|K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)|
|Kids are All Right, The (2010) |
July 16, 2010
The Kids Are All Right is a sudsy soap opera. It's a concoction of lilac water and spermatozoa -- with lots of wine and whine.
The Kids Are All Right is the story of a contemporary lesbian family. When the two children -- ... more
|Kill the Messenger (2014) |
October 5, 2014
Kill the Messenger redeems the image of embattled investigative reporter Gary Webb.
The redemption primarily is due to the strong and sensitive performance of Jeremy Renner as the intrepid, but vulnerable reporter.
Renner ma ... more
|Kill Your Darlings (2013) |
November 24, 2013
Kill Your Darlings is more about the makers of the Bleat Generation than the Beat Generation.
Set in 1944, the movie focuses on three young, burgeoning writers - Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and ... more
|Killer Inside Me, The (2010) |
June 25, 2010
When a screenplay of a movie does not serve its literary source well, it's a major problem.
When a movie is directed tentatively, it's a major problem. When a movie is miscast, it's a major problem.
The Killer Inside ... more
|King of Kings (1961)|
|King of Marvin Gardens, The (1972)|
|King's Speech, The (2010)|
|Kingdom, The (2007) |
June 22, 2009
The box office success of The Hangover puts into interesting context another movie about a bachelor party that goes wrong in Las Vegas. The other brutal bachelor blast is 1998's Very Bad Things.
The Hangover is an ... more
|Kite Runner, The (2007)|
|Kites (2010) |
May 29, 2010
Kites is an aromatic, cinematic Indian mutton stew -- if that sounds different from usual movie fare, it is.
It's a Bollywood mixture of romance, violence, action, music, and differing cultures and languages. Sometimes it's ... more
|Knight and Day (2010) |
June 27, 2010
Knight and Day is a hoot.
It's a doozy. It's Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote teamed up. By the end, Wile E. has become wily Wonder Woman.
If you think Road Runner cartoons are silly, you probably won't like Kni ... more
|Knocked Up (2007) |
June 14, 2007
Knocked Up is like a Hallmark Greeting Card with crude verse.
Knocked Up is an uneasy mix of ethnic humor, slacker humor, and human drama -- some is amusing, some is indulgent, and some is strained.
It has been immensely well-received ... more
|L.A. Confidential (1997)|
|La Camioneta (2013) |
August 11, 2013
La Camioneta is an earnest film about earnest folk.
Its major assets are the people of Guatemala and the symbolism of a bus. The problem that documentarian Mark Kendall faces is that he tries to drive down different roads at the sam ... more
|La dolce vita (1960)|
|La Femme Nikita (1990)|
|La Vie en Rose (2007)|
|Lady in the Box (2001) |
May 17, 2001
Lady in the Box debuted at CineVegas last December, then became a hit on the festival circuit
When a film has its world premiere in Las Vegas, what then happens to it?
If the film is the independent Lady in the Box, it goes from Las ... more
|Ladykillers, The (2004)|
|Larry Crowne (2011)|
|Last Chance Harvey (2008) |
January 29, 2009
Last Chance Harvey is an easygoing trip abroad.
It features two relaxed pros playing acting tennis -- hitting graceful lobs to each other, and then artful returns.
The two acting aces are Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, wh ... more
|Last Detail, The (1973)|
|Last Hurrah, The (1958)|
|Last King of Scotland, The (2006)|
|Last Picture Show, The (1971)|
|Last Station, The (2009) |
February 13, 2010
The Last Station is a tale of venerable conflict, deception, and love.
It's an age-old, old age power struggle. But it's not just in the room down the hall of the retirement home; it's in Mother Russia.
Based on ... more
|Last Temptation of Christ, The (1988)|
|Last Vegas (2013) |
November 6, 2013
Last Vegas is more old coots than hoots. Fortunately, it has a saving grace.
With a quartet of aging male acting pros - Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline - is a female that saves the day and th ... more
|Laurel Canyon (2002)|
|Lawless (2012) |
August 28, 2012
Where has the western gone?
It's gone to Virginia.
