When it comes to talking about Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's "Inherent Vice," the question is whether to hail the director for attempting the impossible or chide him for failing to accomplish the improbable.
Kanye West never cut a duet with Orson Welles. But younger people should know him, and Chuck Workman's fine, brisk and thoroughly entertaining overview of Orson, "Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles," easily makes the case why.
Biopics about American war heroes are a Hollywood tradition going all the way back to Gary Cooper starring as the legendary World War I sharpshooter "Sergeant York" and World War II's highly decorated Audie Murphy playing himself in "To Hell and Back."
Earnest and often inspiring, "Selma" is a handsomely mounted "Eyes on the Prize" account of the defining protests of the civil rights movement. Elegantly produced and high-minded, it's only sins are overreaching ambition and a tendency to rub the roughest edges off the principals.
This is one Disney film that's definitely not a light fairy tale.
With the work week shortened by one day for two consecutive weeks, many residents may find time to hit the local cinema to see movies gearing up for Oscar nods or blockbuster status.
To what do we owe the second coming of the biblical epic?
Writer-director Chris Rock is not Andre Allen, the stand-up comedian turned movie star lead of "Top Five." But, it's almost impossible to watch his latest effort, a cutting comedy about showbiz, creativity and ambition, and not wonder what material Rock took from his own life. While that's a fun and compelling draw, thankfully, it's only part of the triumph of the film.
LOS ANGELES - All is not well in Panem. At the conclusion of "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," Katniss' (Jennifer Lawrence) force-field shattering arrow left the society in turmoil. The desperate act was perceived as subversion, inciting populist uprisings and devastating counter attacks by the governing elite.
Three of the best actors in the business put on a master class in mystery thriller in "Before I Go to Sleep," a lean, twisty-turning tale in the "Memento" style.
One year ago, I wrote my first old film movie review on "The Night of the Living Dead." The movie is an all-time classic that ponders human frailty, fear and uncertainty with a hefty dose of horror and violence.
Last week, I profiled some of the higher-profile movies set to hit theaters in the next few months, but that's only part of the story.
The 2014 domestic box office is down 6 percent from where it was this time last year, by about half a billion dollars. Sure, the foreign box office is picking up some of the slack, but it still raises the stakes very high for Hollywood this fall season.
"Selma" wasn't the only film about race to get short shrift from Oscar voters this past year. "Black or White" is a frank, touching and very well-acted melodrama about child custody and cultural perceptions of "blackness" and "the race card," and could have earned Octavia Spencer and Kevin Costner fresh Oscar nominations.
We have forgotten how subtle Al Pacino could be, pre "Hoo Hah!" Something about his Oscar winning turn in "Scent of a Woman" unleashed the beast, a performer as big, broad and puffed up as that mountain of hair he keeps teased about his head.
In June of 1964, three civil rights workers, two white and one black, went missing in Mississippi. Later found murdered and buried in an earthen dam, the case captured national attention and sparked a massive FBI investigation.
"The Wedding Ringer" is "Wedding Crashers Redux," a "Hangover Lite" that softens manic funnyman Kevin Hart's persona into someone almost as funny, but more sentimental than abrasive. That helps "Ringer" work as a bromantic comedy that feels like a romantic comedy.
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