Tim MacCallum's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews


I love Jennifer Lawrence so I had no problem seeing this, and what a surprise to see Michelle Pfeiffer on the big screen again! I hadn't seen her in over 10 years. She was great! But I wasn't in the mood for this art-house indie film, which was an allegory for mother nature and people's disrespect for it/her. Interesting to watch for the first half or so, but my mind kept wanting it to become a straight story instead of an allegory. By the end, it was whack-o land, but I get it. If you're in the mood for this, you'll appreciate it, but it's not something I'd watch again.

The Big Sick
The Big Sick(2017)

I wanted to see this based on the great ratings for being a unique romantic comedy with a Pakistani lead---not knowing Ray Romano or Holly Hunter were in it or why it was called the Big Sick. Wow, I loved it! The script and plot were refreshingly different than any basic Jennifer Aniston plus (fill in the blank) mainstream romcom, introducing a bit of Pakistani cultural norms (arranged weddings) and what it's like for a Pakistani American in the US (as Aziz does in Master of None for Indian Americans). Holly Hunter and Ray Romano as the parents of Emily, however, were brilliant---arriving at a critical point in the movie-- I appreciated talented experienced veterans who I hadn't seen in a while, reminding us how great each one is. The story could have proceeded in a number of different ways, but we didn't predict what would happen. Maybe the film was slightly too long, but I was so happy with the overall results and highly recommend.


Despite the critical acclaim of this film, I found it dis-jointed. Everything happened around the same spot but there were scenes overlapping in foggy daylight, dark of night, sunny day, back and forth with no attention to continuity. The script was thin, and even when words were spoken it was often hard to understand the various UK accents. It was a "war" film yet it looked more like an Abercrombie and Fitch ad from GQ. ALL the men were nice looking with really amazing hair. The call for actors must have been "Must we a white male model between 20-30 with thick longish hair on top." It consumed my attention. Yes, I give Christopher Nolan and his cinematographer credit for some amazing shots--on the beach, in the sky, ships capsizing, men awaiting bombs, etc. And of the several stories being told, the father and his son using their personal boat to help rescue soldiers was my favorite. But nevertheless I wish I had seen another movie like Baby Driver or The Big Sick instead.

Everybody Loves Somebody

This was a perfectly lovely independent movie for me to watch tonight. I didn't know any of the actors, but they were all excellent, working with a decent script and interesting plot (Mexican American OBGYN needs to decide between her old boyfriend who her family adores and new non-Latino man in her life.) The film is in both English and Spanish which was a treat as well. What a breath of fresh air, after having seen a bunch of mediocre crap lately (or superhero movies....I'm done!) Another Spanish language independent film worth watching (on Delta) is "Una Noche de Amor" from Argentina. I loved it.

Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman(2017)

I really liked Gal Gadot as WW, and I liked the chemistry with Chris Pine, but I was not happy with the story. Too many unnecessary scenes on Paradise Island, and a massacre? Ares is not a comic book villain. Sorry--that whole thing was silly. And the finale with force against force until someone wins---I think there are smarter more clever Wonder Woman stories to be told, because this one was a bust. Don't get me wrong Gal Gadot gets my vote, but for now I will find more enjoyment watching the Lynda Carter TV show reruns. With the right story Gadot will do fine. She was great in Keeping up with the Jones.


This got panned so I went in expecting a terrible movie--but guess what? It was really funny! Of course it was a dumb comedy, that got more outlandish as it went on, BUT if you like Amy you'll be happy, and truly laughing out loud--a lot! It's not as clever or heartwarming as Trainwreck yet if you walk in expecting a fun silly movie, this is it. The mother/child them was done more seriously with Barbra Streisand in The Guilt Trip (also very good), but it works as the backdrop here too. Perfect vehicle to get Goldie back--what a treat--it's been 15 years, since 2002's Banger Sisters. She put the fun back in non-refundable! (*from the movie)

The Founder
The Founder(2017)

So interesting to learn the history of the world's largest fast food chain! I thought it would be an inspirational film and maybe even slightly boring, but nope---the guy Keaton plays isn't a wholesome character after all. He's a salesman with some great qualities but as he attains success becomes a sleaze---and when your protagonist, the man you are trying to identify with and route for, is a sleaze, it makes for an uncomfortable situation. You need a likable talented actor who can win you over, and Keaton has that ability. He's great in this!! You already know what happens with the restaurant's success, but the movie was definitely worth seeing. (It did not make me run out and buy a big mac though.)

Hidden Figures

The story alone has its merit, but it's well-executed here with wonderful performances all around (even Kevin Costner, who I rarely like). It's definitely a film you walk out of feeling good. The actual women who the story is based on are true heroes of the space program and I am glad that I know about them now, inspirational.


WOW--tour de force by Huppert who I already appreciated in L'avenir (Things to Come) a few weeks ago--but she deserves all the best actress accolades she's getting for this role. It's quite impressive for her to beat all the English-speaking actresses in a category so rarely won by a woman starring in a foreign language film (the last one was Marion Cotillard for La Vie En Rose in 2007)--but this is an unforgettable performance in a twisted French tale, that has such a strong French sensibility. Just when you think this could never happen, people wouldn't behave this way, you realize in FRANCE it could, in France they may. That's what makes French culture so interesting and fascinating to me. I am behind on reviews (still need to write Jackie and Hidden Figures) but I just saw this and was excited to say how much I loved it and loved her performance.

La La Land
La La Land(2016)

How do you define such a unique film? It's an homage to classic musicals but doesn't follow their structure. From the first beautifully filmed traffic jam sequence, you get the sense this is going to be different. You immediately notice the singing voices aren't strong, and certainly Emma Stone won't be releasing any records--but this new style flows comfortably through the first few scenes, and you let it take you. The strength of Gosling and Stone's performances are what carry us through the simple plot---they absolutely deserved their Globes for this. I can't imagine two more compelling faces to light up this project.


I only saw this because I was supposed to see Fantastic Beasts but walked into the wrong room. Then I realized it was in 3D so I had to hunt for glasses. Tomato Meter was harsh....it's not so bad. We've seen lonely people in space already in Mars (which I didn't really like) and Gravity, so this had a different arc to it by adding Jennifer's character. Watching Pratt and Lawrence sizzle on screen justifies my 3 1/2 star rating, despite the simple script and plot. At least it made sense and was easy to follow.....not bogged down in sci fi tech talk. I'm tempted to even give it a 4.

Nocturnal Animals

This film is a beautiful mess. Amy Adams has never looked more alluring, and Jake is excellent. But the plot is unclear. I know (or think I know) how Adams is feeling by the end, but after all I witnessed, I didn't so much care. The story within the story is interesting but because of the characters. This reminded me of a David Lynch movie like "Wild At Heart"---but Lynch's was brilliant, this is NOT. I can only give 2 1/2, which means don't bother unless you want to enjoy the visuals. Some of it feels like a fancy cologne commercial.

Things to Come (L'avenir)

This is a true slice of life movie about middle-aged woman who goes through 3-4 really significant life events. What's funny is I read a review which said, "I kept waiting for something to happen and nothing did." It's funny how someone can watch a person's family life change (I don't want to give away plot) and think nothing happened. The interesting part is watching how Huppert copes and moves forward from these events. This is not a thriller or comedy--it is not a romance or action film. It's a true slice of a French woman's life, and I was captivated.


I saw this the day before Manchester By the Sea. Here's the difference between films based on a true story and ones that are created from someone's mind: the true stories are almost always limited in scope, focused so much on driving the central plot. Lion is a great true story of a boy lost in India, who moves to Australia then goes back to find his family using Google Earth. The beginning is a touching indie picture but the Australian parts, showing the adult's angst about not knowing his Indian family seemed a little over-dramatized. I liked the movie and am glad they put real photos at the end of the family, but this was no "Slumdog."

Manchester by the Sea

It's just the slice of life drama I wanted to see, by a man who does them so well (Kenneth Lonergan--whose best is still "You Can Count On Me" in my opinion). Michelle Williams will get her fourth Oscar nomination for this I'm sure, even though she doesn't have a lot of screen time. Affleck is brilliant with restraint playing a man who is just dead inside. Although it feels long, it's solid from beginning to end--acting, directing and screenplay all working together, I should add the boy (Lucas Hedges) does a great as the son who lost his father.


A seldom seen topic on film, if ever. It was sad and touching, with some beautiful moments, really special performances. But I felt like more attention was paid to style and less to script, expecting us to know what characters were thinking at times. And there were some conversations I didn't fully understand towards the end (the slang). I must say, Diana Ross does a much better heroin addict in Lady Sings the Blues than Chiron's mother. I am glad this film was made and is doing well, but I didn't love it.

