Reviews Category

Appropriately enough, “The Fifth Estate” certainly packs a bounty of information. Directed by Bill Condon, the film takes its audience through the narrative of Julian Assange and his WikiLeaks platform. Let’s be honest. WikiLeaks may have leaked secrets of the world’s biggest corporations and vital organizations, as well as revealed covert data about major international events, but most people probably don’t realize just what a huge deal it was. The general public has probably heard of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, but they might not know the finite details—in fact, they’dRead More
There are no two ways about it, Steve McQueen’s unrelenting, unflinching and brutal “12 Years a Slave” is a modern masterpiece of filmmaking and the most visceral examination of slavery you are likely to ever experience. Anchored by an Oscar-worthy performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor, the journey of Solomon Northup into slavery and then back out again is not in the slightest easy to sit through, but is the sort of must-see film experience that comes along very rarely. The film begins near the end, with Ejiofor’s always dignified Solomon workingRead More
Before Jack O’Connell was placed on Hollywood’s radar thanks to landing Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie’s “Unbroken,” and before Hollywood courted him for big budget comic book adaptations like Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four” and Matthew Vaughn’s “The Secret Service,” the young British actor shot a small British indie and it is this film which I hope he will be remembered for breaking out in – the ultra-violent, incredibly gritty prison drama “Starred Up,” which had its European premiere at the London Film Festival this past week. “Starred Up” is based onRead More
Before Jack Kerouac would go on his American road trip and write his seminal work “On The Road”, and before famed poet Allen Ginsberg became synonymous for the best minds of a generation lost, the men who were to create a movement still talked about 60 years later had a beginning at Columbia University in 1943. That story is finally being told on film, in John Krokidas’ outstanding directorial debut “Kill Your Darlings”, playing as part of the 2013 London Film Festival. “Kill Your Darlings” begins at the end. LucienRead More
What can’t Joseph Gordon-Levitt do? Already with decades of acting experience and an innovative DIY collaborative production company under his belt at the ripe old age of 32, now he steps behind the camera to bring us “Don Jon,” a vulgar, funny, touching, sensitive coming of age tale that he wrote, directed and starred in. Despite some first-time director stumbles, it’s a confident and impressive first feature, and undoubtedly – hopefully – the first of many. In his testosterone-fueled feature directorial debut, Gordon-Levitt goes all Jersey Shore, with the accent,Read More
Make room, Oscar season 2013, for newcomer Barkhad Abdi, who is earning raves from critics seeing Somali pirate thriller “Captain Phillips” for the first time. We all remember this true life standoff that happened in 2009. Tom Hanks plays Cpatain Richard Phillips in the film, which chronicles how the captain and his crew of the cargo ship MV Maersk Alabama were taken hostage by four pirates. The pirates ultimately absconded with the Captain in a lifeboat, leaving the other crew members unharmed, and a shootout with the US Navy ensued.Read More
If we were judging his potential for movie stardom and this were one of those Cheez-It commercials, Liam Hemsworth would get a checkmark next to the Not Ready box for his first real leading man test in Robert Luketic’s espionage thriller “Paranoia.” In other words, he’s not completely hopeless, but this one isn’t going to propel him up to his brother’s more bankable level. To be fair, it’s hardly his fault alone that the movie falls so flat, though his rather blank performance doesn’t help things along. On the otherRead More
For decades reaching back to “American Pie” and beyond, guys matter-of-factly pursuing sex has been done to death on the big screen. These bawdy, often gross-out comedies have their target audience firmly planted in the young, male demographic, so it’s refreshing that writer-director Maggie Carey has managed to make “The To-Do List”, loosely based on her own youthful experiences, female-centric and still broadly appealing. There are plenty of laughs to be had here, if “There’s Something About Mary” and “Superbad” are your sort of thing, but “The To-Do List” isRead More
“The Way, Way Back” caused quite a stir at the Sundance Film Festival, where it premiered this past January, and probably for good reason, based on its pedigree. Its directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash – though making their debuts – had just won Oscars for writing “The Descendants.” It’s got a cast that includes Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Toni Colette and Allison Janney, and it features a coming of age tale that’s ripe for the indie comedy treatment. And yet, unfortunately, all the right ingredients that went into thisRead More
When you set out to tell a story about characters who are all recognized as very talented writers, the challenge is, of course, that your own writing must cross the very high threshold that is set in their fictional world. It’s an issue that is met with mixed results in Josh Boone’s directorial feature, “Stuck in Love” (previously, the much better and more appropriately titled “Writers”), which he also wrote. The story Boone sets out to tell for his first movie is a pretty simple one about love. A formerRead More