Movies

Review: 'The Stanford Prison Experiment'

'The Stanford Prison Experiment' fails to raise hackles or thrills. Read More

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Review: 'Irrational Man'

The despair-inducing Irrational Man has some promise to it—things could have been done to make it merely tepid instead of abject, but is Woody Allen capable of doing those things anymore? This crabbed rewrite of Crime and Punishment, with its gimmicky One Step Beyond ending, is the backhanded celebration of a sour man. Abe (a sleepy, ruminative Joaquin Phoenix) is a supposed luminary in the world of philosophy, come to teach at a small Rhode Island college. » Read More

Review: 'Mr. Holmes'

Mr. Sherlock Holmes is opposed by an ultimate foe—old age—in one struggle he cannot win. Based on Mitch Cullin's novel, A Slight Trick of the Mind, the new Bill Condon film, Mr. Holmes, brings the director and Ian McKellen together for the first time since Gods and Monsters (1998). » Read More

Review: 'Trainwreck'

It's a given that a studio movie in 2015 won't have the guts of a cable channel TV show. Even if Trainwreck is easily Judd Apatow's best movie, anticipate compromises. You could forecast it. Amy Schumer, the lady who does without apologies, was going to end up apologizing, swearing off the bad behavior and learning to accept the possibility of motherhood, instead of being weirded out by the whole child-bearing mess. » Read More

Review: 'Ant-Man'

Never saw a miniaturization movie I didn't like, particularly Joe Dante's neglected, Valley-set Inner Space (1987). Ant-Man doesn't break the streak, even if it's a multi-writer, battered blockbuster that praises the importance of "commitment." Hark at that message and recall the messy way this movie was made, with its firings and rewrites galore. » Read More

Review: 'Jimmy's Hall'

You won't be seeing Jimmy's Hall at your next Catholic Youth Organization meeting. Here Ken Loach celebrates a half-century of filmmaking with a compact political romance set in 1930s County Letrim, near the border that cleaves Ireland. Returned from exile after the Civil War, James Grafton (the handsome Barry Ward) is given a little friendly pressure to reopen the small tin hall he once built, dedicated to Irish patriots, James Connolly and Patrick Pearce. » Read More

Review: 'Self/Less'

By any name and any copyright, Self/Less is John Frankenheimer's 1966 film, Seconds, a second time around. It's another disappointment from Tarsem Singh that is, once again, likely not his fault. At a comic convention a few years back Singh told the audience that his Immortals was a case of creative differences: his producers wanted Zack Snyder and Singh had wanted Caravaggio. » Read More

Review: 'Amy'

Already a hit, the documentary Amy is of the deepest sadness, like a Japanese tragedy. It isn't purely an investigation into the end of Amy Winehouse, dead at 27, or of those addictions that turned her into one of the people you step over at the bus stop. With aptness that justifies the cruelty, a British comedian describes Winehouse in her last days as looking like an ad campaign to rescue neglected horses: all bones and big teeth and dull eyes. » Read More

Review: 'Infinitely Polar Bear'

Three different styles of acting bash it out in the hard-to-believe Infinitely Polar Bear-and if you think the title sounds like the most labored Sundance fair, you're not wrong. Mark Ruffalo chews into the role of Cameron Stuart, a manic-depressive from a conceited Boston Brahmin family (his grandfather sat for a portrait by John Singer Sargent). He's idling his way through the late 1970s as Mr. Mom. » Read More

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