Orange County Register

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Star Wars (1977) Vern Perry Star Wars is nothing short of pure unadulterated entertainment, something that has been sorely lacking in a great majority of recent films. EDIT
Posted Dec 21, 2015
Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith (2005) Craig Outhier Say what you want about Lucas' one-take directing style, his over-reliance on blue screens or his cheesy tendency to reference himself, but his imagination is as fertile as ever. EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2015
A- Iron Man (2008) Craig Outhier Led by Downey's career-resurrecting performance as billionaire weapons peddler Tony Stark, it proves just as indispensable to the movie's giddy escapist appeal as the seamless CGI effects and eye-popping pyrotechnics. EDIT
Posted Jun 15, 2015
A+ The Missing Picture (2013) Michael Sragow Panh fulfills his debts to the dead not just by adding to the visual record of genocide, but also by creating a transcendent work of art. EDIT
Posted Jan 5, 2015
A- Joyeux Noël (2005) Craig Outhier For all their friendship and yuletide charity, the men must return to battle, and the miracle of Christmas does little to alter the course of war. By the end of it, they must decide if they've witnessed their own grand illusion. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2014
B+ Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005) Craig Outhier Kiss Kiss is such a delightful bombardment, we barely notice that Black's convoluted, serpentine plot doesn't make a lick of sense. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2014
B Enchanted (2007) Craig Outhier In Enchanted, even the vermin whistle while they work. EDIT
Posted Dec 10, 2014
B+ The Dance of Reality (2013) Michael Sragow Say this about the godfather of midnight movies, Alejandro Jodorowsky: He loves a parade and he puts on a doozy EDIT
Posted Dec 8, 2014
C+ A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014) Michael Sragow Frank mostly overdoses on portentousness as he roots his solid hero in a city that fears coming to pieces. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2014
B This Is Where I Leave You (2014) Michael Sragow Director Levy and screenwriter Jonathan Tropper, who adapted his own novel, tone down or eliminate the wildest incidents in the book, but they're true to its depiction of a pent-up, discordant clan on the verge of a group nervous breakdown. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2014
B The Maze Runner (2014) Michael Sragow Ball is deft, though, at evoking claustrophobia of every kind, whether in the open-air prison of the Glade or the actual tight spaces of the Maze. And he elicits a hair-trigger performance from O'Brien. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2014
B The Skeleton Twins (2014) Michael Sragow What makes the movie memorable is the open-ended talent of its actors. They supply The Skeleton Twins with flesh and blood, some firm connective tissue and generous heart and soul. EDIT
Posted Sep 11, 2014
C+ The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (2013) Michael Sragow This movie resembles a Beatlemania version of an art house cult film. EDIT
Posted Sep 11, 2014
B+ Dolphin Tale 2 (2014) Michael Sragow Smith has an eye for knockabout farce and for untrammeled beauty, and his camera is always in the right place to capture the ecstatic sight of dolphins in motion. EDIT
Posted Sep 11, 2014
B- The Drop (2006) Michael Sragow In his final role, Gandolfini may be playing a mobbed-up man again, but he was too gifted an actor to repeat himself. EDIT
Posted Sep 11, 2014
A Starred Up (2013) Michael Sragow The British prison movie Starred Up has the excitement of a nonstop psychological cage fight, but its goal is enlightenment, not terror or cheap thrills. EDIT
Posted Sep 5, 2014
B+ Frontera (2013) Michael Sragow It captures the desperation of illegal immigrants and the confused rancor that often greets them on the American side of the border. EDIT
Posted Sep 5, 2014
D Innocence (2013) Michael Sragow The film is ridiculous without being enjoyably campy. EDIT
Posted Sep 4, 2014
B- The November Man (2014) Michael Sragow It's unfortunate that the shrewdness -- dare I say thought? -- that went into shaping Brosnan's aging hero doesn't extend to the rest of the movie. EDIT
Posted Aug 28, 2014
C+ Life of Crime (2013) Michael Sragow [Bey] steals every scene he's in. Unfortunately, in a film this pallid, that amounts to petty theft. EDIT
Posted Aug 28, 2014
B- The Last of Robin Hood (2013) Michael Sragow The Last of Robin Hood treads delicately on dangerous ground. Without being prurient or titillating, it could have dared to tell us more. EDIT
Posted Aug 28, 2014
B The Congress (2013) Michael Sragow The movie is a howl of pain at the technological and corporate takeover of our fantasy lives - and, increasingly, our real lives. EDIT
Posted Aug 28, 2014
B Love Is Strange (2014) Michael Sragow Lithgow, with his modulated flamboyance, and Molina, with his sad-eyed realism, are perfect individually and as a team. But the movie tends to drift away from an audience, because it's all sensibility, no sense. EDIT
Posted Aug 22, 2014
D If I Stay (2014) Michael Sragow The heroine lies in the coma, but the audience may feel brain-dead by the end of If I Stay. EDIT
