"In Secret" might have been a much better film had the filmmakers acted as boldly as the characters.
Before I write anything about "The LEGO Movie," a disclaimer: I love LEGOs. My son loves LEGOs. My wife and I would be embarrassed by how many LEGO bricks currently reside in our house if they hadn't facilitated so many family memories.
Hollywood studios have, since their inception, placed their faith in the star system. Put enough A-listers in the cast, and ticket sales will follow.
As far as I can recall, I have never written a spring preview, because the season has always been nothing but a dumping ground for movies the studios knew wouldn't fare well against the competition during any other time of year.
If you are keeping track, and I know you are, I included three documentaries in my top 20 for 2013. Those were not anomalies but rather an indication of what a strong year it was for documentary film. As those films now move to home video, here are some you should track down.
"Life is very long."
Action movies aren't known for sparking debate, but "Lone Survivor" will likely incite disagreement among both veterans and civilians.
Writer/director Spike Jonze is known for living in his own zip code. His films ("Being John Malkovich," "Adaptation," "Where the Wild Things Are") and music videos combine a childlike yet intellectually curious imagination.
The movie year 2013 was a tale of two seasons. Summer was so disappointing numerous people began ringing the death knell for the American movie industry. Steven Spielberg warned Hollywood was heading for "an implosion," and he seemed right, given the alarming number of blockbuster flops and generally awful major studio product.
I recently wrote parts of "American Hustle" seemed like a Martin Scorsese film without the energy. "The Wolf of Wall Street" actually is a Scorsese film without the energy.
"Saving Mr. Banks" is Disney's latest attempt to tug at our wide-eyed hearts, but there isn't enough sugar in the world to make this medicine go down.
So much could be said about "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" it's difficult to know where to begin.
"American Hustle" is now officially one of the buzziest films of the awards season.
"Dallas Buyers Club" features two of the most powerful acting performances of the year and a handful of deeply moving scenes.
When "Thor" thundered into theaters two years ago, the prospects for the franchise looked very different than they do now.
Subversive films are rarely as polite and amusing as "Tim's Vermeer," an amicable little documentary about Tim Jenison's quest to "paint a Vermeer."
It's that time of year again, when for one night Americans remember that a place called Hollywood still exists and bask in the irresistible glow of the most glamorous show on Earth.
Harold Ramis died Monday at the age of 69, and I have to admit I am a bit surprised by the volume and intensity of grief about his death.
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