Movie review: ‘The Last Five Years’

Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep overshadowed her in this Christmas’s Into the Woods, and Neil Patrick Harris and Jack Black did it to her in the opening number on the Academy Awards last week, but in the barely released but wonderful musical The Last Five Years, Anna Kendrick reminded me just how amazing she can [...]

‘Fifty Shades’ falls short in so many ways

By now, I cannot imagine how anyone with an Internet connection or who has access to a television or knows any women who own books could not know about Fifty Shades of Grey, the poorly written soft-core S&M novel by E.L. James that, along with its two sequels, has sold 100 million copies worldwide and [...]

Movie review: ‘Jupiter Ascending’ serves up action and romance

My biggest fear before I saw Jupiter Ascending was that the Wachowskis would take themselves too seriously, yet again, and try to drench the audience with wishy-washy New Age philosophy, a la “everything is a facsimile!” in The Matrix Trilogy and “we’re all connected!” in Cloud Atlas. But they restrained themselves, thematically anyway, and instead [...]

Few bright moments in this sad tale

It’s likely that both the Best Actor and Best Actress winners at this year’s Academy Awards will go to portrayals of people suffering from chronic neurodegenerative diseases. The films couldn’t be more different, however. In The Theory of Everything, Eddie Redmayne plays Stephen Hawking, who was struck with Lou Gehrig’s disease (or ALS) more than [...]

‘American Sniper’ hits box-office high

In its first weekend in wide release, American Sniper earned more money than all of the other eight nominees for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards. It made $107 million through the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, a record for a movie in January. By the time the Oscars are given out, it’s [...]

Movie review: The brilliant ‘Selma’ is essential viewing

Selma, the film about Martin Luther King and the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, is an extraordinary film: wrenching, inspiring and impeccably made. As a depiction of one of the most important events of the Civil Rights Movement, it is also more socially and politically relevant to our contemporary world than any feature film [...]

This drug-addled shaggy dog story is already divisive

I’m not a fan of the phrasing “there are two kinds of people: the kind of people who like X and the kind of people who hate X.” It’s hackneyed, and not always true. Some people just don’t care about X. I guess the point is that X is something people have strong feelings about, [...]

My 10 favorite films of 2014

Movies of the Year

A bunch of wonderful films opened in San Diego in 2014. These are my favorites. 10. Snowpiercer (Bong Joon-ho, director) Bong Joon-ho’s first English-language film is astonishing, breathtaking in its visuals, bleak in its plot and enraging in its refusal to do what most American audiences expect from their science fiction action films. The film [...]

Blunt and Streep shine in this stunning fairy tale

This Christmas, you have a rather odd choice of movies to see after you’ve opened your presents and gorged on goose (if you’re into goose gorging). Oddly, most of them are about as Christmasy as the Easter Bunny. Unbroken is about a British soldier who endures years of torture as a prisoner of war. Big [...]

Movie review: ‘The Imitation Game’

Let’s get this out of the way: Despite what you may have heard, read on Twitter, or seen ranted about on Facebook, The Imitation Game is a not a homophobic whitewash of Alan Turing, the gay British man who broke the Nazi codes during World War II and more or less invented the computer. Despite [...]

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