Marcus Hambright's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Avengers: Age of Ultron

All the fun and wit that made the first Avengers so delightful was noticeably absent here. Age of Ultron has lots of inane action that does nothing to move the story or it's bland characters forward.

Le Feu follet (A Time to Live and a Time to Die) (The Fire Within)

Beatifully acted by lead Maurice Ronet, The Fire Within is a personal look into the last hours of a suicidal man. Recovering alcoholic Alain sets out on a trek to see disillusioned characters from his past one last time. Surrounding himself with his past friends does little to nothing to assuage his loneliness as he numbly idles from person to person. Each visit reminds him of a life of destructive energy and vigor that he relinquished to try and save his failed marriage. The Fire Within is exactly what it seems to be. It asks powerful questions that expose the nature of a man of extremes.

Judex
Judex(1963)
½

A remake of and homage to the awesome serials of Louis Feuillade, this masterfully crafted crime caper is beautifully shot, well acted and quite entertaining. With villains and heroes to spare, Judex effortlessly and briskly mixes revenge, social issues, family, magic, and some acrobatics for an engaging and moody ride that keeps you sitting firmly on the edge of your seat. Recommended.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I was pretty surprised that this movie was as good as it is (it's good) because I think Captain America is a pretty lame superhero. The acting and action are both excellent, the pacing is good, and the score is pretty good. There isn't much time wasted anywhere, and more or less every scene is relevant and necessary to the main plot. The Winter Soldier guy was a very interesting character. My only beef, which I noticed on my second viewing and did not notice at all on my first, was that during the final crunch time battle royale at the end of the movie, the young guys went out to do the heavy lifting, the women mostly stood around and typed and gave status updates (you've got 2 minutes, Captain!, 2 down, 1 to go!) and the old guys went back and forth debating big picture/above-everyone else's-paygrade type stuff. Aside from the sexism/ageism during the grand finale, it's totally worth seeing.

Bellflower
Bellflower(2011)
½

A very low budget film that has some great things going for it, though it is quite rough around the edges. The plot, though very uneven, starts out pretty straight forward but takes some dark, twisted turns. I am quite interested to see what this director could do with a larger budget.

The Secret World of Arrietty
½

A fun Studio Ghibli film, though not one that Miyazaki himself had much of a hand in. The animation is wonderful and the story is cute. It isn't as awe-inspiring as Spirited Away or Howl's Moving Castle, but very few films are.

RoboCop
RoboCop(2014)
½

A very unnecessary remake that doesn't bring much new to the table. It did some things played out differently than the original, and the action was more flashy, but it seems somewhat hollow when compared to the original.

Enemy
Enemy(2014)

This is my kind of movie. It is definitely not for everyone. The pacing is very slow (compared to most modern cinema) and the people in the film would rather not say what's on their mind and keep their secrets about what's really going on to themselves (rather than constantly thinking out loud). The setup is extremely fascinating and it brings about some really thought provoking questions. And that ending... If you enjoyed Mulholland Drive, Solaris (1972), and Jacob's Ladder, you'll probably like this too.

Sound of Noise

Not the greatest of movies, but it's a ridiculous amount of fun.

Dry Summer (Susuz yaz)
½

A good movie that ends up having some great twists and turns. It's interesting in that the movie follows the antagonist around. The construction of the story seems a bit rough. The acting is fairly good and the cinematography is nice. I would never have watched this movie if I knew they were going to kill a dog. The scene of them doing so seems to randomly come out of nowhere, so there's no foreshadowing of the event. They really kill the dog, too - no movie trickery or special effects. I wish I could unsee/unhear that...

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

A very pretty movie. Now that I have the compliments out of the way, this film was about an hour and a half too long. Endless chase scenes and heavy handed attempts to link The Hobbit to Lord of the Rings. They stretched the original material way too far and the extra plot they came up with for this film was awful. I knew this was going to be a desperate cash grab, but if I'd have known how desperate, I would have waited until this was on disc. But, it is a very pretty movie.

Marketa Lazarová

This film oozes texture and mood. The production is amazing. It feels more like a glimpse into the past, rather than actors and crew recreating it. The music and sound design create a dreamy lull where you don't mind so much that the characters are morally reprehensible. More art house than action, it is gritty and brutal, yet thought provoking, yet thrilling. More than any of these things, Marketa Lazarova is a visual and auditory marvel.

Spring Breakers
½

Harmony Korine has a knack for showing the things that society celebrates in a more realistic way than people would like to see them. This movie, like his others, has over the top sex, drugs, drinking, violence, partying, etc, and the audience is angered because of the context he puts things in. When you pick up an US Weekly, or watch a reality show, all of the same elements are masqueraded around and people can't get enough of them. There are so many bad reviews for this movie because it makes people feel guilty for their obsessions.

Trance
Trance(2013)

An ok movie. Were it not for such capable and talented people working on this film, it would be horrible. Entertaining, but desperately twisty/turny in places.

Gravity
Gravity(2013)

the movie almost immediately creates an amazing sense of urgency and never lets up. the performances are amazing. the unrealistic physics pissed me off on a few occasions, but the movie is so intense that stuff mostly didn't matter (mostly). Even though it's such an adrenaline filled roller coaster ride, Gravity is an incredibly emotional, personal, and touching film. The psychological obstacles the cast has to overcome are just as menacing as they physical ones, and both are incredibly interesting and awing to behold.

42
42(2013)

the acting is solid and the storytelling is bland. it has a good pace and kept me entertained. it focuses much more on what Jackie Robinson meant to culture than what he meant to baseball, which I think is how the story should be told.

Sharknado
Sharknado(2013)

I suppose it met my expectations, which means I was disappointed and wanted that 90 minutes of my life back. It was mildly entertaining and didn't take itself too seriously. It is as absurd as the title.

