Get Adobe Flash playerGet Adobe Flash player

Is it worth $10? Yes

A film director behaves in certain ways like a party host. S/he uses the language of cinema to guide the viewer through the story, sometimes gently, sometimes jarringly introducing him/her to the characters and the selections at the banquet table. "Goodbye To Language" by French-Swiss master Jean-Luc Godard ("Breathless" [1960]) is his unequivocal rejection of the director-as-host tradition.

Instead, Godard creates a fantastically disjointed work in which it's incumbent upon the viewer to put the pieces together. In this way, "Goodbye To Language" is cinematic cubism at its best. The bits and snippets feature familiar figures, but these are jumbled--whether it's several voices speaking at the same time or a stream-of-consciousness sequence of shots--they draw you in for a closer look. It thus becomes an experience of bracing proximity before which the director seems to proudly proclaim "Fend for yourselves!"

Read more...

 

Get Adobe Flash playerGet Adobe Flash player

Is it worth $10? Yes

The appeal of “Horrible Bosses” (2011) was that (at one time or another) we’ve all had odious supervisors. So when Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis’ characters clumsily plotted to kill their bosses, a hilarious revenge comedy ensued. It wasn’t realistic and it didn’t have to be – the draw was in the fantasy, and the ability to live vicariously through these dudes.

“Horrible Bosses 2” takes a different track, and in doing so is still funny but is not as good overall as the original. Whereas previously we could relate to Nick (Bateman), Dale (Day) and Kurt (Sudeikis) when they were underlings for unctuous dictators, this time they’re the bosses as they’ve created a shower product they believe will be the next big thing. Notably fewer of us have been aspiring entrepreneurs, so on concept alone this is harder to relate to than its predecessor.

Read more...

 

Get Adobe Flash playerGet Adobe Flash player

I grew up watching the films of Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Harrison Ford, and Mel Gibson. All of them are action movie icons of the 1980s who created indelible characters and starred in movies that are well remembered today. Their movies have in turn influenced an entire new generation of filmmakers. It’s just too bad that the new generation, like “Expendables 3” director Patrick Hughes, doesn’t know how to make ‘em they like used to.

“Expendables 3” has one good idea, one fun character, and the rest is an overblown mess. The one good idea is to have Barney Ross (Stallone) ditch his old team from the first two films in order to hunt down ex-friend/Expendables co-founder/nemesis Conrad Snowbanks  (Mel Gibson, once again cashing in on the crazy persona like he did in “Machete 2”). To do this, he turns to Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer) to help him find new recruits.

This brings us to the one fun character: Galgo, played by Antonio Banderas. He’s been trying to get on the team for years, with no luck. Now is his big chance and he is ready to go and eager to please. Galgo is a breath of fresh air into an otherwise stale story. He is energetic and funny, the perfect comic relief. This is crucial, especially since Ross’s new crew is the same as the old crew personality-wise, with the only real difference being that one of the new ones has a vagina (MMA fighter Ronda Rousey).

Read more...

 

Get Adobe Flash playerGet Adobe Flash player

Is it worth $10? No

It is an insult – an appalling, avaricious insult – to ask moviegoers to pay hard earned money and give them nothing in return. So little happens in “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” that it should be skipped altogether without a second thought. This movie is deplorable. I hated every second of it.

This is not the first time a mega-franchise has split the final installment of its finale into two parts, and it will not be the last (the third “Avengers” movie will do the same). But this strategy didn’t work for “Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part One” nor “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One,” so there’s little reason to think it would work here. And it doesn’t. Oh boy it doesn’t.

Read more...

 

Get Adobe Flash playerGet Adobe Flash player

Is it worth $10? Yes

He has one of the most extraordinary minds of the 20th century, yet he can’t lift a fork to his mouth to eat. Stephen Hawking is, simply and complexly, a paragon of inspiration and tragedy. How ironic, and cruel, that a man with extreme intelligence is afflicted with a disease that shuts down his muscles but doesn’t affect his mind, leaving him a prisoner inside himself.

