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2014

Reviews of some of the best movies of 2014 and some of the worst movies of 2014.

Like Father, Like Son Review

Like Father, Like Son Review

RATING: (3 STARS) The Cannes-Jury-Prize-winning drama Like Father, Like Son, from the marvelously talented Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda, tells a really straightforward tale of a pair of families in crisis. It’s a regular Greek tragedy, in fact, but Kore-eda very interestingly circumvents emotion that’d be unapologetically oozing out of an American version of the same […]

Lucy Review

Lucy Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) Lucy is a puzzling film insofar as it’s both fantastically inspired and utter garbage, and it’s really hard to tell where the two opposing qualities begin and end. On the one hand, director Luc Besson imbues the film with an energy heretofore untapped in science-fiction films that don’t have the word “Star” […]

Guardians of the Galaxy Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) “What was it about?” It’s often the first question someone asks me when I tell them about a movie I saw, and it ought to be the easiest one to answer. The first cinematic adaptation of Marvel’s deep-space-set saga Guardians of the Galaxy challenges that notion. Here, a studio has neutered down […]

Life Itself Review

Life Itself Review

RATING: (4 STARS) “A film like Hoop Dreams is what the movies are for. It takes us, shakes us, and make us think in new ways about the world around us. It gives us the impression of having touched life itself.” —Roger Ebert, 1994 There’s a really clever reflexiveness at play with the last two […]

Snowpiercer Review

Snowpiercer Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) After months and months of waiting, wondering whether the notorious Weinstein Company would allow director Bong Joon-ho to share his true vision for Snowpiercer with the world, the film is finally here (in theaters and on VOD), and surprisingly, it’s awfully straightforward. That isn’t to say it’s not a little weird, but […]

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Review

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is one of the most unusual big-budget Hollywood action movies I’ve ever seen. For one, it opens with a virtually silent 20-minute sequence—one that catches us up with characters from the film’s predecessor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. There’s also next to no […]

The Case Against 8 Review

The Case Against 8 Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) Documentaries of well-covered (or heavily covered, depending on your view on the state of professional journalism) subjects too often feel disposable because those in charge don’t use the medium to make their take on the story unique. A perfect example of this would be 2013’s complementary films about the anti-homosexual agenda in […]

22 Jump Street Review

22 Jump Street Review

RATING: (3 STARS) 22 Jump Street—the sequel to the hilarious film adaptation of the popular 1980s TV show 21 Jump Street—spits in the face of its very existence. Not unlike The LEGO Movie—which also came from the brains of this film’s directors, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller—it comes from greedy, vain, and uninspired origins, but […]

The LEGO Movie Review

The LEGO Movie Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) The very idea that something called The LEGO Movie was being made was enough to send shivers down the spine of anyone with good cinematic taste or a mind for originality. You know those critics who think they need to write to save cinema? The announcement of a feature-length LEGO movie was […]

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review

RATING: (2 STARS) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is many things—a good film not being one of them. But in between non-sensical, neon-soaked action sequences and cliche-ridden superhero movie romance are some surprisingly acceptable moments. Electro’s transformation from bullied to bully is hardly inspired. Ditto Peter Parker’s exploration of his parents’ past. But these oddly (if […]

The Double (2014) Review

The Double (2014) Review

RATING: (2 STARS) Director Richard Ayoade’s The Double finds visual beauty in some objectively ugly places. The entire movie is bathed in harsh, obnoxious light, and a dusty, dirty film—”a patina of shit,” to quote the movie Michael Clayton—engulfs its characters, which supports the film’s themes that the working world is a suffocating, miserable place. […]

Tribeca 2014: ‘Manos Sucias’

Tribeca 2014: ‘Manos Sucias’

I managed to catch up with the Spike Lee-produced Manos Sucias before the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival began. Once the credits started rolling, I thought that if I didn’t see a film as good as this, it’d still be a pretty successful festival. It’s equal parts an outstanding character piece and a wonderfully entertaining and […]

Tribeca 2014: ‘When the Garden Was Eden’

Tribeca 2014: ‘When the Garden Was Eden’

Over at Sound on Sight, I’ve written a review of the latest 30 for 30 documentary, When the Garden Was Eden, which premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. The film won’t premiere on ESPN for a little while, but it’s one you’ll want to look out for. Like last week’s Bad Boys, it’s a […]

Tribeca 2014: ‘Next Goal Wins’

Tribeca 2014: ‘Next Goal Wins’

My 2014 Tribeca Film Festival continues over at Sound on Sight with my review of the sports documentary Next Goal Wins, which profiles the American Samoan national soccer team, which went 30 years without a win in international play before this film’s cameras starting rolling. Check out my review of the film, which follows well-worn […]

Tribeca 2014: ‘All About Ann’

Tribeca 2014: ‘All About Ann’

Over at Sound on Sight, my coverage of the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival began yesterday with a review of the charming political documentary All About Ann: Governor Richards of the Lone Star State. The film, which debuts a week from today on HBO, isn’t formally challenging, but Richards’ story is one absolutely worth telling. Check […]

Hide Your Smiling Faces Review

Hide Your Smiling Faces Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) With Hide Your Smiling Faces, first-time writer-director Daniel Patrick Carbone has crafted a breathtaking, heartbreaking ode to growing up. Over just 80 minutes, we watch youth and innocence snatched away from a pair of too-young souls as they wrestle with death in many incarnations, and while the specter of mystery hangs over […]

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