Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper is a stunning example of the power of cinematic craftsmanship. The 2014 motion picture has become a political football for many Americans, with all manner of opportunists using it to make one point or another. But the film itself is more meditative than the vehemence suggests, with Eastwood constructing a restrained […]Read more "American Sniper (2014)"
Steven Seagal and director Keoni Waxman are together again with 2013’s Force of Execution, a direct-to-video release that’s unique in a lot of ways when compared to the star’s recent output. For one, he’s got a goatee. That may seem insignificant for the uninitiated, but this black scruff of hair does provide a touch of […]Read more "Force of Execution (2013)"
By the time Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers, never the best of friends, signed on to deliver The Pink Panther Strikes Again, things between the director and star were a mess. This 1976 comedy was a hastily produced number, one that featured a “certifiable” Sellers (to use Edwards’ term) and one that the actor was […]Read more "The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)"
It’s tempting to consider Doug Liman’s banging and crashing Edge of Tomorrow as some sort of clever critique of the wholly repetitive nature of entertainment. The 2014 picture presents a sort of science fiction Groundhog Day and meshes it with the video game mentality of reappearing after death and getting just a touch deeper into […]Read more "Edge of Tomorrow (2014)"
It’s interesting to consider the similarities between director David Ayer’s two 2014 films. The Arnold Schwarzenegger-led Sabotage concerned a group of bellicose DEA agents, while the Brad Pitt-led Fury features a group of bellicose American soldiers fighting in Nazi Germany. Both films deal heavily with Alpha personalities, with men conducting themselves in “constant states of […]Read more "Fury (2014)"
Directed by Keoni Waxman, Maximum Conviction stars Steven Seagal and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. That fact alone is likely enough to send some readers staggering to locate what must, by all logic, be a masterwork of direct-to-career action. Unfortunately, this 2012 film comes up well short of its billing and is a tortuous, overflowing mess.Read more "Maximum Conviction (2012)"
The Imitation Game is a movie about secrets. The 2014 film is directed by Morten Tyldum and tells the tale of Alan Turing, the computer scientist and cryptanalyst responsible for cracking the Nazis’ Enigma code. This major victory led to the Allies defeating the Nazis in World War II. It also led to the personal […]Read more "The Imitation Game (2014)"
Directed by Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi, The Boxtrolls lacks the energy and flavour of previous Laika productions and feels a touch on the underwhelming side. This 2014 animated feature is the recent recipient of an Academy Award nomination and is an adaptation of Alan Snow’s Here Be Monsters! novel.Read more "The Boxtrolls (2014)"
The film that caused a bit of a stir, The Interview is a disappointment on just about every level. Everyone knows about the “controversy” surrounding North Korea’s threat of “merciless” action and everyone knows the fallout, with theatres calling off screenings and Sony consequently pulling the 2014 comedy. It was eventually released online and in […]Read more "The Interview (2014)"
Directed by Chad Stahelski (and presumably David Leitch), John Wick is an unexpected action treat from 2014. The picture features a screenplay by Derek Kolstad and functions as a bit of a pot-stirrer in the often tired genre thanks to some dazzling fight scenes that would have John Woo salivating. There is a distinctive Hong […]Read more "John Wick (2014)"
After briefly pulling his wagon into theatres as the villainous Rogelio Torrez in Robert Rodriguez’s Machete, Steven Seagal returns to the direct-to-video well with Born to Raise Hell. This 2010 offering wasn’t released in the United States until April of 2011 and it represents a bit of a slowdown in terms of productivity for its […]Read more "Born to Raise Hell (2010)"
David Fincher’s Gone Girl is a twisted, crazed yarn. It’s also one of the most mesmerizing and entertaining movies of 2014. Based on the Gillian Flynn novel of the same name, this motion picture runs on some fairly dangerous ground as far as “controversy” is concerned. It navigates the terrain well and reminds astute audiences […]Read more "Gone Girl (2014)"
11 years after A Shot in the Dark, Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers finally found it in themselves to join forces for 1975’s The Return of the Pink Panther. This is the fourth movie in the series, with the third coming in 1968 under the direction of Bud Yorkin with Alan Arkin as the titular […]Read more "The Return of the Pink Panther (1975)"
Based on Lawrence Block’s novel of the same name, the 2014 thriller A Walk Among the Tombstones is a satisfying vehicle for Liam Neeson. It’s a departure from his rash of Taken-style movies in that it’s more stylistically interesting and more complex from a character standpoint, but it still provides the same right against wrong […]Read more "A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014)"
Steven Seagal teams with director Keoni Waxman yet again for A Dangerous Man, another 2009 direct-to-video release. Like The Keeper, A Dangerous Man deals in heavy Seagal clichés. Unlike The Keeper, A Dangerous Man features a screenplay by the director. It’s kind of a mess, with lots of awkward action scenes and some unnecessary dubbing. […]Read more "A Dangerous Man (2009)"
Written and directed by Damien Chazelle, Whiplash is a movie about power. It takes the avenue of jazz music to arrive at its point, weaving a fetishistic war arena where gladiators do battle for chairs. It doesn’t bother with trivialities like “loving music.” Its concern is with victory.Read more "Whiplash (2014)"
The first thing to know about James Marsh’s The Theory of Everything is that it’s based on the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen Hawking by Jane Wilde Hawking. That immediately sets the focal point of this 2014 film as the relationship between the renowned and extraordinary theoretical physicist and his first wife. […]Read more "The Theory of Everything (2014)"
Considered the second entry in the Pink Panther series of films, A Shot in the Dark is another example of a movie that probably shouldn’t be as good as it is. Like its 1963 predecessor was originally designed as a caper with David Niven as the star, A Shot in the Dark was not initially […]Read more "A Shot in the Dark (1964)"
Peter Sellers nearly absconds with the whole shebang in The Pink Panther, the riotous 1963 comedy caper directed by Blake Edwards. This picture was at first designed as a sophisticated piece with David Niven in the driver’s seat, but it was Sellers who renovated the focus and found comic riches beyond reason.Read more "The Pink Panther (1963)"
Perhaps the most egregious error of Dumb and Dumber To takes place over the end credits when clips of the original 1994 comedy are played alongside clips of the 2014 sequel. This is presumably to show how little has changed in the 20 years between movies, but it also illustrates just how far the mightily […]Read more "Dumb and Dumber To (2014)"