The Edge of Seventeen

Totally disagree with the "tomatometer" here--this was no Breakfast Club or Juno. The lead girl was adorable, and I trust if she keeps getting cast in films she will do well but this script wasn't the vehicle for her. Mom kept checking her watch, and I really hoped it would be over soon. Yes there were some cute moments, and some great bits by Woody Harrelson, but overall it felt like a privileged white girl's pity party. Nope, I can only give it 2 1/2 stars--only watch on a plane if there's nothing better available, and don't bother paying for. I should add that having an Asian love interest was very refreshing, I loved that.

Doctor Strange

Wow, What a great film--for 3 reasons, excellent writing, top-notch mature cast (Cumberbatch, Swinton, McAdams), and unbelievable visual effects! It ranks up there with the first Iron Man. Everything worked in this superhero movie (and I am really over superhero movies---after the abysmal Batman vs Superman....ugh). But I will see a sequel with Dr. Strange in it (especially paired with Thor, which was shown in the teaser at the end). The way buildings rolled in and over each other was stunning, eliminating the need to show endless fight sequences that get confusing and boring really quickly in my mind. Yes they fought in this, but with the change in dimensions and realities, it became interesting. What also was a nice surprise was the humor in this film! So glad I saw it on the big screen---I wouldn't wait for video, not with visuals like these.

The Accountant

Sorry Ben, I like you (and Anna K) but this was a confusing mess of a movie. I was sort of lost, even by the end, and couldn't suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy this. I preferred Girl on a Train, and that wasn't even so good.

The Girl on the Train

Going against my better judgment to see a movie critics and audiences didn't really like (according to RT), I thought let's just see my girl Emily do some great acting. And that's what I got--she plays an alcoholic quite well. The others big name actors gave great performances, too, including Allison Janney. But the trouble was the adaptation of the book (which was probably excellent and juicy) and the choice of how to edit so much info into a concise, well-sequenced film. At 2 hours this D R A G G E D even though I was genuinely interested in the unfolding mystery. Also, I had expected a thriller with a faster pace. You can tell from the first conversation Megan has with her therapist this is NOT going to be an edge of your seat scary movie (without having read the description I thought it was going to be). So my overall review is: meh....go if you have nothing better to do. If you watch on an overnight flight somewhere, you'll fall asleep.

Deepwater Horizon

I was impressed how well this disaster movie, based on the actual event (the largest US oil spill in history, April 20, 2010), was filmed. I'm a fan of Mark Wahlberg, which was my reason to see it, but then got pleasantly surprised to see his wife was Kate Hudson, who I hadn't seen in anything good since 2003, and his boss was her step-father Kurt Russell, last seen in Quentin's film The Hateful Eight, and then add brilliantly insane John Malkovich as the bad guy. It was well-done, and really moving.

Don't Breathe

I went knowing this would be a cheesy horror film, but with decent reviews on rotten tomatoes, so I would at least leave satisfied. And I did. I went to a theater on 42nd St, with the basket of deplorables (people who talk to each other and to the screen during the movie)--knowing this would actually add to the experience. Normally I would hate that, but given the over-the-top crazy scenes, it was entertaining to hear people's commentary.

Bad Moms
Bad Moms(2016)

One of the best movies I saw this year! Textbook example of a silly, hilarious and satisfying summer comedy that will become a cult classic. This is the level of comedy "Sisters" wished it could have achieved but failed. Kunis was surprisingly able to carry this film, but she had strong help from excellent performances by someone I hadn't heard of (Kathryn Hahn--so brilliant), Kristen Bell and an amazing supporting turn for Christina Applegate. The theater was filled with hearty laughter countless times and there were also some applause. The writer constructed a tight plot that although predictable, was prefectly executed. Never a dull moment. And the icing on the cake was the sizzling chemistry between Kunis and sexy Jay Hernandez who reminded me of a younger Mark Consuelos. I'll be watching this again for certain.

Café Society

I'm a big Woody Allen fan, and whenever his movies are well-reviewed overall (like here on Rotten Tomatoes) that makes me happy. This is a good movie with memorable performances by Jesse and Steve, and some memorable quotes (like about Jewish people: "They're right, you people are pushy!"... audience in hysterics laughing, granted I saw this in Manhattan.) The only weak link in my opinion was Kristen Stewart, who I never liked as an actress. I felt no chemistry between her and anyone. Scarlett Johansson would have been better, had she not already done 3 films for him. Or a new-comer with a higher likability factor. But I heard Kristen didn't want to do this film and Woody fought for her, unfortunately. Listening to Woody's narration made me realize this man, who I have admired since I was a kid, is in his 80s, his voice is changing, and he is not going to be able to make films much longer. I feel grateful for the body of work he has made, but I felt sad to remember he can't keep writing and directing forever.

What's Up, Doc?

Caught this on the big screen at Chelsea's classics night and what a treat. It is one of my favorite films of all time for its genre of comedy, where Streisand proves herself on all fronts (not that she hadn't already by 1970) as a singer, sex symbol, comedienne, performer. I do consider this her most alluring role, especially the scene with her laying on the piano signing "As Time Goes By" to Ryan. So many memorable performances, certainly Madeline Kahn as Eunice Burns.

Love & Friendship

Pure delight! So smartly written and brilliantly performed. It reminded me how amazing the English language is, what creative possibilities we have when speaking. This was unlike any period piece I've seen---they made it more fresh and unique (especially introducing the characters). This was a comedy 100% with class and heart, not an emotional drama. I loved it!

Money Monster

Because I love Clooney and the chemistry between Roberts and him, I enjoyed this lightweight film. I liked how Clooney was doing sort of a parody of Jim Cramer (who I watch every day on Mad Money). The film was engaging but simplistic and unrealistic---I couldn't help but think of much better films (like "Inside Man") involving hostages or a threat of killing someone. But it served its purpose which was to entertain me for 2 hours.

The Nice Guys

This was fun because of some clever writing and brilliant acting (hard not to adore Gosling--when has he ever sucked?) My only gripe is its length (oh and I really get annoyed when a film is set in 1977 and they use songs from 1979 and 1980 in the soundtrack....that undoes me.) I really loved how they used the daughter Holly as an integral part of the investigation. She held her own with the big boys.

Captain America: Civil War

Way better than the Superman/Batman film (better written/lighter), long but fun to watch in 3D. So glad the Hulk wasn't there, but I missed Thor. I should have watched the Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron films as a refresher on characters, but whatever. The new Spiderman here is WAY better than Andrew Garfield. Definitely entertaining (and I like guys in their 50s who are still superheroes.)

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

Just shy of torture. And this was produced by husband and wife Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, both whom I respect. Nia Vardalos wrote a crap script, all cliche; although it was fun to see everyone together again, and there were SOME cute moments and a FEW tender moments, but not enough to justify making a whole sequel. I would have had more fun popping in the DVD of the original. If I taught a class on film criticism I would have the students contrast why this movie is simply bad versus why Hello My Name is Doris is deliciously good.

Hello, My Name is Doris

What a nice little surprise film! Really well-written; fun to watch Sally Field in the first great film role since Steel Magnolias I think. Strong performances by all, especially Field and Daly. Fun to see "Schmidt" from New Girl playing a different type...much more likable here than on the New Girl. And nice to see Natasha Lyonne looking pretty versus how she looks on Orange is the New Black. I hope this film does well. The Williamsburg/Hipster stuff is pretty exaggerated but I didn't care.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Fortunately I didn't check the "tomato meter" before seeing this because I went in completely open. I have always been a fan of Ben Affleck, and seeing him as Batman was fun however 1) his justification for hating Superman is weak, which greatly reduces the impact of their fight and reconciliation, and 2) his suit looked more like a Transformer than a superhero. Over the top. Jesse as Lex, brilliant. Holly Hunter, always wonderful. Wonder Woman, the only one who got applause in the theater. The right choice for the part--finally! I still prefer the 70s Lynda Carter version versus the comic book version, but as Diana Prince she was reminiscent of Ms. Carter. Don't wait for the spin though. Amy Adams as Lois shows the most emotion, and as a result I loved the scenes with her and Superman most. The music droned on so dark and apocalyptic, making the film more heavy than it needed to be. They could have lightened this up a lot. Overall though, glad I went on opening night (I was supposed to see the Helen Mirren film but the time had changed so this was the next best thing.)

