Movie Reviews

Starring: (Voices) John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk

Wreck-It Ralph

The Story: Video-game bad guy Wreck-It Ralph wants to become a hero and leaves his own game in search of that goal in other games. The Lowdown: It's not actually bad (though it sure didn't need to be as long as it is by about 20 minutes) and John C. Reilly puts his all into…
Starring: Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Bruce Greenwood, Kelly Reilly, John Goodman


The Story: An alcoholic pilot manages a remarkable feat of flying that saves a lot of lives, but his condition at the time raises legal and ethical questions. The Lowdown: Despite a strong opening, the film quickly turns into a dramatically dubious "problem picture" about alcoholism. Good performances are not enough to change that.
Starring: The Four Marx Brothers, Thelma Todd, Ruth Hall, Rockliffe Fellows

Monkey Business

In Brief: In what is probably their most anarchic film, the Four Marx Brothers became stowaways on a ship, get mixed up with rival bootleggers, impersonate Maurice Chevalier and generally create mayhem wherever they go — seemingly because they want to and they can. A perfect Marx Brothers experience without a pause for anything as…
Starring: Marcello Mastroianni, Sydne Rome, Hugh Griffith, Roman Polanski

What? (Diary of Forbidden Dreams)

In Brief: Roman Polanski's little-seen — and much maligned — 1972 film What? is undeniably one of the director's strangest works. In essence, it's a variation on Alice in Wonderland — except played out in surrealistic terms as a sex comedy. It's no wonder that no one seemed to know what to do with it…
Starring: Arvydas Sabonis, Sarunas Marciulionis, Bill Walton, Mickey Hart, Jonas Valanciunas

The Other Dream Team

The Story: The true story of the 1992 Lithuanian Olympic Men’s Basketball Team, and their rise from the remains of the Soviet Union. The Lowdown: A well-meaning doc that lacks focus and suffers from a scattershot approach.
Starring: François Truffaut, Nathalie Baye, Jean Dasté, Patrick Maléon, Jane Lobre

The Green Room

In Brief: François Truffaut directs and stars in this adaptation of two Henry James stories -- an odd and decidedly small-scale work for the filmmaker. The story concerns a man who is obsessed with his dead wife -- and indeed all of the dead people in his life. It's certainly interesting — occasionally fascinating —…
Starring: RZA, Russell Crowe, Ricky Yune, Lucy Liu, Dave Bautista

Man With the Iron Fists

The Story: A shipment of gold attracts all types of types of ne'er do wells in a small Chinese village. The Lowdown: Incoherent action scenes, a dull plot and cartoonish special effects make for a long slog of an action movie.
Starring: Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Kylie Minogue, Elise Lhomeau, Jeanne Disson, Michel Piccoli, Eva Mendes, Leos Carax

Holy Motors

The Story: A wildly inventive surreal excursion into a day in the life of a man -- apparently an actor -- as he assumes a variety of strange roles. The Lowdown: Probably the most strikingly original and inventive work of the year, but one destined to baffle -- even possibly anger -- some viewers, who…
Starring: Abel Salazar, Germán Robles, Ariadna Welter, Carmen Montejo, Jose Luis Jiminez

El Vampiro (The Vampire)

In Brief: El Vampiro is the movie that really kicked off the always interesting and entertaining — if often somewhat silly and illogical — Mexican horror films of the 1950s and '60s. It's a reasonably straightforward vampire picture of the Dracula school — albeit one made under obvious budgetary constraints, which is generally offset by…
Starring: Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, David Oyelowo, Macy Gray

The Paperboy

The Story: An investigative reporter and his black writing partner go to the reporter's backwoods hometown to seek the truth about a convicted man on death row. The Lowdown: This is overheated, impossibly lurid, oversexed exploitation filmmaking at its most outrageous. Let that guide you as to whether or not it's for you.
Starring: Mel Brooks, Marty Feldman, Dom DeLuise, Sid Caesar, Bernadette Peters

