Thursday, December 18, 2014
     

Movie Review

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The producers and filmmakers of "The Hunger Games" were smart to cast Jennifer Lawrence as the protagonist Katniss Everdeen.

Prior to the first installment, "Hunger Games" (2012), Lawrence distinguished herself with a break-out actress Oscar-nominated performance in "Winter's Bone" (2010).

Lawrence received an actress Oscar for "Silver Linings Playbook" (2012), was a supporting actress Oscar-nominee for "American Hustle" (2013) and has dazzled as Raven-Mystique in "X-Men" (2011, 2014).

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"The Theory Of Everything" has everything going for it: amazing story, fine acting and superb filmmaking.

If that's not enough for Oscar consideration, the film also tugs at the heartstrings. "The Theory Of Everything" represents a triumph of the spirit, of mind over matter and, yes, of faith versus fate.

Monday, December 1, 2014

"Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)" is brutal.

"Birdman" transcends realism.

"Birdman" inaugurates a new genre of cinema: Brutalism.

In "Birdman," Riggan (Michael Keaton) is a former superhero blockbuster movie star, the Birdman of the movie's title, trying to revive his career with a dose of acting reality.

What better way than to direct and star in a stage adaptation of the Raymond Carver short story collection, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" (first published in 1981).

Thursday, November 20, 2014

"Interstellar" goes to infinity and beyond.

While we don't have Buzz Lightyear of "Toy Story" fame, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney of "Gravity" (2013) or the crew of "Apollo 13" (1995), we do have the mystery and awe of "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968) and its sequel "2010" (1984).

In a word, we have: Wormhole.

It's a concept that even Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist, author and director of the Hayden Planetarium, New York City, has been at pains to explain in analyzing "Interstellar."

Thursday, November 13, 2014

"Nightcrawler" is an odd name for a thriller about a freelance broadcast news TV journalist.

Apparently, "Pathological Videographer" was already taken.

And "Pathological Videographer" just doesn't have the same ring to it as does "Nightcrawler."

"Nightcrawler" is an apt description of Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) as the pathological videographer.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The title "St. Vincent" is ironic.

Vincent (Bill Murray) is the furthest person from a saint. He's an alcoholic. He's profane. He's gruff beyond belief to most everyone he meets. He has a smoke ring for a halo.

And yet, there is, as we find out in the comedy-drama "St. Vincent," the heart of a saint beating beneath Vincent's thick geezer skin.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"Ideals are peaceful. History is violent."

- "Fury."

"Fury" is aptly titled. The movie, with a story set in the waning days of World War II, is filled with the fury of battle, the fury of civilization devastation and the fury of human emotions.

The movie's title is taken from the nickname "Fury" painted in a white scrawl on the gun-turret of a Sherman tank.

The storyline in "Fury" is based on the heroism of the United States Army Second Armored Division, dubbed "Hell on Wheels."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

One mark of an entertaining movie is what scenes, lines of dialogue or laughs, tears and thoughts stay with you after you depart the theater.

After I saw "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day," I was still chuckling to myself.

"Alexander," based on the children's book by Judith Viorst, is in the genre of family dilemma comedies. This is somewhat of a lost art in contemporary Hollywood studio film-making since many comedies are animation features or teen and college-age R-rated raunch.

Friday, October 17, 2014

"Gone Girl" is one of the best suspense thrillers in decades. It has thrills, chills, plot twists and turns. At times, it's terrifying.

It's a real nail-biter. (Believe me, I know. I did.)

There are several reasons why you should see "Gone Girl."

First, of all, it's very entertaining. Second, the actors are excellent. Third, the direction is superb.

Finally, because there should be several Oscar nominations, "Gone Girl" should be on your must-see list.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

"The Boxtrolls" is a film more to be admired than loved.

The film utilizes stop-motion animation, whereby each, or several frames, of film are shot with minor adjustments to the figurines before the next shot.

As if to emphasize the exactitude of this process and how painstaking it is, during "The Boxtrolls" end credits, the filmmakers pull back from the set to reveal in fast-motion, and in shadow, a puppet animator guiding each move of one of the film's main characters.