Archive for category: by Robert Horton

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Film Review: ‘Foxcatcher’

19 December, 2014 (08:51) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

In the decidedly non-comedic Foxcatcher, Steve Carell plays a guy so obviously bizarro that his success in life as a public figure could only have happened for one reason. He was filthy rich. Throughout this movie, there’s a sense that people are looking at John du Pont and just barely holding it together. Their body […]

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Film Review: ‘Annie’

18 December, 2014 (05:08) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews, Musicals | By: Robert Horton

Musical-theater purists can be almost as fussy as Star Wars fanatics, so expect a certain amount of kvetching over the new adaptation of Annie (previously filmed in ’82). The beloved 1977 Broadway show gets a thorough reworking, with rewritten lyrics, funked-up music, and a time-shift to the present day. (The comic-inspired original was a Depression-era […]

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Film Review: ‘Elsa & Fred’

18 December, 2014 (05:07) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Fifty years ago Shirley MacLaine was doing adorable-pixie roles in movies like Irma La Douce and What a Way to Go! and Christopher Plummer was, well, the Captain in The Sound of Music. Both actors are doing just about the same thing in Elsa & Fred. She’s still an unstoppable force of life, and he’s […]

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Film Review: ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’

17 December, 2014 (07:12) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

If you see the names Thranduil, Tauriel, Azog, and Thorin Oakenshield, and you know instantly who they are and how they fit into Middle Earth, then you are probably ready for the third part of the Hobbit trilogy. If you can’t place the names, please consider rewatching the first two films and probably the entire […]

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Film Review: ‘Wild’

12 December, 2014 (18:16) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Maybe there’s something in Cheryl Strayed’s writing voice that has enthralled readers of her bestselling memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, an account of a solo walking journey. If so, that voice hasn’t translated to the movie version. The film stars Reese Witherspoon, who also produced it. You can see […]

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Film Review: ‘Top Five’

11 December, 2014 (05:43) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

If Chris Rock’s movies were as good as his interviews, he’d be racking up year-end critics’ awards right about now. The comedian has been smart and funny—riffing on politics, race, and Hollywood—in his publicity marathon for Top Five, a starring vehicle he also wrote and directed. But at some point, the actual film has to […]

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Film Review: ‘The Great Invisible’

11 December, 2014 (05:39) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Is a documentary an information-delivery system or a work of art? This question keeps dogging the makers of nonfiction films, and director Margaret Brown takes a stab at having it both ways in The Great Invisible. Brown, who made the affecting 2004 portrait Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt, has […]

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Film Review: ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’

11 December, 2014 (05:36) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The gulf between Moses movies can be measured in beards. For The Ten Commandments (1956), Charlton Heston unrolled a splendid carpet of chin-hair; for the latest incarnation, Christian Bale offers realistic, scraggly whiskers that might belong to the third apostle from the right in any average biblical epic. Exodus: Gods and Kings prefers angst over […]

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Film Review: ‘The Babadook’

4 December, 2014 (05:11) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Robert Horton

How did this children’s book get into the house? Nobody seems to know. But no matter—it’s here now, and there’s no escaping it. Books are like that; you open them, and they become part of your life, for better or worse. This one—it shares its title with the movie we are watching—is called The Babadook, […]

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Film Review: Point and Shoot

4 December, 2014 (05:09) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Maybe each generation gets the Lawrence of Arabia it deserves. T.E. Lawrence was a childhood hero to Matthew VanDyke, the subject of the documentary Point and Shoot. Growing up in a sheltered existence in Baltimore, VanDyke was a big fan of the British adventurer—or at least he liked the idea of Peter O’Toole riding on […]

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Film Review: The Sleepwalker

4 December, 2014 (05:06) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The infrastructure of The Sleepwalker is as carefully arranged as the brick modernist estate where all the action takes place. Above that framework, unfortunately, is a vague exercise in arty mystery and perplexing behavior. We are in the woods of Massachusetts, where this stunning getaway is home to Kaia (Gitte Witt), currently remodeling her late […]

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Film Review: ‘The Homesman’

26 November, 2014 (05:20) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews, Westerns | By: Robert Horton

Tommy Lee Jones, as actor and director, clearly cares a lot about the Western. Is there an audience that cares with him? The once-dominant genre has declined so steeply since the 1970s that each new one is an event, and Jones has become one of the few people still riding herd on the form. (Though […]

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Film Review: ‘Horrible Bosses 2′

26 November, 2014 (05:16) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews, Westerns | By: Robert Horton

Maybe the bar wasn’t set especially high, but let’s not dampen the rare, humble pleasure of declaring that a sequel is better than the original. Horrible Bosses 2 is looser and funnier than its 2011 predecessor; and if its R-rated comedy misses as often as it hits, at least the timing is there. The first […]

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Film Review: ‘V/H/S: Viral’

26 November, 2014 (05:13) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Robert Horton

The third installment of the V/H/S horror-anthology series has just one decent segment in it. And by “decent,” I mean unhealthy and outrageous and fantastically bizarre. Like its predecessors, V/H/S: Viral rolls out spooky stories that appear to be found footage. Therefore, as with most examples of this form, we see many laborious reasons for […]

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Film Review: ‘Force Majeure’

21 November, 2014 (09:32) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

In the opening scene of Force Majeure, a family poses for a resort photographer as they begin their skiing vacation in the Alps. Everybody acts happy, and the pictures look really cute. From that point on, this movie does everything in its power to ruin that image. But this Swedish film isn’t predictable about how […]

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