The Witch
The Witch(2016)

I was expecting something frightening but not supernatural. I was surprised how this movie ended, without giving anything away, but it is based on old folk tales (allegedly) from New England. The scariest characters to me were the twin children--they looked like inbred urchins and were always screaming. Not a film I would see again (like The Ring for example) but it definitely was interesting, set faithfully in the 1600s with strong performances.


I had heard how this was not your average superhero movie, and yup it's true. He's not a superhero. He just has the ability to heal quicker than Wolverine (which requires huge suspension of disbelief, considering how quick his transformation happens.) A fun film, although not fun enough for the guy sitting a few seats over who was checking his cellphone a lot. Where Ryan failed in Green Lantern (worst movie ever), he succeeds here. It works for him and I didn't expect it to. The writers include commentary never before done in film (starting with the opening credits), and director takes liberties breaking the 4th wall and other interesting ways. It was pretty violent, but after seeing Revenant I could endure this.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi

I saw this because I had seen everything else, but also because I knew nothing about Benghazi (I'm embarrassed to say), and I liked John Krasinski so much in "Away We Go"---and guess what, I was not disappointed at all! A whole lot of testosterone flowing around special ops, everyone is "brother" and has a beard. Because this was a true story, I was more interested, and forgiving of some of the fictionalized melodrama. Also without giving anything away, I felt like there was more emotion expressed over the guys who died than there probably was in real life....but that's OK, it was a tribute. I went to google right after to check the facts.

The Revenant
The Revenant(2015)

Here's the thing--yes it's a well-made film, and Leo suffers termendously--more than humanly possible. It's over the top. He will get the oscar for this. But the film is NOT my choice for Best Picture. It wins Grossest Film, and Hardest to Watch for sure. I squirmed in my chair throughout. Tom Hardy was on point as a greedy, selfish, heartless bad guy, but 50% of his lines were lost in whatever accent he was trying to do. Beats me what he said, (No oscar for you Tom). But QT's Hateful Eight was a more deserving best pic nominee than The Martian and I would even say it was a better overall film than Revenant. I guess people in Hollywood don't like QT enough, and poor Samuel L Jackson because he truly deserved a nomination---I read the team tried for a best actor nom (and Kurt Russell for sup) but they should have gone with supporting. He could have beaten Rocky. Revenant is NOT the type of movie I want to see win Best Picture, but yes it's an amazing experience to endure.

The Martian
The Martian(2015)

One of those generic crowd-pleasing movies meant to attract the masses of all ages. Not a bad movie at all, but not my choice for best comedy which it won at Globes. (Trainwreck or Big Short would have gotten my vote.) Matt Damon is likable enough to carry the film as was Tom Hanks in Cast Away. But this isn't a game-changing role for him. I don't think he should have won a Globe.

The Hateful Eight

Quentin T is a true auteur, and his 8th film proves what a brilliant filmmaker he is. It's not going to be as successful commercially as Django Unchained was, but it is an excellent film with a plot that unravels as slow as a snake. Samuel L Jackson, I am shocked to learn, has never won an Oscar, but he should absolutely be nominated for this performance. The ensemble is perfect except for (unfortunately) Channing Tatum was terribly mis-cast, and I am a fan, so it's hard for me to say how wrong he was for this role, but he really shouldn't have been in this movie. Someone older and rougher around the edges would have been better suited to play his part. I am not a fan of blood, but Quentin always delivers a heap full of blood.....you know that walking in. And it is just funny in a gross way after the initial shock. Nowhere near as much blood as there was in Django Unchained though.

The Big Short

Great film! Taking a potentially confusing topic and spelling it out in almost clear language. Fun to watch--especially Gosling and Carell pairing (like in Crazy Stupid Love). I was given a sub-prime mortgage in 2005, so I was all too familiar with the subject matter.

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

I preface by admitting I'm not a big fan of sci-fi, and I only saw Star Wars in 77 and 80 with my father. I saw this with friends for the "event" of it---but to be honest, I liked Sisters more! However, seeing the spaceships and light sabers took me back to when I was a kid, which felt warm and comfortable. Seeing Ford and Fisher was sweet too. So the "event" was more pleasant than not, but I didn't love the film. I'm really looking forward to seeing Joy and The Big Short.


Took mom to see a movie (Joy) but I had the date wrong so we saw Sisters. I am a fan of Fey and Poehler, and expected it would be at least funny enough. The story is about the party they hold at the house they grew up in, and it's over the top, and often funny. Suspend your disbelief early on and enjoy the ride. It was no "Trainwreck" but had its moments and was a fun diversion for Christmas Eve afternoon.

The Danish Girl

I knew this would be a visually rich film to watch, and that I wouldn't be disappointed. Sure it deserves all the nominations it will receive. And I predict Redmayne will take home Oscar number 2 for this, which makes me so ANGRY that Keaton didn't get it last year--because he should have. This is my first time seeing Vikander, and she's lovely, looks so much like Natalie Portman though, maybe crossed with Kristy McNichol.


Rooney Mara reminds me of Audrey Hepburn in this film. Hard to believe this is the actress from Girl with the Dragon Tattoo! Highly stylized, and engaging film. Blanchett is wonderful as usual. Her performance in Blue Jasmine was more brilliant (because of the character/story Woody Allen created). But this film tells an important love story. I'm grateful I wasn't living during those times when homosexuality was thought to be immoral.


Cool to see Walter White from Breaking Bad in a completely different character. A very interesting true story, which made me run back to my computer to google these people. A dark time in our history, the 50s, with the blacklist in Hollywood. I love Louis CK, but to be honest I prefer when he's doing stand up--however good for him for also taking on acting roles!

Bridge of Spies

If Brooklyn was a mom's movie, Bridge of Spies was a dad's movie. My father would have liked it (we saw many Tom Hanks movies together: Cast Away, Apollo 13, etc.) I was falling asleep in the first half before he went to Germany. The second half kept me awake. Interesting story, and Hanks was good as usual.


Gosh, another movie where I had trouble staying awake, because I saw the 10pm show. It was a good film, with great acting--5 or 6 big names here, all on point. But it's like watching 60 minutes sort of. Interesting, and extremely important subject matter, I predict Oscar nominations for Tucci and perhaps Ruffalo possibly. I recommend it over Brooklyn or Bridge of Spies.


This is a sweet, wholesome movie (one sex scene but not a lot of skin)--perfect to take mom to, although it feels slow-moving. It keeps characters relatively one-dimensional however, easy to keep track of. Maybe that's why I can't give it more than 3 1/2 stars. I liked it but wouldn't say it's a must-see.


This was not on the agenda last night but it turned out to be a nice surprise. You know when you watch a Bond movie everything is over the top. You don't try to figure out how he got a couple perfectly tailored suits to wear while he's on the run in a couple different countries in a 48-72 hour period. You just go with it. He's going to get the girl and he's going to survive, and he's going to take care of the bad guys---that's why we go to 007 films. And I sat back and enjoyed the ride.

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs(2015)

Saw this last night. Very interesting film---shows three launches 1984, 1988 and 1998 and the drama surrounding them. Unique way to fill 2 hours. If Fassbender channels Jobs, then Jobs was scary. I'm not sure how true this film is but the central focus is the relationship between Jobs and his daughter Lisa, which now I have to google. That was done well. And I couldn't help but remember Kathy Griffin's dates with Steve "Woz" on her show the D-list. Seth Rogen played the role well. Winslet--when is she ever disappointing?


I went into this film not knowing what it was about, but heard it was amazing. I am not convinced that it was so great but I liked it. I don't want to give any plot away but it's safe to say I thought it was over 1/2 way through. The thing that bothered me was the believability of the story--could this happen for so long? I did like how the 2nd part makes you consider the 1st part--but despite some great performances by Joan Allen and Brie Larson (Amy's sister from Trainwreck) I'm not convinced I liked the whole thing enough to warrant 4 stars. 3 1/2

Black Mass
Black Mass(2015)

This was Depp's best in a long time. His portrayal here reminded me of how great he was in his mob movie Donnie Brasco, and as a drug kingpin in Blow. Because it's a true story and they tried to be somewhat faithful to the truth, I felt the storyline didn't go too deep. I kept thinking how the Departed (which has a similar theme) was more entertaining and packed more of a punch. This is worth seeing though, for more than just Depp's performance.


