Monday, September 1, 2014
     

Movie Review

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.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

"Transformers: Age Of Extinction" is a transformative movie-going experience.

It's one of those movies that makes you feel differently after you depart the movie theater.

The fourth installment of "Transformers" (seen in Imax 3-D for this review), delivers for fans of the series as this summer's No. 1 blockbuster movie so far.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

After Frank Sinatra and before Bruce Springsteen (those other Jersey Boys), there was The Four Seasons, one of the top pop groups of all time, having sold 100 million records.

The Four Seasons were so popular, the group rivaled The Beatles on the record charts, resulting in the 1964 Vee-Jay promotional album, "The Beatles vs. The Four Seasons: The International Battle Of The Century."

The Four Seasons' recordings influenced not only Springsteen, but Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys and a generation of songwriters and hitmakers.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The animated feature sequel, "How To Train Your Dragon 2" (HTTYD2), could have been subtitled "The Dragon Whisperer."

Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel), the lead Dragon Rider, cajoles his charge, Toothless (Randy Thom) back to the fold.

The challenge this time around in "HTTYD2" is that of Drago (voiced by Djimon Hounsou), the evil overlord of the dragons. He controls the dragons to control humans.

Hiccup must overcome the challenge to rally the Vikings and their dragons to ensure his role as heir-apparent and become chief of the Vikings on the island of Berk.