À nos amours (To Our Loves) (Suzanne)
½

I can see why they call Maurice Pialat the John Cassavettes of French cinema. This is a wonderful drama about a girl's transition into adulthood and the distress it causes an already disintegrating family. There is a jump in time at the end of the movie where I was a bit lost, but otherwise amazing.

Seven Chances

pretty great all the way through, but in case you didn't happen to skim through any other reviews, the chase scene at the end is one of the best and most epic in cinematic history. Buster's gags are always inventive, but the span and scope of that scene is marvelous. The rest of the movie is great light-hearted comedy, but man... that last 15 minutes is just amazing.

Promised Land

uneven and predictable, but good performances mostly somewhat make up for what it's lacking.

Pacific Rim
Pacific Rim(2013)

completely absurd but terribly entertaining. i lost all interest when the movie was becoming plot heavy, but the robots fighting the monsters was pretty awesome. i can't hate this movie too much for being so terrible, though. it's quite obvious that the filmmaker's sole purpose in making Pacific Rim was to entertain. no thought-having necessary for entertainment like this.

Popiól i diament (Ashes and Diamonds)
½

A very interesting character study. The film would be a complete failure if not for the superb performance of Cybulski. The premise revolves around a man is torn between primal urges and selfish needs and the good of his entire country and way of life, which would be absurd without the context of the film. And, oh yeah, the imagery is amazing.

Star Trek Into Darkness

Like the first film in the rebooted Star Trek franchise, the production value takes the front seat here. There's lots of great character and a story to boot. Benedict Cumberbatch and Chris Pine are especially great, but the performances of the whole crew are good. Not as good as the first one in the reboot, but still good. Plus, someone yells, "KHAN!!!". That' makes it all worthwhile.

Mud
Mud(2013)

A wonderful coming of age tale with great performances all around. I didn't think the final act really brought everything together as poignantly as it could have, but still an awesome movie. I've loved all of Jeff Nichol's films thus far and he's definitely one to watch. I wasn't a big fan of McConaughey at the beginning of his career, after this and the past couple he's done, I'm really looking forward to what he does next.

Sawdust and Tinsel

A powerful movie with phenomenal performances. I don't think the movie is the downer that most of the other reviews here do, though. The characters do have a rough time but I think that's just how things go. You end up having all sorts of feelings about anything you're truly passionate about or really good at, but at the end of the day, you deal with the good stuff just like you deal with everything else. This movie is about characters having crises of faith, love, purpose, life, and death, but I think that the hopelessness that the movie really explores is the hopelessness of having everything figured out. And its a circus movie!

Life of Pi
Life of Pi(2012)

A seriously beautiful movie. The cinematography was superb. If you aren't completely enamored by the visuals though, it is pretty slow. Not too much happening aside from heavy-handed metaphors. And the end. I would have liked it more if (spoilers!) the main character hadn't told me that there was a much more human story that was covered up in children's fantasy. I prefer that one.

Argo
Argo(2012)
½

Good momentum. The last act is especially tense. Pretty amazing editing. Great acting. Argo pulls off being great in the way every film snob wants it to be, but at the same time is so much fun to watch. It strikes such a perfect balance between comedy, drama, and tension, while creating a fully realized, living, breathing world. Awesome production design. I liked it.

Le Notti di Cabiria (Nights of Cabiria)

A heartbreaking tale of innocence never lost. Cabiria sees the world as she chooses to, instead of how it is. Beautifully shot and wonderfully acted. The script is smart and the film has a nice momentum. This is one of the few times that you see the ending coming for a mile away, but that only makes it all the more impactful. It's impossible not to empathize with Cabiria's infectious optimism.

Oz the Great and Powerful

Oz is a really pretty movie. The story, however, is pretty thin and, frankly, a bit misogynistic. To think that all it took to drive the wicked witch of the west to wickedness was (spoilers!) a conversation with her sister over whether or not the wizard was also crushing on her is preposterous. Not only is that just bad screenwriting, its shameful to be so lazy about what is ultimately the catalyst for all of the conflict in the film. There are a lot of great shots and, again, a whole lot of really pretty special effects, so if you like your movies with no substance and all glam, look no further. This is the movie for you.

Zombi 2
Zombi 2(1980)
½

It took me a long time to watch this "classic". I think it earns that status. It can be slow and the people make awful decisions, but seriously... have you ever tried running and screaming at the same time? It's hard! Much easier to stand there and scream THEN try to find time to run at the last second (or not at all). Seriously though... The zombie make-up is really great and the gore is about on par with today's standards. I know every other reviewer mentions it but there is a zombie/shark fight. It's a fun movie, but it's hard not to take it seriously because some parts of it are really well done. Others kind of drag it down... Uneven. That's what I'm try to say.

Flypaper
Flypaper(2011)

Implausible and an absolute mess, but a lot of fun if you're able to disregard its flaws and take it for what it is.

My Darling Clementine
½

To my knowledge, this is the first hit adaption of the story of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, and the O.K. Corral. John Ford is a master of the Western genre and the directing, pacing, and cinematography here are iconic. The acting is amazing and the set pieces are epic. I watched this because I saw it on AFIs top 400 films list and it whole-heartedly deserves to be there.

Tiny Furniture
½

Chatty and personal. Not too much going on narrative wise, but the dynamics and interactions between the characters are interesting. The people aren't very likeable, but they are fun to watch. A really smart script.

Fat Kid Rules the World

Folows a pretty basic coming of age plot but does a better job at it than most. Great acting all around and tons of heart. Matthew Lillard's directorial debut is way more successful than it isn't and I'm interested to see what he does next.

All Superheroes Must Die
½

Vs does a lot with a very modest budget. The acting is decent and the characters are interesting. The story has lots of holes in it and a lot of unanswered questions, but the movie does a good job of distracting you if you allow it to draw you in. I'd be really curious to see what Jason Trost could do with this concept with a decent budget.

