IN TIME ticks into a disappointing ending

October 31, 2011

The concept is a meaningful variation on our own society, albeit one with more codified and defined separations and wealth. Its psychological possibilities are fruitful and endless, and the film sets itself up to be exceedingly important, establishing weighty consequences to its own outcomes, both for its characters and for us.

MONEYBALL scores high

September 26, 2011

The journey of the A’s 2002 season is an engrossing look at how a few people revolutionize the game — the drama of “Moneyball” is the tough road to change a sport both celebrated and maligned as America’s oldest.

DRIVE gives Gosling superhero status

September 18, 2011

In a film where each supporting character’s past is his or her handicap and downfall, a protagonist with no more than a face and a job becomes the one-eyed man, king of the film’s conflict and the only person with the freedom to be the good guy.


July 31, 2011

The director plays “Cowboys & Aliens” with a somewhat different hand — one that not many expected and few prefer. He plays it straight and serious, as if the film’s jumbled script could somehow rest on its own storytelling laurels. The simplicity of Universal’s posters comes full circle into a bland and poorly planned action-adventure that feels a lot smaller than it’s meant to.


June 26, 2011

Directed by Jake Kasdan (“Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story”), Detroit native and son of ‘U’ alum Lawrence Kasdan, the film follows middle school teacher Elizabeth Halsey (Diaz, “Knight and Day”) whose primary goal in life — aside from seemingly belittling her students and alienating literally every single person she meets — is to find a super-rich guy with whom to settle down.

TREE OF LIFE is visually stunning but too ambitious

June 19, 2011

Movies are miraculous. Projected illusions of life, engineered to entertain and keep us in our seats, collected in the dark for hours on end – it’s all very silly, after all. But film taps something inside people that nothing else does, hitting a rhythmic visual chord that is – at least to an extent – organic and natural.

Few objections to THE LINCOLN LAWYER

March 20, 2011

The exploration is an uncommon one and it’s fascinating to see Hollywood allow such a concept receive the reality and seriousness it deserves. The cast takes it just as seriously, as Marisa Tomei is characteristically delightful as Haller’s prosecutor ex-wife, and supporting characters played by William H. Macy and Laurence Mason are amiable additions who allow Haller to generate the sympathetic world he needs to convince us of his own validity.

Missing the mystery in THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU

March 2, 2011

Without mystery, much of the premise seems almost silly, with men in hats walking robotically on rooftops and Matt Damon running around New York City and passing through doors. No matter how cool the theoretical story is, it isn’t translated well to the screen. In all of this is the film’s redeeming quality — the chemistry between David and Elise, the product of focused performances by Damon and Blunt.

Vaughn and James face a dull DILEMMA

January 17, 2011

All puns aside (Howard faces quite the “dilemma” with his latest project!), Howard faces quite the dilemma with his latest project. How do you create serious, interesting characters and place them in situations where comedy ensues? The chosen answer seems to be to cast tentpole comedic actors like Vince Vaughn (“Couples Retreat”) and Kevin James (“Paul Blart: Mall Cop”) and let them create comedy through their onscreen personas. That actually somewhat works, but when it comes to comedy, somewhat working isn’t good enough and doesn’t make for a memorable film.

Trains, Tony Scott, and Denzel: The UNSTOPPABLE combo strikes again

November 14, 2010

“Unstoppable” is stripped down and presented almost entirely in real-time. The runaway train is a formidable villain, and its mysterious, almost mystical quality is one of the film’s strongest points. Carrying large amounts of toxic chemicals, it is never fully explained how serious its damage would be, but the realistic in-the-moment presentation is thrilling.

THE SOCIAL NETWORK is status-worthy cinema

September 30, 2010

If you considered a movie about the creators of Facebook an awkward and likely unsuccessful prospect, you weren’t alone. The controversies surrounding the inception of Facebook are well documented, and it’s rare that such a contemporary character profile works as both a bold, true portrait and as an entertaining film. “The Social Network” is that rarity. Inherently — and legally — the film must be a careful depiction of recent and true events, and it succeeds brilliantly.

Affleck dazzles behind the camera in THE TOWN

September 20, 2010

“The Town” is a crime drama that succeeds on both the “crime” and “drama” counts – it’s a gritty, riveting display that avoids the cheesy pitfalls of its genre-mates. That each and every character, no matter how flawed he or she is, inspires an emotional investment is just as much a testament to the cast’s ability as it is a sign of Affleck’s talent as a director.

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