Lawless is about bootleggers during Prohibition in the early 1930s, but it has all the staples of a western. Instead of the five Earp brothers, Lawless is about t ... more
|Lawrence of Arabia (1962)|
|Layer Cake (2004)|
|Le Diner de Cons (1998)|
|League of Their Own, A (1992)|
|Left Handed Gun, The (1958)|
|Leon the Professional (1994)|
|Les Misérables (2012)|
|Letters from Iwo Jima (2007)|
|Life Itself (2014) |
July 11, 2014
Life Itself is a profile in criticism. It's a profile in courage. And it's a profile in ego.
Movie reviewer Roger Ebert plays the lead role of the courageous, driven egotist in the documentary of his own life [now on VOD]. ... more
|Life of Pi (2012)|
|Life, Above All (2010) |
September 9, 2011
Life, Above All is 100 minutes of grief and courage.
We share an arduous trek with 12-year old Chanda (Khomotso Manyaka) in rural South Africa, as she tries to fathom fatal illness around her. She has multiple, heavy burdens on her ... more
|Light of Day (1987)|
|Lilo and Stitch (2002)|
|Lincoln Lawyer, The (2011)|
|Lion King, The (1994)|
|Lions for Lambs (2007)|
|Little Miss Sunshine (2006)|
|Live Free or Die Hard (2007) |
July 13, 2007
Live Free or Die Hard is an over-the-top, fun rampage.
Moviegoers often have to suspend their disbelief to relate to a movie. They have to accept the unbelievable, even, at times, the ridiculous, to enjoy themselves. But the movie has to e ... more
|Lone Ranger, The (2013) |
July 3, 2013
When I was a small boy, I thought The Lone Ranger was The Long Ranger.
Little did I know how prescient I was.
In 2013 The Lone Ranger is long. Very, very long. And clumsy. And tacky. Director Gore Verbinski shows how tacky a ... more
|Lone Survivor (2013) |
January 8, 2014
In an age in which everyone who wears a uniform is called a "hero," it may be jarring to see a movie that is based on an actual heroic event. Lone Survivor is such a movie.
Of course, the difficulty in telling a "true ... more
|Long Goodbye, The (1973)|
|Long Green Line, The (2008) |
December 10, 2012
The Long Green Line is a high-spirited celebration of life on a high school cross country team in Illinois.
It's not your average cross country team. It's the York Dukes in Elmhurst, Illinois, who had won 24 state titles, an ... more
|Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977)|
|Lookout, The (2007)|
|Looper (2012) |
September 25, 2012
Looper is stylish mayhem.
It careens along the edge of silliness. It stalls and starts and spins out. It's a spastic attack on its audience's suspension of disbelief.
Who knew the future could contain so much hokum? ... more
|Loren Cass (2006)|
|Lost in Translation (2003)|
|Lost Weekend, The (1945)|
|Love Crime (2011) |
October 9, 2011
Love Crime is a slick French cinema croissant filled with sweet and sour revenge.
Part way through, you wonder what is going on. You simply aren't sure where it's going.
It all falls into place at the end -- perhaps ... more
|Lovely Bones, The (2009)|
|Lucky You (2007) |
May 10, 2007
I don't think I believed the movie Lucky You, but I sort of enjoyed it.
A caveat: I enjoy watching poker on ESPN. If you don't, this movie will bore you.
Set in Las Vegas, Lucky You is a relationship movie, but that damned poker keeps gett ... more
|Lucy (2014) |
July 29, 2014
Lucy takes us on giddy flights of fancy.
It's a taut, wild 89 minutes. Lucy is a lark. And a rhino, a chimp, and a star-computer.
In Taiwan, Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) becomes a drug mule, the package breaks inside ... more
|Magic in the Moonlight (2014) |
July 24, 2014
Magic in the Moonlight is a trifle. But it's a Woody Allen trifle, which means it twinkles.
It should please its target audience, as well as those looking for easy escapism.
In Magic in the Moonlight, Woody takes ... more
|Magnificent Ambersons, The (1942)|
|Malena (2001) |
February 1, 2001
Giuseppe Tornatore's Malena lacks emotional resonance
For those of us who love Cinema Paradiso, the news that its Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore and his musical soulmate Ennio Morricone were getting back together to do another ... more
|Maltese Falcon, The (1941)|
|Mamma Mia! (2008)|
|Man of Steel (2013) |
June 15, 2013
Man of Steel is clutter and clatter. It's racket and rumpus.