I was so happy to find this as a free option on my mom's cable. I saw it at the theater when it was released. I remember it being one of the most honest, well-made independent gay-themed movies until that point (along with Torch Song Trilogy). Seeing 90's NYC locations again was sweet (like street phones and WTC). Tori Spelling was the biggest name here and still is, but the other actors do well--especially the go-go boy who reveals his character at just the right pace.

The Gift
The Gift(2015)

Three movies in four days...not breaking a record, but I'm getting sick from all the popcorn with my special seasoning I carry with me. The Gift allows Bateman to finally play a serious role. It was refreshing to see him not be the funny guy or even the straight man in a comedy. Without giving anything away, I liked the movie and recommend it with a solid 3 1/2 stars, maybe 4, for the fact that I screamed out loud a couple times---although this isn't a horror film. I think I scared the other people in the theater more than the movie did.


Sometimes it feels like Lily Tomlin is always playing the same character (this one is not too different from her Netflix series character from Grace and Frankie)--but the story is well told, and unfolds in a nice, independent-film sort of way. Great supporting roles played by Marcia Gay Harden and Sam Elliot. This abortion film feels like it will always be relevant--the theme of terminating a pregnancy and how it effects the family will always be important.

Mr. Holmes
Mr. Holmes(2015)

A beautifully filmed, slow-paced film. I think perfect for a plane ride.


Wow, THIS was a fun superhero movie. WAY better than the overdone, no chemistry, boring Avengers earlier this year. The script was written in part by Paul Rudd, who is a talented writer and extremely likable. He's not a hottie like Thor or Capt. A, but this film didn't need that to keep your attention (unlike Avengers). Michael Douglas was great as the creator, and Corey Stoll who I last saw in season one of House of Cards was exactly the right choice as the villain. There was certainly chemistry between Rudd and the female. But the one who stole the show was Michael Pena in a perfect comic role. The ants were intriguing, even if they weren't real--they brought a new layer to the superhero genre. This was an unexpected pleasure from start to finish so I am going to be really generous with my rating. (And thanks to Bobby Cannavale for being a cop in this movie---he is so good in everything he does!)


I am new to Amy Schumer (I know, late to the party again), but this film will provide the rest of the population who don't know her well a perfect dose of her humor. This was a showcase not only for her talents but for Bill Hader (whose talent seems endless), Jon Cena (who knew he had any?), LeBron James (ditto), and for all the folks who had smaller parts (her family, her office staff). Because of reviews I had read, I had low expectations for the ending, but ultimately I was very happy with it! The right amount of cheeseball to make me smile and tear up. (It's a rom-com....I'm not giving away the ending.) Bravo--can't want to see what else she creates.

Inside Out
Inside Out(2015)

I did not know what to expect and found this movie really interesting to watch. To see where it would go, and how it would unfold, because there were so many ways. I liked it because it was unique but it lost its strength by meandering too long in its only plot point. Clever concept overall.


Finally the movie for Melissa where everything worked. There were a few laugh out loud moments, and mom stayed awake for the full 2 hours--always a good sign. Great story, on point performances also by Rose Byrne, Jude Law, Jason Stratham, Allison Janney, I smell a sequel but I sort of hope not---not every good movie needs to have a part 2. Bravo Melissa though---so much fun to watch you in this!!

I'll See You in My Dreams

Went to this on a whim because of the great tomatometer percent (91%), and it was sweet. An older woman who loses her dog finds comfort in befriending the pool boy. She has girlfriends but hasn't been with a guy in 20 years, (which I didn't believe), then she meets Sam Elliott. Blythe carries the film effortlessly, but it didn't have enough impact or emotional punch for me to say I would recommend it. It's light and straightforward, well-acted--not uplifting or particularly moving. I would like to see how a French director would film a French version of similar subject matter.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Good to see everyone together. Robert Downey Jr found his best role in Iron Man. Thor is impossibly handsome. The viewer feels part of the inner circle. However, this movie was pretty cookie-cutter. Big over the top fight sequences, as expected. Maybe I'm getting too old but I don't enjoy watching this anymore. And to see Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson, with a nearly 20 yr age difference, acting like love interests didn't work for me. I liked the movie so I give it 3 stars but I'm admitting that if I bother to see the next sequel it will be to shamelessly watch Thor again, not for much more.

The Age of Adaline

Heartthrob Michiel Huisman (Ellis) played Sarah's old boyfriend in Orphan Black. Great to see him as a lead love interest on the big screen opposite beautiful Blake Lively. However the film plods along at a slow pace. The sweet moments here (especially the love scenes and with Ellen Burstyn or Harrison Ford) make the film worth seeing if you're a hopeless romantic. But the material isn't strong enough to give it wider appeal.

While We're Young

Perfect movie to see on my birthday, where the lead 40-somethings are questioning the direction they want to take in life. Do they want a baby? Can they hang out with people 20 years younger? Can he finish the film he has been working on for 8 years? Does he really need reading glasses? Clever, and often funny, easy to route for Stiller (who I am not usually a fan of). Charles Grodin? Loved seeing him again (can't remember his last movie after Seems Like Old Times!) A movie everyone in their mid-forties will appreciate for sure.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

I loved the first one, and am always skeptical of sequels but after my friend Wayne told me it was sweet and touching I was sold. Hard to go wrong with Dench and Smith in a film together. Richard Gere still has leading man appeal but he looks his 65 years (and he was younger than the majority of the cast!) The ambitious young hotel manager's jealousy consumes him which was a bit overdone but served the story. I was happy to watch the Indian wedding full of colors and ceremony--lots to like about this movie. No better present than the time.

Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts

I have been going to these for years, and I have to say this year's selection was a little weak. They were all original, but I"m not sure why Parvaneh got nominated. Butter Lamp was clever about taking photos of Chinese. Aya held my attention for 39 min but that's too long to be considered a short in my opinion!! My pick for the Oscar goes to Boogaloo and Graham set in Ireland with little boys and their pet chickens.

Still Alice
Still Alice(2015)

Gosh I wish I could find better words than "honest portrayal" to describe what I saw but maybe I'm also losing my lexicon. Moore deserves the Oscar for this and I hope there isn't any sort of upset. Baldwin was emotionally bland (although I like him in general) and I'm not a big fan of Twilight-girl but she won me over eventually. The movie was good---and rightfully sad and difficult to watch unfold.

American Sniper

Cooper is so likable--and yes he's good in this true story of a war hero. Not as strong as his performances in Silver Linings or American Hustle (he could have won Oscars for either in my opinion), although he did get an Oscar nom for this role (over the deserving Jake in Nightcrawlers). Clint Eastwood picked all real nice looking men to play the SEALs (even a hot arab for the bad guy)--making this war film more palatable. I couldn't help compare this film to a much better film: The Hurt Locker. But since this was true and Bradley's Bradley, I give 4 stars.


Such a great film with unforgettable performances. JK Simmons must win the Oscar for his portrayal of Fletcher, the nightmare college maestro. What is it about music instructors (because I experienced my own Fletcher to a lesser degree)? Even when the film treaded on cliché territory, it remained above it, always engaging and tight. And voila, Whiplash earned a well-deserved but surprising (being a low budget independent film) best picture nomination.


Yawn. Maybe the first 60 min of Carell looking odd and saying a few words here and there created mystery, but I was losing interest. The factual story of Mark Schultz is an interesting one, but the movie leaves the reason for the conflict between DuPont and Schultz vague. As a result we are left wondering what really happened. Yes, the performances were good, especially Ruffalo. I just felt like the film could have been made in a more engaging way.

Into the Woods

One of my favorite Broadway shows comes to the big screen---I was nervous that it would be ruined, but it wasn't. In fact two of the songs I enjoy the least from the show ("I guess this is goodbye" and "no more"), they cut thank GOD! Meryl gives a stellar performance as the witch, yet I really would have liked to see Bernadette Peters, who originated the role on Broadway in 1987, do it. Johnny Depp was the weakest link. Anna Kendrick proves again, after Pitch Perfect, that she has a beautiful voice, and can deliver a song. And Miss Emily Blunt shines in the role of the Baker's Wife. These two ladies do a splendid job with one of my favorite songs, "A very nice prince." The finale of the show was not replicated on the screen, instead ending with the calming refrain of Children will Listen. I wanted it to have some uptempo pizazz, but it sort of trailed off to bed. Nevertheless the movie did not disappoint and I am glad it was finally made. The visual of the bean stock and giant were nice to see, unconfined by a small stage. And Sondheim's amazingly intricate tale/lyrics will now reach millions.

