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: Director… » 12/16/14 1:10pm Tuesday 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 you're… » 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 is… » 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 later,… » 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 for… » 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 Inception » 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 big… » 10/15/14 4:14pm 10/15/14 4:14pm

Bill Murray's Memes Now Outshine His Movies, And St. Vincent Won't Help

What was the last great Bill Murray performance? Maybe Broken Flowers from 2005? Lost in Translation from 2003? Nowadays, some of his best work—or at least the work that gets the most attention—is nowhere near the big screen. He shows up at bachelor parties. He crashes regular folks' engagement photos. He whips out » 10/14/14 10:25am 10/14/14 10:25am

Love, Actually: David Fincher's Dark, Thrilling Gone Girl, Reviewed

In early 2011, when David Fincher was getting ready to shoot The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo while in the midst of Oscars promotion for The Social Network, the director made a revealing comment about how he separates his work into two categories: "movies" and "films." To his mind, Fight Club and Zodiac were… » 9/29/14 3:00pm 9/29/14 3:00pm

André 3000 Channels Hendrix, Finds Himself In Jimi: All Is By My Side

In the early 2000s, OutKast seemed poised for world-conquering superstardom. But flush with the success of 1998's Aquemini and 2000's Stankonia (and hit singles like "Rosa Parks" and "Ms. Jackson"), the Atlanta hip-hop duo of André 3000 and Big Boi fractured instead. When the double-solo-album package … » 9/25/14 10:55am 9/25/14 10:55am

Family Futile: This Is Where I Leave You, Reviewed

This Is Where I Leave You feels like a social experiment in how much slack we're willing to cut a movie filled with actors we like. There's nothing particularly new or interesting in this umpteenth story about a family coming together after the death of one of their own, and yet the collective goodwill accrued by… » 9/17/14 1:30pm 9/17/14 1:30pm

Toronto Film Festival 2014: 10 Movies We Can't Wait To See

The Toronto Film Festival, which starts Thursday, is always excellent one-stop shopping for many of the major films hoping to crash the Oscar and best-of-the-year conversations. Beyond the world premieres, it also features the best of what played at Cannes, as well as plenty of films that already screened at the… » 9/03/14 3:27pm 9/03/14 3:27pm

The Perfect Imperfect Couple: Love Is Strange, Reviewed

Leo Tolstoy's line "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way" could be applied to romantic relationships as well—especially if you're not in a good one. From the outside, a happy marriage can look like an aberration, a fluke, or just dumb luck. Because so much of fiction is devoted… » 8/19/14 2:33pm 8/19/14 2:33pm

Perfectly Imperfect: Saying Goodbye To Robin Williams

One of the dumbest things the public does is think it "knows" celebrities. Those people we see on our TV or on a movie screen, because they come into our lives and make us laugh and cry—we believe we have some sort of special connection, not to the characters they play, but to the actors themselves. This is what… » 8/12/14 10:43am 8/12/14 10:43am

Nothing Up Woody Allen's Sleeve: Magic In The Moonlight, Reviewed

Magic in the Moonlight is the sort of Woody Allen movie that longtime fans have trouble defending, not because it's terrible or lazy—it's neither—but because it's so painfully familiar. Likeable and completely disposable, his new comedy has its chuckles, but as he gets closer to the 50-feature mark, this joins his… » 7/23/14 10:55am 7/23/14 10:55am