It soars, but it also flounders.
The main clutterer is writer David S. Goyer [Christopher Nolan also contributed to the story.] The clatterer is director Zack ... more
|Man on Fire (2004)|
|Man on the Moon (1999)|
|Man on Wire (2008)|
|Man Who Fell to Earth, The (1976)|
|Manchurian Candidate, The (1962)|
|Manhattan Melodrama (1934)|
|March of the Penguins (2005)|
|Margin Call (2011) |
October 24, 2011
Margin Call puts human faces behind the masks of Big Business.
Although one character says, "This is not a prison" -- in many ways the business monoliths on Wall Street can be related to prisons.
They both have harsh ... more
|Master, The (2012) |
September 26, 2012
Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master baits the audience.
One notable reviewer, in a major magazine, ended his rave: "He [Anderson] clarifies nothing, but leaves us brooding on our own confusion."
WTF ... more
|Match Point (2005)|
|McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971)|
|Mean Streets (1973)|
|Mechanic, The (1972)|
|Medora (2013) |
April 8, 2014
Medora is a poignant gasp at the devastation of small town America.
The sometimes-fascinating documentary - ably shot by cinematographer Rachael Counce - is a bleakly elegiac glance at a disappearing rural Indiana small town ... more
|Melvin and Howard (1980)|
|Men in Black 3 (2012) |
June 2, 2012
1968 was the year both Will Smith and Josh Brolin were born.
Now Smith and Brolin get together on screen for about an hour in Men in Black 3 - set when? 1969.
It's a serendipitous uniting. Smith again plays Agent ... more
|Men Who Stare at Goats, The (2009)|
|Mesrine: Killer Instinct (2008)|
|Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 (2010) |
October 27, 2010
The late Swedish author Stieg Larsson is the literary darling of 2010. His Millennium trilogy -- three novels published posthumously -- has caused an international sensation. I admit that I am among the smitten.
Larsson's novels are en ... more
|Messenger, The (2009)|
|Miami Vice (2006)|
|Michael Clayton (2007)|
|Micmacs (2010) |
July 4, 2010
Micmacs is a Gallic mishmash.
It's a sloppy souffle that falls more than it rises. It's airless whimsy.
Micmacs is the sporadic story of Bazil (Dany Boon), whose father was killed by a landmine in north Africa. Bazil ... more
|Midnight Cowboy (1969)|
|Midnight in Paris (2011)|
|Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, A (1982)|
|Mighty Macs, The (2011)|
|Million Dollar Arm (2014) |
May 19, 2014
Million Dollar Arm could be subtitled The Best Exotic Marigold Pitching Mound.
It's a genial - in this case, Disneyfied - human interest tale that is loosely based on an actual occurrence.
Facts are not a ... more
|Million Dollar Baby (2005) |
|Million Ways to Die in the West, A (2014) |
May 31, 2014
A Million Ways to Die in the West is a clumsy, overwrought comedy. It's raucously dumb.
It could be subtitled How the Wit Was Lost.
It doesn't push the envelope - it crams it full of urine and excrement an ... more
|Mini, The (2007) |
July 15, 2010
When a critic reviews an independent movie, he realizes it has the creator's heart and soul in it. He may cut it some slack.
Ron Beck wrote and directed the indie The Mini on a budget of $25,000. It has some stylistic grace, and ... more
|Minority Report (2002)|
|Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008) |
March 27, 2008
People often complain, "they don't make movies like they used to." But on occasion a film is made for that audience.
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is such a film. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is a well-acted comedy with en ... more
|Miss Potter (2006)|
|Mission Impossible II (2000)|
|Mission, The (1986)|
|Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011) |
December 18, 2011
Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol was was made for IMAX. Be sure to see it on the huge screen.
It's MI - Maximum. It blows up the Mission Impossible Force's stature. It also blows up part of of the Kremlin. As well as reason and l ... more
|Mississippi Burning (1988)|
|Missouri Breaks, The (1976)|
|Moneyball (2011) |
September 26, 2011
Moneyball is an impelling triple. It's smart, agile, and effective.
But it's anti-climactic, as though the runner is stranded on third base.
