Movie Reviews

blancanieves
Starring: Maribel Verdú, Macarena García, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Ramón Barea, Ángela Molina

Blancanieves (Snow White)

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In Brief: This brilliant Spanish film from 2012 is everything the overrated The Artist (2011) wanted to be and never was. Blancanieves (Snow White) actually feels like a genuine late-period silent movie. It is done without camp or forced quaintness and could easily pass for a real film from 1929 — while at the same…
boynext
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, Ian Nelson, John Corbett, Kristin Chenoweth

The Boy Next Door

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The Story: A recently separated wife and mother sleeps with her young neighbor, only to bring his violent, obsessive nature upon her family. The Lowdown: Trashy nonsense that might be fun if it weren’t so inept and laboriously dumb.
marieroget
Starring: Patric Knowles, Maria Montez, Maria Ouspenskaya, John Litel, Nell O'Day, Lloyd Corrigan, Edward Norris

Mystery of Marie Roget

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In Brief: Universal traded one last time on the name of Edgar Allan Poe with Mystery of Marie Roget (1942) — another of their mystery movies masquerading as horror. This, of course, meant it was destined to be part of the "Shock Theater" package. The fact that it is so clearly a Universal film, has so many…
mortdecai3
Starring: Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Paul Bettany, Olivia Munn, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Culkin

Mortdecai

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The Story: Bumbling, snobbish, disreputable art dealer Charlie Mortdecai is blackmailed into helping find a stolen painting. The Lowdown: A curious throwback to the kind of comedy made about 50 years ago, which has left a great many people baffled and even angry. The truth is that it's a film of considerable wit and appeal…
magnificent-ambersons-(1942)-large-picture
Starring: Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello, Anne Baxter, Tim Holt, Agnes Moorehead, Ray Collins, Erskine Sanford, Richard Bennett

The Magnificent Ambersons

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In Brief: It's hard to believe that no one has run Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) locally before, but that seems to be the case. The fact that Welles would have turned 100 in May plays into this showing, but it has still been a curious omission. No film has ever been so mythologized…
a_most_violent_year
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo, Alessandro Nivola, Albert Brooks

A Most Violent Year

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The Story: A man in the heating oil business deals with hijackers and corruption in his pursuit of expanding his business to the next level. The Lowdown: A good — consistently entertaining and interesting — movie that hurts itself by trying too hard to be a great one. Definitely worth seeing, but it's just not…
strange-magic-movie-image-2
Starring: (Voices) Evan Rachel Wood, Alan Cumming, Sam Palladio, Elijah Kelley, Meredith Anne Bull

Strange Magic

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The Story: This retelling of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream has fairies and their dark, evil counterparts duking it out, accompanied by pop songs. The Lowdown: A sanitized, airless kids movie that looks expensive but has no sense of whimsy or imagination.
400
Starring: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Claire Maurier, Albert Rémy, Guy Decomble

The 400 Blows

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In Brief: François Truffaut's first feature The 400 Blows (1959) struck a blow of its own as the first of the New Wave films — movies that came as a reaction to what was perceived as the stodginess of classical French filmmaking (and filmmaking around the world for that matter). It was a movement that would change…
operation
Starring: Sophia Loren, George Peppard, Tom Courtenay, Jeremy Kemp, Anthony Quayle, Lilli Palmer

Operation Crossbow

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In Brief: Reasonably well-produced, fairly standard 1960s war movie (there seemed to be a new one every week through 1967, mostly thanks to the wildly popular The Guns of Navarone in 1961), Operation Crossbow (1965) was largely sold on Sophia Loren's name (well, it was produced by husband Carlo Ponti). It was good business sense…
Wedding-Ringer-1
Starring: Kevin Hart, Josh Gad, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Olivia Thirlby, Jenifer Lewis

The Wedding Ringer

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The Story: A friendless groom hires a professional best man to help him with his wedding. The Lowdown: A likable Kevin Hart performance isn’t enough to prop up this tired, hokey comedy.
day2
Starring: Konstantin Khabenskiy, Vladimir Menshov, Valeriy Zolotukhin, Mariya Poroshina, Galina Tyunina

Day Watch

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In Brief: Timur Bekmambetov's Day Watch is, of course, the even more ambitious follow-up to Night Watch. (A third film was announced, but it appears to be dead in the water.) Everyone from the previous film is back for more — and by that I mean more of everything. It's bigger, it's over a half-hour longer, the effects…
chris-hemsworth-blackhat-movie
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Wei Tang, Leehom Wang, Viola Davis

Blackhat

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The Story: After a rogue hacker melts down a Chinese nuclear plant, an imprisoned hacker is set free to help track him down. The Lowdown: Occasionally far-fetched, sometimes idiotic and often run-of-the-mill action flick that tries to spruce itself up with some topicality.
cake-11
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Adriana Barraza, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington, Mamie Gummer, Felicity Huffman

Cake

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The Story: A 40-ish woman suffering from chronic pain and loss tries to cope with her situation. The Lowdown: A modest, flawed, but mostly engaging drama that showcases a solid — and out of character — performance from Jennifer Aniston.
paddington2
Starring: Ben Whishaw (voice), Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin, Jim Broadbent, Nicole Kidman, Peter Capaldi

Paddington

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The Story: A young bear from Peru tries to find a home in London. The Lowdown: Thoroughly charming, gently funny, stylish, great to look at and with a wonderful cast, there's just no excuse for missing this.
halfshot poster2
Starring: Bert Wheeler, Robert Woolsey, Dorothy Lee, Edna May Oliver, George MacFarlane, Leni Stengel

Half Shot at Sunrise

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In Brief: This early sound Wheeler and Woolsey comedy (their fourth) finds the duo in great form as they milk every possible gag and pun — and a few impossible ones, too — to be found in the service comedy format. Actually, until the last reels, it's only slightly a normal service comedy, since our heroes are…
teorema
Starring: Silvana Mangano, Terence Stamp, Massimo Girotti, Anne Wiazemsky, Andrés José Cruz Soublette

Teorema (Theorem)

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In Brief: While this surreal — and sexually charged — drama is certainly nowhere near the most unsettling thing Pier Paolo Pasolini ever made (that would be 1975's Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom), Teorema is high on the Not for Everyone list. It's less that the film is upsetting (though some will find…
ninth2
Starring: Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson, Jason Miller, Ed Flanders, Neville Brand

The Ninth Configuration

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In Brief: Most people know William Peter Blatty as the author of The Exorcist, but Blatty also made two films — The Ninth Configuration and The Exorcist III (which gets my vote as the best of all Exorcist movies). Adapting his novel, Twinkle Twinkle Killer Kane, Blatty proved himself a natural filmmaker right off the bat with The Ninth Configuration, a rich metaphysical comedy-tragedy,…
AmericanSniper1
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Jake McDorman, Ben Reed

American Sniper

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The Story: Fact-based war drama about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. The Lowdown: Clint Eastwood's latest will please many, but it's a simplistic movie with often slack direction and little to say beyond the obvious in a print-the-legend manner.
foxcatcher-steve-carell-channing-tatum
Starring: Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave, Anthony Michael Happ

Foxcatcher

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The Story: The story of millionaire John du Pont and his ultimately murderous relationship with Olympic gold medalists Mark and Dave Schultz. The Lowdown: A well-crafted, but slowly-paced prestige picture that manages to be fascinating and compelling, if never quite great.