The Body Snatcher

Boris Karloff is amazing, per usual, in this Val Lewton produced, Robert Wise directed mystery thriller. It really is about a time and place as much as anything else. Set in the 1830s, medicine was not very advanced, anesthetic did not exist, and the world was reeling with news of the Burke and Hare mass murders. The story is wall paced and decent. Recommended

Dracula
Dracula(1931)
½

Eerie and creepy without being violent. It's about as effective today as I'm sure it was more than 80 years ago. The lack of music is really unsettling and makes the movie get under your skin that much more. Bela gives a fantastic, timeless performance and is very deserving of the noteriety and fame the role brought him.

The Revenant
The Revenant(2012)

lots of good fun. witty writing and an interesting take on the overdone undead movie.

Vertigo
Vertigo(1958)
½

A great murder mystery! It is a bit hard to get too involved, as all of the characters are scoundrels, but it's a fantastic film.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Audrey Hepburn was delightful in this charming little movie. I liked everything throughout but thought the ending was a bit sad. Do people really expect to change others to be how they'd rather them be? Against their will?

Kyuketsuki Gokemidoro (Body Snatcher from Hell)(Goke the Vampire)
½

It can be cheesy, and the acting isn't so wonderful all the time, but the characters sort of make logical decisions considering what unique and varied backgrounds they come from (Lost anyone?). The visuals and effects are a lot of awesome fun. It's a good ride, and the ending warrants an extra star.

Lincoln
Lincoln(2012)
½

A great story, wonderfully acted by everyone. Lincoln has a great momentum that never lets up and makes the 2 and a half hours fly by. The story can be a bit dry at times, as it gives a whole lot of facts without always humanizing them, but as a whole it was quite enjoyable.

Letter Never Sent (Neotpravlennoye pismo)

The plot seems like a vehicle for the beautiful cinematography. Not to say the story isn't interesting or well done. It is, though a bit simple and predicatable. The acting is good, but everything takes a back seat to the amazing visuals. Beautiful mountains, an epic forest fire, the destroyed landscape, and Siberian winter.

Green for Danger

A fun little murder mystery. Things feel a bit slow until Alastair Sim shows up, but then the film has a nice pace and good momentum. The mystery was well done, but I felt like it only kept me guessing because it was a bit far-fetched. It was quite fun, though.

Beneath The Darkness
½

cliche after cliche. The only real mystery is why Dennis Quaid would waste his time on such drivel.

Goon
Goon(2012)

Way better than I thought it would be. If there was ever a movie that made me think Sean William Scott could be a serious actor, this is it. He was so great. Goon is your average sports movie (you know the plot already), but Sean William Scott's character was interesting enough to keep me interested.

Dark Shadows
Dark Shadows(2012)
½

They burn through the plot in the first 20 minutes and then fill the remaining 90+ minutes with some decent comedy without really adding anything to the story. It was darker than the cover or trailer led me to believe it would be, which I liked, and it was mildly entertaining. Most of the movie consists of the characters wallowing in their situations instead of having any sort of arc. And the climax was very lackluster and very predictable.

Taken
Taken(2009)
½

Pretty entertaining. They sacrifice some believability and continuity for the sake of pacing, but the momentum keeps it tense and exciting enough to where that doesn't matter too much.

Looper
Looper(2012)

Looper was very entertaining. The acting was top notch, especially the kid. It was superbly paced; not afraid to slow things down to let everyone get up to speed. The best thing about it though, was that it was smart enough to make me ponder about the world it created, instead of nitpick about flaws. I still did that a bit, but it did a great job drawing me into it's world and holding me there.

The Three Stooges

I went into this movie knowing I was going to hate it, but realized that my expectations were way wrong. This is definitely a dumb, pointless film with a thin plot, bad acting, and played out jokes. I was disappointed in that but then realized that the Three Stooges I watched and loved as a kid consisted of dumb, pointless films with thin plots, bad acting, and repetitive jokes. I think the Farrellys actually did a good job in being faithful to the originals. They knew they'd never be able to capture that magic, but they had a lot of fun with it and made a not awful film. I'm not saying it's a great movie, but I surprised that I didn't hate it.

The Cabin in the Woods
½

An original take on the tired horny-dumb-helpless-teenager genre. Yes, there is a twist, but it's mostly revealed before we see anything else. Like any good movie though, the twist isn't what makes this great. Most of what happens is just like every other cabin in the woods movie that you've seen, but the writing here is so superb that even the cliche'd, played out bits are still fresh and exciting. And when things get crazy, well... things get crazy.

Hugo
Hugo(2011)
½

For an homage to true cinema, this movie was quite dull. This movie is a propaganda film to make kids want to save old films, with itself completely devoid of all the amazing and wonderful things found in old films. Scorsese focused so much on communicating to the audience how important film is to history and culture, that he forgot to add character development, or an interesting story. Old film was about doing so much with so little, and Scorsese's film is the polar opposite.

Prometheus
Prometheus(2012)

Its rare that Hollywood puts out an actual sci-fi movie instead of an action movie masquerading as sci-fi. While Prometheus does have some very well done action, it is more about asking (and mostly not answering) some interesting questions about the origins of humanity and what it means to be human. The standard, cliche elements you'd expect (aliens, double crosses, the group being split up, etc) are well done and do not distract. It does have its flaws, but its so well paced that you only notice them in retrospect. I had high hopes for this one, though I expected disappointment as I haven't really liked many of Ridley Scott's movies for the past 20 years. Prometheus left me very pleasantly surprised and possibly even a bit less nauseated by the prospect of his making another Blade Runner movie.

Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom)

I think this is the only time satan allowed a film crew into hell to make a documentary. Everything that happens on screen (and off) is truly awful, but Pasolini filmed Salo in such a way that there is a sense of detachment from what would normally be very engaging and intense moments. The intentionally wooden performances and complete lack of close-ups creates a distance between the viewer and the film that almost makes what is presented almost bearable. You don't feel close to any character, though you get to know them in very, very intimate ways. Salo forces the audience to challenge the way it reacts to sex, torture, and all forms of depravity. This was Pasolini's response to how our carnal desires were constantly being exploited by society. The way you feel after watching this movie is probably exactly how he felt after watching a Bond film... completely dead inside.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2
½

A really great conclusion to the series. I only give it four stars because, while this movie was amazing, it could never work as a stand-alone film. It would make absolutely no sense without the other 6. The acting was great, the story had a real emotional weight, and it challenged your perceptions of characters. Well done.

