Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
The D Train (2015)
"With one genuinely surprising plot twist, it presents itself as a proud provocation and a challenge to both audience expectations and the 'bromance' subgenre; unfortunately, this 'Train' does not come to a stop until it has re-entered the safety zone. "
True Story (2015)
"How do you represent child murder onscreen without showing violence? Give this assignment to 25 film students, and it's possible 24 of them will come back with a shot of a teddy bear falling in slow motion. It's just such a shot that opens 'True Story.'"
The Wrecking Crew (2015)
Monsters: Dark Continent (2015)
"The evidence suggests director Tom Green is more a fan of Kathryn Bigelow and Terrence Malick than of Ray Harryhausen; that's not a bad thing, unless your Bigelow-influenced monster movie is pretentious and dreary."
The Salt of the Earth (2015)
Mad Max (1979)
Escape from New York (1981)
"Snake is Carpenter's fantasy alter ego, a man of uncompromised anti-authoritarianism. 'I don't give a f--- about your war, or your President,' Snake tells the police commissioner, voicing a sentiment that was hardly unusual during Carpenter's USC days."
"One of the Max-iest of the post-'Road Warrior' used-car-lots-of-the-apocalypse, the movie contains enough synthesizer-scored stuntwork, goofy plotting and odd dubbing ('Let's purloin that water!') to make it worthwhile for easily amused genre fans."
Class of 1984 (1982)
Thunder Road (1958)
"Bruce Springsteen borrowed its title and Burt Reynolds appropriated its anti-'revenooer' appeal, but just shy of its 60th anniversary, 'Thunder Road' remains very much the property of its actor-as-auteur leading man, Robert Mitchum."
The Boy Next Door (2015)
"A movie of bare chests (his) and orgasmic moans (hers), this is part psycho thriller, part cautionary sex fantasy, part Lifetime-level affirmation of the primacy of the traditional family and all testimony to the irresistibility of Jennifer Lopez."
" By turning the movie screen into a laptop, Gabriadze flattens the picture as surely as if he were an artist experimenting with painting in the 1950s; the lack of the illusion of depth makes each portion of the 'canvas' of potentially equal interest."
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
"In the 1979 'Mad Max,' a makeup-effects insert shot shows the doomed Toecutter's eyes bulging impossibly from his head in the instant before he collides with a truck; I felt similarly bug-eyed as I tried to take in the awesome spectacle of 'Fury Road.'"
Far From the Madding Crowd (2015)
Born Reckless (1959)
"Mamie Van Doren plays a saloon-singin', trick-ridin', saddle-horn-strokin' (really!) and 'good-looking piece of horse flesh' named Jackie. As the movie's leering poster promises: 'She's every big-time rodeo prize rolled into one... tight pair of pants!'"
The Black Scorpion (1957)
Beloved Sisters (2015)
"Its rewards include some remarkable performances (the girls' mother, Claudia Messner, is a standout); a convincing sense of time and place; and some romantic encounters with a genuine erotic charge."
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)