ARCHIVES

Les Misérables

In the footsteps of Jean Valjean
Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway
Directed by Tom Hooper

Anne Hathaway appearing in a musical doesn't surprise me. Her entire Oscar hosting gig felt like a four-hour audition for Glinda the Good Witch in the upcoming movie musical for "Wicked." But who knew she could be so devastatingly good as Fantine, a woman struggling through poverty in France's revolutionary days who winds up forced to sell her teeth, hair and self to support her young daughter ... more >

Not fade away

We've been here before. It's deja vu.
John Magaro and Jack Huston
Directed by David Chase

David Chase has gone from “The Sopranos” to taking a sixties-rock nostalgia trip with “Not Fade Away." It’s a film that knows its subject well enough, and even has E-Street Band member Steven Van Zandt to help pick the bluesy rock-infused soundtrack. And yet I don't know what I'm supposed to take away from the band focused on here. Doug (John Magaro) is a New Jersey kid inspired by The Rolling ... more >

Promised Land

Around the fracking debate in small-town, U.S.A.
Matt Damon and John Krasinsky
Directed by Gus Van Sant

“Promised Land” is the movie that Matt Damon and John Krasinski of “The Office” teamed up to write. Damon was even going to direct at one time before scheduling conflicts encouraged them to bring on Gus Van Sant. Damon is Steven, vice-president of a natural gas company who travels with his partner (Frances McDormand) to the rural town of McKinley in order to buy up people’s land and drill for ... more >

Jack Reacher

A thriller for the action-starved Christmas moviegoer
Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike and Richard Jenkins
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie

“Jack Reacher," based on the Lee Child novel “One Shot," begins chillingly enough with the stigma of the recent tragedy in Connecticut. A sniper looks through his scope and guns down five people in cold blood. But while “Reacher” is far from perfection it doesn’t deserve this kind of relevance, either. The shooting inquiry brings Reacher (Tom Cruise) to Pittsburgh. He’s an investigative officer ... more >

Zero Dark Thirty Jessica chastain

Zero Dark Thirty

Kathryn Bigelow's variation on a theme
Jessica Chastain and Joel Edgerton
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

"Zero Dark Thirty" may be the best unentertaining movie I've seen this year. This is Kathryn Bigelow’s second film based on the war on terror, and it is just as much of an imperfect as it is an interesting take on the past decade as “The Hurt Locker,” and has roughly the same type of main character in it. “Zero” is very easy to follow, comes off impeccably well-researched and has a terrific ... more >

This is 40

A sort-of sequel to "Knocked Up" apparently
Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann and Jason Segel
Directed by Judd Apatow

“This is 40”, the“sorta” sequel to “Knocked up”, is “sorta”terrible and when I say sorta, I mean a lot. So many movies, TV shows, and even prior Judd Apatow films have tried to sitcomize the pitfalls of marriage to the point where it’s been done to death. Being that this was an Apatow flick, I was hoping he would have a fresh take, but this is without question his worse film and one of the worse ... more >

The guilt trip

Playing nice
Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand
Directed by Anne Fletcher

“The Guilt Trip” is the kind of film you'd want to take your aunt to in order to make up for not calling her often enough during the year. Or anyone who enjoys predictable and fluff entertainment, for that matter. "Breezy," "cute," and "nice" apply, with Barbara Streisand and Seth Rogen doing their damndest best to make these qualifiers stick. The "Funny Girl" performer plays Joyce, a lonely ... more >