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2013

Star Trek Into Darkness Review

Star Trek Into Darkness Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) Overstuffed and overly serious, Star Trek Into Darkness fails to capture the magic J.J. Abrams brought to Star Trek, his 2009 reboot of the popular sci-fi series. It’s far from a horrible summer movie; On the contrary, its almost overwhelming imagination and brisk pace mean you’re in store for nearly two hours […]

State 194 Review

State 194 Review

An almost impossibly hopeful film, Dan Setton’s State 194 dissects the current state of the Israel-Palestine conflict with thoroughness and care. And while those versed in the intricacies of this seemingly intractable feud will find the most food for thought, there’s more than enough history and context for those looking to learn something. The film’s […]

The Great Gatsby (2013) Review

The Great Gatsby (2013) Review

RATING: (3 STARS) You either get Baz Luhrmann or you don’t. He’s a filmmaker set in his ways, and if painterly sets, opulent costumes, sweeping camerawork, glitz, glamour, and some truly odd musical cues are your thing, you probably get Luhrmann and his movies. I definitely get Luhrmann (count me in the borderline invisible minority […]

Pain and Gain Review

Pain and Gain Review

RATING: (3 STARS) It seems like it’d be hard for anyone to hate Pain and Gain if it didn’t seemingly trivialize a pair of brutal murders. It’s more energetic than any film this year. The trio of Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, and Anthony Mackie is exceptional (and exceptionally casted). And director Michael Bay‘s insistence on […]

Broken City Review

Broken City Review

RATING: (2 STARS) For a film that vacillates from scene to scene between barely passable and utterly forgettable, Broken City boasts some impressive names both on and off the screen. Mark Wahlberg leads a cast that also includes Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey Wright, and Kyle Chandler. Allen Hughes (of Menace II Socity […]

Farah Goes Bang Review

Farah Goes Bang Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Though it hits some annoyingly familiar notes within the road trip and “losing your virginity” subgenres, Farah Goes Bang bucks disappointment thanks to its unique, almost unshakable sense of disappointment. The film, about three recent college graduates (including one frustrated virgin) on the campaign trail for John Kerry in 2004, keeps building, […]

Oxyana Review

Oxyana Review

Drug addiction, particularly to prescription pain medication like OxyContin, has become so commonplace in Oceana, West Virginia that its residents simply refer to it as “Oxyana.” This also serves as the title of a documentary in which director Sean Dunne turns his camera toward men and women, most of them addicts themselves, whose stories will […]

The English Teacher Review

The English Teacher Review

RATING: (1 STAR) Maybe she owed the director money. Maybe the version of the script she’d read before accepting the part wasn’t close to the shooting script. Maybe she was blackmailed. Maybe the shoot was simply convenient for her. I’m searching for a reason why Julianne Moore accepted the lead role in The English Teacher, […]

What Richard Did Review

What Richard Did Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) A film that’s equal parts quiet and disquieting, What Richard Did hinges on a single moment. Like Julia Loktev’s The Loneliest Planet last year, the circumstances and consequences surrounding this moment are complicated. Director Lenny Abrahamson presents the moment, its circumstances, and its consequences as an enormous gray area; His camera is […]

The Place Beyond the Pines Review

The Place Beyond the Pines Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) “So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.’” —John 5:19 Derek Cianfrance burst onto the American independent movie scene with 2010’s searing […]

The Company You Keep Review

The Company You Keep Review

RATING: (2 STARS) If there’s one thing to take away from Robert Redford’s The Company We Keep, it’s that few individuals keep better company than Redford. No film this year (unless, in the cast of Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder, we’re counting the many great actors and actresses missing from the final cut) boasts a […]

To the Wonder Review

To the Wonder Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) If you like your films full of feeling, To the Wonder is for you. The latest from enigmatic director Terrence Malick sacrifices story, character, and dialogue to give the world a film full of and about feelings. The feelings in To the Wonder walk, talk, and interact with other feelings. They have […]

Trance Review

Trance Review

RATING: (3 STARS) There’s a great movie hidden beneath the bright lights, loud noises, and multiple misdirections that make up Danny Boyle‘s latest film, Trance. A heist thriller that thinks it’s a lot smarter than it really is, Boyle and his screenwriters, Joe Ahearne and John Hodge, get bogged down trying to fool us when […]

Room 237

Room 237

It’d be hard for a cinephile to not find at least something enjoyable in Rodney Ascher’s new documentary Room 237. The film is a deep dive into Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining—arguably the strangest movie within the strongest filmography of all time. It’s so strange, in fact, that five individuals have had their lives turned upside-down […]

Oz: The Great and Powerful Review

Oz: The Great and Powerful Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Fairy tale prequels, sequels, remakes, and reimaginings have been all the rage at the multiplex over the past few years. And while The Wizard of Oz isn’t exactly a fairy tale, comparing Oz: The Great and Powerful to films like Snow White and the Huntsman and Jack the Giant Slayer isn’t unreasonable. […]

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