Lily Tomlin is cranky, feisty, tough, and utterly irresistible in this story of a grandmother who has to visit past decisions about her own life in order to help her teenage granddaughter. She plays the aptly named Elle (French for […]
Director Max Joseph brings some of the “Catfish” sensibility to “We Are Your Friends,” with an intimate, documentary feel and a storyline about people in their 20’s who have big dreams but understanding about how to achieve them or even […]
It is hard to think of a form of communication more contrary to the internal stillness and oneness of meditation than a movie. Meditation seeks to remove our minds and spirits from the distractions of the outside world to free […]
CBC’s wonderful Wiretap podcast says goodbye after 11 years with this adorable short film featuring wisdom from elders to youngers, ages 7-93. It covers everything from taking off the training wheels to asking a girl to dance to being kind […]
Maybe someday there will be a good movie based on a videogame. But there’s no evidence of that possibility in the tiresome “Hitman: Agent 47″ based on the first-person shooter Hitman Trilogy. The game keeps the player’s interest through challenges […]
Ever wonder why Pixar’s movies always begin with a desk lamp? Watch Pixar’s first computer-animated short, released 29 years ago today.
It was only 95 years ago that American women first got the right to vote.
“What does NWA stand for?” asks Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti), who is offering to become the manager of a new rap group from the Compton area of Los Angeles. “No Whites Allowed?” “No,” Eric “Eazy-E” Wright answers: “N**** Wit Attitude.” […]
Guy Ritchie’s update of the 1960’s television spy series is sleek, sophisticated, and sexy, with lively banter, high style, and oodles of roguish retro charm. Henry Cavill (“Superman,” “The Tudors”) takes the Robert Vaughn role of Napoleon Solo, an army […]
“Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism” is a cute family fantasy, based on the series of books about a spunky orphan by Georgia Byng. Raffey Cassidy, the enchanting young star who was the highlight of “Tomorrowland,” is perfectly […]
New on Netflix: Dinotrux! It’s based on the books by Chris Gall. Dinotrux are huge creatures are half dinosaur, half construction vehicle. Ty Rux is a Tyrannosaurus Trux, and his best friend Revvit is a razor-sharp Reptool. Together they fight […]
Dorothy McKim produced one of my favorite of the recent Disney short films, “Get a Horse,” which brought old-time Mickey Mouse into the era of 3D CGI with an eye-popping, with a hilariously intricate choreography that literally jumps out of […]
“Aren’t you allowed to have two dreams?” The person asking the question is Ricki (as she is now known), played by Meryl Streep. She has just accused her ex-husband, Pete (Kevin Kline), of not supporting her dream of playing rock […]
Form illuminates content in this imperfect but compelling film based on the real-life audiotapes of a four day interview of author David Foster Wallace in the final days of his book tour for Infinite Jest. The subject of the interview […]
“Shaun the Sheep is another adorably quirky animated film from Aardman, the folks behind “Wallace and Gromit” and “Chicken Run.” it is a wordless pleasure about a flock of sheep who get bored with their idyllic but monotonous life on […]
Three things a superhero movie should not be: dreary, dull, and tedious. Three things this movie is: see if you can guess. I am a huge fan of the comic book series Fantastic Four, which I first read as a […]
You think you’ve seen it before? Well, it is a familiar situation. Hitchcock had an assassin waiting in a concert hall for the right moment to shoot and our hero trying to stop it — twice, in the original “Man […]
Once upon a time, network television news was dignified, objective, and delivered in stentorian, voice-of-God tones by white, vaguely Protestant men, in half-hour increments at the dinner hour. And then, in 1968, third-ranked network ABC, unable to compete with CBS […]
I didn’t like the first one. I didn’t like the sequels. Keep that in mind when I tell you that I really did not like this latest in the gross-out, mean-spirited “Vacation” series, this time with the next generation going […]
Thanks to my friend and fellow film critic Eddie Pasa for sharing this short film by Patrick Jean, the inspiration for this week’s “Pixels.”