Silent Movie

In Brief: Mel Brooks' 1976 silent movie about Mel Brooks (as Mel Funn) signing up stars to appear in his silent movie. Broad slapstick and Borscht Belt comedy that will appeal more to some than others.
Starring: Victoria Justice, Jackson Nicoll, Thomas Mann, Chelsea Handler, Jane Levy

Fun Size

The Story: A teenage girl must find her younger brother, who she’s lost on Halloween. The Lowdown: Mediocre teen comedy with little wit and cleverness, which suffers from envying so many other movies of its ilk that have come before.
Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Matias Padin Varela, Dragomir Mrsic, Lisa Henni, Mahmut Suvakci

Easy Money

The Story: A social-climbing college student becomes embroiled in a complicated drug deal involving warring criminal factions in an attempt to keep his upper class pose financed. The Lowdown: Complex and involving Swedish crime thriller that pulls you into its story, but is ultimately a little too grim for its own good.
Starring: Cristina Sánchez Pascual, Julieta Serrano, Carmen Maura, Chus Lampreave

Dark Habits

In Brief: Pedro Almodóvar's first professional film, Dark Habits is pretty thoroughly what you expect from the filmmaker. It's an outrageous soap opera-esque story full of dysfunctional characters — in this case, mostly nuns, many addicted to drugs — presented with humor and nonjudgmental humanity. It's not as slick as his later works, but there's…
Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, James D'Arcy, Doona Bae

Cloud Atlas

The Story: Six interconnected stories on the same theme over hundreds of years are intercut to form a kind of cinematic tapestry or symphony. The Lowdown: The most ambitious — and maybe magnificent — movie of the year. It's wonderful, a little bit nuts and sure to divide audiences by its sheer audacity. Whether you…
Starring: Adelaide Clemens, Kit Harrington, Sean Bean, Carrie-Anne Moss, Radha Mitchell, Malcolm McDowell

Silent Hill: Revelation

The Story: We return once more to the environs of Silent Hill for more of the same — only less so. The Lowdown: Some atmosphere, a good bit of blood, but nothing you didn't see done far better in the 2006 original — unless 3D body parts comin' at you is a selling point for…
Starring: Walter Huston, Lupe Velez, Conrad Nagel, Virginia Bruce, C. Henry Gordon


In Brief: Unseen for years, Kongo (1932) is quite probably the most outrageous, bizarre and even downright sick horror film from the "classic horror" era. It's a remake of the 1928 Tod Browning-Lon Chaney thriller West of Zanzibar, but its excesses far exceed the original. Essentially more a gothic melodrama set in a sweltering jungle…
Starring: Charles Laughton, Charlie Ruggles, Mary Boland, ZaSu Pitts, Roland Young, Leila Hyams

Ruggles of Red Gap

In Brief: Armed with what can only be called a dream cast, Leo McCarey turned the old warhorse (it had already been filmed twice) Ruggles of Red Gap (1935) into pure movie gold. If ever there has been a more perfect blend of comedy, sentiment and Americana, I've never seen it. Laughton gives one of…
Starring: Jonny Weston, Gerard Butler, Leven Rambin, Abigail Spencer, Elisabeth Shue

Chasing Mavericks

The Story: A grizzled surfer trains a teen to surf treacherous, gigantic waves called mavericks. The Lowdown: Run-of-the mill uplifting sports pap that’s professionally made, but thematically muddled.
Starring: Katie Featherston, Kathryn Newton, Matt Shively, Brady Allen, Aiden Lovekamp

Paranormal Activity 4

The Story: More low-rent spooky doings in suburbia. The Lowdown: People who find these bottom-of-the-barrel movies (videos, actually) somehow scary will presumably do so once again. The rest of us are more likely to yawn or go see something else.
Starring: Joan Crawford, Ossie Davis, Richard Kiley, Roddy McDowall, Barry Sullivan

Night Gallery

In Brief: Anthology film comprised of three stories — one of which was directed by a young Steven Spielberg — that was the pilot for the subsequent TV series. The quality varies from story to story and the production values are pure TV level. Not bad at all, but neither is it anything all that…