Big Eyes
Big Eyes(2014)

This movie suffered from being too narrow in scope. Everyone knows the premise: the wife let the husband take credit for her paintings. How did that happen and did the truth ever come to light? Although the performances are good (especially the Amazing Waltz), this simple conflict wasn't enough for me. I really felt like this could have been a made for TV movie.

The Imitation Game

OK, thank god for Oscar season! I like when I have best picture nominees to choose from--this gives Birdman good competition. Well done! Completely engrossing story, delivered with the right amount of mystery. Contrast this with a blah movie like Theory of Everything or ho-hum Wild, and you can see what elements a film needs to have to earn my rating of 4 1/2 stars or more. Alan Turing, who happened to be gay, is basically the creator of the Computer and the reason the Nazi's were defeated in WW2. The movie is a must-see. (But I still want Birdman to win Best Picture.)


Reese, good job. Interesting biopic which I agree you deserved a Golden Globe nomination for. The movie as a whole was OK. I was really exhausted by the Simon and Garfunkel El Condor Pasa from beginning to end. Had it not been Reese I would have skipped this film, and been none the worse for.

The Theory of Everything

I've been seeing the previews for this for months, and I knew the subject would be touching---how can it not be? But it was surprisingly formulaic and sort of cliche. Not uninteresting, but not a contender for Best Picture in my opinion. Book written by the ex wife, so it's more about their relationship than anything else.


It's true what everyone has said, Jake is really great as this creepy character. It's his movie 100%, and reminds me a little of clever 70s character-driven films like Mean Streets or the Conversation. It's not a feel good film, that's for sure, but Jake's performance is a must-see.


This was an ACTOR's movie. It was really a unique experience that I did not expect. So far it is Best Picture of 2014 and Michael Keaton deserves Best Actor, especially for delivering the scene with the NY Times critic. All shot in one seemingly endless take, the ride this film takes you on is through the onstage and off stage craziness of a play. The entire cast shines. It's one of those movies as you are watching, you know has to win Best Picture (like Slumdog Millionaire).


I amazingly held my pee for over an hour so I wouldn't miss any bit of this long engaging movie. I needed to remind myself a couple times where they were going, and why, but I understood it enough to enjoy it---yet I don't need to see it again. I did look up 4th and 5th dimension online after. Loved the star-studded cast, but I wonder why they all wanted to be a part of this project---it's not THAT good.

St. Vincent
St. Vincent(2014)

It was fun to watch these actors playing these characters, but the movie itself was mediocre. Yes, I teared up at the expected places, and there were more than a few. It's what I would call an "airplane movie" perfect for a long flight. Casting Watts as a pregnant Russian prostitute was interesting--and she played it well. Not sure if it should get that extra 1/2 star I gave it (maybe I am feeling generous.)

Dear White People

We went to the 9pm sold out show following an 8pm sold out show (only playing at 2 theaters in Manhattan so far.) Reminded me of the first Spike Lee movies, definitely shot low budget, but well-written and great acting----especially the lead girl Tessa Thompson, who really touched my heart. It's meant to be funny and serious at the same time, and digs deep into more than just the obvious conflicts. It's hard to fairly compare this on the same scale I would use for a big budget Hollywood comedy- yet it fully deserves 4 stars. I'm glad I saw it opening night with a very mixed audience. (The film is not riot-inducing.)

Gone Girl
Gone Girl(2014)

I got a lot more than I expected with this movie, and I was glad. Pike looks like a cross between Emily Thorne in Revenge and a young Faye Dunaway. Without giving anything away, I will just say I liked it and recommended it (and that I had odd dreams that night).

The Skeleton Twins

It's really hard to watch Wiig and Hader without thinking they are doing an extended SNL skit. They are playing twins and I think she's 10 yrs older than him in real life so that bothered me. But yes, they were great, as were the supporting characters Joanna Gleason, Luke Wilson, Ty Burrell and the aussie scuba instructor. But if you want to see a 5 star brother and sister "drama-dy" catch "You Can Count on Me" with Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo. To be honest I am not sure if using Wiig and Hader worked against the writer/director---it might have been more interesting to see unknowns in this, because the story was well-conceived.

This Is Where I Leave You

It's hard to not enjoy a Jason Bateman movie--after all he plays the same character in everything (sort of like Michael Cera does), but I kept thinking it was probably a better book. I enjoyed the cast, but felt little sentiment.

Love Is Strange

Meh. This movie was too in love with itself. It offered no clever subplots or really anything of interest past the main conflict. I kept hoping something would happen. Even the things that do happen don't matter much. Two men who have been together 39 years (yes, rare) are inconvenienced when they need to move and stay in separate places for a few weeks. But it's not a comedy! This wasn't a slice of life film either. It was a piece of fluff that moved at a snail's pace. And I appreciate good foreign films' sensibility, but this didn't even have that. Just because a shot is held longer than it should be doesn't make it artistic.

22 Jump Street

I am seeing this a month late, but worth the wait!! Perfect sequel, and if I were 16 it would be my favorite summer movie this year (but probably Boyhood will be). Hill and Tatum work so well together, and the writing is near perfection. Seeing 21 jump street would be wise before this one, to realize how different things go this time. It's simply impossible not to appreciate the skills of Hill and Tatum!!


Rarely do I give 5 stars but this project is amazing, and so well executed. Brilliant. More than slice of life, this is slice of a decade, carefully packaged and completely accessible. Go see this in the theater.

Jersey Boys
Jersey Boys(2014)

I'll preface by saying I didn't see the Bway show. I was skeptical going into this due to the tomato meter rating of 54%, BUT it happened again where I would vote at least 7/10 for this and give it a Fresh. I liked learning about the Four Seasons, which I knew little about, and I had to come home and check the web to see what was real or not real in the film. I don't want to give away a plot point to say what I found a little boring, but I will say that I HATE when band biographies don't present their music with chronographic accuracy. Don't use a 70's single as background music during an event taking place in the 60's for example. I am glad I saw this movie (with my mom) and have a new appreciation for the Four Seasons.


I think I would have liked this more on a plane, when I had nothing better to do. It starts strong and peters out in my opinion. There were so many cliches I felt like this could've been on the Hallmark channel. Sofia proved she can't play any other character but herself, although you could tell she tried. I'm not sure why Scarlett Johansson opted to do this one.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

I enjoyed watching this new part of the series/franchise, but found myself trying to remember certain characters' relationship history. It got a little long in the middle but overall I was glad to see "the gang" and of course Jackman. I don't think McKellan will last much longer to film more of this series.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Clever and over the top stylized. It's just that I really don't like Wes Anderson much!! I liked Moonrise Kingdom more than expected. This one kept my attention too, and I recognize it's a good movie. But.....

Stranger by the Lake

This is why I love French movies....no music, no set (except for the lake, beach and surrounding woods), not even lighting. This was a bare bones thriller about a gay man who sees a murder and proceeds to start a relationship with the murderer. Interesting premise.

300: Rise of an Empire

I went with friends to be accommodating, with no desire to see this, but it had its moments. The sex scene between the good male and the bad female was perhaps the most intense sex scene I've ever seen without them showing anything (ok a breast or two). And yes, most of the men in this movie have 8 abs, like the first one (which I didn't see.)

The Wolf of Wall Street

First, I was shocked that on a lovely NYC Sunday afternoon 2 months after this movie was released Wolf was sold out! Second, I was reluctant to see this because it's 3 hrs long and I thought it was just a film about greed, sex and drugs---cliche. I was SO wrong. This was a brilliant movie, with amazing acting---Leo deserves best actor by far over all other nominees this year for his performance. Rob Reiner was perfect as Leo's dad. Leo's wife Naomi, also superb. This movie should be seen in the theater!

12 Years a Slave

Last on my list to see before tomorrow's Globes. An important movie (in contrast to The Wolverine which I saw on a plane ride and wondered why they even made that movie...it was pointless.) To me this was the most well-done, impactful movie on slavery that I've seen. It was clever how the camera was left running on certain scenes longer than you'd expect.

American Hustle

Hands down, best movie I saw in 2013. Deserves best acting noms for all 4 and I am predicting at least one win. Could Jennifer Lawrence win best actress then best supporting the following year? (she's that good!)

Inside Llewyn Davis

A rambling movie that engrossed me. The kind you want to see again. John Goodman should be nominated for supporting actor Oscar. What it needed was a song that sticks in your head. I can't remember the ones he sang in beginning and end (or even if it was the same song.)

Saving Mr. Banks

I went in hoping it would make more of an impact, but I feel like it missed the mark. Not a bad film but maybe the story wasn't enough to make a movie from, and what they embellished in the Australian scenes didn't seem believable.