The Dark Knight
½

everyone keeps saying heath ledger this and heath ledger that. and I gotta say. its completely warranted. I can't even look at the joker and see heath ledger portraying the joker. I just see the joker. and he's so menacing. he's one of the greatest movie villains in history. and the rest of the movie is almost as amazing. which is a bold statement indeed. and IMAX is the way to see it.

Step Brothers

its completely worth seeing for the rape scene.

Take Shelter
Take Shelter(2011)
½

Take Shelter creates a powerful uneasiness and tension without getting in the way of the very human, tender performances by it's fantastic leads. A character study with the heart of a thriller, or vice versa.

Drive
Drive(2011)
½

Drive, like Nicolas Winding Refn's Valhalla Rising, takes a very restrained take on action filmmaking. This pacing allows the audience time to draw their own conclusions and allows the film to create real, palpable tension. This tension is intensified by the characters, who only speak when they have something that needs to be said instead of constantly recapping events for the audience's sake. Fantastic.

50/50
50/50(2011)

This movie made heavy, depressing subject matter accessible and entertaining while still having reverence for the severity of the situation. The script and acting were sincere and it was quite funny and touching.

Come and See (Idi i smotri)

This makes the majority of war movies feel like they were filmed on Sesame Street. The closest description I can think of is The Thin Red Line meets Inglorious Basterds meets Ivan's Childhood.

Duck Soup
Duck Soup(1933)

I suppose this is the first time I've seen the Marx Brothers, otherwise I would have known to steer clear. Their humor is just not for me. Watching three idiots act like jerks to every and revelling in how much they're annoying everyone, without any repercussions whatsoever just isn't my cup of tea. I might have enjoyed this when I was 3 and hadn't developed things like morals and ethics yet.

The Illusionist (L'illusionniste)
½

A sad movie about life's transitions and how magic unfolds into reality.

Battleship Potemkin

This is one of the most important and imitated films in history as it was the first to every have a montage, and it uses them quite often. This technique is especially impactful in silent film (which this is). The tension is build fantastically here as the images of working sailors, rampaging soldiers, advancing battleships, and fleeing townsfolk are edited to the beat of the tense music. The movie is mostly about the working class overcoming the tyranny of oppressive leadership, and it is filled with propaganda (raise the red flag!). Despite the somewhat bland story, the imagery and pacing definitely make this film worth seeing today.

8 1/2
8 1/2(1963)

A brilliant film about the effects of the pressures of responsibility on the creative process. Marcello Mastroianni is absolutely fantastic as a director trying to make a personal, autobiographical film but it's too personal for him to express. Reality mixes flawlessly with dreams and fantasy. And Fellini can't seem to help but portray everyone's ups and downs as wondrous events in the carnival of life.

Z
Z(1969)
½

Winner of Best Editing and Best Foreign Film at the 1969 Oscars, the political thriller Z is still extremely effective today. A Leftist politician is murdered at a huge protest rally and conspiracy ensues. Z is loosely based on real events and starts out warning that any resemblance to real people and events is entirely INTENTIONAL. If only directors today were this bold. This is one of those movies where not a moment is wasted, and absolutely everything is there to enhance the story, and it is a great story.

My Winnipeg
My Winnipeg(2007)

Guy Maddin's nostalgic documentary on his lifetime home gives us a fascinating history of the coldest city in the world. Shot in his usual style which comes off like a modern take on silent film, with lots of narration, the occasional inter titles, and a all of the camera/editing tricks from the genesis of cinema. Most of the movie looks like stock footage and Guy even throws in a bit of animation here and there. His story of Winnipeg consist of both milestones in the city's history as well as sentimental stories of his growing up there. Guy Maddin always dances such a fine line its difficult to take everything here as fact, but this makes My Winnipeg just as bizarre and fantastic as any of his other films.

Stalker
Stalker(1979)

One of the most visually striking movies I am likely to see. The film is more of a tone poem than anything else, meaning it asks a lot of interesting questions and moves at a very slow pace. The Zone, the alien inhabited part of Russia in the film, was visually striking, but I didn't really feel the sense of impending danger that was painted by the characters - supposedly danger was around every corner, but nothing ever happens or even almost happens. Stalker is most definitely worth watching for the cinematography and production design, just keep in mind it is a very slow, very long, very Russian movie.

The Proposition

This is the best western that's come out in a long time. The story revolves around three outlaw brothers in 1900's Australia. One brother has to choose between the life of his older, stronger brother or the life of the younger, more innocent brother to pay for the crimes they have all committed. The script and music are fantastic, as is the pacing and cinematography. As much a character study as it is plot driven, and as lyrical and poetic as it is brutally violent. The Proposition is an unrelenting, modern take on a neglected genre.

Chungking Express
½

Two stories about two cops idle after their breakups. This movie is not very story driven but does a great job keeping your attention with it's fantastic camera work and unpredictable, quirky characters. Beautifully shot and acted, these two strangely upbeat and different stories about loneliness paint a different portrait of relationships than most directors would dare.

Super
Super(2011)

Frank loses his wife and overcompensates to get her back. He becomes a superhero in the real world, where there are consequences for such outlandish behavior. The movie is also very darkly hilarious. This is one of those movies that the majority of people won't get but will eventually get the cult following it strongly deserves. The entire cast is great, especially the hyper enthusiastic Ellen Paige. Super isn't afraid to tackle the tougher moral/ethical issues. Normal people don't do things like this, and Super doesn't try to hide that these people are crazy.

