AUTHOR | Craig Younkin


The Hobbit

Finally, it's here and it's grand
Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen
Directed by Peter Jackson

So who’s ready for another nine plus hours of hobbits, dwarves, orcs, elves, and Gandalf? Honestly the way director Peter Jackson, taking his fourth trip to Middle Earth, has worked this first of “The Hobbit” trilogy; it will feel like it’s going by in a flash. I’m so impressed with what he’s done here; proving again that nobody could do a better job of bringing J.R.R Tolkien’s stories to the ... more >

The Central Park Five

The ultimate indictment of police misconduct
Directed by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon

Ken Burns's documentary “The Central Park 5” (it was co-directed with Sarah Burns and David McMahon) begins with the recounting of the rape of a jogger in the park during April of 1989, the trigger event of a woefully tragic story. Working with his daughter and son-in-law, Burns has created a nearly flawless film about the cracks in our criminal justice system, zeroing in on the “us vs. them” ... more >


Casino heist thrills and snow. Lots of it (snow)
Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde
Directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky

Better movies are coming in the next couple of weeks, is what I kept repeating to myself as I sat through “Deadfall," an incredibly average thriller about people with father issues. Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde play Addison and Liza, two siblings who forged a very deep bond with one another during their young years when they’re alcoholic father put them through hell. Now they’re casino robbers on ... more >

Hyde Park on Hudson

An improbable romance at an unlikely time
Bill Murray and Laura Linney
Directed by Roger Michell

“Hyde Park on Hudson” wastes no time in letting us know it’s a prestige project. This is a film that takes place in a beautiful location (the New York estate of Franklin Roosevelt’s mother with its sunny view of nature, including a driving path among the flowers), has Laura Linney, as Roosevelt’s cousin Daisy, constantly butt into the film with a pretentious voiceover narration letting us know how ... more >


A possible Oscar contender, so watch out
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence
Directed by David O. Russell

A romantic comedy may feel like a strange new direction for director David O. Russell (“I Heart Huckabees,” “The Fighter") but his adaptation of Matthew Quick’s namesake novel is a winner, serving up equal parts romance and uplifting drama. What of Bradley Cooper 2.0?  He plays a demanding role to perfection. His Pat Solatino, a bipolar Philadelphia man who spent eight months in a psych ward ... more >


Paging Jackie the Enforcer
Brad Pitt and Scoot McNairy
Directed by Andrew Dominik

“Killing them Softly” is an expression I never understood but I'll guess that if one needed to kill softly, Brad Pitt’s Jackie would be the right man for the job. “Softly,” writer-director Andrew Dominik’s adaptation of the George V. Higgins novel “Cogan’s Trade," (itself a follow-up to “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford") is the Weinstein Company contender for an Academy ... more >

Men in Black 3

A very franchisey kind of franchise
Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld

“Men in Black 3” is a paycheck movie for everyone involved, except the audience, who again get another middling, phoned-in sequel looking to drain their wallets with its average 3-D-ness. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones again return as agents J and K, except Jones much more briefly. His Agent K has been extinguished, all part of a plan by alien baddie Boris the Animal (the always-funny Jemaine ... more >