The Theory of Everything (2014)
"It has the slick sheen of prestige Oscar-bait, and its frustrating that it views this most unique relationship-one which surely has more contradictions and asterisks than 99 percent of marriages-through the same lens of every other rose-colored biopic."
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
It Happened One Night (1934)
"Viewed even today with all of its plot elements recycled ad nauseam by Hollywood (for rom-coms, road trip comedies, odd couple/buddy films, etc.), the film still holds up because we believe Gable and Colbert and can identify with them both right away."
"Gyllenhaal's character isn't actually obsessed with real-life tragedy and carnage. Instead, his predatory creep has something else on his mind: success. Lou is a product of his generation - a DIY careerist, unburdened by a conscience."
"Even though the film is laser-focused, both Teller and Simmons reveal a remarkable amount of character depth and shading, elevating the clever screenplay to a challenging statement about modern culture."
"Besides being padded with scenes that go on too long and drive home the same story beat that's already been established, Mockingjay - Part 1 is just plain dull. There's only one major plot revelation in the entire movie, and it's obvious from the outset. "
"There are certain things audiences have come to expect from the plots of motion pictures, and even in 2014, L'avventura feels angry and fresh because it upends those expectations gleefully. Being anti-plot doesn't necessarily mean that its plotless."
"It's a lot of things-a backstage drama, an absurdist comedy, a quasi-autobiographical revelation, a self-aware jab at blockbusters, a wannabe social-media age satire, and a piece of technically superior magical realism-but one thing it isn't, is subtle."
St. Vincent (2014)
The Vanishing (Spoorloos) (1988)
"It's the rambling middle section that sticks out, partially because of an emotionally satisfying final turn that keeps things appropriately dark. Being artistically pure is no simple thing, and Frankis an apt symbol for outsider artists everywhere."
Gone Girl (2014)
"A trashy, scattershot serial-drama-cum-media satire that's more agenda-based than character-based. One day we'll look back and chuckle at how seriously people took Gone Girl the same way we do now at Fatal Attraction."
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
"There's plenty of action, of course, but it's the heart and humor, delivered consistently throughout Guardians of the Galaxy, that make this tongue-in-cheek space opera the perfect fit for the 21st Century."
The Expendables 3 (2014)
"There are no surprises to be found here. The Expendables 3 is exactly what you'd think it is-a disappointing mish-mash of a throwback, trading in on its star power, with its eye safely fixed on producing more sequels"
God's Pocket (2014)
"Clearly allegorical, but what exactly it speaks to (some personal version of familial unrest, no doubt) is probably different for everyone. Regardless, it's a fascinating film with darkly comic moments that bears repeated viewings."
A Most Wanted Man (2014)
"Smith deserves props for following this whimsy all the way through, but all things considered, Tusk is a suspense-less, predictable film that's seriously hampered by a lack of narrative invention and unique style."
"... has a slow and natural progression, as Anderson's oceanographer searches for the shark that killed his partner, getting sidetracked by every possible diversion along the way. The diversions are kind of where it's at."
"Franju's lack of serious coaching in the acting department shows how little he cared for things like motivation and subtlety. Instead he gets his kicks fashioning surreal set pieces that transcend the melodrama that the plot seems designed to support."
The Rover (2014)
"Snowpiercer alternates between sudden violence, high camp, and heavy-handed political allegory with breakneck speed, and even when its disjoined plot mechanics seem a little too convenient, it's brimming with new cinematic technique."
Jodorowsky's Dune (2014)
Life Itself (2014)
"Over 60 years later, Ace in the Hole has lost none of its sharpness. The only thing that's hard to believe about the movie is that Wilder and his co-screenwriters could have been this far ahead of the curve in their criticism of the media. "
"There's several moments where the titular character sits around watching other people and waiting for things to happen. In order to re-invent it from her POV, there were bound to be a lot of things that don't make sense, such as believable motivations."
"A foreboding aura manifests itself, and what Gareth Edwards and cinematographer Seamus McGarvey do throughout all of the giant monster scenes is keep them in perspective, framing every shot of the monster with scale in mind."
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
"Shows Singer exercising some much-needed control over the franchise he built 14 years ago and wrangling a lot of loose ends -- a welcome return, and although the material itself is a little unwieldy, it successfully brings together characterizations."
Stage Fright (2014)
"Kurosawa was drawing influence from American directors like John Ford, so its an enjoyable film, but sometimes the movies that influenced a generation of filmmakers lose some of their luster because they've been borrowed from so many times."
"Remove the supernatural threat and you have a film that preys on the sometimes scary dynamic of any dysfunctional family. Leave it in and you have a genuinely creepy ghost story that spotlights some nightmarish scenarios without resorting to gore."
Bettie Page Reveals All (2013)
"Mori hammers home her status as a pop culture icon to a numbing degree, perhaps because parts of Bettie's spotty narration gloss over huge chunks of her life while other portions reduce what might otherwise seem fascinating to one-dimensional levels."
Under the Skin (2014)
"Aptly named, it feels otherworldly. It explores the the difference between simply being sentient and actually becoming sympathetic. As a moviegoing experience, it is thrillingly alive, hearkening back to the heyday of '70s art cinema."
Nymphomaniac: Volume II (2014)
"Somehow, despite all the meta digressions, unlikely coincidences, and nihilistic tendencies of von Trier's storytelling (the ending certainly subscribes to this leaning), a convincing sense of sadness and loss comes through."
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
"It stubbornly adheres to old-school comic conventions and can sometimes feel like an episode of the cheesy '60s Batman TV series. This may drive some audiences batty, but as classical tribute, the throwback strategy is quite charming."
"A cynical piece of trash that thinks it's smarter than it is. It's what happens when filmmakers mistake "violent" and "unlikable" as keywords for gritty adult entertainment. None of those traits matter if your movie is just plain stupid."
"Yes, kids should embrace individuality, and yes, they should think for themselves. But this thinly veiled metaphor can be rough going sometimes, and the humorless, dumb script asks way too much of its cast."
The Book Thief (2013)
"Zusak's story is stirring, and it holds the film up during most of its predictable parts, but The Book Thief never rises too far above that. The narration from Death only serves to make it more like some sort of fantastical fairy tale."
300: Rise of an Empire (2014)
"Hitting the same story beat four times in one movie isn't very common (and a really bad idea), but it isn't concerned with telling a story so much as it's on a rinse-and-repeat cycle of purging CGI blood as and one-upping the last big battle."
"an interesting diversion that holds a lot of promise at first, is pleasant but generally underdelivers throughout, and then almost redeems itself with a last-minute twist that almost makes sense considering the movie's core weakness."
The Armstrong Lie (2013)
"The satire's still there, albeit not as angry and more obvious, and the targets have shifted. It may not have the original's subversive nutso attitude but there's a couple of crazy surprises up its sleeve and a surprisingly engaging story."
3 Days To Kill (2014)
That Awkward Moment (2014)