The Great Dictator
½

Chaplin's first all talking picture was an opportunity for him to make himself heard in more ways than one. He was very upset over what was happening in the world (WWI, the build up to WWII) and he used this movie as a vehicle to express how he felt about it. This turned out to be some truly dark material to spoof, but I think he knew what he was getting himself into, as he continually defended this film throughout his life. At its heart, it is still very much what people envision when they think of Chaplin, brilliant slapstick and the little man struggling against the powers that be while trying to win the heart of the woman he loves. Its also an attack on the absurdity of power struggles and a warning that if Hitler isn't curbed, something horrible is going to happen, which it most certainly did.

Our Idiot Brother

Paul Rudd plays a really easy going guy who acts like he wants the world to act. This results in his getting dumped on and taken advantage of a lot. People also tend to open up to him because he's just so easy going and nonjudgmental. His character makes for a pretty hilarious movie that isn't exactly plot heavy. With an excellent supporting cast, this character study is funny and has a lot of heart.

Crazy, Stupid, Love.
½

Slightly better than the average romantic dramedy, but it still suffers from too many cliches to warrant a higher rating. It did make me laugh out loud quite a few times, and it also made me groan.

I Am Curious (Blue) (Jag är nyfiken - en film i blått)

An interesting mix of documentary and fiction, sex and politics. It does a good job of expressing the passion of youths to explore, define, and change their world.

Nattvardsgästerna (Winter Light)
½

This film consists of broken, afraid characters. They are each selfishly stuck in their own realities yet feel this gives them a better connection to their world. A priest has lost all hope, a man is afraid of nuclear holocaust, and a woman is infatuated with the priest. Each person is beyond help and lives life as an exercise of repetition and ritual to avoid accepting the true nature of their lives. Not a happy movie, but quite affecting.

Såsom i en Spegel (Through A Glass Darkly)
½

A beautiful movie with a superbly acted, moving story. A young woman gradually slides into insanity and impacts the lives of her family. Her stark moments of clarity amidst her madness lend an interesting and profound perspective to how precious sanity is. Her condition consumes the thoughts of her loved ones, showing the dark side of selfishness, love, and innocence.

The Winning Season
½

Another sports dramedy. That's about how I feel every time I see a sports themed movie and there aren't any that immediately come to mind that stray very far from this movie's story arc. I gave this one an extra half star because Sam Rockwell is always fantastic, and the girls acting wasn't awful. This movie doesn't break any new ground but it definitely has a lot of heart.

I Am Number Four

A cookie-cutter action movie with some cool special effects. Grab the popcorn.

Arthur
Arthur(2011)

Not quite as terrible a remake as I expected. This take on the story and Russell Brand's take on the title role, was almost good enough to warrant a remake (almost). Anyone familiar with his films should know that he's the perfect guy to play a spoiled, rich man child who is completely oblivious to the rest of the world and its workings. The supporting cast was great as well. The story was markedly bland and the writing was mediocre at best. Also, I think its socially offensive to make a movie about a really rich guy who finds out that you can only appreciate life if you're poor, considering the current state of things.

Cowboys & Aliens

I apprehensively give this movie two stars because it only ever so slightly deserves such a high rating. It lazily throws together cliche after cliche and not even the powerful acting abilities of its talented stars can save such a terrible screenplay. I would say the movie was fun if I didn't spend so much time laughing at things that were unintentionally funny and groaning every time the action suddenly stopped so the main characters could have a conversation (in the middle of a battlefield... and lots of them). This movie is a drinking game waiting to happen.

Life During Wartime

The characters kind of wallow in their own situations in a way that almost makes the audience feel like they're crying for help. This is not so as most of them are oblivious to the world and people filling their lives. No one is really looking for redemption because they are too caught up in being the physical embodiment of their lives. Please keep in mind this is a positive review. This being a Todd Solondz movie, this is somewhat par for the course, as is the taboo subjects that he handles with an intimacy and grace that no other director could achieve. I thought the careful pacing for the movie perfectly fit it's lazy Florida setting. It's difficult not to compare this "sequel" to Happiness, and that comparison is valid. And though this is the lesser movie of the two, it is still fantastic and a more unique experience than most anything else you're likely to come across any time soon.

L'Eclisse
L'Eclisse(1962)
½

A wonderful, vivid portrait of the emotional ups and downs of relationships. It expertly portrays how easy it is to fill the void left by a broken relationship, but how hard it is to maintain that elation. An absolutely beautiful movie with an uncompromising, perfect ending.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
½

The main ape's character arc was really interesting and the CG was really amazing. The humans were not so well written. Quite enjoyable overall.

Fanfan la Tulipe
½

A really fun movie. The dialog is hilarious, the fight scenes are clever, plus there's some really amazing cinematography. So many modern action/romances have tried really hard to capture the feel of classics like this. Also, I don't think The Princess Bride would have existed without this film so thanks Fanfan! (Be warned, there is also a modern remake of Fanfan by the same name. Stay away!)

The Tree of Life

A gorgeous film on many levels. It captures the troubles and triumphs of parenting and childhood better than most any other movie I've seen. I was a bit lost as to how the genesis of life on Earth played into what I perceived to be the main story, but I loved every image and frame that Terry Malick threw at me. A difficult but rewarding film.

Menschen am Sonntag (People on Sunday)

This movie seems to be capturing the story as it unfolds rather than having planned and rehearsed anything in advance. It also paints a youthful, lively picture of late 1920's Berlin and the hustle/bustle daily life.

13 Assassins
13 Assassins(2011)
½

The closest modern day cinema will get to making a true Seven Samurai type film. Director Takashi Miike is known for making overly violent and graphic films but pulls way back on this movie. This movie is still very violent, but it is completely necessary to the plot. He gives us great character development, beautiful shots, and a real sense of the horrors of war. I love every one of Kurasawa's and this movie pays homage to them all while still maintaining a style of its own. I hope this marks the return of a much neglected genre.