Didactic and unabashedly manipulative, “Southpaw” borrows from almost every boxing movie ever made. It telegraphs every development and then, in case we missed it, tells us what just happened. The dialogue is purplish and melodramatic. The filmmaking is self-consciously arty, […]
Everyone has one. That unobtainable dream we longed for when we were first learning what it felt like to be in love. For most of us, these impossible-to-attain objects of our desire are like training wheels to keep us from […]
I never thought I’d see Max Headroom or “Fantasy Island” again, much less have to explain them to someone sitting next to me who was a toddler when they were on television, but Adam Sandler is still relentlessly working his […]
San Diego Comic-Con is known for big, loud, and splashy promotions for movies and television series, especially those featuring superheroes. So it was a delight to come across the tiny “billboard” for “Ant-Man,” smaller than a shoebox, that was the […]
Judd Apatow has made a bunch of raunchy comedies about man-children who have to learn to grow up and embrace the joys of intimacy and responsibility, and one raunchy comedy (“This is 40″) about a couple who have to learn […]
The Minions should pay a little less attention to villains and a little more to penguins. Like “Madagascar’s” penguins, “Despicable Me’s” yellow minions were comic relief characters who took the lead in follow-up features. But the Minions are not quite […]
The longing for eternal life has inspired many stories, maybe most of them. What is creating a story itself if not a kind of search for immortality? Anne Rice created her series of books about vampires because the death of […]
Children with cancer learn two things, we hear in this documentary about a boy who is being treated for leukemia. They learn how to fight. And, because they are surrounded by caregivers, they learn compassion. When he was two, Miles […]
I love the way Wil Wheaton sort of plays himself on “The Big Bang Theory.” The characters interact with him as Wil Wheaton, Wesley Crusher from “Star Trek: TNG” and star of “Stand By Me” (and “Serial Apeist 2″). But […]
Win a copy of the sweet romance, “Old Fashioned,” from PureFlix. It set a record with the highest opening for faith film on less than 300 screens. Director and star of the film Rik Swartzwelder has said he wanted to […]
“We’re healers,” one of the male exotic dancers, explains to another in “Magic Mike XXL.” They’re here to bring a smile to women who have not, through tragically misguided oversight, been worshipped and adored. They have not been ap-PRE-ciated. They […]
“I’ll be back,” Arnold Schwarzenegger said in the first “Terminator” movie. He had the title role but only 16 lines, with about a total of 80 words. But those three words have become a legend. It now appears he meant […]
Big Game, now in theaters and on VOD, is an exciting action movie about Oskari, a Finnish kid on a solo hunting trip, who has to save the President of the United States when he is ejected from Air Force […]
“Max” is a good, old-fashioned story of a boy and a dog who mend each other’s broken hearts. It is heartwarming without getting treacly, and frank without getting too disturbing. And it has adventure, romance, loss, and something to say […]
Yes, it is basically “Die Hard” and “Under Siege” in the mountains of Finland, if Bruce Willis was a kid on a rite-of-passage solo hunting trip. And instead of executive hostages in a big office building, the kid has to […]
“Infinitely Polar Bear” is the term a young girl uses in this film for bipolar disorder, the mental illness that her father struggled with as he cared for his daughters. And it lets us know that this sensitive, touching […]
“Subtle” is not a word that naturally comes to mind for a movie that features a bong in the shape of male genitalia (which is more powerful — the longing for weed or the ew-factor of a straight guy who […]
“Grace Stirs Up Success” is the latest in the excellent “American Girl” series, all featuring spirited young heroines confronting real-life problems, and learning some important lessons. They always include a lot of fun and a loving family, too. In this […]
Roger Ebert liked to refer to movies as an “empathy machine.” He said that the great gift of movies, more than any other art form, is the way they can put us inside the world, experiences, culture, and perspective of […]
Uproxx reports that AMC has a new all-horror movie streaming service called Shudder with over 200 titles from the classics to international spook-fests, slashers, urban dread, supernatural scares, and more. You’ve been warned, but if you’re ready to be disturbed, […]
Israeli filmmaker Sharon Mayman says that the idea for “The Farewell Party” came from the time that his boyfriend’s grandmother, age 92, was dying, and paramedics prolonged her suffering by “fighting for her life like she was 16 years old.” […]
One problem is that we really do not know very much about dinosaurs, especially live ones, and especially genetically tweaked live ones. A bigger problem is that we keep ignoring what we do know about humans. Over and over again […]
It is time to celebrate. Melissa McCarthy finally has the movie role she deserves. Writer/director Paul Feig, who directed her in “Bridesmaids” and “The Heat” has wisely given her center stage and allowed her to be quirky and awkward, which […]
I sometimes muse that it might be nice to have a rule that I spend no more time writing a review of a film than the screenwriter spent writing the script. If I had, this review could end right here, with […]
We are delighted to be able to share a clip from Dreamwork Dragons: Race to the Edge, coming from Netflix on June 26, 2015. Hiccup stumbles upon a mysterious, ancient treasure while exploring an abandoned, booby-trapped ship.