Another amazing role for Judy Dench. Interesting story and some great lines. Perfect to see with mom!


Wow, Will Forte from SNL is the straight guy here, and so good. Maybe Alexander Payne is an acquired taste but I loved Sideways and About Schmidt (not the Descendants so much), so I was glad to see his newest. Hard not to think of parallels with me and my own dad and family. I imagine that's happening for every middle-aged guy watching with parents in their 70s+. Not sure about the black and white but since I'll never see the color version, I'll never know what I would have preferred. Perhaps the b/w helps present the story more straight-forward.

Thor: The Dark World

I liked this much better than the first, maybe because it had more love story and less computer generated fight sequences. It also didn't take itself too seriously. Thor is certainly easy to look at, which helps a lot!

Despicable Me 2

My review for this is late--I saw it in September. I barely liked this movie, and I LOVED the first one. In fact I could have gotten up and left in the middle of this sequel without feeling like I missed anything. Wiig didn't offer anything extra. The minions are what kept my attention, just enough to eke out a 1/2 star making it 2 1/2 total.

Don Jon
Don Jon(2013)

Congrats Gordon-Levitt!!! Maybe I'll remember your 3 word name from now on (I always call him Gordon Lovitt-Hewitt). Well written and directed, and brilliantly acted, especially by Johansson. If anyone ever questioned her acting skills, see this. Pitch-perfect. The only choice I question is the title. I feel like he didn't know what to call it and decided "Don Jon" as an afterthought.

Enough Said
Enough Said(2013)

The trailer didn't entice me, but the movie poster did. It was so nice to see "Elaine" on the big screen. What the critics said is true...it's like rediscovering her,,,as a middle aged women now. And James G was so good. I have never seen the Sopranos, so this was my very first exposure to him. The script was perfectly suited for them to sink their experienced chops into, and I really enjoyed seeing it.

Captain Phillips

The subject matter didn't interest me much, but as a film, all the pieces were executed with skill. Hanks is brilliant in the last portion. (I didn't buy his Boston accent at all though.)


Movie was unique visually, and I liked the leads' chemistry. Worth seeing. I don't need to see it again or to own it, but I'm glad I saw it in 3D on the big screen.

The Spectacular Now

I liked this, but because it was from the writer of "500 Days of Summer" (one of my favorite movies) I expected more. It was sweet and a MUCH better coming of age film than this summer's "The Way, Way Back." Some great moments.

In a World...

This was a friday night accident---and I was pleasantly surprised. Lake Bell (who I had never heard of but she's on the cover of the NY Mag Fall Fashion issue this week) wrote, directed and stared in this movie about the voice over business, but it was much more than that. Funny, and with great supporting characters. A great plane movie.

Lee Daniels' The Butler

OPRAH where have you been all these years? You are such a great actress, I forgot! What a good movie this was. Jane Fonda was excellent as Nancy Reagan (too bad her part wasn't longer), and even Robin Williams! But Forest Whitaker carried this film from beginning to end, and I had sort of forgotten about him. Worth seeing!!

We're The Millers

We went to see the Heat, but they had technical difficulties so we ended up in this movie, which I would never have seen in a theater. I save Jennifer Aniston movies to watch on planes, because they are usually not terrible (but not worth $14). Again, I disagree with the low rating on the tomatometer! Mom and I liked it!! Sudeikis was always one of my favs on SNL, and he's good here. Many laughs, even if the jokes were obvious given the situation, but it worked and I was sort of happy The Heat wasn't working this afternoon.

The Way Way Back

ABYSMAL. Another mistake on the tomatometer, which was 83%. I preferred Identity Theft and Admission (which both tanked) more than this lousy "coming of age" (which it wasn't) disaster. This wouldn't even make a good airplane movie--don't waste your time.

Blue Jasmine
Blue Jasmine(2013)

I am thrilled that Woody has a critically acclaimed film with Cate this summer. It has a streetcar named desire feel to it in the characters, but he takes it to another level. Cate is wonderful and deserves all the praise she is getting. Not a happy movie however.


It was a "complete" film and well-acted but something about it bored me. And Reese Witherspoon seemed miscast.

Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3(2013)

I saw this in May but didn't review it....it's such a contrast to Superman because although there were plenty of action sequences, it didn't feel like a video game. And I liked and cared about the characters. Robert Downey Jr. was very lucky to have this franchise come his way.

Man of Steel
Man of Steel(2013)

I kept thinking, this is more like a video game. I didn't see much of a superman story--just a lot of alien combat. Devoid of emotion. But he looked hot with his beard in the beginning... The action was too much---not for me.

Before Midnight

I re-watched Before Sunrise and Before Sunset again last night, in preparation for seeing this one. I found all the commentary clever as always, and the way their lives had progressed interesting. As a film though, I wanted it to tug slightly harder, maybe by showing a couple flashbacks (even just the visual). I also believe they recognize their deep love for each other too much to have a fight that would jeopardize their relationship at this point in their lives. I still prefer the first one most.

Frances Ha
Frances Ha(2013)

I loved the preview for this movie so much that I wanted to see it day 1. Lead actress is great and I found some moments very funny and brilliant. It reminded me of being in my 20s in NYC again (and all the rent/job issues that brings.) But it dragged on and I never truly felt the connection between the Sofie and Frances. Noah the writer did better with Squid and the Whale. Although this wasnt a bad movie, just not as good as it could've been.

Pain & Gain
Pain & Gain(2013)

The movie was much better than I expected given the sorry rotten tomato ratings. The performances were really great. I am not a fan of Michael Bay at all so if the movie suffered any shortcomings it's due to him and not to the actors. Eye candy all the way!!

The Guilt Trip

I LOVED this movie. It wasn't an oscar nominee but it was solid, and heartfelt and a real nice treat to see Dec 24th. I went in with low expectations because of the tomato meter, but clearly I saw a lot more redeeming qualities in Seth and Barbra's performances than some critics did. They were both wonderful, and it is fantastic to have Barbra back on the big screen after a LONG break.

Life of Pi
Life of Pi(2012)

Beautiful to watch, different from the book though. I didn't think this could be made into a movie, but wow, Ang Lee succeeded. 3D was worth it too.

Pitch Perfect

2 amazing words: Anna Kendrick. She can carry a movie. Of course the content was a little silly and light but overall this movie was fun from beginning to end.

The Sessions
The Sessions(2012)

A movie I won't forget due to the content, and the performance of the lead and Helen Hunt. I can't believe Hawkes can actually walk, he was so convincing! Really interesting.

Silver Linings Playbook

This is the best movie of the year, poised for the Oscar. I saw it twice because I needed to watch these performances again. Bradley Cooper proved he's a great actor; Jennifer Lawrence confirmed she is. DeNiro and supporting cast all brilliant.

Sleepwalk With Me

A very different story told in an interesting way with great acting. Funny, but slightly tragic. The part I liked most was watching a comedian get a break and start doing shows, fulfilling his dreams.


Finally! A great action/sci-fi thriller! I went in with low expectations, but love Gordon-Levitt and Blunt, and it was so well-reviewed by audience and critics alike--it had to be decent. It was much more than that. It was smart and consistent. I could've enjoyed another 30 minutes more of watching this guy Joe's life. I don't generally like action or sci-fi too much, but really this is best in class.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Worth-seeing high school "coming of age" (I always hated that expression) film, maybe set in 80's or 90's--they never said and I couldn't tell. I was disturbed by so many seniors becoming best pals with a freshman--does that ever happen? Taking a 14 yr old to 18 yr-olders' parties? But the interesting stories and good acting engaged me. I wasn't thoroughly impressed however, and I can't exactly put my finger on why.

The Master
The Master(2012)

An intense oscar winning performance (I predict) from Joaquin Phoenix in a character study film that I thought was going to be more about Scientology than it was. Not a story with resolution and a little vague, but interesting to watch the performances.

Keep the Lights On

Boring....and 86% on the tomato meter with an average rating of 8.1 out of 10 by critics!... "The Master" and "End of Watch" are at 84%. Sometimes the tomato meter doesn't work for me. This was a story about a gay guy in NYC who falls in love with a guy who winds up having an addiction to crystal meth. Oh well. The chemistry wasn't there for me, so I didn't care that "Eric" was going through this difficulty with his partner. I felt no empathy and wished there was more to the story but there wasn't. Script and performances were weak.

The Intouchables

I loved this movie! Mom stayed awake & was able to understand every word because it was subtitled. Made us laugh and feel good!


