The Truman Show
review: My pick for Jim Carrey's best movie, his first big stab at being dramatic while retaining his crucial whimsical appeal in a story that takes an immersive look at the human condition.
American History X
review: Edward Norton's best movie is a deep look at race relations, at their worst, and how to make things better. Continually relevant, alas.
The Mask of Zorro
review: A perfect escapist adventure with a perfect cast.
What Dreams May Come
review: A truly awe-inspiring journey into the afterlife with Robin Williams.
Out of Sight
review: George Clooney's effortless cool in its best spotlight.
Shakespeare in Love
review: Very nearly worthy of the Bard himself.
Star Trek: Insurrection
review: A movie that rises above its shortcomings with some fascinating insights into franchise lore.
There's Something About Mary
review: This would be perfect, except for the fact that it kind of ages.
review: An excellent sendup of stuffy British spy stories.
review: A great cast makes up for the fact that the reason Samuel L. Jackson is besieged takes a backseat to thrill of watching him get out of it.
review: Robin Williams almost seems lost trying to inhabit a real person, but it's still an inspiring story.
Lethal Weapon 4
review: From my experience with this franchise, it's my favorite entry, with Mel Gibson obviously having the time of his life.
review: Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker are a classic combination.
Saving Private Ryan
review: Sprawling but mesmerizing look at American soldiers in WWII Europe.
Meet Joe Black
review: Hugely underrated Brad Pitt drama that explores the ramifications of death.
review: My personal favorite Crazy Nicholas Cage Movie.
review: Thanks to my sister, this sort of became my favorite '90s Disney animated flick.
review: A first taste of Cate Blanchett at epic scale.
review: Kenneth Branagh as Woody Allen is a natural fit.
The Thin Red Line
review: Terrence Malick's poetic meditation of WWII is a brooding revelation.
Lost in Space
review: Fun family stab at sci-fi storytelling.
The Odd Couple II
review: The last Lemmon/Matthieu goes for broke with extremely broad strokes but is still well worth watching.
The Big Lebowski
review: The Dude abides, but he also kind of meanders through a madcap landscape.
review: It was probably a mistake to recalibrate this Clinton satire into Clinton hero worship.
review: M. Night Shyamalan's first movie plays with kid gloves pretty literally.
review: The contrast between the past and present is pretty on-the-nose but looks really pretty.
Blues Brothers 2000
review: Hey, if it's just an excuse to pump out some extra great blues tunes, I think it was worth it.
review: Maybe doesn't break any new ground in the gambling genre, but the cast makes up for it.
review: An excellent look at the birth of Pakistan, but otherwise doesn't really distinguish itself.
review: A serviceable Stephen King adaptation, but kind of doesn't live up to the standards of his dramas.
review: enjoyable for what it is, but it's still what it is.
Return to Paradise
review: A somewhat overwrought attempt to introduce a new generation of serious actors.
review: In hindsight this looks like it wanted to recapture the magic of the Mission: Impossible reboot from two years earlier, but couldn't.
A Night at the Roxbury
review: Idiot fun, but not nearly to the standards of Will Ferrell's later film career.
review: If Jim Carrey had served as anything but narrator, this could have been something other than melodrama.
The Big Hit
review: Harmless action fun.
A Bug's Life
review: To my mind, instantly revealed the extent to the Pixar formula.
review: To my mind, instantly revealed the extent of Adam Sandler's ability to create distinctive character personas.
Friday, December 30, 2016
Thursday, December 29, 2016
This look at the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the perspective of a Roman Tribune (Joseph Fiennes) was a pretty fascinating experience up until, actually, we spend half the movie revisiting biblical material. Tom Felton was pretty good in this.
Neatly irreverent take on superheroes (if you know the character, this is exactly what you should've expected) but wobbles into irrelevance by following the typical Marvel model of building its story around a weak villain.
BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (*****)
I think critics, and Marvel fans, had such a huge problem with this because it dared take superhero moviemaking seriously, and completely nailed it. Pretty certain this will be a touchstone of the genre in years to come.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (****)
Ironically, the best parts of this movie really have nothing to do with Steve Rogers but rather the growing cast of Avengers from throughout the franchise, the second time that's happened in this sub-series.
X-MEN: APOCALYPSE (****)
The villain of the piece is almost beside the point, but everything that happens around him is pretty brilliant, a nice bowtie to a six-film saga.
THE LOBSTER (*****)
Brilliant satire of romance and alienation, instantly becomes one of my favorite Colin Farrell movies.
Duncan Jones succeeds in breathing life into this fantasy landscape and its intricate views of good and evil; the only thing it lacks is a compelling lead actor.
INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE (****)
Plenty worth the wait and nicely builds on the mythology, but lacks the charisma of Will Smith that helped make the first one so memorable.
FREE STATE OF JONES (*****)
Fascinating little-known element of the American Civil War brought back to life.
STAR TREK BEYOND (*****)
The most ambitious of the reboot films to date with an ending that underscores the whole thing nicely.
SUICIDE SQUAD (****)
This sendup of the Marvel moviemaking method blows it out of the water with pizzazz to spare as well as a more genuine feeling for what being an outcast means.
Oliver Stone's latest is a wakeup call for a wakeup call.
MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (**)
Surprisingly by-the-numbers movie with too many good actors used inadequately.
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM (****)
A pretty fantastic return to the world of Harry Potter.
My vote for the best movie of the year, with an astonishing vision and a grounding lead performance from the always-reliable Amy Adams.
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (*)
The way most fans view the prequels is how I viewed this, as quite simply atrocious.
JANE GOT A GUN (****)
This mini-reunion of Star Wars prequels actors was a fine addition to the Western genre.
MIDNIGHT SPECIAL (****)
Compelling vision from the always interesting Jeff Nichols.
Oddly feels like most of the actors thought they were going to be animated.
HELL OR HIGH WATER (****)
Gritty meditation on outlaws of the 21st century.