Another summer blockbuster-by-the-numbers, another dad who needs redemption and re-connection with his family, and the only way he can get it is via massive, catastrophic disasters lovingly created via CGI that feels more real than the emotions, characters, or dialog. […]
Writer/director Cameron Crowe presents us with an attractive and talented but messy and compromised hero in “Aloha,” and asks us to root for him. The problem is that the film itself is attractive, talent-filled, messy, and compromised, and harder to […]
It begins with an argument. Frank (George Clooney) is trying to tell us the story. But he is repeatedly interrupted by someone we will learn is Casey (Britt Robertson). “Try to be a little more upbeat,” she urges him. The […]
Blythe Danner gives a performance of exquisite sensitivity in “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” the story of a lonely widow. She plays Carol, a singer-turned teacher who retired 20 years ago after her husband died. Her friends in a […]
Lewis Black plays Anger in Pixar’s new film, “Inside Out.” So who better to remind the audience to TURN OFF THEIR CELL PHONES!
We are delighted to have a sneak peek at Netflix’s new Richie Rich series, premiering May 22, 2015.
The highest-grossing movie of 2014 is also one of the most controversial. Director Clint Eastwood and producer-star Bradley Cooper have made a more subtle and nuanced film than either the people who loved it or the people who hated it […]
Mad Max (Tom Hardy, taking over from Mel Gibson) stamps on a two-headed lizard and then chews its head off. And that’s just in the first minute. That master of apocalyptic junkyard anarchy, George Miller, is back, bigger, wilder, madder […]
“Pitch Perfect 2″ is — bear with me — the musical comedy variation on the “Furious 7″ recipe for success. The sequel jettisons any pretense of seriousness of purpose, structural logic, or psychological authenticity, joyfully tosses off any pretense of […]
Christina Noble is an Irish woman known as “Mama Tina” to thousands of Vietnamese children and their families. Her own childhood was one of poverty, abandonment, loss, and hardship, but her resilience and determination led her to give children half […]
Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon are both talented, beautiful actresses with savvy business acumen and strong entrepreneurial energy. Witherspoon’s accolades in 2014 included more than a Best Actress Oscar nomination for “Wild.” She also produced it, and another Oscar-nominated film, […]
If only salutory intentions and one good performance could save a film so fundamentally wrongly conceived. “Bravetown” starts out as “Footloose,” veers into “Ordinary People,” and ends up as “Swing Kids,” with jaw-dropping shifts in tone and focus and total […]
Comedies, especially dark ones, have a lot of freedom when it comes to narrative logic, but the emotional logic still has to ring true. No matter how crazy the storyline gets, the way the characters respond to it has to […]
A surf bum named Ian (Luke Wilson) is explaining the physics of the interaction between surfboard and wave: it’s an inanimate object in an ever-changing environment. One doesn’t move. One never stops moving in powerful and highly unpredictable ways. And […]
It may be a British costume drama based on a classic novel, but Thomas Hardy’s saga of a headstrong woman and the three marriage proposals from very different men is not the usual corsets and teacups. Far from the Madding […]
Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) sums it up best. Speaking pretty much to himself but also to us in the audience, he notes that he is on a floating city trying to fight off a robot army with arrows. “It doesn’t make […]
In “Welcome to Me,” Kristen Wiig plays Alice, a depressed woman diagnosed with borderline personality disorder who wins $86 million in the lottery. She uses much of it to create a one-woman television series that feature monologues about her life […]
Fashion icon nonagenarian Iris Apfel is renowned for her taste and style. But people who see this movie, the last from documentary legend Albert Maysles, will remember her for her fearlessness and life force. Along with the signature big, round, […]
Be careful what you wish for. You think it would be great to stay 29 forever? Adaline (Blake Lively) finds out that it is not great to become unstuck from time, to watch everyone you love grow old and die, […]
Before it detours into not one, not two, but at least three preposterous Hollywood twists, “The Water Diviner” is an absorbing drama about Joshua Connor, an Australian farmer (Russell Crowe, making his directing debut as well) who travels to Turkey […]
It was a great honor to be included on today’s panel of movie critics, along with superstars Godfrey Cheshire, Scott Foundas, Matt Zoller Seitz, Rebecca Theodore Vachon, Richard Roeper, Susan Wloszczyna, Michael Phillips, Brian Tallarico, and Sam Fragoso.
