Film

Broken City

Broken City

 Mark Wahlberg plays a hardened NYC cop (is there any other kind?), who turns private detective after an on-duty controversy. He’s hired by the city’s sketchy mayor (Russell Crowe) to conduct a personal investigation. This results in the inevitable paranoid political complications. While nothing here is particularly original or surprising, it’s well crafted and never drags or los... »

Barbara

Barbara

European in so many ways. »

Mama

Mama

For 5 years, 2 little girls are raised in the woods by a ghostly specter. When they’re returned to civilization, they move in with their uncle (Nikolaj Coster Waldau) and his girlfriend (Jessica Chastain). Of course, their “mama” comes with them. This is a relatively well-told ghost story with a creepy atmosphere, some nice surprises and a few good scares. Since there’s onl... »

Jack the Giant Slayer

Jack the Giant Slayer

Yet another Hollywoodization of a classic tale. The titular character gets his beans and a princess to rescue from the land of giants. It gets off to a slow start and stays that way. The action is very PG, which means noisy and dull. Although it’s not terrible, there’s nothing about this movie shows much imagination and the giants are staggeringly fake. A giant yawn. Movie website &nbs... »

Phantom

Phantom

Ed Harris stars as a washed-up Russian submarine captain (is there any other kind in movies?). His final mission includes a KBG agent (David Duchovny) with diabolical plans. None of it matters because this is one of the slowest, most talky war movies ever. Since it takes place in the small confines of the sub, tension should be built-in, but the only drama is provided by obnoxious ominous music an... »

John Dies at the End

John Dies at the End

Cross “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” with “Men in Black” and you have a rough idea of what to expect. Two slackers stumble upon a “sauce” that confers paranormal powers, but also invades the body with alien parasites. There’s plenty of left field humor (although not often funny) and some moderately cool special EFX. The story starts out with ... »

Monk

Monk

In the 17th century Spain, a baby is abandoned on the steps of a monastery and grows up a devoted priest and inspirational speaker (!)…until a mysterious visitor changes everything. With menacing music, portentous direction and slow pacing, this dark French tale (yes, subtitles) ominously promises dread and shock. Promises. Promises. While we kept getting led on, expecting the worst, the path is b... »

Dead Man Down

Dead Man Down

    You know when a movie trailer looks one way, but the movie is a whole different thing? Bingo! Colin Farrell broods as he does so well, as a man who’s plotting revenge on the gangsters who killed his wife and daughter. To drag down the plot, we suffer thru an awkward relationship with a damaged woman (Noomi Rapace). While there are three short spurts of action, there’s mor... »

Oz the Great & Powerful

Oz the Great & Powerful

This prequel explains the Wizard’s backstory. After an enchanting opening title sequence, a scruffy traveling magician (James Franco, who’s kinda bland) gets blown into a fantastic world of magic and talky witches. Like the Wizard, I wasn’t sure where it was headed. The visual style and EFX are either very stylized or very cheesy. There are some truly magical moments, while other... »

Koch

Koch

This is a doc about Ed Koch, a strong-willed, outspoken mayor of New York City. In addition to excerpts from interviews with him and his contemporaries, there’s lots of historical footage (most of which is in distractingly bad blown-up video). The film seems to spend more time on his major controversies than on his accomplishments and there’s nothing inventive about the way it’s ... »

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