Archive for category: Film Reviews

Film Review: ‘Birdman’

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

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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, […]

Videophiled: ‘Snowpiercer’ – Class Struggle on a Runaway Train

22 October, 2014 (10:30) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Sean Axmaker

Snowpiercer (Anchor Bay, Blu-ray, DVD), an international production from Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho based on a French graphic novel, is a high-speed metaphor speeding down the science fiction tracks of genre cinema. That’s the way I like this brand of filmmaking: with the metaphors big, muscular, detailed, and punchy. You either give yourself over to […]

Review: Hennessy

21 October, 2014 (09:12) | by Richard T. Jameson, Film Reviews | By: Richard T. Jameson

[Originally published in Movietone News 43, September 1975] Hennessy … the name offers to hang over this movie the way “Juggernaut” and “Drabble” spiritually pervaded theirs (Drabble having been the original title of The Black Windmill). That a fellow named Hollis lays more of a claim on our attention, let alone imagination, says a lot […]

Review: The National Health

20 October, 2014 (09:19) | by Ken Eisler, Film Reviews | By: Movietone News contributor

[Originally published in Movietone News 43, September 1975] by Ken Eisler The National Health, adapted by Peter Nichols from his own stage play, remains pure farce, but the form has undergone a marvelous cinematic sea-change. The characters, governed as before by Humours and idées fixes, enter, exit; doors slam on them—the doors, in this case, […]

Doppler Effect at the Dunbar

18 October, 2014 (11:32) | by Ken Eisler, Film Reviews | By: Movietone News contributor

[Originally published in Movietone News 43, September 1975] by Ken Eisler In the city of Vancouver, a foreign-film addict enjoys two major connections, the Pacific Cinémathèque (downtown) and the University of British Columbia’s Cinema 16 series (on campus). Both sources dry up during the summer, but fortunately in mid-July along comes Don Barnes’ annual International […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Review: The Great Waldo Pepper

15 October, 2014 (09:59) | by Richard T. Jameson, Film Reviews | By: Richard T. Jameson

[Originally published in Movietone News 43, September 1975] I just realized I can’t remember how the line begins, so I’m going to fake it: “Technicians provide realism—artists supply truth.” “Technicians” almost certainly wasn’t the word but the rest is legitimate as a quote. A Hollywood director says it to Waldo Pepper, who was just too […]

Videophiled: John Ford’s ‘My Darling Clementine’ on Criterion

14 October, 2014 (18:06) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, John Ford, Westerns | By: Sean Axmaker

My Darling Clementine (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD), John Ford’s sublime reinterpretation of the Wyatt Earp story and the Gunfight at OK Corral, rewrites history to become a mythic frontier legend and one of the most classically perfect westerns ever made. Henry Fonda plays a hard, serious Wyatt Earp leading a cattle drive west with his brothers […]

Review: Sssssss

14 October, 2014 (08:20) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in Movietone News 43, September 1975] Like Bug, its current traveling companion, Sssssss (which made the rounds as a top feature in 1973) is a preposterous horror film that never quite gets itself organized enough to make you want to suspend that old disbelief. But it is definitely the better half of the […]