Movie Reviews

the show
Starring: John Gilbert, Renée Adorée, Lionel Barrymore, Edward Connelly, Gertrude Short

The Show

In Brief: Tod Browning's The Show (1927) is one of the director's best films — and also one of his most unknown. I suspect the problem is that it cannot in any real sense be pigeonholed as a horror picture, and unlike Browning's better known silent films, it doesn't star Lon Chaney. The closest it…
santa sangre
Starring: Axel Jodorowsky, Blanca Guerra, Guy Stockwell, Thelma Tixou, Sabina Dennison, Adan Jodorowsky

Santa Sangre

In Brief: Praised by many (including Roger Ebert) and vilified by others, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Santa Sangre (1989) sits poised uneasily between the world of art house cinema and exploitation horror. Because its slasher horror content is occasionally so extreme, it originally earned an NC-17 rating — a rating that was later surrendered by the filmmakers in order…
Starring: Warner Oland, Irene Hervey, Keye Luke, Jon Hall, Russell Hicks, Halliwell Hobbes

Charlie Chan in Shanghai

In Brief: Charlie Chan in Shanghai marked the fourth Charlie Chan movie not adapted from a novel and the second one to feature Keye Luke as Charlie's No. One Son, Lee Chan. As most of these films were — it's more obvious if you see them in order — it was designed to directly relate to…
Starring: Michael Crawford, John Lennon, Roy Kinnear, Lee Montague, Jack MacGowran, Michael Hordern

How I Won the War

In Brief: “I saw a film today, oh boy,” sings John Lennon in the song “A Day in the Life” from The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper's album. He then goes on to remark that “the English army had just won the war” and notes that while “a crowd of people turned away,” he “just had to look,…
Starring: Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin, Kate Bosworth, Hunter Parrish

Still Alice

The Story: A woman wages the inevitably losing battle against Alzheimer's disease.  The Lowdown: The performances of Oscar-nominated Julianne Moore and Kristen Stewart — along with a frequently solid script — elevate this blandly directed and slightly soapy movie to the level of a must-see.
Starring: Irene Dunne, Randolph Scott, Dorothy Lamour, Elizabeth Patterson, Raymond Walburn, Charles Bickford, Akim Tamiroff

High, Wide and Handsome

CANCELED due to weather. This will be rescheduled. In Brief: Rouben Mamoulian did his most important work at Paramount, but he'd left the studio in 1933. In 1937 he came back for one more film — the little seen and mostly forgotten High, Wide and Handsome. The film was an obvious attempt — with its period setting,…
Starring: (Voices) Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Mr. Lawrence, Clancy Brown

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

The Story: After the secret recipe to the wildly popular Krabby Patties disappears, SpongeBob and his archrival Plankton must travel through space and time to recover it. The Lowdown: A likable collection of bad jokes and casual nonsense that’s simply too long and exhausting.
Starring: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton

Jupiter Ascending

The Story: A lowly Cinderella-esque drudge turns out to be the rightful owner of the Earth. The Lowdown: It's big. It's goofy. It's highly imaginative. It has a little something on its mind. And it's fun. In other words, it's a film from the Wachowskis.
turning point
Starring: Anne Bancroft, Shirley MacLaine, Tom Skerritt, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Leslie Browne, Martha Scott

The Turning Point

In Brief: Oh, it garnered 11 Oscar nominations — but took home nothing at the end of the night. (Sometimes you can't even bamboozle the Academy.) I know — at least judging by all the gush on its IMDb page — that The Turning Point (1977) has its admirers, but let's face it, it's really…
Starring: Jeff Morrow, Mara Corday, Morris Ankrum, Louis Merrill, Edgar Barrier, Robert Shayne

The Giant Claw

In Brief: The Thursday Horror Picture Show is serving Grade-A turkey this week with Fred F. Sears’ deliriously dreadful The Giant Claw. To give some barometer of its quality, consider that it was released in June of 1957, and even though Sears died in November of that same year, in the intervening five months he managed…
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander, Antje Traue, Olivia Williams, John DeSantis, Kit Harington

Seventh Son

The Story:  A "spook" (witch-hunter) and his apprentice must stop an evil witch from taking over the world. The Lowdown: Incredibly dull fantasy action nonsense occasionally goosed with unintentional laughs and a pair of absurdly over-the-top performances.
Starring: Jean Marais, François Périer, María Casares, Marie Déa, Edouard Dermithe

Orphée (Orpheus)

In Brief: Hardly the most prolific of filmmakers, Jean Cocteau at least hit the cinematic gong twice in such a way that it rattled the fabric of film for all time. The first was La Belle et la Bete (Beauty and the Beast) in 1946 and the second was Orphée (Orpheus) in 1950. It's a…
Starring: Karl Urban, James Marsden, Eric Stonestreet, Wentworth Miller, Matthias Shoenaerts, Isabel Lucas, Rachael Taylor

The Loft

The Story: Five men sharing a loft for purposes of illicit assignations find a dead woman in the bed and realize one of them must be responsible. The Lowdown: Ridiculous, preposterous and pretty sleazy mystery thriller of the kind that only shows up in January.
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn, Rosamund Pike, Embeth Davidtz


In Brief: There’s nothing all that much wrong with Gregory Hoblit’s Fracture — except for the fact that it feels like a TV drama that found its way to the big screen by virtue of stars Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling. It’s an agreeably convoluted two hours at the movies, but neither a very clever, nor…
Starring: Maria Montez, Jon Hall, Peter Coe, Nigel Bruce, Leo Carrillo, Gale Sondergaard, Douglass Dumbrille

Gypsy Wildcat

In Brief: Though Maria Montez — usually co-starred with Jon Hall — is largely forgotten today, Universal Pictures parlayed her looks — especially her curvaceous body — and her limited acting skills into a popular series of highly Technicolored romance adventures in the 1940s. These garishly colored movies were appealing to wartime audiences. Today, we'd…
Starring: Found Footage Teen Sci-Fi

Project Almanac

The Story: Things soon get out of hand for a group of teens who build a time machine based on schematics found in a basement. The Lowdown: Nonsensical, pointless and meandering teen sci-fi junk, complete with pointless found footage conceit.
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione, Catherine Salée, Batiste Sornin, Pili Groyne, Simon Caudry, Alain Eloy

Two Days, One Night

The Story: A woman has a weekend to change the minds of her co-workers to vote for her to keep her job at the cost of their bonuses. The Lowdown: Marion Cotillard's Oscar-nominated performance is at the center of Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's frequently powerful new drama.
Starring: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Jacqueline Wells / Karloff and Lugosi, Irene Ware, Lester Matthews

The Black Cat / The Raven

In Brief: They were Universal’s “Twin Titans of Terror,” and during the first wave of horror movies, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi defined the genre. Of the six films they made together, the best are probably the first two, The Black Cat (1934) and The Raven (1935). Certainly, the first is the most twisted — to a degree that…
Starring: Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer, Jillian Estell, Bill Burr, Mpho Koaho

Black or White

The Story: After the death of his wife, an alcoholic widower must fight for custody of his granddaughter. The Lowdown: A well-intentioned courtroom drama that’s not as intelligent or prescient as it wants to be.
Starring: Maribel Verdú, Macarena García, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Ramón Barea, Ángela Molina

Blancanieves (Snow White)

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…