The Theory of Everything

Directed by David Marsh Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox Review:  3.5 stars (of five) The Theory of Everything is a decently engaging biopic whose main flaw–not getting deep enough into either the importance of Stephen Hawking’s science or the mechanics of a powerful love–is mitigated by terrific performances from its lead actors. Eddie Redmayne is amazing as Hawking, from doctoral student on the verge of physical decline to utterly immobilized genius, that astonishing mind trapped in a twisted, mute body.  There are three phases to Redmayne’s performance. At the film’s beginning,...

Interstellar (and in...

Cowritten and directed by Christopher Nolan Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine Review: Incomplete, but leaning toward 2.5-3 stars This isn’t quite a review of Interstellar. My IMAX screening of the film broke down three-quarters of the way through...

The November Man

Director: Roger Donaldson Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Olga Kurylenko, Luke Bracey Review: 2.5 stars (of five) The November Man clearly has a noble goal—to be a James Bond film for grownups—and on an emotional level, on a shut-up-and-go-with-it level, it succeeds quite entertainingly. ...

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Director: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller Starring: Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson, Powers Boothe Review: 4 stars (of five) The long-in-coming sequel to 2005’s Sin City is in some ways a better film than its predecessor.  While it does not quite have the mania for mayhem and gross bodily injury that made the original a weirdly obsessed meditation on genre tropes, it has a better sense of story and character, and better balance. I recently described the first Sin City to a friend as:  “Did you ever wish you could watch a Jim Thompson novel come to life while you’re...

Guardians of the Galaxy

Directed by James Gun Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, David Bautista, Bradley Cooper (voice), Vin Diesel (voice), John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, a lot of CG guys in globally dispersed cube farms Review: 2.5 stars (of five) Guardians of the Galaxy was a letdown, a frenetic mix of CGI action and tired “badass antihero” cliches. If a computer algorithm were applied to every action movie of the last half-decade, then used to generate a script off the keywords “science fiction,” “body count” and “antiheroes,” this script would’ve come out, with all its gunfire and teen-level...

A Most Wanted Man

Directed by Anton Corbijn Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Grigoriy Dobrygin Review: 3.5 stars (of five) A Most Wanted Man is a well-made film with a strong central performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman anchoring a very good cast. Yet I was not as taken with it...

Boyhood

Written and directed by Richard Linklater Starring:  Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Marco Perella Review:  5 stars (of five) Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is a marvelous film. You should see it. When the lights came up after my screening of the 2 hour, 45-minute movie, the only thing I wanted was for the projectionist to roll it again. The film can be considered on two levels. Any film must be judged on the quality of its story (and all the elements–the acting, the direction, etc.–that tell the story). This film can also be judged by the particular gimmick or stunt that has garnered it...