Tuesday, September 23, 2014
     

Movie Review

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Calvary," as with Christianity's New Testament event from which the film derives its title, is difficult, brutal and shocking.

The film begins in a confessional booth in a Roman Catholic church in Ireland where Father James Lavelle (Brendan Gleeson), a fiftysomething Irish priest, is told he will be killed the following Sunday by the very person to whom he is giving confession.

The supplicant boasts that he will revel in killing "a good priest."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Even though the last day of summer is Sept. 22, the domestic summer movie box office season officially ended Labor Day Weekend.

August, a month when movies not expected to perform well are often released, was particularly robust at the box office, led by "Guardians of The Galaxy," which duked it out with "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

August 2014 had a box office tally of about $1 billion. That's 10 percent above August 2013.

Friday, September 5, 2014

"Boyhood" is really annoying.

The characters played by Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette and Ellar Coltrane are annoying.

The plotline and scenes in the film by writer-director Richard Linklater are annoying.

And yet, or because, "Boyhood" is about as annoying as real life, the film is a must-see.

That's because, in comparison, you may conclude your life is less annoying than that depicted in "Boyhood."

"Boyhood" is this summer's feel-good movie in reverse.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The money scene in writer-director Woody Allen's "Magic In The Moonlight" is when Colin Firth bows his head and prays.

Prayer? In a Woody Allen film?

"Magic In The Moonlight" not only challenges preconceived notions about a Woody Allen film, it makes us think about our own concepts of prayer, faith, death and the hereafter.

Of course, this being a Woody Allen film, "Magic In The Moonlight" gives us a lot of laughs in between the philosophical musings.

Monday, August 25, 2014

"Get On Up," the bio pic about James Brown, takes you inside the career, mind and heart of the Godfather of Soul.

James Brown was a controversial figure onstage and off.

Onstage, he was a dancing dynamo, setting the stage for Michael Jackson, the choreography of Motown groups the Four Tops, Temptations and Supremes and a bass-drums-horn rhythm section that became the foundation of funk.

Offstage, he got into trouble with the law, became an advocate for the African-American community and battled drug addiction.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

With "Guardians Of The Galaxy," it's as if those comic-book "Bam!-Pow!-Zoom!" panels are right up there on the big screen.

"Guardians Of The Galaxy" director James Gunn is making his big-screen directorial debut. Gunn was screenwriter for "Super," 2010; "Dawn Of The Dead," 2004; "Scooby-Doo," 2002; "The Specials," 2000; and "Tromeo And Juliet," 1996.

As you can see from his film credits, Gunn has a cheesy sensibility. Gunn doesn't take the Marvel Comics universe too seriously.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

"Lucy" is a foreign art house film masquerading as a blockbuster, or vice versa.

Luc Besson's crackling direction keeps the story moving faster than you can say "CPH4."

CPH4 is the synthetic substance that gives Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) superpowers that would make the Hulk or any Marvel Comics superhero green with envy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"Life Itself" is a harrowing, if heartfelt, documentary about movie critic Roger Ebert, best-known sitting opposite Gene Siskel on TV's "thumbs-up, thumbs-down" movie review and movie clips shows.

The documentary, made with the cooperation of Roger Ebert's then-wife and now widow, Chaz Ebert, doesn't pull too many punches in its sometimes brutal assessment of Roger Ebert, who died in 2013.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"Begin Again" is one of the most unromantic romantic comedies in recent memory.

There's little romancing, but lots of talking about romance, and plenty of singing about romance in "Begin Again."

The film is of chief interest for the performance of its star, Keira Knightley, who finally breaks free of her bodice-bound costume drama roles, namely those in "Anna Karenina" (2012),"The Duchess" (2008), "Silk" (2007), "Atonement" (2007), "Pride & Prejudice" (2005) and "King Arthur"(2004).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

"Earth To Echo" echoes several summer sci-fi and coming-of-age movies, notably "Cloverfield" (2008), "The Goonies" (1985), "Stand By Me" (1986), "E.T." (1982) and "American Graffiti" (1973).

While "Earth To Echo" is derivative, it is "the" discovery of the 2014 summer movie season so far, with performances by four pre-teen relative unknowns in their big-screen leading role debuts.

"Earth To Echo" is simply a lot of fun. It's uncomplicated, unassuming and naive in its story of teen-age angst. It can be enjoyed by young and old alike.