Movie Reviews

Starring: Seth Rogen, Barbra Streisand, Brett Cullen, Adam Scott

The Guilt Trip

The Story: A schlubby inventor who’s traveling the country hawking his wares invites his mother along in an attempt to reunite her with a long lost love. The Lowdown: A painless, pointless attempt at a feel-good movie that's hardly memorable.
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo, Werner Herzog, Robert Duvall

Jack Reacher

The Story: An ex-military investigator is called in to investigate a sniper killing. The Lowdown: Tom Cruise is certainly miscast, but he manages to mostly pull off the title role in this entertaining, but not very special action thriller with mystery elements.
Starring: Abel Salazar, Ariadna Welter, Germán Robles, Yerye Beirute, Alicia Montoya, Carlos Anciera

The Vampire’s Coffin (El Ataúd del Vampiro)

In Brief: It's the exciting sequel to the first big Mexican horror hit, El Vampiro (The Vampire), and while it may not quite be up to its prequel, it's not anything to be dismissed lightly. Four of the stars from the first film are back and the story adheres fairly closely to the lines of…
Starring: The Four Marx Brothers, Margaret Dumont, Louis Calhern, Raquel Torres, Edgar Kennedy

Duck Soup

In Brief: The Marx Brothers' fifth and final film for Paramount Pictures is far and away the best and most manic movie they ever made. It's a film that hits the ground running and never lets up for its entire length. A political comedy (with occasional elements of actual satire), Duck Soup finds Grouch being…
Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow, Jason Segel

This Is 40

The Story: A long-married couple attempts to cope with entering their 40s. The Lowdown: All of Judd Apatow’s worst attributes — an aimless story, an overlong run time — with the added bonus of obnoxious, infuriating upper-middle-class banality.
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher

Silver Linings Playbook

The Story: Unusual screwball romantic comedy about two very dysfunctional people. The Lowdown: Richly rewarding, funny, fresh and touching romantic comedy that both adheres to the genre while taking it to new places. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence make for a very appealing couple — and get great support from the rest of the A-list…
Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, James Nesbitt

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Story: Stick-in-the-mud hobbit Bilbo Baggins allows himself to be coerced into joining a group of dwarves, along with the wizard Gandalf, to help the dwarves regain their homeland from the dragon Smaug. The Lowdown: It's longer than it needed to be and it's certainly not in the same league as the Lord of the…
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, Eddie Redmayne

Les Miserables

The Story: Film version of the immensely popular stage-show musical adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel. The Lowdown: Fans of the show will probably rejoice. The uninitiated may feel differently about this extremely long, over-emphatic and self-serious film version.
Starring: Eddie Constantine, Anna Karina, Akim Tamiroff, Howard Vernon


In Brief: Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville (1965) is simply one of the damndest things you're ever likely to see. Godard took a popular noir-ish detective, Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine), and plopped him into a nightmarish sci-fi movie that seems to be part serious, part satire — or possibly one huge practical joke. Is Godard serious or…
Starring: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Frances Drake, Frank Lawton, Beulah Bondi, Violet Kemble Cooper, Walter Kingsford

The Invisible Ray

In Brief: Karloff and Lugosi star as rival scientists who join forces on an African expedititon where Karloff discovers a powerful new element — one that poisons him, makes him glow in the dark and gives him a touch that means instant death to others. Beautifully crafted horror classic — one of the first to…
Starring: Grant Williams, Lola Albright, Les Tremayne, Trevor Bardette, Phil Harvey

The Monolith Monsters

In Brief: A meteorite crashes in the desert, breaks into pieces, which turn into skyscraper-sized protrusions when they get wet — which then fall over and break, growing more and more towering rocks. Worse, these rocks can turn any organism into solid stone. As concepts go, yes, this is pretty dumb even for 1950s sci-fi,…
Starring: Eva Dahlbeck, Gunnar Björnstrand, Ulla Jacobsson, Jarl Kulle, Björn Bjelvenstam

Smiles of a Summer Night

In Brief: Something a little — or even a lot — different from Ingmar Bergman. Smiles of a Summer Night finds the director in a playful and romantic mood — all the while flirting with his usual heavier concerns — and crafting a perfect sex farce that's really one of the most joyful films imaginable.
Starring: Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Noah Lomax, Dennis Quaid, Catherine Zeta-Jones

Playing for Keeps

The Story: A washed up soccer player attempts to build a relationship with his semi-estranged son — and the boy’s mother — by coaching his youth soccer team. The Lowdown: An innocuous mess of a romantic comedy that’s occasionally confounding, wrongheaded and completely predictable.
Starring: Deanna Durbin, Ralph Bellamy, David Bruce, Dan Duryea, Elizabeth Patterson, Edward Everett Horton

Lady on a Train

In Brief: While aboard a train stopped outside Grand Central Station, Deanna Durbin — on her way to spend Christmas with her aunt — witnesses a murder in a building near the tracks. Of course, no one believes her — and thereby hangs the plot of this comedy mystery with songs and a Christmas setting.…
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Danny Huston, Toni Collette, Michael Stuhlbarg


The Story: The story of Alfred Hitchcock risking it all to make Psycho. The Lowdown: No, it's not a history lesson. It's not even quite a biopic. It's cheeky and quirky and fairly shallow, but it never pretends to be anything else — and it's very entertaining.
Starring: Dick Purcell, Joan Woodbury, Mantan Moreland / Bela Lugosi, Wanda McKay, John Archer

King of the Zombies / Bowery at Midnight

In Brief: A double dose of 1940s "poverty row" horrors from the fine folks at Monogram Pictures — without whom 1940s horror wouldn't be the same. (How you feel about that may be a personal matter too delicate to discuss in public.) The first gives you the great black comedian Mantan Moreland involved with a…
Starring: Josh Stewart, Emma Fitzpatrick, Christopher McDonald, Lee Tergesen, Randall Archer

The Collection

The Story: A masked mass murderer wipes out an entire nightclub of people — except one girl. Her father sends some ill-prepared mercenaries to rescue her. There is much juicy carnage. The Lowdown: Well enough made, but largely uninteresting — and often unpleasant — sequel to an even less interesting movie that almost no one…
Starring: Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins

Killing Them Softly

The Story: After two low rent hoods hold up a card game, a hit man is brought in by the mob to clean up the mess. The Lowdown: Strong performances and slick direction can’t make up for a heavy-handed message.
Starring: Pupella Maggio, Armando Brancia, Bruno Zanin, Luigi Rossi, Maria Antonietta Beluzzi


In Brief: Federico Fellini's most warm-hearted film is also possibly his most colorful and well-judged. It's basically a phantasmagoria of Fellini's childhood memories and the village he grew up in — memories presented in terms that can only be described as, yes, Felliniesque. If you don't know what that means, you definitely need to see…
Starring: Dick Powell, Ellen Drew, Raymond Walburn, Alexander Carr, William Demarest, Ernest Truex

Christmas in July

In Brief: This often overlooked gem from writer-director Preston Sturges is actually one of his best. It's certainly his most sweet-tempered and non-cynical work. It's all about a poor schnook (Dick Powell) whose life changes thanks to a practical joke that makes him — and everybody else — think he's won a $25,000 prize for…
Starring: Michael Redgrave, Margaret Lockwood, Paul Lukas, Dame May Whitty, Cecil Parker

The Lady Vanishes

The Story: A young woman makes friends with an elderly school mistress on a train, but when she wakes from a nap, the old lady is gone — and everyone insists she was never there. The Lowdown: One of Alfred Hitchcock's best and most enjoyable movies. It's clever, witty, funny, exciting — and it's the…