Disneynature’s annual wild kingdom-style nature documentary is predictably adorable but surprisingly absorbing. The toque macaque monkeys of Sri Lanka live in the 12th century ruins of Polonnaruwa in a society as rigidly structured and ruthlessly enforced as a high school […]
Movies about artificial intelligence or computers achieving consciousness are, of course, really about what it means to be human. When software and hardware combine to mimic or exceed human qualities in “Her,” “Chappie,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Terminator,” or the […]
A reporter in disgrace for fabricating details of a story sits across the table from an orange-jumpsuited prisoner, accused of murdering his wife and three children. They have more in common than either of them expected. They are both outcasts. […]
Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids,” “Freaks and Geeks”) has a new comedy sci-fi series called “Other Space” premiering today on Yahoo. There is a fascinating article by Stephan Rodrick in the New Yorker about one of the people who played a key […]
Bob, Larry and the Veggie crew are back in five all-new, 22-minute episodes of the Netflix original series VeggieTales In the House! The brand-new episodes will be available for Netflix members to watch instantly this Friday, April 17. We are delighted to be […]
PBS’s Wild Kratts is one of my favorite series for families. I love the relationship between the two real-life Kratt brothers and their enthusiasm and sense of adventure. The episodes have a nice balance between adventure, humor, and information about […]
Another spring, another Nicholas Sparks movie. I don’t mind (much) that they are so rigidly formulaic. Every one of them centers on (1) water, (2) letters, and (3) somebody dying. All genre films follow some sort of formula, and we […]
Who would have picked the Fast & Furious series as the one that would defy the odds and just keep getting better? In part that is because the first one was not very good. And the second wasn’t either. It […]
AISH made an Uptown Funk parody in honor of Passover: And so did Six13: Hag sameach!
Here’s a great Rube Goldberg-style contraption tribute to Passover from the folks at Technion. And here’s a glimpse of how they put it together.
“While We’re Young” opens with an exchange from Ibsen’s “The Master Builder” about what happens when the young come knocking at the door. But it might just as well begin with the wry Amish aphorism, “We grow too soon old […]
The very title is a form of theft. When Gustav Klimt painted the portrait that gives this film its name, he called it “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer.” She was a warm, vibrant young woman who was a vital part of […]
Maybe you like Frank Sinatra and your friend likes the Mamas and Papas. Maybe you’ve argued about who is better, the Beach Boys or Simon and Garfunkel, or maybe you prefer Elvis. Each of those monumentally talented performers had a […]
“Home” is a cute and colorful movie about an alien invasion with an important safety tip concerning one of the most destructive forces in the universe, causing utter devastation to every known life form. Yes, it is hitting the dreaded […]
My very wise mother always says, “If someone pays you a compliment, don’t argue or deflect it. Just lower your eyes and say, ‘Thank you.’” This wonderful film from the great folks at Soul Pancake shows exactly how important that […]
Jean-Michel Cousteau begins this dazzling underwater documentary with archival footage of his father’s pioneering work in showing us life in the other two-thirds of the planet. And then he uses the latest technology to bring those flickering monotone images up […]
This second in the “Divergent” series suffers from sequel-itis. The exuberance of the premise buoyed the first episode, as we and the central character, Tris (Shailene Woodley) explored the post-apocalyptic world that divided all citizens into strictly segregated factions. But […]
Movie stories often begin with the hero or heroine having everything and then losing it or having nothing and then finding it. But some of the best combine them both, as Writer/director Dan Fogelman (“Cars,” “Tangled,” “Crazy Stupid Love”) has […]
Stars too often produce the kind of movie they want to star in, instead of the kind of movie anyone wants to watch. Co-writer/producer/star Sean Penn is clearly trying to make The Gunman a thinking person’s thriller. You can hear […]
Here’s what’s magical — a fairy tale told in 2015 that is true to the spirit of the classic story by Charles Perrault but is still fresh and real despite the dozens of re-imaginings and the seismic shifts in culture […]
Two guys with the understanding of what they have lost and what they have paid to be where they are that only comes with sit opposite each other, drinks on the table between them. They must, at last, reckon with […]
Tom Hanks really, really, really, really, really likes Carly Rae Jepsen!
