J.J. Abrams' second Star Trek film is more coherent than the first and every bit as compulsively likable. He still has an amazing cast, and he gives them all moments to shine. The film lags elsewhere, squandering villains and underselling Kirk's character arc, but Abrams shines with moments that briefly capture the spirit of the original series.
The third Iron Man movie is a lackluster effort that hammers maybe three good ideas into the ground for more than two hours. If you're a fan, you'll ... I can't say you'll be "satisfied," or "you'll have a good time," but you probably won't come out angry--unless you paid extra for the worthless 3D. But why don't you expect more?
A deservedly saintly presentation of the Jackie Robinson story occasionally wields narrative as a blunt instrument, just to make sure no one misses Robinson's struggles and dignity. A fine cast and a laid back style that feels as retro as the period setting help craft a film that's a likable history lesson.
Admission has a strong cast and the admirable goal of making an adult movie about adult things, but the plot is implausible, and there's a slackness to the entire affair that's never quite overcome, despite a lot of individually nice elements.
Stoker is not a satisfying moviegoing experience, which isn't to say that it's a bad piece of cinema. If you go to the movies expecting a story (and I generally do), you might feel underserved. But if you're moved by style, performance and mood for their own sake, there's much to like in this off-key, slow boil tale of suspense.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone feels like a familar card trick: The patter may entertain you, but at heart, there's nothing new, and that's a letdown even when the magician is really skilled at his craft.
Interesting look at postwar Japan and how an American general investigated whether to hang Emperor Hirohito for war crimes or paper over the ugliness to better rehabilitate Japan. While we know how that worked out, and while the nature of the general's investigation might be slightly fictionalized (and a romance angle entirely invented, it seems), the film is still an interesting, sober portrait of a rarely considered historical moment.
Sam Raimi is probably the best choice to helm a Wizard of Oz prequel. He brings a love and respect for the source material along with a great cast to produce a film that has less heart than the 1939 classic, but still hits some good beats, and manages to slip a few surprises into a tale that should be all foregone conclusions. Worth seeing, and arguably kid-safe.
Steven Soderbergh is an excellent director, but not even his cool, quietly commanding style can save a flawed script full of the laziest plot holes I've seen in ages, nor can it overcome the disappointment of starting out as a potentially fascinating critique of pop culture before devolving into a parody of every bad movie Richard Gere made in the '90s.
Giants Beware is a polished piece of cartooning that reads like its writer was raised by sitcom reruns. Any kid will love it, while adults might find the charm wearing as thin as a "Friends" marathon. Which is not to deny its definite charms, or undercut my hopes that this writer and artist do more work together, and soon.
"The Martian Confederacy" is two volumes, so far, of light sci-fi entertainment set on a trailer-park Mars and populated with scoundrels, good-hearted thieves, villains, small children, a sexy robot and a talking bear. There is, in other words, something for everyone in these breezy, self-contained adventure-comedies.
Royden Lepp's Rust: Visitor in the Field, has a dreamlike feel. There's the sepia color scheme, retro jetpacks and battle robots, and a slow-motion pacing that hobbles, but doesn't quite defeat, the work.
Zero Dark Thirty is a procedural thriller that follows one committed--and difficult--CIA officer whose investigative obsession leads to the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Short on character or broader thoughts on international terrorism, it's a compelling piece of first-hand reportage.
"Django Unchained" is Quentin Tarantino's best film because he's added something new to his genre exploitation game: characters who aren't in on the joke. That's not to say it is his most perfect film: From themes to execution (an appropriate double entendre), there is a lot to question, and a lot that will stir controversy.
"King's Speech" director Tom Hooper opens up the beloved stage melodrama, bringing the play's 17th century Paris to life. Yet he also makes it more intimate, adding a wrenching power to key songs. Hugh Jackman leads a strong cast, which Anne Hathaway totally blows outta the water.