Charlotte Observer

Rating Title | Year Quote Author
1 90%

A Most Wanted Man (2014)

"[Screenwriter Andrew] Bovell and director Anton Corbijn keep us guessing about motives, especially Karpov's, until the last moments."

Posted Jul 25, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

2 59%

Lucy (2014)

"High-octane nonsense. Whether you take to it will depend on whether you consider "high-octane" or "nonsense" the more important word."

Posted Jul 25, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

3 85%

Korengal (2014)

"If the first film was made more for civilians who have never experienced war, the second seems to be aimed at veterans who want to reflect on their experiences."

Posted Jul 10, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

4 91%

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014)

"The visual effects work superbly, and the director uses 3-D unobtrusively. The most remarkable effect may be the animals' eyes, formerly a weak spot in motion-capture animation."

Posted Jul 10, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

5 82%

Begin Again (2014)

"A movie that mocks artistic sellouts and then sells out itself is like a cop who chases a criminal before accepting a bribe to let him go."

Posted Jul 1, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

6 17%

50 to 1 (2014)

"Wilson has owned and raced horses for years and once had a 190-acre ranch in California. And he has made the kind of film he might have seen as a kid, one where patience and hard work get rewarded at the 11th hour."

Posted Jun 26, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

7 65%

The Rover (2014)

"Guy Pearce isn't as physically formidable as Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson in Leone's classics, but he's just as determined and dangerous."

Posted Jun 19, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

8 43%

Words And Pictures (2014)

"It's so clunkily assembled that it trips over its own feet time after time."

Posted Jun 13, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

9 85%

22 Jump Street (2014)

"The pacing has improved, even if the story coheres less, and Bell makes a hilarious and malevolent irritant: She's like the quieter white female counterweight to Ice Cube."

Posted Jun 13, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

10 90%

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

""Edge of Tomorrow" aims for heights of suspense and often reaches them."

Posted Jun 6, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

11 84%

Night Moves (2014)

"All three leads give effective, low-key performances."

Posted Jun 5, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

12 49%

Maleficent (2014)

"Maleficent constantly has to fight against her own bitterness and disappointment. Watching Jolie, one of America's most adroit actresses, we see this turmoil expressed in the twist of a lip or the softening of a glance."

Posted May 29, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

13 86%

Cold in July (2014)

"Though the action sequences may make you queasy, Mickle shows restraint; the nastiest event in the script happens off-screen, and we're never supposed to enjoy or be amused by the violence."

Posted May 29, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

14 92%

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

"Once every couple of years, a movie comes along to remind us how satisfyingly complex the [superhero] genre can be."

Posted May 21, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

15 89%

Locke (2014)

"A one-man tour de force for Tom Hardy."

Posted May 15, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

16 74%

Godzilla (2014)

"It seems to have hopes of becoming a science fiction classic. It's not -- it's just a popcorn movie -- but it's loud, smashing fun, if you accept it as a high-tech piece of silliness."

Posted May 15, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

17 54%

Fading Gigolo (2014)

"Quietly amiable, doesn't try too hard to impress anyone and gives a lot of relaxed pleasure ..."

Posted May 8, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

18 53%

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

"The movie feels not only calculated but tired."

Posted May 1, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

19 99%

Jodorowsky's Dune (2014)

"This entertaining, uncritical documentary looks at a visionary director's quest to create the ultimate film from Frank Herbert's novel."

Posted Apr 24, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

20 86%

Under the Skin (2014)

"You'll be captivated or irritated, depending on your need for a clear, linear narrative."

Posted Apr 17, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

21 74%

Oculus (2014)

"Flanagan never overplays his hand with gore or cheap thrills."

Posted Apr 11, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

22 89%

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

"Marvel beautifully exploits the traditions of this genre without ever trying to extend them: This sequel is, by design, entirely absorbing and satisfying without being one whit memorable."

Posted Apr 3, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

23 92%

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

"Can you make a successful comedy entirely out of eccentric, marginally related episodes? The Grand Budapest Hotel proves it's possible, if you're Wes Anderson."

Posted Mar 27, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

24 77%

Noah (2014)

"Does his concept work? Does it relate to the way we live today? Does it raise thought-provoking questions? The answers are mostly, definitely and absolutely."

Posted Mar 27, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

25 89%

The Wind Rises (2014)

"Miyazaki has come out of retirement before. But if he does stop now, he ends on a masterpiece."

Posted Feb 27, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

26 60%

Non-Stop (2014)

"The remnants of an actor remain, and Non-Stop gives [Neeson] as good a chance as any these days to let his emotions loose nearly as often as his fists."

