Contra Costa Times

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Grease: Live! (2016) Chuck Barney An ambitious, exuberant and eye-boggling adaptation of Grease. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2016
A- The Dark Knight (2008) Barry Caine It's too long and Nolan tosses in too many twists near the end. But it delivers ongoing adrenalin rushes, mental popcorn to chew over and a rich atmosphere to get lost in. And it's impressive enough to rank as summer's strongest blockbuster. EDIT
Posted Aug 20, 2014
3.5/4 Phil Spector (2013) Chuck Barney Pacino and Mirren make for a dynamic pair. EDIT
Posted May 22, 2013
Behind the Candelabra (2013) Chuck Barney Odds are you won't be able to take your eyes off director Steven Soderbergh's luridly entertaining peek into the relationship between legendary pianist Liberace and his much younger lover, Scott Thorson. EDIT
Posted May 16, 2013
Game Change (2012) Chuck Barney That it works is testament to an astounding, Emmy-worthy performance by Moore, who plays Palin with nuance, and without a trace of parody. EDIT
Posted Aug 6, 2012
The Hunger Games (2012) Randy Myers The futuristic film is just as gripping and moving as the best-seller on which it's based. EDIT
Posted Mar 20, 2012
3.5/4 21 Jump Street (2012) Randy Myers It's a rowdy, massively entertaining ride done with wild wit and creative abandon. Now, bring on the sequel! EDIT
Posted Mar 15, 2012
3/4 Friends With Kids (2011) Randy Myers Westfeldt is so radiant, decent and likable that you, too, will fall in love with her. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2012
2.5/4 Project X (2012) Randy Myers Project X is the geeky teenage guy's ultimate fantasy gone insane. EDIT
Posted Mar 2, 2012
3/4 The Woman in Black (2012) Randy Myers Director Watkins and company are masters at getting under our skin and straight into our nightmares. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2012
3/4 Red Tails (2012) Randy Myers If you like history served up as engaging entertainment, where the fact is mixed with the fiction and the spectacle with the emotion, strap yourself in, because "Red Tails" is one fun ride. EDIT
Posted Jan 19, 2012
3.5/4 The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011) Randy Myers Fincher has a proven track record sifting through the dark corridors of human nature. Tattoo is welcome addition to that canon, a ripping yarn that never lags during its 2 hours and 40 minutes. EDIT
Posted Dec 20, 2011
3/4 Seducing Charlie Barker (2010) Karen D'Souza By the final frame, Charlie isn't the only one who gets his pants charmed off. EDIT
Posted Dec 8, 2011
3.5/4 Hugo (2011) Randy Myers The film demands patience from children and adults alike -- in fact, it's simply too slow for young viewers -- but like great literature, if you immerse yourself in it, the rewards are plentiful. EDIT
Posted Dec 1, 2011
3/4 My Week With Marilyn (2011) Randy Myers Just try to peel your eyes away from the blonde bombshell as she wistfully brings Marilyn's help-me vulnerability and sexy allure to life. EDIT
Posted Nov 22, 2011
2.5/4 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (2011) Randy Myers Of the four Twilight movies, Breaking Dawn -- Part I has the most going on and the most going for it. EDIT
Posted Nov 17, 2011
3/4 Puss in Boots (2011) Randy Myers I, for one, hope this darn cat and his friends return for another adventure. EDIT
Posted Oct 28, 2011
3/4 Margin Call (2011) Randy Myers Margin Call might not always be perfect, but it does a nearly perfect job of painting a Shakespearean portrait of both a financial and human crisis. Let's hope we can learn from it. EDIT
Posted Oct 20, 2011
3.5/4 50/50 (2011) Randy Myers Just like the many bits of advice that are so convincingly strewn throughout 50/50, it emphatically validates one of the most enduring ones: Laughter is indeed the best medicine, especially when the stakes are so high. EDIT
Posted Sep 29, 2011
4/4 Moneyball (2011) Randy Myers Moneyball astutely depicts money as the hot-button dividing line in our culture and reflects the value that true success comes not from wealth, but from having the vision to try something new, and the confidence to pursue it. EDIT
Posted Sep 22, 2011
3/4 Contagion (2011) Randy Myers Steven Soderbergh's grim and gripping medical thriller has arrived and it's guaranteed to turn you into a hypochondriac. EDIT
Posted Sep 8, 2011
3/4 Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010) Randy Myers Just when you thought the housing market couldn't get more frightening, along comes Guillermo del Toro to shiver more timbers. EDIT
Posted Aug 25, 2011
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) Randy Myers Like Caesar, this entertaining picture rises to the occasion and resoundingly exceeds expectations. EDIT
Posted Aug 4, 2011
3.5/4 Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011) Randy Myers The result is a charming romantic comedy that not only restores one's faith in the power of the genre, but may prove one of the summer's best films. EDIT
Posted Jul 28, 2011
B Horrible Bosses (2011) Randy Myers The raunchy comedy about a trio of fed-up employees who exact revenge on their freak-show employers wickedly doles out the just deserts, and that's what it makes it so much fun. EDIT
