view counter

Movie Reviews

The Coen Brothers’ newest is a melancholy ­ballad to struggling artists

"If it’s not new, but it never gets old, it’s a folksong.” So Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac: Won’t Back Down) tells his audiences. The songs may never get old, but the lifestyle of a folk singer does.     A committed and uncompromising artist barely getting by, Davis is content to couch-surf around 1960s’ New York, depending on the kindness of his musician buddies and the two fans he has in the world. He’s got talent, he’s got drive, but not the career he believes he deserves.

How Walt Disney won over Mary Poppins

After Mary Poppins became a literary phenomenon in 1934, Walt Disney (Tom Hanks: Captain Phillips) promised his daughters he would make their favorite book into a movie. A lucrative film adaptation is a dream offer for many, but Poppins author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson: Love Punch) didn’t share the Disney vision. Horrified by all things animated and kitschy, Travers fought for 20 years to keep her beloved book out of the hands of “the Man Behind the Mouse.”

Here be dragons

If Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen: The Wolverine) weren’t a wizard, he would have been an excellent travel agent. He seems to live for organizing meandering trips through Middle-earth, acting as activities director for a ragtag group of his choosing.

A princess movie for people sick of princess movies

Princess Elsa (Idina Menzel: Glee) was born with a silver spoon in her mouth and a chill in her will. Creating ice and snow is a great power for a young girl, and she gleefully turns the palace into a winter wonderland for her little sister Anna (Kristen Bell: The Lifeguard). They skate in the grand ballroom, build snowmen by the suits of armor and frolic in snowdrifts under priceless paintings.

When fighting for life and liberty, who has time for teen romance?

In a dystopian nation of Panem, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence: The Silver Linings Playbook) is considered lucky. The winner of the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss was the last woman standing in a government-sponsored death match. With a spark of rebellion, she refused to kill hometown boy Peeta (Josh Hutcherson: Epic), claiming that she loved him and would rather die than end his life. The two were allowed to live as the first pair of winners in Hunger Games history.

The story of a man who wanted to die with his boots on

A few lines of cocaine, a three-way with rodeo groupies and a belt or two of whiskey is how Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey: Mud) liked to start his mornings. Before long, hard living and hard fighting make a mess of this bull rider.     In hospital after an accident, he learns he’s been infected with HIV, a relatively new disease in 1985. Doctors offer counseling and a death sentence of 30 days. Incensed at the suggestion that he has a disease of gay people, Ron does what he does best: make an ugly scene and go on a bender.

Even a brilliant foil can’t save this weak entry in the Marvel series

When the universe began, light spread throughout the cosmos. Light is usually a good thing, but it did not please a race called the Dark Elves. Their leader Malekith (Christopher Eccleston: Doctor Who) responded with Aether, a weaponized energy source, to bring back darkness and destroy the universe.     It didn’t work.     King Bor of Asgard and his son Odin (Anthony Hopkins: RED 2) led a successful war against the Dark Elves. But instead of destroying the Aether, Bor hid it.

Survival is a lonely business in this gripping drama

Some people dream of setting out on their own to sail the vast oceans of our world. It seems like a grand adventure, until something goes wrong and you find yourself slowly taking on water hundreds of miles from help. What to do when your grand adventure turns into a disaster?

An extraordinary man must rise to extraordinary circumstances

Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor: Dancing on the Edge) was a man of fortunate birth. He wasn’t rich, or noble, just a black man born free in the time of slavery.     12 Years a Slave begins with the family enjoying a normal life in Saratoga, New York, where Solomon takes odd jobs and his wife works as a cook. Known in the community, they believe that they have nothing to fear from whites.

How many geri-action stars does it take to escape from prison?

No prison can hold Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone: Bullet to the Head). He’s literally written the book on prison security, breaking out of dozens of super max facilities to prove his point.     Yet he hesitates when a CIA operative asks him to test the security of a black site holding facility. They want him to go in blind. His team won’t know his location, and he’ll be out of touch with the outside world. It’s a risky deal, but the money is good, and he enjoys a challenge.