Moneyball is the story of Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), the general manag ... more
|Monitor, The (2012) |
July 28, 2012
The Monitor [originally titled Babycall] is a morose sturdy of morose behavior with an actress giving a morose performance. It's all pretty morose.
The Monitor is the story of Anna (Noomi Rapace) who has come to Os ... more
|Monkeybone (2001) |
March 1, 2001
The already flopping Monkeybone deserves its fate
The film Monkeybone is a raucous mess. Director Henry Selick mixes animation and live action to the noisy, clumsy detriment of both.
It's the strident story of cartoonist Stu Miley ( ... more
|Monsieur Lazhar (2012) |
July 5, 2012
Maybe the best thing about Monsieur Lazhar is that the school children in it really seem to care about education.
Of course, it's in Canada.
Set in a middle school in Montreal, the French-language Canadian film is the st ... more
|Monuments Men, The (2014) |
February 9, 2014
George Clooney is a man of many talents. He's an engaging movie star.
But at times his glibness takes over. His geniality gets in the way.
The Monuments Men is a project that should make a serious - if not profound & ... more
|Moon is Blue, The (1953)|
|Most Wanted Man, A (2014) |
July 23, 2014
A Most Wanted Man is The Spy Who Came in from the Tepid.
For much of its length, the adaptation by Aussie screenwriter Andrew Bovell, of a John le Carre novel, is espionage ennui.
Le Carre's writing has spirit, depth, an ... more
|Motherland (2009) |
July 17, 2009
I'm afraid criticizing a movie such as Motherland is like booing at a funeral.
It's almost out of place to have doubts about a movie that so earnestly wants to offer healing. Almost.
I have a soft spot for an endeavo ... more
|Motorcycle Diaries (2004)|
|Muppets, The (2011) |
December 26, 2011
The "Rainbow Connection" is reconnected in 2011. It's a dazzling reunion.
The Muppets is a joyful mix of the nostalgic past and a vibrant present. It tops the list of family movies for the holidays.
If you're ... more
|Must Read After My Death (2009) |
February 5, 2009
Playwright Luigi Pirandello once wrote Six Characters in Search of an Author.
Filmmaker Morgan Dews has concocted a movie that could be called Six Family Members in Search of a Way Out.
Dews's film is titled Mu ... more
|My Best Friend's Wedding (1997)|
|My Week with Marilyn (2011)|
|Mysterious Skin (2004)|
|Mystic River (2003)|
|Nanny McPhee (2005)|
|National Treasure (2004)|
|National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)|
|Natural, The (1984)|
|Nebraska (2013) |
December 11, 2013
Nebraska is The Last Picture Show (1971) without the picture show.
Photographed in black and white, it's mostly set in fictional Hawthorne, Nebraska, which lacks even tumbleweeds. I suppose the bleak town has seen better ... more
|Neil Young Journeys (2012)|
|New World, The (2005)|
|Night Listener, The (2006)|
|Night of the Hunter (1955)|
|No Country for Old Men (2007)|
|No Way Out (1987)|
|Non-Stop (2014) |
March 1, 2014
Non-Stop is Mistakes on a Plane.
It's not Taken: it's Mistaken.
If you're satisfied to see Liam Neeson, playing Atlas of the air, trying to carry a movie on his wide shoulders, you should enj ... more
|North by Northwest (1959)|
|Not Fade Away (2012) |
December 26, 2012
Not Fade Away is one of those films that really depend on what you bring to it.
It's a personal experience - both for the writer/director David Chase and maybe for scattered audience members. It may leave the average audienc ... more
|Nowhere Boy (2009)|
|Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 (2014) |
March 29, 2014
Early in Nymphomaniac: Volume 1, Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard) talks about fly fishing. Except this fly has a zipper. And another one. And another one.
Seligman discovers Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) one night, bloody and beaten, lying ... more
|Oblivion (2013) |
April 23, 2013
Scientologists, forget wives.
Get Tom Cruise some actresses. Please.
Cruise's forte, as an actor, is his solid credibility. But in Oblivion he has more chemistry with drones than with his two love interests.
They ... more
|Of Gods and Men (2010)|
|Once in a Lifetime (2006)|
|Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)|
|One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)|
|Ordinary People (1980)|
|Outlaw Josey Wales, The (1976)|
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