Posted Jul 8, 2011
C+ Larry Crowne (2011) Randy Myers In the end, Larry Crowne is watchable and undemanding, but it doesn't leave a lasting impression. EDIT
Posted Jun 30, 2011
D+ The Hangover Part II (2011) Randy Myers We've been on this bender before, and no matter how raunchy and un-PC The Hangover Part II is, there's no disguising that this is just warmed-up leftovers that will leave a nasty taste in your mouth. EDIT
Posted May 25, 2011
C Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) Randy Myers No matter how much Cruz and Depp squabble during the quest to find the Fountain of Youth, no real sparks fly. EDIT
Posted May 19, 2011
B The Beaver (2011) Tony Hicks Gibson's best performance in years saves the picture from its inconsistency. Few other actors could ride out the bumps in plot while delivering a believable performance. EDIT
Posted May 5, 2011
B Thor (2011) Randy Myers All in all, Thor is good, quick-witted superhero fun -- written, directed and acted by pros. EDIT
Posted May 5, 2011
3/4 Water for Elephants (2011) Randy Myers Elephants might not perform any new genre tricks, but that's OK. After all, a good story is a good story -- be it on the page or up on the screen. EDIT
Posted Apr 21, 2011
B- Scream 4 (2011) Randy Myers The big question is, has the Scream franchise lost its relevance, especially to a new generation? The answer is: No, but with qualifications. EDIT
Posted Apr 13, 2011
C- Your Highness (2011) Randy Myers There's a delightful sense of bawdiness in Chaucer and other medieval literature, but vulgarity seems the main intent of Your Highness, and the movie chokes on its own dreary discourtesies. EDIT
Posted Apr 7, 2011
C+ The Adjustment Bureau (2011) Randy Myers Even though [Damon and Blunt] look awfully cute scurrying around the streets of New York City, there's no escaping from the fact that this Bureau winds up merely spinning its wheels. EDIT
Posted Mar 3, 2011
B- I Am Number Four (2011) Randy Myers On a boring rainy day, you can count on Number Four for some good, dumb fun. EDIT
Posted Feb 18, 2011
A- Another Year (2010) Randy Myers Year's success rests heavily on its cast's and director's shoulders. And the performers, most stage veterans and Leigh alums, don't disappoint. EDIT
Posted Jan 14, 2011
B+ True Grit (2010) Randy Myers These highfalutin boys sure know how to wrastle up one spitfire of a Western. EDIT
Posted Dec 21, 2010
B+ I Love You Phillip Morris (2009) Randy Myers Carrey relies little on his physical theatrics to bring Russell alive, for which we are grateful. That toned-down approach results in one of the comedian's most complex performances yet, even if the shadows from previous roles creep in. EDIT
Posted Dec 3, 2010
B Love & Other Drugs (2010) Randy Myers Ultimately it's the chemistry -- that old-fashioned key ingredient in any successful love story -- that fires up Love & Other Drugs and reduces minor quibbles to ash. EDIT
Posted Nov 23, 2010
B The Next Three Days (2010) Randy Myers Faults and all, The Next Three Days is a pleasant surprise this fall -- a thriller that moves us while steering clear of the action cliches. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2010
A 127 Hours (2010) Randy Myers If Oscar overlooks Franco, it would be a travesty. It would also be a shame to avoid seeing 127 Hours simply because the subject matter makes you wince. EDIT
Posted Nov 12, 2010
B- For Colored Girls (2010) Randy Myers No question, Perry's Girls is compelling and powerful. But it's also a missed opportunity, one that fails to fully capitalize on mostly terrific performances and the story's timeless message. EDIT
Posted Nov 4, 2010
B+ Conviction (2010) Randy Myers The movie tells an unbelievable story, one that will outrage and -- yes -- inspire you. EDIT
Posted Oct 22, 2010
B+ Red (2010) Randy Myers The ensemble is terrific. These are pros at work here, and they not only show up the new action-star punks but prove they're far from expendable. EDIT
Posted Oct 14, 2010
B Secretariat (2010) Randy Myers This is a rousingly entertaining and robustly acted movie with electrifying horse-racing sequences filmed from the jockey's perspective. Now, how cool is that? EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2010
C+ Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010) Randy Myers If [Stone] had cut the bull and focused on the bullishness, he might have had a sequel worthy of its original. EDIT
Posted Sep 24, 2010
A- Catfish (2010) Randy Myers An intriguing and suspenseful documentary. EDIT
Posted Sep 15, 2010
B- Easy A (2010) Randy Myers Wielding an improbable vocabulary that would elicit a head scratch from Merriam-Webster and possessing a beautiful and expressive face, the 21-year-old redhead [Stone] makes you fall for her hard. EDIT
Posted Sep 15, 2010
A- The Tillman Story (2010) Randy Myers Bar-Lev summons us to remain defiant when our government demands complacency, and never to falter in our purpose even if the outcome eventually leaves so much still unresolved. EDIT
Posted Sep 2, 2010
C+ Cairo Time (2009) Randy Myers Minus Patricia Clarkson's pitch-perfect performance, the lovely to look at but monotonously paced Cairo Times would wind up less satisfying. EDIT
Posted Aug 26, 2010