Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
Black Sea (2015)
"While the film doesn't cut nearly as deep as [the director's] The Last King of Scotland, it's nevertheless a suspenseful, taut thriller with political undertones that delivers on its low-key promises."
Still Alice (2015)
"It's Moore who really brings the film home. It's in her expression when the doctor gives his diagnosis and pessimistic prognosis. It's in the way she looks at her family, knowing there will come a time when she won't recognize them."
"Paddington...comes off as a charming character. The kind of character that children around the world have fallen in love with...But even with all the bear's charm, a plodding pace and a questionable plotline leave the film version less desirable to watch."
"A dim-witted, dullard of a thriller about hacking and terrorism for profit that has one saving grace: timeliness...Being current only gets you so far when the script is techno-babble nonsense and the acting is as wooden as the Sequoia National Forest."
"It may be coincidence that Selma reverberates with a particular timeliness...Still, it's thanks to director DuVernay and first-time features writer Paul Webb that the film has more than the luck of timing on its side."
The World Made Straight (2015)
"The performances are strong... and Earle is particularly memorable. The film glows with a dark energy when he's on screen. But it's too long, has a musical soundtrack that's often intrusive, and sometimes sags when it should be taut with tension"
John Wick (2014)
"Yet, for all the film's stylishness and a body count worthy of a small civil war, there's no getting around the fact that stiff, stoic Reeves -- who is capable of a few funny, deadpan lines -- isn't a particularly compelling lead action figure."
Dear White People (2014)
The LEGO Movie (2014)
"It's a smart, subversive tip of the hat to everything from American and Italian Westerns to horror movies, Jim Jarmusch, love stories, Iranian traditionalism and rock 'n' roll. Oh, and there's a vampire. "
Into the Woods (2014)
"The sly send-up of fantasy tropes and healthy doses of humor help Into the Woods feel very much like the books and films it gently satirizes, even as it stands on its own as a solid entry into the musical-fantasy genre."
"If nothing else, it's certainly better than the last time a good-looking Hollywood star decided to direct a movie about WWII. But the less said about George Clooney's The Monuments Men, the better ."
The Imitation Game (2014)
American Sniper (2015)
"But the adrenaline can't replace perception, and despite Eastwood's deft staging of the Iraqi scenes, they don't bring viewers any closer to understanding why Kyle insists on repeatedly returning to the war zones. "
"Phenom Quvenzhané Wallis proves her Oscar nomination for Beasts of the Southern Wild was no fluke. As a modern-day Annie, Wallis shines with her sweet portrayal. However, her performance alone can't save the film from being a dim adaptation."
"What the book communicates better than the movie is just how grueling the Pacific Coast Trail can be...But that's only a quibble. Like the book, the movie inspires wanderlust, whether the quest is for your body or your psyche."
Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)
"An even better special effect would have been having a main cast that actually reflects the Mediterranean/North African desert environment...There are darker-skinned actors on the screen, though they just happen to be all slaves, servants and soldiers."
"Disney has another hit in its repertoire with this heartfelt story of sisterly love and one of the few films released in 3-D this year that splendidly incorporates the technology into the plot line."
The Babadook (2014)
"Director Kent has made the kind of striking film that is going to have mainstream Hollywood haunting her like a Babadook in a bad mood. For the sake of her idiosyncratic vision, let's hope she doesn't frighten easily."
Penguins Of Madagascar (2014)
"However, even with all of well-intentioned references and good humor, Penguins doesn't break new ground. The film is fun, light-hearted fare that could be watched in the comfort of a long car ride to Grandma's house."
Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me (2014)
Low Down (2014)
"Whiplash is like one of those Buddy Rich solos the kid idolizes: hot, sweaty and in-your-face. Low Down is like the version of Billy Strayhorn's Lush Life played in one of this film's club scenes: somber, moody and cool to the touch."
"If it's more talky and less satisfying than its predecessor, the propulsive The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - largely because the conclusion won't come until next year with Part 2 - it's still a sporadically involving adventure."
"For 10 years and eight films we've gotten to watch these young actors grow as people, as performers and as characters. It has been a true coming-of-age saga, in the fullest and most moving sense of the term."
The Theory of Everything (2014)
"Anchored by a pair of mesmerizing performances from Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, the film almost functions as a more thoughtful companion piece to the blockbuster Interstellar, which also concerns itself with matters of the heart amid the cosmos. "
Big Hero 6 (2014)
"Big Hero 6 offers something for everyone: action, camaraderie, superheroes and villains. But mostly, Baymax offers a compassionate and healing voice for those suffering, and a hug that can be felt through the screen."
"Whereas 2001 is enigmatic and ethereal...Interstellar is far more prosaic and pedestrian...Still, it has moments of bombastic brilliance, an often moving performance from Matthew McConaughey, and, boy, at its best, is it something to look at."
Force Majeure (2014)
"Nightcrawler serves as a phenomenal showcase for Gyllenhaal, who is never less than riveting . A full package of tics, tension and breathless patter, this self-taught entrepreneur stops at nothing, evoking a Taxi Driver for the TMZ age."
"Whiplash is, at best, heightened realism. There's no way that Fletcher could have gotten away with his teaching methods without serious legal - or physical - pushback long before Andrew comes along. But, as drama, it's a crackling good time."
The Book of Life (2014)
"The Book of Life's meticulous, eye-popping visuals alone would be reason enough to upgrade to a 3-D seat. But once you hear the inspired renditions of Radiohead's Creep and Biz Markie's Just a Friend...you will be hooked on this tongue-in-cheek tale."
Men, Women & Children (2014)
"the moments when Men, Women & Children transcends its limitations and offers a raw-nerved portrait of the Internet-infected suburbs are powerful - nearly enough to forgive the film's diffuse focus and flab."
The Judge (2014)
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
The Hero of Color City (2014)
"It's a fun, fantastical tale for the toddler set but may not translate to older children who are too tied up with heady video games. For adults, it may take you back to a time when crayons were king."
" Director John Curran has a sense for visual grandeur. The landscape is ablaze with heat, dust, flies and a staggering loneliness. When a snake slithers across Davidson as she sleeps, you can almost feel its cold against the skin."
Good People (2014)
"Good People grinds to its predictable, pat conclusion and betrays its generally solid performances and respectable artistic pedigree. Sometimes good people do bad things, sometimes they just make movies that start well and end badly."
The Equalizer (2014)
"Just having Washington in the title role elevates the film from a tired rerun - complete with (yawn) brutal Russian mobsters - to a rousing, crowd-pleasing take on a movie formula, like a forgettable pop song turned into a dizzying jazz solo."
The Guest (2014)
"Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett have fashioned a sly, entertaining tip of the hat to '70s-era John Carpenter films that also works on its own terms as crafty popcorn entertainment that never devolves into parody."
The Pirates (2014)
The Drop (2014)
"Both Llewyn [Davis] and Frank may embody the spirit of the difficult musician, but Frank...is a more empathetic and engaging character, making Frank, the movie, a more bleakly funny yet ultimately touching film."
Kundo: Age of the Rampant (2014)
The One I Love (2014)
"A clever amuse-bouche of a movie built around a conceit that can't be talked about in any detail...Let's just say it might have been something worthy of a Twilight Zone episode if Rod Serling were an indie filmmaker in the 21st century."