Film Review: Arrival

Don’t be misled by the movie poster and trailer, Arrival is a cerebral sci-fi thriller about the nature of time and the sequence of events in our lives. While there are visual aspects that are straight out of the Hollywood sci-fi tentpole alien invasion storyline, the film offers a slower and more thoughtful exploration of the core question that various human tribes have asked since the very first invasion: why are you here? The mysterious…Read More

Review: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Like many film fans, I have a love/hate relationship with Tom Cruise. He’s been in a lot of great movies, but he’s also one of the most narcissistic people in Hollywood, and that’s saying something in an industry where just about everyone spends more time gazing in the mirror than anything else. Even with the Mission: Impossible movies, based on a beloved TV series from my childhood, the same problem has surfaced. Certainly Mission: Impossible…Read More

Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Do superheroes get bored? Is it possible that being constantly on call to save the world every time something bad happens might get just a bit in the way of having a pleasant life, a family and a social life? That’s the central question of the terrific new Marvel movie Avengers: Age of Ultron. And I’ll make this easy: Just go see it. The story is propelled by a question that’s on a lot of…Read More

Review: Kill the Messenger

Whistle-blowers are rarely appreciated, even when we desperately want to know the story and get the inside scoop on what’s happening. It’s not just true in real life, it’s a trope of cinema too, from Cloud Atlas to The China Syndrome, if you go public with what’s really going on in your company or organization, it generally doesn’t end well. Kill the Messenger examines one of the most shocking misuses of power to ever come…Read More

Review: The Bourne Legacy

The Bourne trilogy (Bourne Identity, Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum) is one of the most dynamic action thrillers in the history of cinema, with Jason portrayed by Matt Damon in the career-defining role of the everyman who finds he’s been programmed by the CIA to be a deadly assassin. The third film ends with Bourne lured out of hiding by reporter Simon Ross (Paddy Considine) promising to write an exposé on Project Treadstone, the CIA…Read More

Best and Worst Films of 2010

According to Movieweb, there were 651 films released in 2010 and no, I didn’t see them all. In fact, there are some movies still on my to-watch list that I know will affect this article (including The Fighter and The Kids are All Right), but I hope to see them soon and add some additional commentary at that point. For now, however, I figure I saw maybe 100-150 new films this year, both clunkers and superb…Read More

Review: The Town

The Town is built upon a cinematic cliché, the repentant criminal who finds it almost impossible to escape his surroundings, environment and peers. Fortunately, director Ben Affleck does a terrific job with the source material and has produced a gritty, exciting and satisfying crime film that ranks with the best of its genre. The film opens up with a bank robbery, and it’s clear immediately that this isn’t a suave, sophisticated gang of thieves who…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