Reviews

Pages: [1]      «      2   |   3   |   4   |   5   |   6      »      [30]

The Conspirator (2010)

A | ***½ | +3| Teens & Up

Credibly researched by screenwriter James Solomon and beautifully filmed by Newton Thomas Sigel (The Usual Suspects, Three Kings, Valkryie), it’s a rare historical drama that credibly captures a sense of another era while allowing its characters to breathe and talk and argue like men and women living in the present tense. Read More >

Hop (2011)

D- | * | -2| Kids & Up*

Hop is the kind of movie that makes helpless critics wish we could stage an intervention. Parents! It doesn’t have to come to this! Read More >

Born to Be Wild (2011)

B+ | *** | +2| Kids & Up

Really, Born to Be Wild is as much a celebration of the better side of human nature as of the natural world. In their own way, these ladies are carrying out the Edenic mandate given to Adam to take responsibility for creation, to tend the garden and share in God’s providential oversight of the animal world (cf. CCC #373). Read More >

Soul Surfer (2011)

B+ | *** | +2| Kids & Up*

Soul Surfer does nearly everything you expect it to, but it does it more likably and satisfyingly than you might think it would. Based on 21-year-old pro surfer Bethany Hamilton’s memoir Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family and Fighting to Get Back on the Board, it’s an inspirational sports biopic about a Hawaiian surfer whose devout faith helps her bounce back after losing an arm in a shark attack (at 13 in real life). Read More >

Source Code (2011)

B+ | ***½ | +2-1| Teens & Up*

One could almost regard Moon as a warm-up for Source Code. Both films center on a solitary grunt who’s a cog in a much larger machine — an isolated man squirreled away in a cold, metallic space, unable to contact his loved ones, unsure exactly what’s going on, caught up in the seemingly impossible circumstances of a mission he doesn’t entirely understand. Both films raise questions of identity, memory, and human dignity in dehumanizing systems. Read More >

Red Riding Hood (2011)

D | ** | -2| Teens & Up

Red Riding Hood is a movie of a sort that I would very much like to see if anyone could make it, which is another way of saying that it is not that sort of movie at all. A real Hollywood fairy tale is the rarest thing in the world. Hollywood is more comfortable with myth and legend. Partly, I think, it’s a matter of scale: Mythology provides the sort of sweeping, epic scope that lends itself to big-screen Hollywood feature filmmaking. Fairy tales are smaller and more intimate, and require a lighter touch. Read More >

Of Gods and Men (2010)

A+ | **** | +4| Teens & Up

Xavier Beauvois’ sublime Of Gods and Men is that almost unheard-of film that you do not judge—it judges you. To one degree or another it defies every attempt to put it in a box, to reduce its challenge to a political or pious ideological stance to be affirmed or critiqued. Read More >

The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

B | *** | +1-2| Adults

Part Hollywood romance, part paranoia thriller,The Adjustment Bureau is an enjoyable romp in large part on the strength of Damon and Blunt’s likability and chemistry — qualities notably absent in recent star vehicles like The Tourist and Knight and Day. Read More >

Sanctum (2011)

F | * | -3| Adults*

The shocking thing about Sanctum’s fictional survival story, relocated to Papua New Guinea, is not that it kills off one expedition member after another, often quite brutally. The shocking thing is how callously it treats their lives. More than one team member is euthanized by his fellows, submerged and drowned after sustaining catastrophic injuries. Read More >

The Rite (2011)

B | **½ | +2| Teens & Up*

In some ways, Mikael Håfström’s new film reminds me less of recent exorcism films than of the sort of movie that Terence Fisher made for Hammer Films in the late 1950s and 1960s, movies like The Devil Rides Out and the 1958 Dracula. If Father Lucas, an unconventional veteran exorcist working in Rome, had been played by Hammer icon Christopher Lee instead of Anthony Hopkins, he would have been right at home. Read More >

True Grit (2010)

A | **** | +2| Teens & Up

The Coens’ film is franker than its predecessor about the violence of the old West and of Portis’s book; it is also franker about the religiosity, from frequent scriptural references to a score shot through with hymnody. Read More >

Tron: Legacy (2010)

C+ | ** | +0| Kids & Up*

In the years since Tron, of course, video games have come closer and closer to approximating reality, and computer-graphics in movies have gone further still — and, in a way, this is the problem with Tron: Legacy. Read More >

Rabbit Hole (2010)

B- | *** | +1-2| Adults

Kidman and Eckhart embody Becca and Howie with such unforced ease, interacting so naturally in both relaxed and tense moments, that they seem to be not so much playing characters as playing a relationship — a fragile, troubled marriage with a long history, in which more is unsaid than said. Read More >

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)

B+ | *** | +2| Kids & Up*

Is it possible that the makers of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader have made the best film in the series to date while charting a course even further from the book? I think it is. Perhaps it’s even because the film diverges from the book to the extent that it does that I’m able to regard the film more for what it is than for what it isn’t. Read More >

Tangled (2010)

B+ | *** | +2-1| Kids & Up

We really do accept as normal whatever we’re raised with, don’t we? Like, say you’ve lived all your life alone in a lonely tower in a hidden valley, and your golden hair is 70 feet long, and the only mother you’ve ever known — the only person you ever see — comes and goes using your hair as a rope ladder, and she’s never let you so much as set one foot outside, and your hair does this magic trick when you sing that — well, not to give it away, but that would just be life to you, wouldn’t it? Read More >

