2 Stars

Money Monster Review

Money Monster Review

RATING: (2 STARS) In 2011, Brett Ratner of all people made a supremely silly but surprisingly enjoyable “capitalism is evil” movie called Tower Heist. It starred Ben Stiller as the leader of a group of rag-tag blue-collar workers who were swindled by their Madoff-esque employer and seek to get their money back by any means […]

The Wolfpack Review

The Wolfpack Review

RATING: (2 STARS) There’s a beautiful story somewhere in the mess that is The Wolfpack. There’s also an uplifting story, a terrifying story, a comedy, a tragedy, and who knows what else. So why is the end result such a mish-mash of tones and themes? Why doesn’t it know what it wants to be? Perhaps […]

The Theory of Everything Review

The Theory of Everything Review

RATING: (2 STARS) The Theory of Everything wants to be a serious, important film full of ACTING and EMOTION. It wants to weave together science, faith, and love in a way that’s accessible and touching. And it wants to prove that the human spirit can overcome anything. All it really accomplishes is demonstrating that Benoît […]

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review

RATING: (2 STARS) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is many things—a good film not being one of them. But in between non-sensical, neon-soaked action sequences and cliche-ridden superhero movie romance are some surprisingly acceptable moments. Electro’s transformation from bullied to bully is hardly inspired. Ditto Peter Parker’s exploration of his parents’ past. But these oddly (if […]

The Double (2014) Review

The Double (2014) Review

RATING: (2 STARS) Director Richard Ayoade’s The Double finds visual beauty in some objectively ugly places. The entire movie is bathed in harsh, obnoxious light, and a dusty, dirty film—”a patina of shit,” to quote the movie Michael Clayton—engulfs its characters, which supports the film’s themes that the working world is a suffocating, miserable place. […]

The Paper Review

The Paper Review

RATING: (2 STARS) It’s almost stunning how quickly Ron Howard’s The Paper collapses in on itself. Here’s a film that’s mostly fine, if a little familiar, for 80% of its running time. But my God, when it fails, it fails spectacularly. Almost any good will Howard and his all-star cast build is gone by the […]

Lovelace Review

Lovelace Review

RATING: (2 STARS) Ordinary vs. extraordinary. Linda Boreman was the former, but she found herself in the midst of a situation that was very much the latter. Lovelace is both the name Boreman would carry throughout her adult life and the title of the, unfortunately, very ordinary cinematic chronicle of her bizarre career and horrific […]

The Canyons Review

The Canyons Review

RATING: (2 STARS) There’s something perversely mesmerizing about the cinematic train wreck that is The Canyons, the latest from director Paul Schrader. Maybe it’s the director’s confidence. This pulpy, sex-fueled story is utter nonsense, but it’s entertaining nonsense. The performances from porn star James Deen and tabloid queen Lindsay Lohan are abysmal, but they’re also […]

Broken City Review

Broken City Review

RATING: (2 STARS) For a film that vacillates from scene to scene between barely passable and utterly forgettable, Broken City boasts some impressive names both on and off the screen. Mark Wahlberg leads a cast that also includes Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey Wright, and Kyle Chandler. Allen Hughes (of Menace II Socity […]

The Company You Keep Review

The Company You Keep Review

RATING: (2 STARS) If there’s one thing to take away from Robert Redford’s The Company We Keep, it’s that few individuals keep better company than Redford. No film this year (unless, in the cast of Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder, we’re counting the many great actors and actresses missing from the final cut) boasts a […]

The Paperboy Review

The Paperboy Review

RATING: (2 STARS) With The Paperboy, Lee Daniels has made a film best described as a brilliant disaster. His touch is unmistakable, interesting, and ballsy, but it’s also the film’s downfall. Watching The Paperboy, you can’t help but feel suffocated by an overwhelmingly unpleasant sense of camp. While blood, sweat, and Nicole Kidman’s urine spurt, […]

Hitchcock Review

Hitchcock Review

RATING: (2 STARS) Hitchcock is a mostly harmless film, but it’s hard to believe there’s nothing exceptional about the film about one of the most exceptional films ever made. Cinema doesn’t get much better than Psycho, but its director’s making-of biopic is dull and lifeless. Its attempts at characterization are based largely around tall tales […]

Butter Review

Butter Review

RATING: (2 STARS) Butter isn’t just for spreading on toast anymore; It’s also the title of a pretty weak independent comedy directed by Jim Field Smith. The film’s characters are stock, and its narrative is both unfocused and disappointingly safe. For what’s supposed to be 90 minutes of skewering the ridiculousness of small town America, […]

Your Sister’s Sister Review

Your Sister’s Sister Review

RATING: (2 STARS) Your Sister’s Sister is writer-director Lynn Shelton’s attempt to put an uber-realistic, mumblecore spin on a story that’s more than a little artificial. The end result is a film that wanders purposelessly toward a goofy conclusion. There’s talent on display—no doubt about it—but it never manifests itself into anything resembling a satisfying […]

The Words Review

The Words Review

RATING: (2 STARS) Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal—the writing-directing duo behind The Words—go through such pains to make their film (which is about novelists) feel like a novel that it loses sense of its more cinematic qualities. The Words moves at a glacial pace. It’s overwritten. Its stately score and incredibly formal look make the entire exercise feel […]

Who’s That Knocking at My Door Review

Who’s That Knocking at My Door Review

RATING: (2 STARS) Martin Scorsese’s directorial career kicked off with 1967’s Who’s That Knocking at My Door, a stylistically ambitious but dramatically flat slice of New York Italian realism. Show this movie to someone unfamiliar with the director’s masterpieces, and he or she would likely point out the tremendous potential that drips from almost every […]

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