whitey1 November 22

Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger (2014)

Directed and produced by Joe Berlinger, the 2014 documentary Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger is an unfortunately cluttered and meandering film. It fashions the purpose of the trial of the convicted murderer and Boston crime lord as determining whether or not Bulger was an informant for the FBI and then spends […]

twofaces November 22

The Two Faces of January (2014)

Hossein Amini makes his impressive directorial debut with The Two Faces of January, a satisfying old-school thriller based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel of the same name. The 2014 film is elegantly presented and beautifully shot, with glorious location shooting in Greece and Turkey highlighting the exotic intrigue found in the story.

wolves November 21

Big Bad Wolves (2013)

The craft of storytelling found in Big Bad Wolves is something else. This 2013 Israeli film is directed by Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado and really is a gem of a thriller. It comes built on Hitchcockian touches and delves into the evil that men do with biting, black humour. While some may dismiss it […]

the rock November 20

Hercules (2014)

Directed by Brett Ratner, Hercules is a much better film than it has any business being. It’s probably the best of the recent neo-mythology pictures and it comes based on the late Steve Moore’s graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars. The 2014 movie is clever and cool, boasting a strong cast and some bloody good […]

driventokill November 19

Driven to Kill (2009)

There’s something satisfying about Driven to Kill, the 2009 direct-to-DVD flick starring Steven Seagal and directed by Jeff F. King. For all the frustration of Against the Dark, also from 2009, Driven to Kill offers up a big satisfying slice of Seagal lunacy complete with an ephemeral accent, plenty of crunchy action and tattoos.

swingers1 November 18

Swingers (1996)

Slick and smug, Doug Liman’s Swingers crackles with a sort of loquacious, blowy flow that is seldom seen in such a self-satisfied film. Much of what it gets right is owed to the Jon Favreau screenplay, which is pure Hollywood chatter with a side of big-headed but vulnerable bravado, and its lean budget that allows […]

vengeance November 17

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)

The German poet and philosopher Friedrich Schiller is credited with saying that “Revenge is barren of itself: it is the dreadful food it feeds on; its delight is murder and its end is despair.” That despair can certainly be found in Park Chan-wook’s 2002 motion picture Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance.

happiness1 November 15

Happiness (1998)

Even the most cursory of glances around most social networking profiles reveals a raft of epigrammatic quotations about happiness, about how happiness is something people “deserve” and how it’s the only thing that matters in this crazy thing called life. But what is happiness? Is it, like Hemingway suggests, “the rarest thing” in clever people? […]

againstthedark November 12

Against the Dark (2009)

On paper, Against the Dark should be the ideal Steven Seagal movie. It features an outlandish plot and it passes the lion’s share of the action off to a more capable co-star. It finds the ponytailed one with little to say and less to do. There are vampires and Seagal carries a samurai sword while […]

case against 81 November 11

The Case Against 8 (2014)

Produced and directed by Ryan White and Ben Cotner, The Case Against 8 is a thorough documentary about the fight to overturn California’s Proposition 8. The film details the multitude of courtroom and personal battles associated with fighting the state’s 2008 constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage.

duel1 November 10

Duel at the Mound (2014)

Travis Mills’ 2014 film Duel at the Mound is, like his 2013 piece The Men Who Robbed the Bank, a project that uses a particular “thing” to illuminate its characters. In the case of The Men Who Robbed the Bank, it was the titular crime that drove the exploration. In the case of Duel at […]

kids2 November 09

Kids (1995)

Directed by Larry Clark from a screenplay by Harmony Korine, Kids is one of the most honest motion pictures to ever cover the teenage psyche. The mire of teenage life has often been touched on by the various arts to varying effect, but this 1995 film unflinchingly navigates the terrain and doesn’t turn its face […]

cage November 07

Left Behind (2014)

Based on the hideous novel of the same name by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Left Behind is a catastrophic motion picture that is both silly and remarkably boring. This 2014 film is directed by Vic Anderson, the guy who doubled for Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones movies, and is as tedious an […]

sister act November 06

Sister Act (1992)

Sister Act is one of those light comedies that almost always seems to generate a smile but never quite reaches the heights of hilarity. It’s a warm and well-meaning picture from 1992 and it really gets popping when the Marc Shaiman music takes over. Emile Ardolino is the director and Joseph Howard, who really is […]

seagal November 05

Kill Switch (2008)

Kill Switch is one of the worst entries in the entire Steven Seagal catalogue and that’s saying a lot. This 2008 direct-to-video release is directed by Jeff F. King with a screenplay by the ponytailed one himself. It’s quite an achievement in terms of disjointedness, senselessness and pure bizarreness, which is probably the best one […]

dollhouse November 04

Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)

Todd Solondz’s Welcome to the Dollhouse took home the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and for good reason. This 1995 motion picture drips with bleakness and often hilarious comedy, weaving a coming-of-age story that doesn’t lean on clichés. It honestly explores the always taut world of adolescence through the eyes of its remarkably normal protagonist, […]

dawn of the planet of the apes November 03

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

Directed by Matt Reeves, the 2014 film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is that rarest of things: a blockbuster that functions on multiple levels. It’s really quite an outstanding motion picture, from the stunning special effects to the extraordinarily human characters to the absorbing plot to the tremendous cinematography by Michael Seresin.

teenage mutant ninja turtles November 01

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

There is a surprising amount of charisma lurking somewhere in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the bass-heavy and unwieldy reboot of the film series that began in 1990. Based on the comic book series of the same name by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, this 2014 action flick is directed by Jonathan Liebesman with production by […]

phobia1 November 01

Phobia (2014)

A thrilling and complex psychological thriller, Rory Abel’s Phobia weaves a relatable yet challenging tale about guilt, agoraphobia and the sweet lure of death. This 2014 motion picture will be released on DVD on November 25 of this year and is certainly worth a look for those interested in slow-burning chills and well-told yarns.

monsters of the monster squad October 31

The Monster Squad (1987)

The Monster Squad is an entertaining and surprisingly clever horror picture geared toward the younger set. This 1987 movie is directed by Fred Dekker and features a screenplay by the filmmaker and Shane Black, whose quick-hitter lines come in handy. The Monster Squad has a decidedly comic edge, one that fits well with its gleeful […]

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