Even if you accept the idea of making the Hobbit into three films, rather than one, there's no reason to have the first one run nearly three hours. You could've put Peter Jackson in front of a camera and had him read you a third of the book in less time. On the upside, it looks great and has the perfect star. If only it had a better--and shorter--script.
Bill Murray is a skirt-chasing FDR in this mannered drama about the late president's summer affair with a cousin. Fine actors and famous figures frump and frolic in a biopic about a brief, awkward affair that's probably the least interesting part of Roosevelt's life. A series of fine moments do not gel to create a truly fine film.
Like Christopher Nolan, Sam Mendes takes a colorful and unrealistic hero and examines the darkness within, sometimes at the expense of that which makes the character any damned fun at all. Still, an exploration of James Bond's dark and barely existent inner world make for an occasionally interesting exception in the long-running series. And Javier Bardem has fun channeling a lighter version of Heath Ledger's Joker.
Down these mean streets a self-appointed reviewer must go, who is not himself mean, just a little tarnished, and unafraid. By the flicker of a bare bulb, he reads a comic, the kind with dames swooning into the arms of noble but cash-strapped detectives. Inky shadows, greasy mobsters, jet-black pools of blood. The works.
Cloud Atlas is a big, ambitious, heartfelt movie. The craft on display is indisputable, and its themes are richer than is being credited. If there's one thing I want from a three-hour movie, it's that it be hobbit-free. If there are two things, it's that it be this engaging and rich. Almost makes me forgive the Wachowskis for the Matrix sequels. But not quite.
Last weekend in San Francisco, the Alternative Press Expo–Comic-Con’s punky kid brother–brought small-press and self-published comics together with a few major figures and provided two pleasant, low-key afternoons for local comics fans to check out new talent and hear from the masters.
Jim Woodring, Sergio Aragones and Los Bros. Hernandez were the stars, doing signings and giving talks about their careers. Aragones, after 50 years in comics, remains a humble and entertaining man. Asked about doing an autobiography, he pointed out that many of his comics are autobiographical, so eventually he’ll have chronicled his...
Ben Affleck's considerable directorial talents take another leap foward with this tense, compelling recreation of the weirdest episode in the Iranian hostage crisis. The result is one of Hollywood's best movies of the year.
Seven Psychopaths is an enjoyable movie, but not entirely a successful one. It attempts to have its violent cake and soulfully eat it, too. And the fact that the film is so bloody self-conscious and metatextual about it would seem to prove that it's an impossible task—or at least one beyond the filmmaker's reach.
Yes, Scientology is a crock of shit, but so is this movie. It's just not cynical. The Master has a powerful cast, a commanding director, but no reason for subjecting us to 2.5 hours of fictional biography. There's a difference between a good performance and a good movie.
More like a Philip K. Dick adaptation than any Philip K. Dick adaptation, Looper is a smart and assured sci-fi thriller that disdains 3D and overkill effects in favor of character and story. It's like Inception's mellower kid brother: Not as manic, easier to hold a conversation with, but with some of the same charm.
Two great actors, one painfully long chase scene, and a script so dead not even Renner and Weisz can revive it. The movie chugs along fine while you're watching it, but the thing is, it just assumes you care about what's going on, rather than making any effort to actually make you care.
Total Recall has a nice look, but too much monotonous violence and not enough brains or heart. This is a lovely film to look at, and the story isn't as unbelievably incoherent as The Dark Knight Rises, but it's definitely underbaked, the work of someone who knows about "plot" but not much else.
The Dark Knight flops.
This movie is overlong, overly focused on militaristic violence, is a tangled mess of themes and ideas, has the pacing of an epileptic turtle, and worse sin of all: not nearly enough Batman (or Catwoman). And way too much Bane.
A really uneven script is disguised by a strong cast, fine special effects and a lot of scenes that, on their own, seem strong. We didn't need the Spider-franchise rebooted so soon, but there's stuff to like here, and reasons to look forward to the next installment.
Steven Soderbergh doesn't disappoint. His latest film entertains, engages, and makes male sexuality as overblown and absurd as women's is usually portrayed. It's a familiar story with some new angles. In a summer of effects-driven blockbusters, it's a light bit of fresh air.