Gere--great! Story really good too (billed as a thriller? not at all) It's still in the movies but I saw it on pay per view.

Hope Springs
Hope Springs(2012)

What an unfortunate waste of my time this was. It was NOT a comedy, and hardly caused a smile, laugh, tear, or any sort of feeling except wonder (as to why they agreed to make this film.) Steve Carell is normally a funny guy--not here. His part was dead on arrival and could have been played by anyone. It made me long for a well-done film with older stars like Best Exotic Marigold Hotel or even a light and funny romcom like Something's Gotta Give. This was forgettable and unnecessary.

To Rome with Love

I preface by admitting I love Woody, and this movie had really good classic Woody moments. The problem was it was too long, because there were too many stories. He should have cut out the Roberto Benigni piece (and repurposed him since he's a great actor). Alec Baldwin's story was the strongest and best. And I hate to admit it but Woody got in his own way in the beginning and I felt like he was the weakest link in his own movie! His recent best: Midnight in Paris, Vicky Christina Barcelona and Match Point may have all succeeded not only because they were well-written but also because he wasn't in them. Yet the first time the opera singer who can only sing in the shower comes on stage, I couldn't stop laughing. So, yes he missed the mark, but there were some brilliant scenes here in Rome.

The Amazing Spider-Man

"The amazingly and unnecessarily long spiderman" would be more accurate. The first Spiderman with Tobey Maguire was far superior, even though it was 10 years ago. The director for this one must have fired his editing team because each scene went way too long. Yes Emma Stone plays a great character in Easy A and Crazy Stupid Love but the schtick that worked for her in those films does not work well here. I give it 3 stars because it was interesting to see it done differently (the effects were great), but it hardly compares to the feel-good superhero movie that the first was. you can skip 3D too.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Great stories and characters abound (maybe too many, which keeps some of the characters 2 dimensional)--but I really liked it and would sit through it a few more times (on HBO or a plane, or whatever). Judi Dench, the strongest and my favorite, was brilliant as always. And the lead kid from Slumdog was excellent! Laughs and tears for all.

Marvel's The Avengers

Fun to see, and glad they added top notch actor Mark Ruffalo to balance Robert Downey Jr, reminding us that you can be great superheroes in your 40s!! I'm not one for over the top war scenes with menacing metal dinosaur-like reptiles, but with 6-7 heroes you need a lot of conflict. Looking at Thor never gets tiring--he gained about 75 lbs since Cabin in the Woods. Scarlett J held her own as the only female lead. Sometimes I felt there were just too many folks to keep track of---the more characters you have the less you can develop them. But good job overall.

Monsieur Lazhar

Canadian, in French, an interesting story about a class of 10 yr olds (maybe) whose teacher hung herself and the way the school deals with it, replacing her with a man from Algeria looking for a job. If you want to see a French film see The Kid with a Bike first.

The Kid with a Bike

I still marvel at how French people know how to make a gripping slice of life movie with so much feeling and emotion. And in this the star is a feisty 11 yr old who only wants to be loved---brilliantly acted... Tight solid film, like A Separation.

The Cabin in the Woods

I am not a fan of horror but the high rotten tomato % lured me in (and going with a group of friends helped). Without giving any of it away, it was unique; and although gruesome, it was fun. I recommend!

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

About as interesting as it sounds.... "Jeff who lives at home" was slightly more spirited, but neither of these movies I would recommend to anyone. Yawn. (although the sheikh had nice eyes, and I do love Ewan and Emily....I did smile a couple times.) For the movie lover's movie, I recommend "A Separation" still.

21 Jump Street

I liked what they did with this "sent back to high school as undercover cops" movie. A totally different spin on what is normally done for this type of story. Jonah and Channing have such good chemistry you can't help but like the movie. It wasn't as seamless as "Superbad" so I give it 4 stars. Ice Cube has a great part as their boss, basically playing himself in his rapper persona but all grown up.

Jeff Who Lives at Home

Diana Ross's son Evan is in this....he's already made more films than his mom. I think that I was more excited seeing him than at any other point. This movie is one of those "takes place over the course of 8 hours"/slice of life things...and with good actors. But there's not a lot of impact. Susan S was wonderful and it was nice to see her. I think I just wanted a BIGger movie.


I liked how this movie was supposedly filmed on a video camera or two. All no-names with a cool premise. OK, it was more for teens probably, but I still liked it.

A Separation
A Separation(2011)

Very interesting story and it deserves the accolades it's getting. It's a simple film that must have been really inexpensive to make but it raises very important questions about lying, integrity, loyalty and of course divorce. The lead guy is pretty easy on the eyes as well!!!

The Vow
The Vow(2012)

Well, after I posted that I would wait for this on a plane ride or Netflix, I took my mother and it was actually better than expected. It didn't go for the big hollywood schmaltz (and I have to admit I hoped it would almost!!) and Mr. Tatum was decent. I preferred this to Hugo, Dragon Tattoo and other oscar nominated films....in part because I am a sappy romantic, and if you can strike that chord with me, then mister, you got my vote!

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Boy I was looking forward to seeing this!! What a huge letdown. I knew what the premise was (find the "mole") but apart from that I was lost the entire movie!!! I left the cinema not really knowing what happened nor why---and I'm pretty sharp! I've seen so many mediocre movies in Dec/Jan! (Hugo, Girl with Dragon Tattoo, Descendants, this)--I'm dying to see something great....hell it's Oscar time and this year I am not impressed with anything other than Meryl's performance in Iron Lady and perhaps the clever Midnight in Paris.

The Iron Lady

Streep is again wonderful, and oscar-deserving. I liked this so much more than the last few movies I saw (Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, Descendants) so I guess I disagree with the "tomatometer"--her portrayal as an old woman longing for her husband to be there was honest. I need to google MT to learn more about what happened while she was PM; but although the film attempted to draw broad strokes as to what was going on in the 80s, it was clearly more about the person, and probably better for that reason.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Although I never finished the book (a sign), it is certainly a better book than a movie--you can tell they tried hard to squish every detail into this very long film but couldn't possibly do it. The girl is interesting but her "counter culture" thing is way overdone. The mystery of Harriet isn't nicely packaged either.

The Artist
The Artist(2011)

It was interesting to watch and unique--one of a kind. I don't want to oversell it however. It didn't pack an emotional punch, but I liked it.

The Descendants

I love George, and Alexander Payne (Sideways, About Schmidt) and this was good, but one of those slow movies you know you probably will never want to own or see again. I guess I wanted something more brilliant like George's "Up in the Air."

Young Adult
Young Adult(2011)

The previews were funny and I went expecting a comedy. But it wasn't at all. Diablo Cody also wrote Juno....this was no Juno either. Wait for the video. If you saw the trailer, you already saw all the best parts.

My Week with Marilyn

I went at 10pm so I was tired to begin with, and the pace was slow so I dozed off a few times. My friend politely poked me. Yes Williams was great, but I would need to see it again to decide if it was good or really good.


Oh my god, I am reading what the top critics wrote on Rotten Tomatoes about this BORING movie and I think, "Did we see the same film?" I was praying for something to happen. There were a few (very few) moments of tenderness but overall what a yawn! To top it off JR and I saw it in 3D for $39.

The Company Men

A boring waste of time with a great cast.

The Rum Diary

0 for 2 this week, unfortunately (Martha, Marcy... a bust too). Some good scenes and interesting characters here but overall nothing special. Depp loves wacko roles and scripts. I went to see it because it was at the new theater 2 blocks from my apt that serves food/drinks: Nitehawk Cinema.

Martha Marcy May Marlene

I generally agree with the Tomato-meter from Rotten Tomatoes, especially from the "top" critics but not this time. Olsen was good but the story lacked a cohesive narrative. I was left with too many questions unanswered, and as a result feel it was a film not worth seeing. I would have liked to see Scarlett Johansson in Olsen's role, but it's the plot that was flimsy, not the acting.

The Ides of March

Great political situation film with the best assembled cast ever. Ryan G can do no wrong this year after Blue Valentine, Crazy Stupid Love and Drive, now this working with Clooney (who is starting to look middle-aged--oh no!....so am I.) Shakespearean title, the reference was lost on me, sorry. I would have been perfectly happy watching another hour of these characters...it came to an end too soon but its purpose was delivered.


A GAY British movie, and a damn good one. However I don't know if straights would find it as charming or sentimental. There's certainly a lot of pot, coke and alcohol consumed, and gay sex. It's like a gay Before Sunrise: a lot of discussing relationship issues during a short span of time between two 20-something gay Brits. So is it my own internalized homophobia or shame that makes me think straights would just find it hard to watch or identify with? Probably. Which is a point made in the film about one of the character's inability to discuss his gay encounters/dates with his straight best friend.