Posted Feb 27, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

27 13%

Winter's Tale (2014)

"Even fantasies have rules."

Posted Feb 14, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

28 94%

The Past (2013)

"Where an American film would make up our minds for us about the outcome, Farhadi lets us make up our own minds."

Posted Feb 13, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

29 32%

The Monuments Men (2014)

"[Director Clooney] paces scenes well, balances everyone's screen time and makes good use of his ensemble cast."

Posted Feb 7, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

30 76%

The Invisible Woman (2013)

"Both leading actors blow hot and cold, though they're frequently on target."

Posted Jan 24, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

31 18%

Ride Along (2014)

"You wouldn't go to "Ride Along" and expect the plot complexities of "The Usual Suspects.""

Posted Jan 16, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

32 94%

Her (2013)

"Liberation from her body seems to have freed Johansson as an actress; she gives the most complex performance of her career using only her smoky, flexible alto voice."

Posted Jan 8, 2014

Lawrence Toppman

33 76%

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

"Here's something I never expected to say, something I doubt I'd have believed if someone else had said it to me: Martin Scorsese can make a three-hour movie without one fresh perspective or compelling character from end to end."

Posted Dec 26, 2013

Lawrence Toppman

34 58%

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013)

"William Nicholson's screenplay, based on Mandela's autobiography, has the power to surprise us in small moments." EDIT

Posted Dec 26, 2013

35 29%

Grudge Match (2013)

"The lines contain a fair proportion of laughs, and Segal doesn't let the pace drag. The glib, snappy Hart provides spark, bouncing lines off the sardonic Arkin."

Posted Dec 26, 2013

Lawrence Toppman

36 79%

Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

"Emma Thompson glows so brightly in Saving Mr. Banks, even when her face darkens in another scowl, that she eclipses the other elements of this agreeable but unambitious film."

Posted Dec 19, 2013

Lawrence Toppman

37 93%

American Hustle (2013)

"This isn't a history lesson. It's pure entertainment, an excuse for good actors to romp through a twisting, well-told tale."

Posted Dec 19, 2013

Lawrence Toppman

38 91%

Blue Jasmine (2013)

"[Woody Allen's] spin through Tennessee Williams territory, where he has never gone before, seems fresh in the hands of an expert cast."

Posted Dec 17, 2013

Lawrence Toppman

39 74%

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (2013)

"Jackson seems to have realized that the story -- whether his, Tolkien's or a hybrid of the two -- depends less on massed battles than on meaningful behavior."

Posted Dec 12, 2013

Lawrence Toppman

40 89%

Frozen (2013)

"This may be yet another variation on the usual coming-of-age/sisterhood themes so familiar in Disney movies, but who does those better?"

Posted Nov 27, 2013

Lawrence Toppman

41 76%

Kill Your Darlings (2013)

"The acting stays at a high level, though minor characters go through few changes. DeHaan captures Carr's charisma and infuriating selfishness."

Posted Nov 21, 2013

Lawrence Toppman

42 93%

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

"McConaughey, skeletal yet swaggering, gives a bravura performance."

Posted Nov 21, 2013

Lawrence Toppman

43 89%

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

"Lawrence gives the same committed, heart-rending performance, and she's even more saintly than before ..."

Posted Nov 21, 2013

Lawrence Toppman

44 93%

All Is Lost (2013)

"Though a picture may not really be worth a thousand words, striking images can hold our attention when no words are forthcoming."

Posted Nov 8, 2013

Lawrence Toppman

45 97%

12 Years a Slave (2013)

"As we watch a finite horror envelop Northup, we imagine the infinite horror of people trapped in lifelong captivity."

Posted Nov 1, 2013

Lawrence Toppman

46 99%

Wadjda (2013)

"On the surface, it's about a plucky 10-year-old girl who wants a bicycle and uses ingenuity and hard work to raise money to buy one. Yet it's really about the crushing future that awaits Wadjda when she grows to womanhood."

Posted Oct 25, 2013

Lawrence Toppman

47 35%

The Counselor (2013)

"The endlessly enigmatic conversations and continual introduction of characters who never get defined for us (let alone fleshed out) finally make the movie arid, repetitive and hollow."

Posted Oct 25, 2013

Lawrence Toppman

48 93%

Captain Phillips (2013)

"Even if you know the outcome, you go away saying, "This is how it must have been" at every turn."

Posted Oct 10, 2013

Lawrence Toppman

49 97%

Gravity (2013)

"You can't exactly call Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity the best film of its kind, because it has no kind: It stands alone as an extraordinary balance of 3-D effects, heroes-in-jeopardy storytelling and emotional depth."

Posted Oct 3, 2013

Lawrence Toppman

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