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Jennifer Lawrence

mother! Review

mother! Review

RATING: (4 STARS) *NOTE: I believe this film is best enjoyed without knowing much at all going in. I avoided any heavy spoilers in this review, but still, if you haven’t seen mother!, proceed with caution. The insanity-by-obsession that defines every Darren Aronofsky film to date — from Ellen Burstyn’s tragic television watching in Requiem […]

X-Men: Apocalypse Review

X-Men: Apocalypse Review

RATING: (3 STARS) X-Men: Apocalypse works in spite of itself. Here’s a film that takes arguably the best actor working today and turns him into a purple version of Imhotep from The Mummy. There are too many characters, not enough genuine excitement, and it runs at least 30 minutes too long. All that said, it’s […]

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 Review

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) A final film in a series shouldn’t need this much exposition. A final film in a series shouldn’t be so light on concluding excitement. A final film in a series shouldn’t have to force feed its viewers hackeneyed closure for its characters. A final film in a series shouldn’t be so lacking […]

Final 2014 Oscar Predictions

Final 2014 Oscar Predictions

We’re almost there. And thank God, because I can’t anymore. This will likely be the last year I spend time writing and talking about the Oscars regularly. Too much noise. I’ve been defeated. Anyway, it’s a hell of a good year to go out with some pretty brilliant titles leading the charge for gold. I […]

Predicting the 2014 Golden Globes Winners

Predicting the 2014 Golden Globes Winners

This Sunday, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will carve for itself a unique place in the 2013/2014 awards season. How do I know? Because it must. There still isn’t much consensus among this year’s major categories. The critics groups like 12 Years a Slave and Her. American Hustle and Gravity have loads of support—some from […]

American Hustle Review

American Hustle Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) Of many great pleasures found in David O. Russell’s latest, American Hustle, the greatest is watching not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE talented actors give truly exceptional performances. Jeremy Renner is the only Russell newcomer, as the Silver Linings Playbook and The Fighter helmer has brought together an […]

The Movie Chain Challenge: Jennifer Lawrence and James Dean

The Movie Chain Challenge: Jennifer Lawrence and James Dean

What’s the Movie Chain Challenge, you ask? Each week, you’ll be, well, challenged to connect one movie star to another by identifying costars they have in common. Think of it as a true cinephile’s Six Degrees of Separation. Ever wonder who connects Matt Damon to Max von Sydow? Julia Roberts to Julie Andrews? Elizabeth Taylor […]

Putting the 2013 Oscars to Bed

Putting the 2013 Oscars to Bed

Sunday night, the film world spoke, and the big winner at this year’s Academy Awards was … uhh … anyone know? Sure, Argo took home the night’s top prize—Best Picture. It was a win for the ages as no film since 1989’s Driving Miss Daisy pulled off a similar feat without a Best Director nomination. […]

Final 2013 Oscar Predictions

Final 2013 Oscar Predictions

The endless speculation ends Sunday night. It’s been a wild year—fun to follow, frustrating at times. I’m the sure ceremony will feel the same way. I’m less confident in my predictions this year than I have been in any year I’ve been following the Oscars. A few locks—Best Actor, Best Original Song, Best Visual Effects—litter […]

Silver Linings Playbook Review

Silver Linings Playbook Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Silver Linings Playbook is a bright rainbow of a film, but you wouldn’t know it from the way it starts. It’s hard to imagine that a film that opens in a mental hospital with a clearly disturbed Bradley Cooper could, in two hours, convincingly make the leap to a larger-than-life dance competition […]

The 2013 Oscar Nominees

The 2013 Oscar Nominees

It wasn’t Lincoln‘s field-topping twelve nominations nor Silver Linings Playbook‘s sudden ascension from “happy to be nominated” to “genuine Best Picture threat” that dominated headlines today. 

No, it was the genuinely stunning absence of Argo‘s Ben Affleck and Zero Dark Thirty‘s Kathryn Bigelow from the Academy’s eclectic Best Director lineup that rocked Oscar watchers’ world. […]

The Hunger Games Review

The Hunger Games Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) While reading Suzanne Collins’ novel, The Hunger Games, you’re immediately struck by the story’s cinematic potential. A dystopian future, an elaborate death match, and an angsty young-adult love triangle—what’s not to like? But with the good comes the potentially terrible—opulent cities with multi-colored buildings, the inevitable neutering down of the novel’s bloodier […]

Like Crazy Review

Like Crazy Review

RATING: (2 STARS) Like Crazy, one of the most buzzed about films coming out of Sundance earlier this year, is about love at its most frustrating. The film’s protagonists can’t see the forest for the trees. They’re so caught up in how they feel in the moment that they make foolish decisions that threaten to […]

The Beaver Review

The Beaver Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) The Beaver is about as strange as advertised. It’s hard to find conventionality in a film about a man who tries to overcome his depression by talking through a hand puppet. Unfortunately, quality can’t be measured through unconventionality, and though I wouldn’t call The Beaver bad, it’s a little disappointing. It never […]

X-Men: First Class Review

X-Men: First Class Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Like an oasis in the middle of a desert, X-Men: First Class is a refreshing treat during one of the most disappointing movie summers in recent memory. It takes a franchise that was left for dead and breathes new life into it, setting a new standard for the X-Men films. I can’t […]

Winter’s Bone Review

Winter’s Bone Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) Winter’s Bone is a funny little film that fails more than it succeeds, but remains intriguing throughout. I felt that, despite featuring a brilliant performance by newcomer Jennifer Lawrence, it sort of sputtered along without much of a plot for too long for me to really connect to it. The setting is […]