Film Reviews

Most recent Film Reviews blogs and columns

  • Johnny Depp plays Will Caster, who becomes an out-of-control, digitized version of himself in “Transcendence.” (Warner Bros.)

    ‘Transcendence’ an AI Film That Does Not Transcend

    The machines are taking over. Again. This endless futzing with artificial intelligence while rain forests burn and oceans die—isn’t it Nero fiddling while Rome burns?... Read more

  • (L–R) Jerry Lucas, Walt Frazier, Willis Reed, Phil Jackson, and Bill Bradley celebrate after winning the 1973 NBA Title in five games against the Los Angeles Lakers. (George Kalinsky)

    The New York Knicks, Circa 1970

    New York sports fans applaud defense because we have seen how it is meant to be played. That is why it was so painful to... Read more

  • Godzilla, rendered using “suitmation,” is still plenty frightening 60 years later. (Courtesy of Rialto Pictures/Toho Co. Ltd.)

    The Original Japanese Godzilla: Feel His Wrath

    There was a time when the sight of a mutant lizard leveling the city of Tokyo would have been somewhat traumatizing. It became a campy... Read more

  • A scene from “Possessions,” one short film of four in the anthology “Short Peace.” (Eleven Arts)

    An Anime Anthology From the Creator of ‘Akira’

    They are four very personal potential apocalypses. Three occur during Japan’s past, and one is set in its future. The ultimate results will vary drastically... Read more

  • Tom Hardy stars in 'Locke' (Lionsgate)

    Movie Review: ‘Locke’

    In terms of a single actor narrative, this concept isn’t necessarily a fresh one, with Buried, Moon, and 127 Hours all burnt into recent cinematic... Read more

  • Kristin Wiig (Johanna) and Guy Pearce (Ken) in Liza Johnson’s “Hateship Loveship,” an IFC Films Release. (Courtesy of Patti Perret, Hateship Capital LLC)

    ‘Hateship Loveship’: Yin Rescues Yang

    Good love is hard to find. When you find it, hang on tight. Then again, if you really love someone, let them go. Right? Is... Read more

  • Ralph Fiennes plays a legendary hotel concierge in Wes Anderson’s ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ (20th Century Fox)

    Movie Review: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

    Even the most ardent detractor of the pressed collar world in which Wes Anderson operates will struggle to suppress the infectious brilliance of his latest... Read more

  • A still from “Mad Dog: Inside the Secret World of Muammar Gaddafi.” (Michael Chrisman/Courtesy of Showtime)

    Uncovering the Life of a Tyrant

    Muammar Gaddafi was responsible for the mass murder of man and camel alike.  Never shy about executing those unfortunate enough to have their loyalty questioned,... Read more

  • Coach Penn (Denis Leary) and Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner) in “Draft Day.” (Dale Robinette/ Summit Entertainment)

    ’Draft Day’: A Dude-Flick for the Hardcore Sports Fan

    The NFL Draft—it hypes football sort of like the Oscar hypes movies. Public picking of players for pro ball makes money. Is “Draft Day” an... Read more

  • Anna Geislerova and Stanislav Majer (C) in Jan Hrebejk’s “Honeymoon,” screening during the Panorama Europe film festival at Museum of the Moving Image. (Courtesy of Falcon)

    An Unwelcome Wedding Guest Dredges Up the Past

    Usually, couples keep the wedding simple for second marriages, but not Radim Werner and his fiancée Tereza. At least when you keep a low profile,... Read more

  • Ben Peter and Miriam Weissenstein from Tamar Tal's documentary “Life in Stills.” (Tamar Tal)

    ‘Life in Stills’: Postcards from Israel

    Though it dates back centuries, the modern State of Israel has only been recognized internationally for the last 64-plus years. Yet, Israelis are justifiably proud... Read more

  • Baroness Eloise von Wagner with Robert Philippson and Rudolf Lorenz in “The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden,” a documentary by Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller. 
(USC Special Collections/Zeitgeist Films)

    ‘The Galapagos Affair’: What the Tortoises Saw

    Even halfway around the world, Germans had trouble playing nice during the early 1930s. A small handful of German expats tried to establish new homes... Read more

  • Syrian teacher-turned-war-photographer Nour Kelze in Matthew VanDyke’s short documentary “Not Anymore: a Story of Revolution.”
(Courtesy of Not Anymore)

    ‘Not Anymore’: A Powerful Short on Syria

    Filmmaker Matthew VanDyke has unusual but highly pertinent qualifications to document the Syrian revolution.  The self-described freedom fighter escaped from Gaddafi’s Abu Salim prison, where... Read more

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Sabotage." (Open Road Films)

    ‘Sabotage’ Sabotages Governator Comeback

    Consider Arnold. He’s lived three lifetimes. He put bodybuilding on the map like a massive asteroid crater. He became the highest-paid action star of all... Read more

  • A film still from "Jews of Egypt." (

    ‘Jews of Egypt’: Censored by the Morsi Regime

    Why would a supposedly democratically elected government prohibit any public screening of a film with absolutely no violent or sexual content? In the case of... Read more

  • Claudia Robert and Vicenç Altaió in a scene from “Story of My Death.” (FilmLinc)

    Lothario From Beyond the Grave

    Remember Tony Curtis in the naughty Euro-farce “The Amorous Mis-Adventures of Casanova”? Sure you don’t, but forget it anyway. This incarnation of the aging rogue... Read more

  • A photograph by Vivian Maier, a nanny and amateur photographer who is the subject of a documentary by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel. (IFC Films)

    ‘Finding Vivian Maier’: The Nanny With a Camera

    Vivian Maier was a much better photographer than she was a nanny, but nobody knew during her relatively anonymous life. Were it not for a... Read more

  • Michael Peña as Cesar Chavez in “Cesar Chavez.” (Pantelion Films 2013)

    ‘Cesar Chavez’ Review: Heroic Deeds Drably Portrayed

    “Son of God” brought back the time of Caesar Augustus. “Cesar Chavez” brings back the time of Cesar Chavez. Both of these biopics were given... Read more

  • Sam the Eagle with Ty Burrell in a scene from “Muppets Most Wanted.” (AP Photo/Disney Enterprises, Inc.)

    The Muppets Reteam With Mixed Results

    A strange sense of doom hangs over the rebooted Muppets, and it’s not from the Swedish Chef’s cooking. “The Muppets” (2011) may have been an... Read more

  • Ofelia Popii and Sorin Leoveanu in “Quod Erat Demonstrandum” (Film Society of Lincoln Center)

    Film review: ‘Quod Erat Demonstrandum’

    In communist Romania, it was not what you knew, but who you knew and whether you informed on them. One gifted mathematician will prove the... Read more

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