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

C | **½ | -2| Teens & Up

The seventh Harry Potter movie, based on the seventh and final book, is here at last, yet the saga is not over. Extending their biggest cash cow of the millennium into next year, Warner Bros. has split Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in two, with Part 2 coming next year, almost a full decade after the series started. Read More >

Unstoppable (2010)

B | *** | +1-1| Teens & Up

Denzel Washington and Chris Pine versus runaway train. That’s enough, isn’t it? How much more do you need? Read More >

Megamind (2010)

B | *** | +1-1| Kids & Up

Megamind is a satiric take on the Superman mythos, seen through the eyes of a supervillain who’s part Lex Luthor, part Brainiac. Instead of a rocket ship bearing an infant survivor from a doomed planet to Earth, there are two ships from two planets. Fate deals the infant survivors very different hands: One is a super-powered golden boy who grows up privileged and smugly superior; the other grows up on the fringes of society, an outcast with one asset: his super-brain. It seems the two are destined to battle each other forever … or are they? Read More >

Hereafter (2010)

D | ** | -3| Adults

Hereafter is demeaning both to believers and to unbelievers, and for the same reason: It stacks the deck too heavily in one direction. “The evidence is irrefutable,” a researcher tells TV journalist Marie Lelay (Cécile de France), dropping a sheaf of documentation on life-after-death experiences in her lap. “The X-Files” told us that the truth was out there, but Mulder and Scully never had it this easy. Read More >

Secretariat (2010)

B+ | *** | +2| Kids & Up

The Old Testament book of Job may be an unlikely source for an epigram for a feel-good Disney sports movie, but Secretariat screenwriter Mike Rich (The Nativity Story) has a good reason for going to this least feel-good of all biblical books. If God wasn’t actually thinking of Secretariat when he challenged Job in chapter 39, at least Secretariat was about as perfect an embodiment of what God had in mind, not only when he spoke to Job, but when he created the horse in the first place. Read More >

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

A+ | **** | +2| Kids & Up

At the intersection of great animated films, great filmed stage musicals, and great fairy-tale romances, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast stands alone. Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, it is simply the quintessential Disney masterpiece, the perfection of everything that Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty and The Little Mermaid aspired to. Read More >

The Social Network (2010)

A- | **** | +2-2| Adults

“Every creation myth needs a devil,” a sympathetic attorney tells Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, in the last scene of David Fincher’s dazzling, engrossing The Social Network. It’s a slyly subversive line, simultaneously summing up and calling into question much of the interpretation of events we’ve seen over the last two hours — and it gains another twist when you know that the line was neither dreamed up by screenwriter Aaron Sorkin nor copied from life, but was first uttered by a Facebook executive after reading the screenplay. It’s a mashup of art and criticism — a fortuitously collaborative, revisionistic coda to a fictionalized account of the social media age. Read More >

Waiting For Superman (2010)

A- | ***½ | +2| Kids & Up

American public school students have fallen far behind other developed countries in basic skills: reading, math science. In one respect, though, we’re still number one: American students have the most confidence in their scholastic abilities. Johnny can’t read or add, but he has boundless self-esteem. Is the glass one-third full or three-quarters empty? Would Johnny know the difference? Read More >

Alpha and Omega (2010)

C- | | +0| Kids & Up

Boy meets girl. Girl is totally out of boy’s league. Girl meets other boy who is not out of her league. But he can’t sing. But she has to marry him anyway to keep peace between their families. Girl and first boy are shot with tranquilizer darts and relocated to Idaho to repopulate. Girl and boy embark (bark! ha ha!) on road trip back home. Girl falls for boy on the way. Back home, other boy falls for other girl. Cue climactic action scene and end with musical number. The end. Read More >

Winter’s Bone (2010)

A | **** | +2| Adults

In a backwoods world in the Missouri Ozarks so harsh and unforgiving that it takes one’s breath away, Winter’s Bone finds a heroine who could not exist anywhere else. Read More >

Tales From Earthsea (2006)

B- | **½ | +2-2| Teens & Up

Does Tales From Earthsea, the latest Studio Ghibli release brought to North American theaters by Disney, have the Miyazaki touch? Well, yes and no. Read More >

The Switch (2010)

D- | **½ | -3| Adults*

The Switch is about an attractive woman in her early 40’s with a history of unfortunate relationships and a gnawing concern that she’s been hitting the snooze button on her biological alarm clock for too long. I can’t imagine why they cast Jennifer Aniston. Read More >

Flipped (2010)

B+ | *** | +2| Teens & Up

Juli Baker and Bryce Loski live in different worlds. She lives on one side of the street, he on the other. Bryce, whose family is the picture of Eisenhower-era suburban respectability, learns from his father’s disdain that the Bakers aren’t; Juli is blissfully unaware either of the Loskis’ well-to-do-ness or of her own family’s hardships. They see each other every day from the time they are seven without ever really seeing each other. Read More >

Nanny McPhee Returns (2010)

B | *** | +2| Kids & Up

The second time is the charm with Nanny McPhee Returns, a sequel that improves on the original 2005 Nanny McPhee by more than a nose — even if it’s the bulbous nose of Nanny McPhee herself. Read More >

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

C- | **½ | -2| Adults

Among the least inspiring phrases in the English language, I wrote in my review of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, is “based on a video game.” Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is not based on a video game, but video games are part of its artistic DNA, along with comic books, anime, kung fu movies and music videos. Big difference. Read More >

Pages: [1]      «      2   |   3   |   4   |   5   |   6      »      [30]

Coming Soon

Recently Added

In Theaters – Latest

In Theaters – All