What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)

“I’m tired,” says Nina Simone in Liz Garbus’ What Happened, Miss Simone?. “You don’t know what I mean,” she adds before playing the piano. The 2015 documentary, distributed by Netflix, deals with the almost cold-bloodedly complicated singer and activist. It frames itself as an exploration rather than an answer to the titular question, which is […]

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Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)

Back in 2012, Pitch Perfect hit on a hip formula by blending Glee with Bring It On for a musical comedy about an a capella group destined for stardom. The sequel, 2015’s Pitch Perfect 2, expands on the formula and then expands on the formula again. This picture is directed by Elizabeth Banks, who previous […]

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Entertainment (2015)

There is a moment in Rick Alverson’s Entertainment that finds the rumpled protagonist using a trophy to “gun down” his audience. It devolves or perhaps evolves into fart noises and lasts several minutes, it seems. The character leaves the stage, seems to consider something and is promptly told by the promoter that there’s no way […]

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Best of Enemies (2015)

Make no mistake about it, Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, Jr. detested each other. Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville explore this fact in the 2015 documentary Best of Enemies, a mostly straightforward film that essentially contends with the 1968 debates between the two American intellectuals. The movie apparently was five years in the making […]

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Ant-Man (2015)

Directed by Peyton Reed and based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, 2015’s Ant-Man is a blast. It’s a brisk and fun superhero movie, with more in common with the invigorating and colourful Guardians of the Galaxy than the clanging and impatient Avengers: Age of Ultron. Ant-Man is entertaining in a sort […]

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Western Wednesday: Pale Rider (1985)

Clint Eastwood produces, directs and stars in Pale Rider, a 1985 western that certainly plays to his strengths. This movie features a screenplay by Michael Butler and Dennis Shyrack and, like High Plains Drifter, is full of meaning. Pale Rider is certainly less otherworldly in comparison to Eastwood’s 1973 “fever dream,” but that doesn’t diminish […]

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Far from the Madding Crowd (2015)

Based on Thomas Hardy’s 1874 novel of the same name, Far from the Madding Crowd is a sweltering and sordid motion picture from Thomas Vinterberg. This 2015 period piece features a screenplay by David Nicholls and nails down some seriously intense melodrama, blowing through a soapy tale of rocky circumstance with all the subtlety of […]

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Minions (2015)

The Minions movie was always inevitable. The little yellow whatevers were bound to get their own film ever since the lousy Despicable Me 2 trotted them out for more screen time and found box office gold. This time, directors Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin bowl through a Brian Lynch story that talks about the evolution […]

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Southpaw (2015)

An overwrought and awkward tribulation that jabs away with every boxing movie cliché in existence, Southpaw is directed by Antoine Fuqua and features a musty Kurt Sutter screenplay that was originally designed to propel an Eminem vehicle. This 2015 film features Jake Gyllenhaal as the star, with Slim Shady’s pal 50 Cent playing a supporting […]

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Inside Out (2015)

Not only is Inside Out the most profound motion picture to come out of the superb Pixar camp, it’s one of the most profound animated features of all-time. It has as its subject no less than the totality of what it means to be a human being, with Pete Docter’s impeccable direction taking things to […]

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Woman in Gold (2015)

It feels like the story at the core of Simon Curtis’ Woman in Gold should be more interesting, but this 2015 British drama winds up dawdling through nearly two hours without ever managing an emotional connection. With a screenplay by Alexi Kaye Campbell, this movie is based on the true story of Maria Altmann and […]

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Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

It’s big, it’s loud, it’s stuffed to the rafters with explosions and crashes and fights and stuff. It’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, the sequel to 2012’s The Avengers and the 11th film in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Written and directed by Joss Whedon, this 2015 action popcorn spectacle features a slew of characters and plays every […]

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