Posted Aug 22, 2014
D Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014) Michael Sragow Miller's original comic-book frames serve narrative functions, but these movies are all grabby graphics, devoid of compelling style. EDIT
Posted Aug 22, 2014
B- The One I Love (2014) Michael Sragow First-time director Charlie McDowell and writer Justin Lader are skillful at subverting domestic-comedy clichés, and Moss and Duplass are superb at being tender, funny and borderline satiric. EDIT
Posted Aug 21, 2014
A- Frank (2014) Michael Sragow The movie roots the mask in mental illness without scanting Frank's artistic playfulness and power. The result is that rarity, a genuine pop tragicomedy. EDIT
Posted Aug 21, 2014
C- Are You Here (2013) Michael Sragow Are You Here is an infuriating blend of woozy farce, self-important social commentary and failed ambiguity. EDIT
Posted Aug 21, 2014
B The Dark Knight (2008) Timothy Mangan The Dark Knight is probably the smartest and most stylish action movie since the "The Matrix." It thinks and philosophizes. The subject it thinks and philosophizes about, perhaps not surprisingly, considering the times, is the Iraq war. EDIT
Posted Aug 20, 2014
C The Expendables 3 (2014) Michael Sragow The series did reignite a few careers and bring forth one decent popcorn movie (The Expendables 2). Rather than artificially extend its life, maybe the time has come to say Rest in Peace. EDIT
Posted Aug 15, 2014
A A Master Builder (2013) Michael Sragow A film that plays not as a theatrical antique, but as a crackling, profound entry in The Twilight Zone. EDIT
Posted Aug 14, 2014
B Life After Beth (2014) Michael Sragow First-time writer-director Baena casts the film slyly and directs individual sequences with a lot of sneaky wit. EDIT
Posted Aug 14, 2014
A- The Trip to Italy (2014) Michael Sragow The sumptuous views of gorgeous locations and savory foods combine with the improvised dialogue and behavior to give these movies a sensuous sort of spontaneity. EDIT
Posted Aug 14, 2014
C+ The Giver (2014) Michael Sragow Not even Streep and Bridges can lift The Giver beyond the level of a post-apocalyptic after-school special. EDIT
Posted Aug 14, 2014
D Into the Storm (2014) Michael Sragow This must be the only disaster movie in which presumably intelligent characters decide to hide from a storm in a storm drain. EDIT
Posted Aug 7, 2014
D What If (2013) Michael Sragow A film that is like one extended, excruciating anticlimax. EDIT
Posted Aug 7, 2014
A- The Dog (2013) Michael Sragow Outrageous, funny and sad. EDIT
Posted Aug 7, 2014
B- The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) Michael Sragow It's a rare delight to watch Puri and Mirren play off each other. EDIT
Posted Aug 7, 2014
D Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) Michael Sragow Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a reboot that plays as if it were made from a starter kit. Everything comes right out of the 2014 blockbuster catalog. EDIT
Posted Aug 7, 2014
B- Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Michael Sragow Pratt is their prime asset for turning the comedy up to 11. With him playing Star-Lord, you never question what Quill brings to the team: a sparkling, cracked esprit de corps. EDIT
Posted Aug 1, 2014
D Child of God (2013) Michael Sragow Too bad all this grungy intimacy renders him neither knowable nor fascinating as he hunkers down in a shack and then in a cavern that doubles as a crypt. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2014
C- Calvary (2014) Michael Sragow Self-conscious dialogue, stiff characterizations and unimaginative filmmaking prove to be a recipe for the forgettable. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2014
C Get On Up (2014) Michael Sragow Even as a musical celebration, the movie is a misfire. Instead of re-creating the ecstatic, improvisatory flow of Brown's stage act, the film cuts almost everything into glittering bits and pieces. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2014
B+ A Most Wanted Man (2014) Michael Sragow [Hoffman] scales his performance to Olympian heights, yet he elevates all his collaborators, too. EDIT
Posted Jul 25, 2014
B+ Happy Christmas (2014) Michael Sragow Happy Christmas is a jaunty domestic dramedy that covers some of the same territory as Neighbors under one roof, with characters who are smart, funny, endearing and unpredictable rather than boorish and silly. EDIT
Posted Jul 25, 2014
B Magic in the Moonlight (2014) Michael Sragow Allen hasn't lost his comic spark -- he's still in the midst of a comic revival. EDIT
Posted Jul 25, 2014
B Lucy (2014) Michael Sragow In the showiest sequence, Lucy's body starts exploding into bursts of confetti. Even then, Johannson holds everything together. She's the rare actress who brings conviction and clarity to flights of fancy. EDIT
Posted Jul 25, 2014
C- And So It Goes (2014) Michael Sragow The pieces of this would-be feel-good movie sink into place with a depressing thud. EDIT
Posted Jul 24, 2014
B+ Boyhood (2014) Michael Sragow Boyhood, at its best, boasts qualities that are usually under-valued in avant-garde work: tingling observations, unforced comedy and quirky, enduring charm. EDIT
Posted Jul 14, 2014
A- The Battered Bastards of Baseball (2014) Michael Sragow This film is a labor of love in which the sweat never shows. EDIT
Posted Jul 14, 2014