Review: Coraline

I’d heard from a couple of friends how wonderful the film Coraline is, but it took me a few months before I finally sat down and screened this movie. In a word: wow! I’m a fan of just about every type of film making, from the interpolated rotoscoping of the weird A Scanner Darkly to the stop-motion of Wallace and Gromit to the beautiful, distinctive animation of Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away to the almost completely…Read More

Review: The Hurt Locker

I have no delusions about warfare, ancient or modern. Films often portray it as a heroic battlefield, offer up images of great valor and make it seem a fun place for camaraderie and adventure. I haven’t been in an active war zone, thank goodness, but I have friends who’ve served, and I’m quite clear that it’s dirty, overwhelming and terrifying. I get that. Nonetheless, I enjoy war films but always measure them against the dual…Read More

Giveaway: Cool Insider Sci-Fi Film T-Shirt!

I’ve been a fan of science fiction films since I first started watching movies, and have always been particularly amused by the names of companies and organizations within these films. If you’re trying to create an evil corporation or malevolent computer or whatever, do you just pick something seemingly random like the HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey, or should there be more back story? For me, the bonus film for fun and entertaining…Read More

Review: Food, Inc.

Do you pay attention to the food you eat and are you aware of the path it takes from the field or animal to your plate?  If you don’t, you might be surprised at the consequences of large scale factory farming and how it’s changed what we eat and adversely impacted the quality and purity of our meals. Food, Inc. is a very political documentary with an axe to grind, a clear and overt bias…Read More

Review: Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

I’m a father of three pre-teen children, but when I go to see children’s fare in the movie theater, I generally see it by myself. There are too many movies that are marketed as children’s fare, but that I feel contains themes, language or situations that are inappropriate for my own children (like Land of the Lost, see my review for more details).  I am careful not to judge other parents for exposing their children to material I feel…Read More

Review: Garbage Warrior

[This is a guest review written by Jonathan Kraft] Running a web site about going green, people often recommend movies and products to me which they think I should check out.  Thus, I was led to check out a web site about Michael Reynolds and the film Garbage Warrior.   Looking at the web site, I thought that I would surely learn from this movie, so I added it to my Netflix queue.   I…Read More

Review: The Andromeda Strain

Almost from the very dawn of cinema, movies have been wrestling with the question of what life from other planets might be like. Go back to 1902 and one of the very first films made — Le Voyage dans la Lune, by George Melies — portrays inhabitants of the moon, Selenites, as evil, dangerous creatures, all in its short 14 minutes running time.   The entire alien invasion theme was driven to new heights when our fear…Read More

Review: Public Enemies

Biopics are an unusual challenge for a filmmaker because the storyline is already set, whether it makes sense and whether we can understand the motivations of the characters or not. As I watched the lush, but violent Public Enemies, I kept thinking that the reason there was no story, no backstory on the characters, and no depth to the film was just this reason: we were being presented with the sequence of events as they…Read More

Review: Rear Window

There are many films that have been written about Hollywood, but none have done a better job of exploring the relationship between the film viewer and the film than the absolutely brilliant 1954 Rear Window. The story has James Stewart (playing L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies) as a photo-journalist with his entire left leg in a cast, toe to hip, stuck for two months in his Greenwich Village apartment during a hot summer. Day by day he sits,…Read More

Review: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Michael Bay is one of those film directors that people seem to either love or hate. I know of many film aficionados who cringe when they hear that Bay is involved in a project. His signature style is certainly big, loud, flashy, with big, big special effects and, too often, a weak or completely incoherent story line. My relationship with Michael Bay is a bit more complex because I really do like some of his…Read More

Mini-Review: Sunset Boulevard

What the heck?  What am I doing reviewing a film that was released before I was born, and, probably, before you were born?  Sunset Boulevard was released in 1950 and, directed by the great Billy Wilder, ranks as one of the very best films made, particularly if you’re interested in the self-referentialism of films about the movie industry like I am. Sunset Boulevard is all about lost dreams, about the inevitable march of progress and…Read More

Review: The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

Whenever I review a remake I like to start out saying whether or not I liked the original and in this case, I definitely need to disclose that I loved the original 1974 version of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, with Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw as the protagonist and antagonist, respectively. It ranks as one of the best crime dramas of the mid-70s, with a story line that surprises the viewer more…Read More

Mini-Review: Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens)

Every so often I’ll be writing a 2-3 sentence mini-review of a favorite old film, hopefully to entice you, dear reader, into watching it and leaving your own comments on the movie. I’ll try to use this to explain why I like each of the films whose one sheets are in the background graphic of this site too. If you like films about cons like The Italian Job (either the recent remake or the wry…Read More

Review: The Hangover

This is a guest review from my friend Steve Oatney. Generally, I run guest reviews of movies when the critic has a strongly divergent opinion to my own or when it’s a movie that I just know I’m not going to see (like a scary horror film or chick flick). Anyway, here we go! Having recently seen The Hangover, I feel I must start by telling you, I LOVE TO LAUGH! Having said that, The Hangover succeeded in…Read More

Review: Up

There is no greater compliment that I can pay modern animated fare than to say that the best of them are now most properly viewed as films, not as animated films. 25 years ago we talked about “feature-length animation” but in the last few years we’ve seen such landmark achievements as Wall-E and Spirited Away, films that let us stop looking at how they’ve achieved the visuals, stop thinking about how much work it was,…Read More

Review: Land of the Lost

I didn’t like Land of the Lost. I’m not a big Will Ferrell fan overall, but I had high hopes for this film anyway because  the original TV series upon which it’s based was such a fun, innocent adventure show.  I should have known better. The fundamental problem with Land of the Lost is that it couldn’t decide whether it was going to be a nice G-rated family film (which was certainly the premise of…Read More

Review: The Brothers Bloom

I’m not sure if I am going to have my film reviewers membership card yanked for saying this, but The Brothers Bloom was one of the most delightful, entertaining films I have seen so far this year. That’s right, no complaints, no “but…”, just a straight out positive review of a film that works beautifully on so many levels. The first of these levels is that in a bold move the distribution company released a…Read More

Screen Size Does Matter with IMAX Movies!

I have to start by saying that I’ve seen a number of films shown in the IMAX format, but have never seen a commercial feature film in this format. Since the screen is so much bigger than a traditional movie screen, I find it a bit fatiguing to watch IMAX movies, so the idea of watching one for two hours or more is a bit daunting. Nonetheless, I am a definite fan of the format…Read More

My Favorite War Films

There’s something about war that inspires people’s imagination. Whether it’s the sword fight of a film like Captain Blood or the archery of Robin Hood or the sheer firepower of Battle of the Bulge, warfare has long been a favorite subject for Hollywood. I think that one reason for this is simply because when someone’s shooting at you or trying to kill you with an axe or mace, there’s no space to worry about nuances,…Read More

Review: Terminator Salvation

I’ve written before about the Curse of the Sequel, and when you’re doing a fourth installment of what we modern film people call a “franchise”, it’s doubly difficult to have a film that’s interesting, engaging, and consistent with the mythos of the earlier movies. It can be done: the new Star Trek movie is an example of a great addition to a huge franchise. It can also be messed up, as was the case in…Read More

Review: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Since Battle of the Smithsonian is the sequel to the popular film Night at the Museum, I should start this review by saying that I really enjoyed the first film and own a copy of it. My kids really like it too and we’ve watched it at least a dozen times.  The core storyline in the first film was that divorced father Larry Daley (played by Ben Stiller) has a poor relationship with his son…Read More