disappointing moviegoers. But "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" manages to buck the often-botched sequel trend with yet another naturally charming film. "
The Last 5 Years (2015)
"Telling the tough truth instead of being lied to with a glamorized version of theatre through rose-colored glasses, "The Last Five Years" establishes Anna Kendrick as a serious singer through Jason Robert Brown's naturally flowing, unpretentious music. "
Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
Seventh Son (2015)
""Seventh Son" wastes a promising cast with unfocused and incoherent story decisions, unusual-but-not-in-a-good-way acting, unfortunate choices with gender roles and one-sided depiction of people with color. "
Friday Night Lights: Season 5 (TV, 2010-2011)
Friday Night Lights: Season 4 (TV, 2009-2010)
Black Sea (2015)
"While "Black Sea" physically dives deep, the story is shallow, the character's motivations are irrational and the drama is forced. The star of the film is the old, rickety submarine and the tension only she provides. "
"More than just a vehicle for awards, "Cake" features an overdue, career-growing, award-worthy, emotionally honest role for Jennifer Aniston anchored by a patient script written by real humans about real humans. "
American Sniper (2015)
"Entertaining, tense and thrilling, "American Sniper" devolves into glorification -- sugarcoating the truth and creatively changing details to assure we see the hero Chris Kyle was without most of the much darker anti-hero he also was. "
Into the Woods (2014)
"One of Hollywood's best in splitting up the cinematic cellular DNA of one story into three, Peter Jackson is a master of mitosis. He now concludes a trilogy in traditional too-long but epic fashion after spending 513 screen minutes on only 445 pages. "
"Weak source material split into two films for no creative advantage only results in a disappointing artistic decision ruled by financial greed. The film anti-climatically makes us wait and leaves us asking: "For what?" "
"Marrying the brains of "Inception" with the epic splendor of "The Dark Knight," Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar" asks vastly important brain-scratching questions, inspires your forward thinking and treats you to one hell of a mind-altering thrill ride. "
"I don't blame the actors or filmmakers for "Ouija" being the worst horror film of 2014. It's the 11 narcoleptic producers who Hollywood's allowing to slap together this same tired formula. No wonder they're too lazy to make a horror film actually scary. "
The Best Of Me (2014)
"The worst Nicholas Sparks film of the nine based on his novels, this is the epitome of disingenuous, manufactured and manipulative. The salt on the wound of an already bleeding heart is that the young adults outshine our artificial "A"-list lovebirds. "
Dracula Untold (2014)
A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014)
This Is Where I Leave You (2014)
"The film's fatal flaw is it can't figure out who it is and do just one thing well. In the end, "This is Where I Leave You" is a failed comedy, a forgettable drama and a poor man's "August: Osage County" copycat. "
"Sex sells, but this film-noir sequel makes you feel dirty if you're left thinking that's enough. And if you count how many bullets are fired and compare it to how many holes you can shoot through its plot lines, the latter outnumbers the former. "
Nurse Jackie: Season 1 (TV, 2009)
The Sopranos: Season 1 (TV, 1999)
Into The Storm (2014)
"After overprioritizing its special effects and being barren of a story and characters who make you care, all you've got here is an exotic Lamborghini on the outside with a lawnmower engine failing to chug it along. "
"The second the film cleanly wraps up with nowhere else to go, you move about your life. Perhaps all you might question later is what his bushy beard is made from. Then you'd have your first laugh once learning that it came from yak testicle hair. "
Boardwalk Empire: Season 2 (TV, 2011)
Boardwalk Empire: Season 1 (TV, 2010)
Life Itself (2014)
""Life Itself" pulls you in not only as a fly on the wall but as a guest at his family's dinner table. The film isn't afraid of showing pain and doesn't apply makeup on Roger's degenerating face or about his story as a whole. "
Life Itself (2014)
"Up to the end, Roger was passionate about everything in his life - his wife, his family, his friends, and the movies. And Life Itself captures that passion. It's not just a eulogy but a celebration. "
The Fault In Our Stars (2014)
""The Fault in Our Stars" returns us to the rare, gender-crushing ingredients in "The Notebook". It figures out how to put a guy and a girl together and actually release in them natural chemistry instead of artificially forcing them to feel it. "
""Django Unchained" already recently nailed it. By contrast, "A Million Ways to Die in the West" is an attempted copycat -- messily comprised of some comedic hits but more misses -- that we just didn't need. "
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
"Blockbuster films so often blow so much of their budget on special effects but think of the plot as an afterthought. This one dares to reverse that mistake by investing heavily in its writing and allowing CGI to perfectly complement it. "
"Except for the clear purpose of cashing in on yet another "Godzilla" remake, everything is happening for no reason. Worst of all, what is ensuing misses and even mocks the reason why Ishirô Honda originated 1954's Godzilla in the first place. "
"Expensive Hollywood trickery often is superfluous filler for a film that is otherwise too weak at its very core. Character and story matter most, and "Locke" only needs one man in one car to keep you mesmerized for 85 straight minutes. "
""Oculus" wins with what it does inside its own mind, which incites yours without needing gore to bring about fear. But the most glaring problem is it doesn't need to be a "ghost story" to get you there. "
"If the original is anything to applaud, the sequel usually isn't. And even more rarely is the sequel actually better. But with this near-perfect comeback, we don't see so much of it coming, we enjoy nearly all of it and we can't ask for very much more. "
Island Of Lemurs: Madagascar (2014)
"It's challenging to enjoy this rushed and incomplete film purely for what it is rather than fault it for what it could have been. It feels like an elementary-school field trip rather than a film ready for nationwide IMAX distribution. "
"A film that feels remarkably ambitious and definably of a fabric with the themes this director has explored before but also stunningly emotional and adherent to the lessons of sacrifice intended by the original authors of this tale. "
"It will likely connect with fans of the book simply because it delivers on the cinematic promise of the story they loved but it's a pantomime, a film going through the motions without a hint of an actual pulse. "