“Unfinished Business” is a story about three renegade renegades from bureaucracy going up against The Man and the importance of the individual in an era of soul-grinding corporatism. But the movie itself is clearly the product of institutional over-management, as […]
So, basically, no one here saw “Terminator.” Or “Frankenstein.” But maybe they did see “Robocop?” Or “Short Circuit?” Writer/director Neill Blomkamp likes sci-fi allegories of social and political conflicts, as we saw in “District 9″ and “Elysium.” Here he imagines […]
A documentary called “Young @ Heart” had a choir of singers in their 80’s performing contemporary rock songs. The very fact of their age and experience gave an unexpectedly profound meaning to the words. And in “The Second Best Exotic […]
Do you remember the tobacco executives standing up before a Congressional Committee, their right hands raised, each of them swearing that they did not believe that tobacco caused cancer? That was in 1994, three decades after the US Surgeon General’s […]
What advice would you give your younger self? In celebration of International Women’s Day, take part in YouTube’s global #DearMe initiative to inspire and empower young girls everywhere.
And don’t forget the only live action film written by Dr. Seuss, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T!
Happy Purim! May this be a year when all the Hamens of the world are vanquished. This tale, was once told In the days of Achashverosh This one needs a new girl Needs a good girl A straight masterpiece! So […]
“Uptown Funk,” from Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, is covered in a sensational new video from longtime Mormon Tabernacle Choir member Alex Boyé and back-up performers ranging in age from 65-92. According to the Choir’s website, Between all of his […]
See what happens when Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Ana, Elsa, Olaf, Cinderella, Buzz Lightyear and other Disney Characters magically surprise unsuspecting shoppers with their “Disney Side.” Smooth moves, Mickey!
Big Hero 6 will be out on DVD/Blu-Ray February 24, 2015. Here’s a cute clip from the DVD extras.
In 1987, Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), who had never coached or even run cross country, took a team of kids from one of the poorest communities in California to a state championship. Of course that would have to become […]
A haiku has 17 syllables. A limerick has five lines. An omelet is made from eggs. And a teen romantic comedy will have our characters visit the mall, a locker room, a classroom, and the school bathroom. There will be […]
This stunning ballet was choreographed by Jade Hale-Christofi
“James Bond? Jason Bourne?” Our hero is being asked for the inspiration for naming his dog JB. “No,” he explains, “Jack Bauer.” This is a cheeky, nasty, meta, po-mo update of the spy genre, self-aware enough to name-check not just […]
The Fifty Shades of Gray trilogy by E.L. James became an international blockbuster best-seller because it satisfies the deepest, most passionate, most secret longing of the female spirit. It has nothing to do with being tied up or spanked, but […]
“Jupiter Ascending” was released in early 2015 but it was originally scheduled for release in the summer of 2014. It does feel like a summer movie. Somehow warm weather makes us more in the mood for explosions and less in […]
Our friends from Bikini Bottom are back in another deliriously silly story, so tender-hearted and cheery that there is no way to resist it. Plus, it has superheroes, a pirate played by Antonio Banderas, existential metaphysics, the guitarist from Guns […]
Sometimes all we want from a movie is Hugh Grant delivering witty, self-deprecating lines about his empty life and bad choices as he learns to find his heart and soul. You know, the cinematic equivalent to eating a pint of […]
If “The Big Lebowski” fans ever imagined a re-teaming of Jeff “The Dude” Bridges and Julianne “Maude” Moore, it is unlikely that they would have come up with the idea of this sword-and-sorcery epic based on the first of the […]
Vanity Fair has cajoled all of the top British actors into re-creating classic American movie lines, featuring everyone from Dame Judi Dench to Benedict Cumberbatch, in this adorable video series. Here’s a sample.
I always enjoy Jimmy Fallon’s lip synch competitions and this is one of the best, with Will Ferrell performing “Drunk in Love” and ‘Let it Go,” Kevin Hart going all out with “All of Me” and “Roar,” and Fallon rocking […]
“Frozen” fans have a treat in store! A short “Frozen” sequel will be in theaters next month, shown before Disney’s new live-action “Cinderella,” opening March 13, 2015. You can get a glimpse of it here.
High school teacher Scot Pankey brings the funk to the entire school in this joyous dubstep video. I love its spirit and its inclusiveness; everyone is just there to have fun. It has become a viral sensation, tweeted by Michelle […]
Writer-director Mike Binder sure likes to get Kevin Costner drunk. As in his uneven but impressive “The Upside of Anger,” Binder once again has Costner playing a man who is a little lost and usually shnockered, a role well suited […]
Two comments made by characters in this film summarize what it is that makes submarine stories so instantly compelling. “Outside is just dark, cold, and death,” says one. “We all live together or we all die together,” says another. Submarines […]
Alan Menken, currently composing the songs for “Galavant,” here sings some of his greatest hits, including songs from “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Enchanted,” “Pocahontas,” “Tangled,” and “Newsies.”
