Into the Woods

Stephen Sondheim’s fairy-tale mashup gives us the magic in act one,  then uses act two to try to teach us something deeper about being a failed, jaded adult. That second hour is irredeemable drudgery, as the story betrays itself and the audience and  drags  to a lame...

Unbreakable

Angelina Jolie again tackles a big, challenging story set against the horrors of war, and once again delivers a well-crafted film that fails to fire on all cylinders. Something’s missing here that would transform a powerful set of facts into a moving story.—————— Directed by Angelina Jolie Starring: Jack O’Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, Miyavi, Garrett Hedlund Review: 2.5 stars (of five) As with her feature debut as a director, 2011’s In the Land of Blood and Honey, Angelina Jolie’s unbroken is a well-made film with engaging actors, a skillful and assured directorial hand, a powerful...

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The final Hobbit installment is called “Battle of the Five Armies,” so you can’t say you’ve been warned. It’s a lot of battling, between a lot of armies, and not quite enough of anything else to satisfy fans of things besides extended, exhausting combat sequences. —————— Directed by: Peter Jackson Starring: Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Luke Evans, Ian McKellan, Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett Review: 2.5 stars (of five) The third Hobbit move is an extended—seriously extended—fight scene, a brutal, exhausting third act to the lengthy adaptation of the Tolkein...

Wild

Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern Review: 4 stars (out of five) Wild adapts Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 autobiographical account of a thousand-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, and the graphically screwed-up life that got her there. In a fairly...