Captain America: The First Avenger

The first act of the movie was well done. The rest of the movie was so full of cliches and rip offs that it was basically unwatchable. The motorcycle scene was almost a shot for shot ripoff of the speeder bike chase in Star Wars. It kept using annoying countdowns (we're at 40%! 50%! 60%!!! it can't take any more!!!) as failed means to build tension, without even explaining what we were counting down or up to. Not good.

L'année dernière à Marienbad (Last Year at Marienbad)
½

A difficult film about a man and a woman, but more so about the nature of memory. This could be the most interesting movie I've ever seen. There is hardly any actual dialogue, but lots and lots of voice over. The characters are only defined by the detailed, though flawed, recollections of the narrator, with hardly any actions or events to further define them. I hope absolutely everyone sees this movie so we can talk about it.

W. R.: Mysteries of the Organism (W.R. - Misterije organizma)

This film completely forgoes traditional narrative structure and seamlessly mixes documentary style filmmaking with a fictional story of sorts. It makes bold statements about sex and politics and how they fit into that time and place (which was 1971 Yugoslavia). I doubt I will ever see another movie quite like it.

Yi Yi
Yi Yi(2000)
½

A very well done character study. It intimately follows the lives of a middle-class family for a year through all of their ups and downs. Every character has a unique voice and their individual stories are as carefully told as each shot and situation are carefully executed. A very beautiful movie in many ways.

Beauty and The Beast (La Belle et la bête)
½

A beautifully shot and realized interpretation of the story. The smartly used special effects of the mid 40's still mostly stand the test of time and successfully give the movie the magic and wonder I'm sure the producers and director really wanted. This is the Beauty and the Beast that every version since has tried to be.

Hall Pass
Hall Pass(2011)
½

The Farrelly Brothers attempt to return to the humor that made their careers in movies like Dumb & Dumber, Kingpin, and Me, Myself & Irene but aside from a few moments here and there this movie lacks the energy and fun they had earlier in their careers. It has it's moments, but doesn't work very well as a whole.

I Saw the Devil
½

Revenge stories seem to be a favorite genre for Korean directors and it makes me wonder what's happening over there for there to be so many great ones. This, like the others I've seen, is ultra-violent, visceral, and deeply affecting. The acting is superb (especially the haunting, powerful performance by Choi Min-sik), the cinematography is awesome, and the pacing is spot-on. This is definitely not for the squeamish but it's highly recommended.

Bridesmaids
Bridesmaids(2011)
½

It's fairly easy to compare this movie to The Hangover based on the trailer, but it's quite different. There's a lot more substance to be found here with just as many laughs. It's also fantastic to see a movie with an all female leading cast being somewhat successful. Recommended!

Simón del desierto (Simon of the Desert)
½

A fantastic and concise film, and a lesson on how to save a doomed movie. Budgeting for this film disappeared so they greatly shortened and changed the end. The result is absolutely wonderful.

Thor
Thor(2011)

A very character driven plot held together with some great performances. Hemsworth made Thor's character and it's emotional journey vert entertaining. There is, of course, lots of flashy special effects and gratuitous fight scenes (I thought the sound design was especially good) but this superhero flick seemed to have a bit more substance that it's competition. It was much better than the trailer led me to believe it would be.

The Green Hornet

Terrible dialogue. Generic plot. Lame jokes. Transparent characters. This movie did nothing to innovate. My favorite color is green and there were lots of green things... which is why I rated this crappy movie so high.

Schizopolis
Schizopolis(1996)

I am completely blown away by the way Schizopolis challenges the basic foundations of not only cinema, but social structure and human interaction. There really is nothing else quite like it. Schizopolis has an energy and enthusiasm here that is seldom replicated in film.
plus its freakin' hilarious.

The Way Back
The Way Back(2011)
½

An epic story of survival from master filmmaker Peter Weir. The performances are good, the cinematography is beautiful, but the movie is a bit empty. The plot is very character driven but they weren't written quite good enough to keep me 100% invested.

Hanna
Hanna(2011)
½

An interesting coming-of-age/revenge movie. Saoirse Ronan was excellent in the lead and the supporting cast was fantastic. Unfortunately Cate Blanchett's part was not very well written and was very flat. This, as well as pacing issues, kept the ending from having any real impact and made the movie feel longer than it should have been. Still, it's an entertaining ride.

The Times of Harvey Milk
½

A very well put together and moving documentary about a man, a movement, and especially a time and place. Recommended.

The Face of Another (I Have a Stranger's Face) (Tanin no kao)
½

A very interesting and thought provoking film. It delves into the identity of self and how we allow our outward appearances to define us. The acting and script were superb and I adored the freeze frame at the end. I'll be thinking about this one for a while.

Insidious
Insidious(2011)

Probably the best new horror movie I've seen recently. This is not a huge feat to accomplish considering how lame most modern horror movies are. Insidious was very smartly directed, the script was decent, as was the acting. It challenged some of the genre's cliches which was very refreshing. Some of the plot had me groaning at how silly it sounded, but it played out pretty well. It will probably make you jump out of your seat numerous times.

Inside Job
Inside Job(2010)
½

One of the most depressing movies you'll see. It explains our current financial depression in easy to understand detail. Nothing here is really a huge surprise; it's the old "the rich change the laws so they can get richer at the expense of the poor because they really only care about the money" bit. The picture painted here is so hopeless I don't think even the narrator believed himself when he said we could change things. Regardless, this movie was very nicely directed, entertaining, and educational.

It's Kind of a Funny Story
½

It was actually kind of a lame story. I like these mental institution movies because they're typically filled with people I can relate to, but this one brought absolutely nothing new to the table. Nothing. Go watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest or Girl, Interrupted instead. Or if you want to see a movie in this genre that actually brings something new, check out House of Fools. (rarely is a movie bad enough to warrant my using it's review to plug other movies)

Due Date
Due Date(2010)

Somewhat entertaining though even these two extremely talented actors couldn't save such a messy script. With this outing from Todd Phillips, it makes me want to refer to him as "that guy who directed Starsky & Hutch" instead of "that guy who directed The Hangover and Old School". Due Date has it's moments, but only a few of them.