A very good, well-acted film that isn't overly sentimental but touched me (then again I love to cry at movies.) Perfect pace, and you can't help but love Gordon-Levitt.


Suspense you can cut with a knife (and several people are cut with knives--I had to cover my eyes a bit). Gosling is brilliant and this is a very well-done genre film. The music would have been fine as instrumentals, but everything works. So glad I saw it today!

Bad Teacher
Bad Teacher(2011)

I skipped this one when it came out in June because it got panned across the board. But it got rereleased and I had liked the previews...so going in with REALLY low expectations helped a lot. JR teased me for laughing as much as I did, but I enjoyed how silly it was. Diaz was a great bitch, and that was the point.

The Help
The Help(2011)

I just finished the book, which has so much more impact than the film, so it's hard for me to review this objectively. The cast was great and I liked the movie but I was glad I knew more details. Skeeter's character got lost in translation although Emma Stone does her best. The maids were wonderful, and it's worth seeing, but if you want to read a GOOD book, I recommend that over the film.

Captain America: The First Avenger

Leading man was good, as well as leading woman. I cared. But it was kinda boring. It was set in the 40s and felt about as exciting as living in the 40s... in sepia. I haven't seen a great superhero movie since Ironman. We wish we saw Friends with Benefits instead.

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

I don't give out 5 starts lightly, the film must earn each one! If you like my reviews and haven't seen this movie yet, RUN TO THE THEATER before it leaves. It's already been out 3 weeks. It's Carell's best (not counting Despicable Me, but that was just his voice), and pitch-perfect for Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Don't read anything else about it, just go see it.

Horrible Bosses

I am somewhere between 3 1/2 to 4 stars. I went in not knowing anything about the story, but I like the cast so much and heard it did well. It was a great date night movie, and a perfect diversion from the 99 degree heat. I laughed a lot, and am a new fan of Charlie Day (the only actor in this I hadn't heard of).

Fair Game
Fair Game(2010)

This true story about the Bush administration's falsifying information to justify starting a war reminds me of how Michael Moore was right all along, and "Fahrenheit 9/11" was brilliant. As was "No End In Sight." Watching this DVD took me back to the 8 years of my personal hell having Bush and his team of idiots on TV regularly spewing lies about Iraq in the name of terrorism. Penn and Watts were great in this. Penn's my hero anyway. No matter what anyone says about Obama, and Lord knows he's not perfect, I am so proud to have him as my president. I love having a smart, well-spoken person leading the country and not a airhead who couldn't get through a sentence without messing it up or sounding like a pompous, dumb-ass hick. (Tim, tell us how you really feel!)

The Tree of Life

This film is not a conventional movie in any sense. You aren't seeing a Penn (hardly in it) or Pitt vehicle. I actually wanted a Penn or Pitt vehicle! I was not expecting the 25 min. Discovery Channel-like video of the history of the universe, complete with dinosaurs. There was a very well-filmed and well-acted "everyman" story set in the 50s, but there was no plot. It was an exposition of every human emotion. I want my $13 back!

Midnight in Paris

Although I am a huge Woody fan, I am realistic, and his last movies "whatever works" and "you will meet a tall dark stranger" were HORRIBLE, so I had low expectations. I liked this one a lot! I am not much an Owen Wilson fan, but it was completely enjoyable to watch him play the "woody" role. He was well-cast. The sequences in the past were done just right, and I fell for all of it, maybe because I'm such a romantic. I like Paris in the rain, too. Bravo!


What a wonderful surprise! I saw this because Midnight in Paris was sold out, and I expected it to be the Hollywood version of a man coming out at 75 yrs old (Christopher Plummer) but it was not about that AT ALL. It was about the son, still getting over the loss of his father, and the beginning of a potential new relationship with a French woman. It had the sensibility of a foreign movie, but it was set in LA. It reminded me how wonderful it feels when two people start to fall in love. It also reminded me how it was to be with my dad during his final months.

Le grand voyage

What an interesting movie! Muslim father needs non-muslim son to drive him from their home in France to Mecca. You can slice the tension with a knife, and naturally identify with the son. Wish I had seen this on the big screen. It's beautifully done, and frustratingly satisfying.


I love Kristen Wiig, since her debut on SNL a few years back--I was hooked immediately. She was perfect in Ghost World and some other small parts in comedies, but this is her first starring role, plus she wrote the script. The pacing felt slower, and scenes often lasted longer than usual, but I was enjoying each minute of her unfortunate story. The cast was great, especially Rose Byrne formerly of "Damages" playing a completely different character.


Liked it...not as much as Ironman or Spiderman or Xmen. And I will be happy to see the sequel if Thor and Natalie Portman have more time together. My only advice is do not waste your money on the 3D version. We had them. Despicable Me made great use of 3D, as did Avatar. Thor, not so much.

A Home at the End of the World

I dare anyone to watch this movie and not fall in love with Colin Farrell!! Just saw it again last night and it reminded me what a great actor he is. Follow this up with "In Bruges" for a Colin double-header.

I Love You Phillip Morris

Totally didn't expect this movie to be as good as it is! Carrey best acting since Eternal Sunshine, but here he is able to be funny again. And none of it is offensive towards being gay (ok, they exaggerate a bit, especially in South Beach scenes)--what is nice is how it's more about the crazy things this guy was able to get away with, like the Catch Me If You Can guy. This is based on a true story from the 90s. I'm glad they were able to get this movie made and released, having a gay relationship as the driving force, without that being an issue.


This is such a nice job by Bill Maher! I was afraid he'd be too cynical but he doesn't have to dig deep to show the crazy things people believe. Could it have been more scholarly? Of course but Bill's a comedian. He makes his point.


A fun suspense movie with excellent scenes and characters. If they spent just 3-4 minutes fleshing out the obvious history between Blanchett and Bana, it could have been more fulfilling and made more impact. Again, plot holes. Can't anyone make a sci-fi movie these days that sufficiently ties everything together? Iron Man, the first X-men, the first Matrix...it has been done in the past.

Source Code
Source Code(2011)

Better than Adjustment Bureau, but still illogical. I left confused. Jake Gyllenhaal is the reason to see this. He's great, as usual.

The Adjustment Bureau

There seems to be a number of "sci-fi lite" films out: Limitless, Unknown, this one... asking the questions "what if..." and although I like the questions, the movie didn't dig deep enough. Blunt and Damon have good chemistry. Previews definitely make you think it's going to be an action/thriller, but it's more a love story...with some holes in the story.

No Strings Attached

I really wanted to like this more but you never get a real reason why she doesn't want a serious relationship, and therefore I never believed the conflict. But man, Natalie and Ashton are delicious to watch! They got the extra 1/2 star just for that. Supporting cast was great too.

True Grit
True Grit(2010)

Westerns aren't my favorite but nominated for best picture, actor, supporting actress, True Grit had to be seen. I liked it, especially the clever script and performances. Simple, traditional western epic... I'm voting for King's Speech and Colin for the Oscars though. Jeff won last year for Crazy Heart.

The Fighter
The Fighter(2010)

I was wary of seeing yet another boxing movie, but this wasn't so much about boxing as it was about family ties. This is Christian Bale's movie from scene 1....oscar without question. Wahlberg (producer) gave this to him tied in a bow. Glad I saw it this afternoon on this cold NYC winter day.

The King's Speech

This was a perfectly wonderful movie! I didn't know anything about George VI (father of Queen Elizabeth). I love movies that make me go to wikipedia as I'm leaving the theater. Colin, Geoffrey and Helena all will get well-deserved Oscar noms I predict. It was a simple story about a man trying to overcome an embarrassing problem, and he happened to be royalty which added the necessary layer of conflict. Without shoving it in your face, the film demonstrates the loving relationship between husband and wife, as well as the trusting relationship formed between student and teacher. One might think the subject would make a sort of boring movie, but it was interesting from start to finish. I really enjoyed it!

Easy A
Easy A(2010)

I love this movie! Emma Stone was brilliant in her small role in Superbad and I haven't seen her since. Now she's surrounded with a great cast (Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson, Lisa Kudrow, Thomas Hayden Church) in a perfectly paced movie about high school pretend sex scandals. Of course the fundamentalist Christian is the one who spreads the false rumors and is the most judgmental of all! This is Emma's movie, however, and she's amazing.