Review: 'Infinitely Polar Bear'

'Infinitely Polar Bear' is fun, but has more Sundance quirk than actual substance. Read More

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Review: 'Terminator Genisys'

Disgruntled fans of the franchise are already calling Terminator Genisys the worst, but it is loaded with Schwarzenegger, unlike the awful 2009 Terminator Salvation. (Someday, some blogger will rewrite the career of Salvation director, Joseph McGinty "McG" Nichol, as "an oeuvre that takes Tashlin-esque delight in destruction...essential to understanding the pleasures and perils of America in the Bush age... " etc., etc.) » Read More

Review: 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl'

Something innocent and sweet survives in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, to balance out a manipulative, conniving streak so effective that Fox Searchlight paid $12 million for the film at Sundance. Dying Girl is never straight-up Fault in the Stars-Love Story backwash, despite the redemption of the troubled hero-the self-loathing, self-described "pasty faced" protagonist, Greg (Thomas Mann). » Read More

Review: 'Inside Out'

Pixar, the studio that tries harder than any of them, tries something completely different in Inside Out-a cartoon inner-space voyage through the subconscious, starring a cast of psychological abstractions. Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Diaz) is not yet thirteen when she is uprooted by her parents from her idyllic Minneapolis home to a dingy Victorian in an authentically delineated San Francisco. » Read More

Review: 'Phantom Halo'

A fine factor and drunk, degenerate gambler, Warren (Sebastian Roche) spends the money; his son Samuel (Thomas Brodie-Sangster, very good) busks Shakespeare in the Santa Monica promenade, while Samuel's elder brother, Beckett (Luke Klinetank), picks the pockets of the onlookers. Then, deeper into Tobackistan-as in James Toback's films-the geniuses maudite encounter more serious criminals. Involved in the trouble is a counterfeiter's mother, played with revelatory brio by UCSC's own Rebecca Romijn. » Read More

Review: 'Live From New York'

Just as the surreally SoCal characters do in the recurring sketch "The Californians," Saturday Night Live has done quite a bit of mirror-gazing in this, its 40th anniversary year. Still, Bao Nguyen's documentary Live From New York takes both a serious and well-researched angle on the show that changed so much. » Read More

Review: 'The Yes Men Are Revolting'

Political performance artists Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno (nee Igor Vamos) star in The Yes Men Are Revolting. The film asks two questions. First: whither, the aging prankster? And second: whether these two colleagues, who once took Dow Chemical's stock down 3 points with their fibs, can survive without each other? Both are academics now. Bonanno is in Scotland with his wife and two children. Bichlbaum, who is gay, is trying to hold on to a relationship, endangered by his crusade. » Read More

Review: 'When Marnie Was There'

The uncommonly delicate When Marnie Was There is based, like director Hiromasa Yonebayashi's previous film, The Secret of Arrietty, on a British children's novel. This time it's not the famous The Borrowers, but a less known 1967 book set in in Norfolk. This hand-drawn animated film finds analogies for that remote wet part of England with a corner of Japan where things are still slightly traditional. » Read More

Review: 'Love & Mercy'

Love and Mercy: Paul Dano and Elizabeth Banks amaze as lovers under observation by an all-controlling doctor. My brother knew Dr. Eugene Landy's son, Evan, so I met Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys at his house during the events seen in the first-rate biopic Love and Mercy, all about the days with the famed musician was immobilized by emotional problems and hired a 24/7 therapist to escort him. » Read More

Review: 'Tomorrowland'

There are two wolves fighting in Brad Bird's Tomorrowland—inside the movie's premise, I mean, not actually on screen. Which wolf wins? The script includes the haggard anecdote of the wolves named "Hope" and "Fear," putatively told by a wise old Cherokee but in truth cooked up by Rev. Billy Graham. » Read More

Review: 'Zombeavers'

Canadians may feel this matter keenly, but some consider beavers the world's most boring animal. Boring is relative. I'd personally consider Michelle Rodriguez scowling at flying automobiles boring, as opposed to a real favorite, the dam-building extravaganza Beavers (1988) originally filmed in IMAX back when Christopher Nolan was but an ambitious film student. Beavers is a hypnotically relaxing film, and its waddling stars never fail to induce zen-like calm. » Read More