"Calvary"

"Calvary"

The way of the Cross
In recent years, documented incidents from Irish history have inspired some powerful motion pictures, most notably Stephen Frears's "Philomena," which won considerable critical and commercial success in 2013. Revelations about the brutal treatment of children, including sexual abuse, by priests and the virtual imprisonment of unwed mothers in workhouses supervised by nuns, shocked Ireland, damaging the image of the Catholic Church in the Isle of Saints.

"Sin City: A Dame to Kill For"

Old dogs, lame tricks
Nearly 10 years after the release of "Sin City," Robert Rodriguez's ultra-stylish adaptation of Frank Miller's hard-boiled, neo-noir graphic novel series, the director returns to the rain-slick streets and darkened alleyways of Basin City. But something has clearly been lost in the intervening years.

"Land Ho!"

Old dogs, lame tricks
Grandpa gets his groove back in "Land Ho!" an episodic road trip comedy about aging friends. Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson) and Colin (Paul Eenhoorn) as they travel through picturesque Iceland.

Film Review: "Mood Indigo"

Bluer than blue can be
French filmmaker Michel Gondry has built a reputation around his inventively handmade, DIY visual aesthetic. Gondry's films burst with fanciful imagery, imperfectly crafted out of tinfoil and cardboard, and it's tempting to dismiss his films as frivolous exercises in quirkiness.

Film Review: "The Giver"

Back to the future again
After a visit to the new Soviet Union in 1919, the great muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens famously remarked, "I have seen the future and it works."  In Hollywood, for many years they have seen the future and ... it sucks. Dystopia now replaces any possibility of happiness in the brave new world that we'd like to think constitutes the destination of our dreams.

Film Review: "Boyhood"

Glory days
The process behind the creation of "Boyhood," the remarkable new film from director Richard Linklater, is nearly as extraordinary as the film itself. Assembling his cast for a few days at a time, the film's shoot lasted for a total of 45 days, but those days were spread out over the course of 12 years -- from 2002 through 2013.

Film Review: "Magic in the Moonlight"

Back to Europe for Woody Allen
The experience of watching Woody Allen's annual movie, "Magic in the Moonlight," suggests that last year's "Blue Jasmine" represents something of an anomaly in his long, prolific career. In that picture he abandoned a number of his perennial subjects -- the upper West Side ambiance, the preoccupation with sexual inadequacy, the tendency to rely on gags when invention fails, and the fondness for silly fantasy and tepid whimsy.

Film Review: "Guardians of the Galaxy"

Space oddity
For the 10th entry in its Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios reaches deep into its character roster to bring intergalactic outlaws the "Guardians of the Galaxy" to the big screen. Though lacking the name recognition of Iron Man, Thor, or Captain America, the Guardians have been around since the late 60's, with a number of changes to its lineup over the years (the film takes its inspiration from the more recent 2008 iteration of the team).

Film Review: "I Origins"

The search for eyes
Since the earliest years of cinema, science fiction has inspired filmmakers. Its major subjects -- space travel, time travel, alien encounters, robots, the future -- translate easily to film, the most magical of the arts, the most hospitable to the possibilities of fantasy.

Film Review: "The Purge: Anarchy"

It only happens once a year
In a time when some politicians now kick off their campaigns in gun shops, armed yokels wave the Confederate flag outside the White House, a candidate in the South hosts target practice with President Obama's face for a bull's eye, a movie like "The Purge: Anarchy" must seem a gift from God to members of the NRA. Although a dystopian commentary on contemporary trends, the way we live now, the picture, sadly, may inspire more of those massacres that routinely stain the image of America around the world.

Film Review: "Lucy"

The girl with kaleidoscope eyes
Despite its persistence, the theory that human beings use only 10 percent of their brain's capacity has long since been proven false -- the scientific community's equivalent of an urban legend -- but that hasn't stopped storytellers from exploiting the way the myth has seeped into the public consciousness. The widespread fallacy is an easy storytelling device to make their tales appear to be weighted more heavily on the side of science than fiction.

Film Review: "Venus in Fur"

Arriving late for an open-call audition, an actress, Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner), tries to convince a first-time director and playwright, Thomas (Mathieu Amalric), that she’s perfect for the lead role in his production, a staged version of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 novel, “Venus in Furs” (the author’s name is where the term “masochism” originates, so that should give you a taste of the novel’s themes). Coarse, shallow, and a bit ditzy, Vanda doesn’t seem to fit the elegant vision Thomas has in mind, but when he reluctantly agrees to let her read anyway, she gradually reveals herself to have a significantly better understanding of the material than he does.

Film Review: "A Most Wanted Man"

Spies against spies
When the Berlin Wall came down, the Soviet Union collapsed, and the specter of international communism ceased its decades of haunting the frightened souls of the West, many commentators wondered if the espionage novelist John le Carré would suddenly run out of subjects. But the author, one of the best contemporary English novelists, simply applied his talents to other areas of international treachery and criminality -- global corporate capitalism, CIA destabilization of democratically elected governments, American support of tyrants, and of course, since September 11, 2001, actions of right-wing officials in the so-called war on terror.

Film Review: "Sex Tape"

In the high-concept farce, “Sex Tape,” Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel star as a long-married couple who, in an attempt to reignite the marital fires, record an epic, marathon-length session of lovemaking, only to find out the next morning that their amorous adventures have been accidentally uploaded to “the cloud” and synced to several iPads they've gifted to various friends and family. Their bumbling efforts to get the video back makes up the major conflict of the film, and while it’s not a terrible premise as far as these things go, the execution is only sporadically funny.

Film Review: "Manakamana"

Manakamana is the name of a sacred Hindu temple built high in the mountains of Nepal. While it once took days to reach the destination, in the late 90’s a cable-car system was installed, reducing the journey to a leisurely 10-minute ride.

Film Review: "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"

Monkey see, monkey don’t
The latest chapter in the long "Planet of the Apes" saga takes up the action just a few years into the future promised in the ending of the previous film, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." Some news reports bring the situation up to date, describing the rapid spread of the "simian virus," actually manufactured by government scientists to treat Alzheimer's disease and tested on the primates, who then ran amok through Northern California.

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  • Re: "Calvary"

    • This is one of the best movies I've seen this year. Although reluctant to see…

    • on August 27, 2014
  • Re: Film Review: "Lucy"

    • I highly recommend this movie to anyone that about we have reached an absurd result…

    • on August 13, 2014
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