In “The Theory of Everything” we first meet Stephen (Eddie Redmayne) at Cambridge University in 1963, where he’s a PhD candidate in physics. He’s racing to class on his bike with his friend Brian (Harry Lloyd) – both are youthful, vibrant, alive. Later they go to a party and Stephen meets Jane (Felicity Jones), a fellow Cambridge student studying medieval Spanish poetry. They click, but soon Stephen learns he has motor neuron disease and is given two years to live. Jane chooses to stick by him; they marry and have children.

Read more...

 

Get Adobe Flash playerGet Adobe Flash player

Life is precious and fragile. It’s important to live in the moment and make each one count as much as it can, because in an instant, it could be all over. This is the central message of “If I Stay,” one that director R.J. Cutler delivers in a powerful way.

I admire the structure of the screenplay. This type of narrative arrangement is very difficult to pull off, but screenwriter Shauna Cross does it brilliantly, based on the novel by Gayle Forman. “If I Stay” starts off with a snow day in Portland, Oregon. The Hall family—mom Kat (Mireille Enos), dad Denny (Joshua Leonard), son Teddy (Jakob Davies), and daughter Mia (Chloe Grace Moretz)—go for a drive. An oncoming truck loses control on the icy road and there’s a terrible accident. Mia wakes up outside of her body. She can see herself lying on the ground and can see and hear all of the people around her and everything that’s happening, but they can’t see or hear her. This is the starting point. From this moment, the story continues forward as Mia and her family are rushed to the hospital and family and friends come by for support. We also flashback to Mia’s past experiences, mostly centering around her expertise in playing the cello and applying to Julliard, and her relationship with up and coming local rocker Adam (Jamie Blackley).

Read more...

 

Get Adobe Flash playerGet Adobe Flash player

Is it worth $10 Yes

Imagine waiting twenty years for your comatose friend to wake up and when he finally does, he reveals that it was all a big joke. You, for sure, feel duped, perhaps a little angry, perhaps a little impressed, but ultimately confused. Why wait so long for a humorous payoff? Now imagine that you are the duper, the one who has committed themselves so completely to their gag that they wasted twenty full years of their life for one single solid laugh. The Farrelly brothers surely felt that there was a good chance that the sequel to 1994’s “Dumb and Dumber” might be perceived by its audiences as just that: a twenty year build-up to a quick laugh. After all, “Dumb and Dumber To” is the sequel that should have happened eleven years ago rather than the non-canonical prequel “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd.” 

But it wouldn’t have been as good eleven years ago. It wouldn’t have had the same level of commitment behind it. This sequel has been wanted for years; wanted by the directors, the audience, and by at least half of the original stars. The problem? Jim Carrey didn’t want to do it until it was worth doing. Had he signed on to reprise his role as Lloyd Christmas at the first talk of a sequel, the studio would have surely churned out whatever they could as quickly as possible regardless of whether it measured up to the original or not. That’s generally how sequels work.

Read more...

 

Get Adobe Flash playerGet Adobe Flash player

Is it worth $10? Yes

Timing is everything, and it just so happens that kidnapped journalists in the Middle East have recently been all over the news. The truth is it’s been happening for years, so to have a new release about a tortured journalist in Iran is serendipitous indeed. The fact that it’s a serious drama written and directed by comedian Jon Stewart (“The Daily Show”) makes it all the more intriguing.

Maziar Bahari (Gael Garcia Bernal) grew up in Tehran, Iran, but is now based out of London working as a journalist for “Newsweek.” It’s June 2009, and he leaves his pregnant wife (Claire Foy) behind to head to Tehran to visit his mother (Shohreh Aghdashloo) and cover the election between incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mir-Hossein Mousavi. After Ahmadinejad wins in controversial fashion, Mousavi’s supporters protest, prompting Bahari to submit street riot video footage to the BBC. Shortly thereafter Bahari is arrested by Revolutionary Guard police and interrogated by a “specialist” (Kim Bodnia) who smells of rosewater, hence the film’s title. The charge? Bahari is suspected of being a spy. For 118 days, he’s asked about his writing, travel, Facebook page and more, never knowing if he’ll survive. 

Read more...

 
Giveaways