Despite the big names behind it, including George Lucas, who came up with the story and produced, it feels like a straight-to-DVD, about the level of Disney’s Tinkerbell series. It’s bright, colorful, self-affirming, and bouncy. And, likely to be appreciated […]
Pure pleasure: Four great Disney artists, Marc Davis, Eyvind Earle, Josh Meador, and Walt Peregoy, paint a tree. There’s a reason they call them actors with pencils. Or, just call them geniuses.
There’s a lot of noise in “Mortdecai” but what I remember most is the silences where everything pauses for a moment to allow the audience to laugh without drowning out the next witty riposte. Nope, just crickets, as there was […]
Two shrewdly-chosen elements separate this film from the typical Lifetime saga of a middle class white woman struggling to overcome a dire challenge. First is the way writer Patrick Tobin and director Daniel Barnz (the underrated “Beastly”) trust the audience, […]
Even by the very low standards of January movies, “The Boy Next Door” still manages to be a disappointment. It even manages to disappoint beyond the very dim expectations for director Rob Cohen, His “Alex Cross” and “Stealth” were both […]
When his sons text at the dinner table, a father responds. This film from Matthew Abeler won the Best Comedy Award at the 2014 Five16 Film Festival. In less than two minutes, it makes its point and makes us smile.
After three very different movies, we know two things about writer/director J.C. Chandor. First, he is already one of today’s most original, thought-provoking directors, with a remarkably mature and insightful eye, and second, he is vitally interested in the survival […]
It really happened. Four undocumented high school kids from the poorest of communities took on the most brilliant engineering students from the country’s top colleges in a robotics competition and won. The contest results were one in a million, but […]
Michael Bond’s gentle, charming stories about the Peruvian bear named for a London train station has been brought to the screen almost as gently and charmingly, and certainly far more so than the slapsticky trailer suggested. A generation ago, a […]
Amazon, which got its first Golden Globe wins (can we still call this category “television?”) Sunday night for “Transparent,” has announced that Woody Allen will write and direct a new series to be made available through their Prime streaming platform […]
We love mystery stories because they reassure us that questions have answers and justice is possible. But some mystery stories are there to remind us that life is complicated and messy, and sometimes answers are just more questions. This is […]
I can’t think of a better way to start the new year than these suggestions from Kid President. Happy 2015!
Hannah Brencher has a story to tell about how she helped herself by helping others — through the almost-lost art of real letters on paper. Make 2015 the year you write some letters — thank you notes, condolence notes, someone […]
“Selma,” director Ava DuVernay’s film about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the march from Selma, Alabama to the state capital at Montgomery, to make the case for the right to vote, is superb as biography, as history, and as […]
This is not a Disney movie. Oh, well, yes, it is a Disney movie in the sense that it is produced by Disney, which is the only possible explanation for the PG rating (and the slightly sweetened storyline), but this […]
Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie breaks into the top ranks of American directors with “Unbroken,” showing an exceptional understanding not just of actors, but of tone, scale, and letting the camera tell the story. Working with the magnificent cinematography of Roger […]
In Woody Allen’s 1973 film “Sleeper,” set in a decadent future, Diane Keaton plays a superficial socialite who tries to think of the highest compliment she can give to an amateurish painting. “Oh, it’s Keane! It’s pure Keane!” she exclaims. […]
The ingredients for this film were so irresistible that it is a unexpected bonus to find that it is so much better than it needed to be. It’s based on a true story of extraordinary kindness, generosity, and friendship and […]
This reminds me a little of the depiction of a child’s world in The Complete Calvin and Hobbes and Barnaby. Many thanks to Slate for this and the others on its list of the year’s best ads.
You don’t have to be a fan of “Downton Abbey” (or “Mr. Selfridge”) to love this hilarious spoof, with guest appearances by Jeremy Piven, George Clooney and the Absolutely Fabulous Joanna Lumley.
