Archive for category: by Robert Horton

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Film Review: ‘Citizenfour’

30 October, 2014 (05:54) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Edward Snowden sits on his hotel-room bed, about to keystroke a password into his laptop. Without looking particularly sheepish about it, he drapes a blanket over his head and upper body, so he can comfortably input the information without being observed. This gesture evokes many things: a kid reading a book under the covers at […]

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Film Review: ‘Young Ones’

30 October, 2014 (05:49) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The old postapocalyptic shuffle is alive in Young Ones, but this catastrophe is more credible than most such speculations. The problem here is water, which has evaporated, at least in this corner of the world. Patriarch Ernest Holm (Michael Shannon, apocalypse vet from Take Shelter) trades trinkets in exchange for supplies, and just manages to […]

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Film Review: ‘Birdman’

23 October, 2014 (08:59) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Even if it doesn’t live up to its festival reviews or its crazy possibilities, Birdman serves so many heady moments it qualifies as a bona fide happening. The movie begins quietly enough—an actor meditates in his dressing room before a stage rehearsal—but there’s a curveball. The actor is floating in mid-air. No mention is made […]

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Film Review: ‘John Wick’

23 October, 2014 (08:55) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

In the title role of John Wick, Keanu Reeves plays the sort of cool, silent assassin who has only a few dozen lines. He’s a slick, lethal hit man; why should he talk much? And yet you wish he’d shut up already. This movie needs only a simple setup to function, but there’s John Wick, […]

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Film Review: ‘Listen Up Philip’

23 October, 2014 (08:51) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Anyone who had trouble putting up with Ben Stiller’s abrasive title character in Greenberg might pause before entering the world of one Philip Lewis Friedman. A bearded New York novelist whose second book is about to be published, Philip is self-centered, vindictive, and—worst of all—articulate. He’s played by Jason Schwartzman, an actor unafraid of letting […]

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Film Review: ‘Stonehearst Asylum’

23 October, 2014 (08:47) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

There may be no ideal time to wander into the halls of a remote Victorian-era home for the mentally impaired, but the waning days of December 1899 appear especially unfortunate. Nevertheless, a young doctor named Edward Newgate (Jim Sturgess, from Cloud Atlas) arrives at Stonehearst Asylum just in time for Christmas dinner—because of austerity measures, […]

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Film Review: ‘Fury’

17 October, 2014 (08:14) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The longer Fury goes on, the more surreal it becomes. The action takes place during a single day and night at the end of World War II, but there can’t possibly be enough hours in a day to accommodate everything that happens. Probably this was intentional on the part of writer-director David Ayer (End of […]

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Film Review: ‘St. Vincent’

16 October, 2014 (08:58) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Bill Murray has a honking fat role in St. Vincent, his biggest part in an out-and-out comedy since The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. That’s pretty much the sole draw for the movie, and given Murray’s unique screen presence, it’s something. He really looks juiced in this one, doing loose-limbed dances—his great ungainly body remains […]

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Film Review: ‘Rudderless’

16 October, 2014 (08:54) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The ghosts from a school shooting hover over the otherwise Sundance-y story of Rudderless, a low-boil drama directed by the actor William H. Macy. The shooting is left offscreen, and the bulk of the film takes place two years later, the sorrow still fresh in the mind of our central character. This is Sam (Billy […]

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Film Review: ‘The Best of Me’

16 October, 2014 (08:51) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Even by the standards of The Notebook author Nicholas Sparks, his 2011 novel The Best of Me employs an extremely simple setup. Twenty-one years after they last saw each other, high-school sweethearts Amanda and Dawson meet again, and an old glow is rekindled. Perhaps because of the simplicity and universality of this situation, Sparks has […]

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Film Review: ‘Dracula Untold’

10 October, 2014 (10:17) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The title is Dracula Untold. Which means that despite all the movies and TV shows and comic books over the years, there’s still something left to be said about Bram Stoker’s great fictional vampire. Well, now it’s been told. And it’s pretty boring. This movie skips past Stoker’s time period and concerns itself with the […]

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Film review: ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’

10 October, 2014 (10:13) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

A relatively simple children’s book gets pumped up into epic mayhem in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Apparently the filmmakers felt it necessary to live up to the humongous title. Published in 1972, Judith Viorst’s Alexander has charmed readers ever since. It’s about the travails of a kid who wakes […]

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Film Review: ‘The Two Faces of January’

9 October, 2014 (05:24) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Many people are milling around the Greek tourist sights at the beginning of The Two Faces of January, but our story will ignore almost all of them. It’s only the shady characters who interest us here. Con artists always have something at stake—exposure, the possibility of their past transgressions catching up with them, and suspense […]

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Film Review: ‘The Zero Theorem’

9 October, 2014 (05:21) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Since creating the dystopian classic Brazil in 1985, Terry Gilliam has directed just eight more features—a disappointing total for such a feverish imagination. And those films have frequently been half-cocked or messed up, as though damaged in transit. His newest is signature Gilliam: visually exuberant and robustly cynical, it shows the director still circling the […]

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Film Review: ‘The Judge’

9 October, 2014 (05:18) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Leave out Robert Downey, Jr., and The Judge looks like a painfully old-fashioned exercise in the Tradition of Quality. Big-city defense attorney Hank Palmer (that’s Downey) comes home to Indiana just in time to see his father (Robert Duvall), a respected judge, arrested for vehicular homicide. Father and son do not care for each other, […]

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