I Love You Phillip Morris

A very fantastical "based on a true story". Jim Carrey is amazing; he's funny, he's sad, we pity him, we hate him, we envy him... The pacing is decent, there's lots of twists and turns, and most importantly, it's a lot of fun.

Shock Corridor
½

A man lies his way to being committed to a mental institution in order to solve a murder and write a Pullitzer prize winning story about it. This was an earlier entry into the sane person in the nuthouse genre, and because of this, it feels very much like it's all been done before. This of course is only because this movie paved the way for so many others. There are some very interesting characters here, some cool imagery, and great directing.

Valhalla Rising
½

This movie is really slow, but in a thoughtful, existential kind of way. It centers around a slave who is forced to fight and (brutally) kill others. He ends up busting free and runs into some Christians who then go an discover the new world. It sounds pretty silly when I put it like that but don't be discouraged. This movie is gorgeously shot and the pacing, though slow, is deliberately so. Valhalla Rising is like Ridley Scott and Michalangelo Antonioni made a movie together, with probably a bit of Terry Malik and Werner Herzog thrown in for good measure.

The Testament of Dr. Mabuse
½

Fritz Lang's masterfully directed 1930s psychological crime thriller was banned before release in it's native Germany because the nazis thought its story of a madman seizing power was a critique of Hitler's rise to power (which it probably was). While the evil genius Dr. Mabuse sits in an insane asylum writing his manifesto, what he writes is happening out in the world. The writing and pacing made this film very engaging. The cinematography was fantastic, offering shots that are still quite powerful and affecting nearly 80 years later.

Playhouse 90
Playhouse 90(1956)
½

Jack Palance plays a man who has been boxing his who life and has reached the end of his career. Now he is trying to find a place in the regular world and get a job to raise money to help pay off the debt of his long time manager (played by Ed Wynn). Palance, a former heavyweight boxer himself, is fantastic; battling between holding on to is past glory while simultaneously resenting it because he's now realizing how much more there is to life.

Sucker Punch
Sucker Punch(2011)

This movie was so ridiculously dark. One of the movie's main shortcomings was continuously taking us out of the moment. Every time I started caring about something, I was ripped away from that moment and thrust into another that was in suck stark contrast to the original that I was completely lost emotionally. This made everything very, very shallow and disjointed. There were some cool action scenes, but the subject matter almost made me feel guilty for enjoying those. Way to make a movie that's inaccessible to everyone Zack... please don't screw up Superman this badly. Thanks.

Battle: Los Angeles
½

This was both the typical and atypical alien invasion movie. It was more of a war movie than anything else. A force invades a city and is dealt with through determination and military tactics. The acting was decent and the special effects were nice. I thought the aliens were smartly designed; they were alien enough to be interesting, but not so crazily designed to make the movie about them and not about conflict. I was looking at my clock a few times and feel like this could have been about 20 minutes shorter and I really don't think they needed quite so many long-winded motivational speeches.

Forbidden Games (Jeux interdits)

So be warned, this movie is pretty messed up, though that is also a large part of it's charm (of course). A young girl from Paris is orphaned while her family tries to flee from war and is taken in by a struggling farm family. She struggles to deal with very complicated and very adult things such as death, war, loneliness, and religion through the sheltered eyes of a 5 year old, while the family deals with the same topics in more rational ways. The acting by the children is truly amazing. The cinematography is beautiful and the set design has so much life and personality. The screenplay is fantastic and very affecting. There is always a feeling that war is right around the corner and, at any moment, could be at their doorstep.

The Docks of New York
½

A fantastic portrait of blue collar worker life in the twenties. A sweet tale of societal reality versus societal fantasy. In this silent film from 1928, a blue collar worker from a steam ship on a one day leave falls for a suicidal damsel who he saves from drowning. The conflict and hypocrisy of what happens still leave an impact more than 80 years later. With cinematography by Harold Rosson (The Wizard of Oz) and set design by Hans Dreier (Sunset Boulevard), this movie definitely stands the test of time.

Rango
Rango(2011)
½

The western genre surely is not dead. This movie innovates while blatantly paying homage to some of the more important works that, without their existence this movie would never have been made. A very entertaining movie that yarns a poignant, if not somewhat preachy tale of characters without. A group of animals in the desert strive to survive with an increasingly diminishing water supply. The animation is cutting edge and the voice acting is fantastic. Gore Verbinski of Pirates of he Caribbean fame proves that he has life left in him after that trilogy. I thought that some of the themes would have been better suited for PG-13 audiences (lots of death and poverty) but this story of struggle and (spoilers!) triumph is well worth enjoying.

Ugetsu (Ugetsu monogatari)

It's natural to call this movie a ghost story, but that's only half of the story. Ultimately, it's about mans indulgence in dreams and the associated pitfalls and consequences. Seamlessly, effortlessly, and naturally war is mixed with calm and supernatural is mixed with common normality. This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful movies ever made. Every frame and every moment tells a story. This should be required viewing for anyone interested in classic, Japanese, or supernatural cinema.

Red
Red(2010)

A fun movie. Definitely not a good movie, but entertaining. The story is quite silly and forgettable, but I think the movie accomplished what it set out to do. I can't believe this was nominated for a Golden Globe instead of Scott Pilgrim...

An Angel at My Table
½

A very engaging biopic of one of New Zealand's most popular writers, Janet Frame. Her life is quite interesting and stretches from her awkward childhood, through her being misdiagnosed with schizophrenia (and receiving more than 200 electroshock sessions as a result), and her finding herself while traveling alone through Europe. It was originally made for tv so it's quite long, but it didn't feel that way watching it. It feels less like it follows a narrative and more like observing someone's life, sharing in her ups and downs, her moments of wonder and fear. The three actresses who play Janet Frame bear an uncanny likeness to one another and all are quite good. It's wonderfully shot and superbly paced.