The story of the plucky little Depression-era orphan with the curly red hair has been not just re-booted but re-imagined into the world of rent-a-bikes, viral videos, DNA tests, YOLO, corporate privacy invasions, and Katy Perry tweets. There are some […]
Fans of the first two “Night at the Museum” films will like this one because it is pretty much the same film. They go to another museum, this time the British Museum in London, and the exhibits come to life […]
“Moonquake Lake” has a lot of star power behind it — “LEGO Movie” directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord and stars Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, and Rihanna. And it looks….intriguing, some sort of “Twilight”-style supernatural teen romance. It just isn’t […]
Visually stunning, capably presented, and utterly unnecessary, this final in the six-movie Tolkien cycle is just for the fans. I think even Tolkien himself would cry “no mas” at this point. Remember how the third LoTR movie had about five […]
Happy Hannukah from StandFour!
The New York Times brought together the stars of some of this year’s biggest films and asked them to kiss. Each is a tiny gem of a film that suggests so much more.
I love this video, which reminds me of some of my favorites from OK Go. It seems deceptively simple but they have some remarkable dimensional and reverse-motion effects. Nice song, too!
The story of Exodus is central to three of the world’s most significant religions and one of the Bible’s most cinematic stories, with a flawed but charismatic hero and a stirring story of slaves seeking freedom. It has already been […]
Why is it that we love to talk about our top five? Is it because it gives us a sense of order in the midst of chaos? Is it because we feel that if we can somehow distill the whole […]
Us the Duo, the adorable Carissa and Michael Alvarado, whose song is featured in “The Book of Life,” have a new video with the top hits of 2014 in just 2 1/2 minutes.
“If your Nerve, deny you— Go above your Nerve—” Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) adds the name of the author, Emily Dickinson, to the quote she has inscribed in a journal for hikers kept at her entry point on the Pacific […]
Alan Turing was a brilliant mathematician with an enormous intellect, an almost equally enormous ego, and an almost equally enormous secret. He was one of the founding thinkers behind modern computing and it is his name that we use for […]
Watch Peter Pan Live! On NBC Thursday, December 4 at 8/7c.
Kristen Bell (“Frozen”) and the a cappella group Straight No Chaser have a new Christmas song sure to be a classic: “Text Me Merry Christmas.”
All my best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving to all, and please know how thankful I am for the time you spend here.
Maybe it’s just the proximity to the horrible “Dumb and Dumber To,” but the cheerily offensive “Horrible Bosses 2″ made me laugh. Full warning — it begins with an elaborate sight gag as our hapless heroes demonstrate their new product […]
The most adorable characters from the first three animated “Madagascar” movies were the penguins, the seldom right but never in doubt leader Skipper (Tom McGrath), the often right but never listened to Kowalski (Chris Miller), the literally explosive Rico (Conrad […]
Amazon Prime’s new series for families is a delight. Gortimer Gibbons: Life on Normal Street is the story of three middle school-age friends and the mysteries they investigate on Normal Street are anything but normal. It has fun and fantasy […]
In a small East Texas community “with a church on every corner,” 10 churches were burned. One church showed the Christian film “Fireproof” one night and showed that it was far from fireproof itself the next day. This is a […]
It seems no different at first. While the second in the “Hunger Games” series ended with the surprise last-minute rescue of heroine Katniss Everden (Jennifer Lawrence), and the even bigger surprise that insider Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) was secretly […]
John Eleuthère Du Pont was of the wealthiest men in the world. He was an ornithologist, a philatelist, a purchaser of military weapons (including a tank), a wrestling fan who set up a luxurious training facility for the US Olympic […]
First-time writer/director Jon Stewart has made a remarkably assured film about the imprisonment and torture of Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari It is an absorbing drama that is at the same time the story of a very specific individual and a […]
“Beyond the Lights” is a welcome return to the grand traditions of movie romance, with sizzling chemistry between gorgeous, fabulously charismatic stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker. And it also has some very astute insights about family, ambition, and the […]
A poorly timed cameo appearance by Honey Boo-Boo’s sexual predator-consorting Mama June is dumb. Making a sequel 11 years after the original “Dumb and Dumber” and the best-forgotten prequel “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd” is dumber. Too. Jeff […]
We have seen many film biographies of great individuals (mostly men). But we have seen almost no films, fact-based or fictional, about great marriages. And we have certainly never seen any films about great marriages that end up with the […]
Hiro (Ryan Potter) is a super-smart kid who likes to hustle underground robot fighters with his deceptively cute-looking little bot. He has no interest in going to school until the older brother he adores (Daniel Henney as Tadashi) brings him to […]
Writer/director Christopher Nolan takes on literally cosmic issues with “Interstellar.” It is an ambitious, provocative, thoughtful, and highly entertaining film that deals with, well, pretty much everything, and, all things considered (believe me, ALL things are considered), it holds together […]
Professor Drew Morton deftly shows the connections between three films about listening or looking in secret and what secrets are discovered or uncovered: Blow Up, Blow Out, and The Conversation
Lynn Shelton is known for writing and directing small, intimate, independent films with a lot of improvised dialogue (“Humpday,””My Sister’s Sister,” “Touchy Feely”), often using the same small group of actors. With “Laggies,” she moves seamlessly to working with a […]
No one making movies anywhere is more creative than OK Go. This is pure kaleidoscopic joy. And all it took was a few umbrellas. Some background on the making of the video here.
