Liam Neeson's Slightly Diminishing Skills: Run All Night, Reviewed

Critics may not like Liam Neeson's action movies, but that hasn't translated into folks not liking him for making them. Unlike, say, Johnny Depp and his endless array of "zany" characters or Nicolas Cage and his pitiful cornucopia of forgettable doing-it-for-the-paycheck roles, he hasn't become a punchline. In… » 3/12/15 3:05pm 3/12/15 3:05pm

Drink The Kool-Aid: Why True/False Is Our Best Little Film Festival 

Film festivals are weird things. If you love movies and have dreamed of going to, say, Cannes or Sundance, you might have this romantic vision of watching dozens of movies amid happy, goodhearted souls who share your abiding passion for film. The reality is, you'll meet some of those people at a film festival,… » 3/05/15 12:58pm 3/05/15 12:58pm

Will Smith Is A Blank Slate Now, And Focus Doesn't Help

Most movie stars charm us by creating the illusion that we know them. Tom Cruise's appeal comes in large part from our identification with his intense, full-throttle performances; the Rock, his eyebrow always arched in a self-mocking way, lets us in on the joke that action movies are preposterous, and,… » 2/27/15 2:13pm 2/27/15 2:13pm

Oscar Predictions 2015: The Categories No One Understands 

Sunday's Academy Awards will have plenty of suspense: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor are all toss-ups at this point. Will and I will tackle those and the other major categories Friday, but today, I'm going to look at the lower-profile awards: the tech prizes, short films, etc. They're not any easier… » 2/18/15 4:00pm 2/18/15 4:00pm

You Only Smirk Twice: Kingsman: The Secret Service, Reviewed

At a time when our superhero movies and action films are often dressed in dark tones, the gleefully sarcastic and proudly hyper-violent Kingsman: The Secret Service ought to be a relief. Eschewing the trend of brooding characters nursing mournful back stories, this adaptation of Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons' 2012… » 2/11/15 2:10pm 2/11/15 2:10pm

The 10 Movies I'm Most Excited To See At Sundance 2015

If the Oscar prognosticators are correct, next month Boyhood will become the first film to both premiere at Sundance and win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Last year's festival had plenty of other highlights, too—Whiplash, Life Itself, The Raid 2, The Overnighters, A Most Wanted Man—so as we get ready for… » 1/20/15 2:35pm 1/20/15 2:35pm

The Ecstasy And Agony Of MLK: Selma, Reviewed

Recently, a listener called into a talk-radio show I was on, asking if Paramount had sped up the release of its Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. drama Selma to capitalize on the recent deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The timing just seemed too perfect. I had to tell him that it was all just coincidence: … » 12/16/14 1:10pm 12/16/14 1:10pm

Stoned Immaculate: Inherent Vice, Reviewed

With each passing movie, Paul Thomas Anderson wanders further and further away from the terrain mapped out by his filmmaking peers. He hasn't gotten lost yet: Inherent Vice may not be as undeniably astounding as his last three efforts, but that doesn't make it any less startling or wonderfully distinctive. If… » 12/12/14 2:05pm 12/12/14 2:05pm

Chris Rock's Rock-Star Moment: Top Five, Reviewed

Chris Rock has such a warm, magnetic presence that it's baffling that he has never seemed that comfortable as an actor. Cutting and ferocious as he may be onstage, onscreen he often comes across as timid, like he doesn't belong. (It's telling that when I think of his film career, the first thing that comes to mind… » 12/09/14 4:20pm 12/09/14 4:20pm

Sequel Fatigue: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, Reviewed

I've now seen three Hunger Games films, and I feel confident saying that eventually, something is finally going to happen in one of them. There's been no shortage of incidents—action scenes, plot twists, emotional moments—but what's strange about this series is that everything always seems to be a precursor to… » 11/19/14 2:18pm 11/19/14 2:18pm

Despicable Us: Foxcatcher, Reviewed

Foxcatcher is a movie about America, but what makes it so compelling is that you don't realize it at first. Directed by Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball), the film is too subtle—and, frankly, too strange—to explicitly make some simple, overarching, grandiose statement. And yet, when you replay it in your head… » 11/13/14 10:42am 11/13/14 10:42am

The Superhero Starter Kit: Big Hero 6, Reviewed

If you were trying to turn a kid onto action films for life, you could do a lot worse than starting him or her off with Big Hero 6. So fundamentally familiar that its alternate title might as well be My First Marvel Superhero Movie, it does just about everything you'd expect from an animated adventure designed… » 11/07/14 10:35am 11/07/14 10:35am

Christopher Nolan's Interstellar Is Half-Unwieldy And Half-Amazing

Two years ago, just as I was about to see The Dark Knight Rises, I wrote a glowing overview of its director's career. A huge fan of Christopher Nolan since his second feature, 2000's Memento, I explained how he had almost single-handedly restored my faith in blockbusters thanks to his Batman films and 2010's … » 11/04/14 5:11pm 11/04/14 5:11pm

Michael Keaton Forever: Birdman, Reviewed

Birdman doesn't have any right being as fantastic as it is. Structured around a gimmick—the whole movie is meant to look like one continuous shot—and featuring a potentially eye-rolling plot device (a has-been actor's personal and professional life comes crashing down on him in the days before his theoretical… » 10/15/14 4:14pm 10/15/14 4:14pm