Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Woman in Gold (2015)
"Clearly, the most significant 'Woman in Gold' here is not the portrait nor Adele Bloch-Bauer herself (portrayed in flashback by Antje Traue) but our lead actress, the indomitable Oscar-winner, Helen Mirren,"
Merchants Of Doubt (2015)
While We're Young (2015)
Furious 7 (2015)
It Follows (2015)
"What the movie acknowledges is that the biological imperative that perpetuates the human race carries its own curse of mortality -- that the act of reproduction passes on both the gift of life and a death sentence."
"A Ron Rash novel praised as 'nightmarish' becomes the stuff of middlebrow melodrama in this lushly atmospheric but surprisingly calcified tale of greed, lust, murder, fire, trained eagles, wild panthers, ax wounds and incipient environmentalism."
Red Army (2015)
Starred Up (2014)
The Better Angels (2014)
Middle of Nowhere (2012)
Scream, Blacula, Scream (1973)
"Blacula becomes something of a slave-master, even as he disdains humans who exploit other humans. 'You made a slave of your sister, and you're still slaves, imitating your slave masters!' he lectures a pair of pimps before tossing them through a window."
The Lazarus Effect (2015)
" The movie ought to be scarier, but in the current genre environment of teen-centric, found-footage shockers, its messing-with-Mother Nature traditionalism and structured storytelling is so old-school it feels new again."
"As if to make amends for the dubious ethics of the previous sequel (why did Ben Stiller get to decide 'his' museum exhibits were more worthy of life than the ones in the Smithsonian?), this supposed series finale has something of a wised-up, elegiac tone."
Wild Tales (2015)
"The film is not an advance, in themes or style, over such predecessors as the omnibus horror thrillers of the 1960s and '70s; but at its best it's a lot of fun, and it's filled with memorable performances and characters."
Little White Lie (2014)
Song Of The Sea (2014)
What We Do In The Shadows (2015)
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)
"A veritable Dinstuhl's of scrumptious eye candy, but with a premise that is a throwback fantasy to an era of white-supremacist colonialist world oversight: The Kingsman 'knights' are living symbols of superior Anglo civilization, and they know best."
Taken 3 (2015)
"He never discovers the real killers are returning director Olivier Megaton and producer-auteur Luc Besson, who callously dispose of the sympathetic Lenore to create new motivation for their hero's lethal kinesthesia and for their own chaotic set pieces. "
"Hayek begins in a mini-nightie and ends in a tight T-shirt that inevitably is wetted down when a fireball sets off the sprinkler system. The wardrobe designer may have been your 14-year-old nephew, but the Hayek-endorsed message is: 'I look great at 48.'"
Maps to the Stars (2015)
"The one devouring behemoth we see is a construction crane, eating away the exterior of a house with its metal maw. The movie's more sinister and insatiable monster is less visible: It is the modern Russian bureaucracy, at its most entrenched and corrupt."
The Judge (2014)
"When attorney Robert Downey Jr. returns to his Indiana hometown early in the film, he drives through an utterly phony CG cornfield. The unnecessary effect is an indicator of the sham emotions, spurious sentiment and -- yes -- corn headed the viewer's way."
"The publicity campaign has focused on the movie's beautiful and endlessly watchable gorillas, but director Orlando von Einseidel's film is more 'Citizenfour' than Animal Planet: It's not so much a wildlife lament as an activist exposé."
Mr. Turner (2014)
The Last 5 Years (2015)
"An 'indie' musical, not just in its modest production values but also in the emotional intensity of its mumblecore-esque focus on the romantic and career struggles of a pair of artsy young people in a big city."
Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
"What is this thing called love? That's a question asked by Cole Porter. In 'Fifty Shades of Grey,' the initially virginal heroine has a very different if not entirely unrelated query: 'What are butt plugs?'"
Seventh Son (2015)
Jupiter Ascending (2015)
Two Days, One Night (2014)
"The movie affirms Sandra's existence, but in its affirmation it remains more a question than an exclamation point. It asks: How did we get here? How, out of all the ways in which society could have evolved, did we come to allow this system to define us?"
Still Alice (2015)
"A horror movie for gentlefolk: Its methodical terrors -- memory loss, disorientation -- seem all too likely, especially for mature moviegoers less worried about things that go bump in the night than the fall of night itself, so to speak."
The Missing Picture (2014)
"It is in the realization of its cultural distinctiveness -- the fruit of its young director's vision -- that the movie memorably separates itself from the other contra-'Twilight' vampire films that have haunted arthouses and VOD platforms in recent years."
A Most Violent Year (2015)
"'A Most Violent Year' is consistent with Chandor's previous films, the financial-crisis drama 'Margin Call' and the Robert Redford survivalist saga 'All Is Lost.' These all are portraits of men in crisis, threatened by disasters with a deadline."
Portrait of Jason (1967)
"Jason's surnames have a Dickensian interpretive quality: The invented 'Holliday' testifies to his wish for a life of celebrity ease, while birth-name 'Payne' seems appropriate to his stories of a rough Southern childhood and a stay in a 'nut house.'"
"Miyazaki dispenses endlessly quotable observations. For example: 'Filmmaking only brings suffering... How do we know movies are even worthwhile? If you really think about it, is this not just some grand hobby?'"
The Overnighters (2014)
Dinosaur 13 (2014)
"A thematic companion to Berlinger's 'Paradise Lost' trilogy, 'Whitey' is less a portrait of the 'hands-on killer who ran amok in the city of Boston for almost 30 years' than an expose of the misdeeds of law enforcement..."
"'I think we need some closure,' is the opening line, spoken by a therapist; the scene is played for parody, but in fact its message is sincere: 'Cake' is the all-too-familiar story of a sad person's healing process."
American Sniper (2015)
"Eastwood presents Kyle as a type of intuitive artist-filmmaker. Painstaking and passionate about his work, he peers through lenses, makes adjustments to the focus and framing and creates mini-narratives about the characters. He calls the shots, literally."
"Hemsworth and Tang Wei are pretty but boring. They are to the movie as a food bolus is to the esophagus, a painful blockage that should have been removed to make room for the much more digestible and flavorful team of Viola Davis and Wang Leehom."
"With its kitschy bald eagle sculpture, its lesbian-hosted Fourth of July party and its mid-robbery salute of a war veteran ('We appreciate your service'), the latest McCarthy road trip is a celebration of American opportunity but also a muddled misfire."