Filmed as though it was almost entirely one long, stunning, audacious, breathless and breathtaking shot, “Birdman” (subtitled “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance”) explodes with ideas and visions, adopting the language of dreams to explore and upend the very idea of […]
This is a movie directed by two stunt men, which means it is pretty much a first-person shooter video game projected onto a movie screen. But that also means that it is directed by people who really know stunts and […]
23 Blast is the name of a football play, and “23 Blast” is based on the real story of Travis Freeman, a high school football star who lost his sight, but, with the help of a courageous coach and committed […]
Here’s a cute reminder on movie theater manners.
History, Winston Churchill reminds us, is written by the victors. But sometimes those victors have some second thoughts, more complex thoughts, about the nature of heroism, patriotism, and the spoils (in both senses) of war. And sometimes people want to […]
Jorge Gutierrez (Nickelodeon’s “El Tigre”) is co-writer and director of a dazzling new animated film that all but explodes off the screen in a kaleidoscope of color and energy and a love of life and storytelling and colorful characters and […]
A crude, inconsiderate, bitter slacker — Bill Murray could play that in his sleep. And it would be pretty good. But he doesn’t. Bill Murray gives a beautiful, wise, complex performance as Vincent, an angry old man who drinks too […]
Before I turn to whitesplaining this film, I will begin by suggesting that you read what Aisha Harris at Slate and what my friends and fellow critics Travis Hopson and Stephen Boone have to say first. If I did not […]
One of my favorite songs, performed by many of my favorite performers. Here’s the guide to who’s who.
Robert Downey Jr. gives his best performance since “Chaplin” in “The Judge,” an absorbing story of family, redemption and home. Downey co-produced and stars as Hank Palmer, a Chicago criminal defense attorney known for doing whatever it takes to get […]
Sometimes an honest, crusading, investigative reporter uncovers corruption and deceit and the result is triumph, a Pulitzer Prize, humiliating resignations and criminal convictions of the guilty and an Oscar-winning movie starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. And sometimes, instead, the […]
We’ve all had them. Some days, nothing goes right. The classic children’s book from Judith Viorst is about a little boy who wakes up with gum in his hair to a day that includes a dentist appointment, kissing on television, […]
“Left Behind” is being marketed as Christian entertainment, but it does not qualify in either category. It is far inferior to the modestly budgeted but sincere straight-to-DVD starring Kirk Cameron, based on the blockbuster best-selling book series by Tim LaHaye […]
Amy (Rosamund Pike) is watching television, vitally, even viscerally enthralled by what is happening on screen. The look on her face, mingled fascination and calculation, a hint of tooth and claw under her placid, golden girl beauty, is one of […]
“The Good Lie” wisely casts Reese Witherspoon and Corey Stoll, who are outstanding as always, as sympathetic employment agency representatives helping refugees from Sudan find work in Kansas. And then it even more wisely keeps those characters in the background […]
Will Bakke has followed his two thought-provoking documentaries on faith with a remarkably smart, funny, brave, and heartfelt first feature film that explores religion and values without ever falling into the easy conventions of many faith-based films. Bakke has a […]
In 1977, a 27-year-old woman named Robyn Davidson took a dog and four camels and walked 1700 miles across the Australian desert. A National Geographic photographer met up with her four times to cover it for the magazine. That led […]
LAIKA Studios (Paranorman and Coraline) has created another loveably crooked world, this time inspired by Alan Snow’s Here Be Monsters! (The Ratbridge Chronicles). It’s their first period setting, a sort of slightly bent Edwardian with a touch of steampunk, in the […]
The only thing nicer than having a real-life friend who could circumvent any obstacle of power or law or, you know, logic to deliver the roughest but most just of rough justice would be to have that friend be Denzel […]