The Honeymoon Killers
½

An interesting serial killer movie about a very dysfunctional thieving couple. It's based on a true story and is supposed to be pulled from news paper articles and court deposition. The acting is good, though the characters are really one dimensionally. There is an intensity to Stoler's performance that makes her character unpredictable and dangerous.

Charade
Charade(1963)
½

A fun, light-hearted murder mystery/spy movie. A great balance of thrills, comedy, and romance. The cast is wonderful, especially the charming Audrey Hepburn who has great chemistry with Cary Grant (even though their age difference makes it a little creepy). Charade will keep most people guessing until the end.

Let Me In
Let Me In(2010)
½

Here is a remake that should never have been made. The child actors were great, as was the cinematography, but it brought absolutely nothing new or noteworthy to the table. The original exceeded this remake in every way. This version feels less like a coming-of-age story and more like a vampire movie... a very empty vampire movie.

Conviction
Conviction(2010)

Sam Rockwell and Hilary Swank were superb. I typically like these 'based on a true story' movies a lot. This one is interesting and important enough to warrant its being told. Though the story is good, it really is Rockwell and Swank's performances that make this one worth watching. It's kind of a small scale In the Name of the Father.

The Third Man

Beautifully shot with a fantastically twisting story. This movie has everything a great film noir needs and The Third Man still has a huge impact more than 60 years after its release.

The Adjustment Bureau
½

I was ok. The acting was decent. I didn't realize it was going to have such heavy religious overtones going in. It didn't do anything new or special, but it was somewhat entertaining.

Moon
Moon(2009)

This is what science fiction is supposed to be. Most movies that are considered science fiction these days are mindless action movies where the future or space just happen to be where and when things are taking place. This movie is intriguing and thought provoking. The setting and time support the story instead of the other way around. I cannot say enough good things about Sam Rockwell in this movie. He is phenomenal here. This is a substantial directorial debut from Duncan Jones and he will no doubt go on to do great things. I won't go into the plot because it is so full of wonderful surprises. The cinematography and intricate set design create a place that is as much a player in the film as the protagonist. A definite must see.

Never Let Me Go

I wanted this movie to be better than it turned out. I very rarely go into movies with expectations but just couldn't help myself this time. I really like Mark Romanek's other work and this is an adaption of what is supposedly the best book of the last decade. It was a beautiful, graceful movie but felt a bit flat. The story had twists, but they were nothing unexpected. The acting was fair (Carey Mulligan is always fantastic) and the cinematography was gorgeous. Romanek started out as a photographer and it really shows here. The tone is very subdued which is perfect for this subject matter. I think it's interesting that movies can propose moral dilemmas like this, which we will no doubt surely see in reality in the near-ish future.

Get Low
Get Low(2010)
½

Not bad, but not fantastic. A very basic and somewhat bland story of a guy who's been a complete recluse for 40 years wanting a party as a send off to the great beyond. The acting is superb and that's definitely the best thing about the movie. The pacing is a bit slow, but when you have so little substance to fill its 100 minute runtime, that's to be expected.

Micmacs (Micmacs à tire-larigot)

Jeunet returns to the fun, carnivalesque style of his earlier works. This movie is very reminiscent of Delicatessen with it's crazed rube goldberg plot devices. The cast was fantastic and made for some truly memorable moments. The foley inspired soundtrack fit nicely. I think Jeunet is in his purest forms with outings like Micmacs. He adeptly handles complicated themes and dark moments with such immense whimsy and quirky happiness; all through his absolute adoration of the little, simple things that everyone be he takes for granted.

George Washington
½

A sad story about innocence lost. Lyrical and poetic. It made me feel like I was watching a Terry Malick film with it's pacing, cinematography, and thoughtful voiceovers. The characters were multi-dimensional and each handled the grim events of the film with individuality and humanity.

Mother (Madeo)
½

Beautifully shot with fantastic performances. The pacing is superb and the story is very engaging. A great morality tale that keeps the lines between good guys and bad guys non-existent.

Trick 'r Treat
½

pretty awesome as horror movies go. lots of fun, lots of silly scares, and some nice truly creepy moments. well thought out with some decent production design. probably the coolest indie horror movie I've seen since Feast (which was fantastic). wouldn't mind seeing a sequel to this though I'm sure they'd screw it up.

The Town
The Town(2010)

pretty good, although I'm not sure how I feel about these movies that paint the bank robber/cop killer as the good guy

Exit Through The Gift Shop
½

I wanted this movie to be only about Banksy, but it was fascinating anyway

Alice in Wonderland

some fantastic visuals, but it tried to be way more epic than an Alice in Wonderland movie should be. plus, no movie should try to flesh out a role needlessly just because a big name actor got the part

The Fighter
The Fighter(2010)

pretty typical boxing movie/comeback story.

Tron Legacy
Tron Legacy(2010)
½

the action was really entertaining, the story was really thin and has been done over and over again. the acting was acceptable, but things just didn't feel like they came together like they should have. and extra half star because I adore the original so much.

Black Swan
Black Swan(2010)

fantastic throughout. Natalie Portman was divine and deserves all of the awards she's going to win. the supporting cast was also pretty fantastic (especially Vincent Cassel). it builds very real tension and once it gets going, it doesn't let up

True Grit
True Grit(2010)
½

very entertaining throughout with some great performances

Paranormal Activity 2
½

Not quite as good as the first one, but a decent effort. It has more players, but I feel like more was happening in the first one. There were some really good moments, but I feel like it didn't play on some of the plot points to their full potential. Like the first one, this movie was very restrained in its pacing, and most of its scares were of the 'jump out of your seat' variety because of sudden loud noises. It had some really great moments, but overall felt kind of empty