Tuesday, September 26, 2017
     

Movie Review

Thursday, May 16, 2013

"Oblivion" is a stunning sci-fi thriller that transports you to another world: Earth in the not two-distant future.

The year is 2077, intones Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) in the prologue. An alien invasion has made the planet uninhabitable, he tells us. Surviving humans have fled to Triton, a moon of Saturn.

Jack Harper is a kind of space-age mechanic. Only, instead of repairing cars, he repairs drones, which have been developed into all-purpose super-fast, super-lethal security forces. The drones are like a three-dimensional Pac-Man and they destroy any targets in their path.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

"The Place Beyond The Pines" is a complex drama with three parallel plots telling three interlocking stories. Each is about an individual's choice, and the truth or consequences that result, depending on the choices made.

"Pines" is an indie film crime caper that is of chief interest for its clever if somewhat convoluted screenplay and a bevy of stellar performances by some of the United States' best hot young movie stars.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The number "42" will be known even farther and wider because of the biopic about Jackie Robinson, the first African-American player to play Major League Baseball.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I missed this film the first time around and finally caught up with it, thanks to re-release in the wake of the awards season. The intervening months were an interesting time for this movie. It debuted to rave reviews, quickly becoming the "film to beat" at the Oscars. Then the tide turned, as critics zeroed in on the "Zero Dark Thirty" torture scenes. Emblematic is the Jane Mayer article in December 14th's New Yorker.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Why would anyone want to see "Jurassic Park" in 3D when director Steven Spielberg's blockbuster 1993 movie has been available in multiple formats for two decades?

Two words: Steven Spielberg.

And you thought I was going to say: T- Rex.

Oh, T-Rex is big and frightening -- especially in 3D.

However, T-Rex wouldn't exist in "Jurassic Park" if not for Spielberg, perhaps the United States' best contemporary director who can and does direct all genres (for contrast, see "Lincoln").

"Jurassic Park" is "Jaws" of the jungle.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"The Croods" has its own kind of, ahem, "crood" charm.

Yes, there's lots of punching and smacking, fighting, rolling around, chasing, ugly faces, insults and did we say? fighting.

And that's just the Crood family of cavemen or is it cave persons? and doesn't include the prehistoric creatures.

Admittedly, I resisted seeing "The Croods." It was a case of 3D-animation feature overload. Also, I may have been wondering how "The Croods" could improve upon TV's "The Flintstones" (1960 - '66) for me the tabula rasa of prehistoric humor.

Monday, March 25, 2013

At one point in "Oz The Great and Powerful," Oz (James Franco) says to China Doll, a Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) character voiced by Joey King, "One rule in show biz: Never work with kids or animals," adding, "I already have this ... ," as he gestures to another CGI character, Finley, a monkey in a bellhop suit voiced by Zach Braff.

To that show-business adage, it could be added, "Never work with CGI characters."

At least in "Oz the Great and Powerful," for James Franco and other live-action actors, it's a losing battle.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

"Quartet" is a thoughtful, entertaining and fun film that hits all the grace notes.

The film is directed by Dustin Hoffman, who will be 76 on Aug. 8, in his feature film directorial debut.

One question: Why did he wait so long?

Well, Hoffman started directing "Straight Time" in 1978, but Ulu Grobard took it over.

The setting for "Quartet" is Beecham House, a home for retired musicians in England, for which the success of the annual gala concert to celebrate composer Giuseppi Verdi's birthday may determine whether the castle-like manse will stay open or close.

Friday, March 8, 2013

As expected, Oscar spread the gold at the 85th Academy awards Feb. 25. That's not surprising because 2012 was a very good year for cinema, critically and commercially.

I was also six for seven. I correctly picked: "Argo," picture; Ang Lee, "Life of Pi," which led Oscar recipients with four, including cinematography, visual effects and original score; Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln," actor; Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook," actress; Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables," supporting actress; and "Brave," animated feature.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Just when one thought that France's "Rust and Bone" set the mark for depressing cinema, there's "Amour."

"Amour" was nominated for five Oscars, picture, actress (Emmanuelle Riva), director (Michael Haneke), original screenplay (Haneke) and foreign-language film (Austria's entry).

"Amour" received the Oscar for foreign film at the Feb. 25 awards show.

The film won the Palme d'Or at last year's Cannes Film Festival.