Archive for category: Film Reviews

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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Videophiled: Barbara Steele and ‘The Long Hair of Death’

16 December, 2014 (14:31) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Sean Axmaker

The Long Hair of Death (Raro, Blu-ray, DVD) – Raro Video, the American arm of an Italian home video company, is one of only a couple of disc labels with a tightly-defined mission, in this case a focus on classics of Italian cinema that ranges from auteur masterworks to genre landmarks and cult items. The […]

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Review: Jaws

16 December, 2014 (06:11) | by Rick Hermann, Film Reviews | By: Rick Hermann

[Originally published in Movietone News 42, July 1975] Jaws begins with a chillingly realistic sequence of shots that are at the same time metaphysically portentous and eerily beautiful. The camera pans slowly across a group of college people singing and drinking around a beach campfire, cuts a fluid swath along a bluish twilight New England […]

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Videophiled: ‘Out of the Past’ on Blu-ray

14 December, 2014 (18:43) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Noir, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Out of the Past (Warner Archive, Blu-ray) – In a genre full of desperate characters scrambling and plotting to grab their slice of the American dream, Jacques Tourneur’s Out of the Past (1947) is a hard-boiled tale of betrayal with an unusually haunting quality. Jeff Bailey (Robert Mitchum) is the classic doomed not-so-innocent of the […]

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Review: The Return of the Pink Panther

13 December, 2014 (11:13) | by Richard T. Jameson, Film Reviews | By: Richard T. Jameson

[Originally published in Movietone News 42, July 1975] MGM whacks some of the most splendid moments out of The Wild Rovers, your lovely first Western ever, then has at The Carey Treatment so badly with the shears that you’d prefer your name weren’t on it; so you find other backers and make one of the […]

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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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Review: W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings

10 December, 2014 (07:27) | by Richard T. Jameson, Film Reviews | By: Richard T. Jameson

[Originally published in Movietone News 42, July 1975] One’s lip needn’t tremble with forthrightness in suggesting that W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings is John Avildsen’s most likable movie; on the amiability meter, Joe and Save the Tiger leave nowhere to go but up. But as sneak-preview audiences already begin to murmur about the overselling of […]

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Videophiled: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ versus ‘Time Bandits’

9 December, 2014 (16:59) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Sean Axmaker

Guardians of the Galaxy (Disney, Blu-ray+Blu-ray 3D, DVD, VOD) is based on one of the more obscure Marvel Comics to get the big screen treatment, but everything about the film suggests a filmmaker trying to recapture the sense of energy and color and sheer fun of Star Wars and the pop space opera. That’s a […]

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Videophiled Landmarks: ‘The Conformist’ restored and reinvigorated

7 December, 2014 (12:49) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

The Conformist (Raro, Blu-ray, DVD) opens in the deep blue of dawn, an intense, vibrant azure with a hint of ultramarine that blankets the city like an ocean. Marcello Clerici (Jean-Louis Trintignant), a petty bourgeois Italian who just wants to disappear into the fabric of his society, specifically Mussolini’s Italy in the 1930s, has volunteered […]

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