"The Muppets" became a surprise hit in 2011 and rescued America's favorite puppet franchise from the brink of obscurity.
"Divergent" will inevitably be compared to the Hunger Games franchise, thanks to its totalitarian themes and teenage girl protagonist played by a talented, emerging star (Shailene Woodley).
No one other than Wes Anderson could have made "The Grand Budapest Hotel."
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.
With the Academy Awards only four days away, it seemed an appropriate time to revisit the Oscars of years past.
"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.
The funniest unintentional laugh in "Labor Day" is the way adaptor / director Jason Reitman treats this eye-rolling, melodramatic romance novel as if he's got his hands on the works of Dostoevsky or Tolstoy.
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."
"Lawrence of Arabia" is one of those movies I have always heard about but never took the time to watch. At almost 3½ hours long, I needed more than an idle recommendation from a friend or family member before I could commit to it.
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.
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.
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