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Black or White (Relativity Media, PG-13)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Thursday, 29 January 2015 20:20

black and_white_75It’s a film of division, not inclusion, and if we hadn’t all seen this film a million times before we might mistake it for trying to show us how we’re all different, not how we’re all the same.

 

Still Alice (Sony Pictures Classics, PG-13)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Thursday, 29 January 2015 20:15

still alice_75Her portrait of Alice is humane and convincing, and Moore is one of the only actresses I can think of who can go from being a commanding presence in a classroom to a feeble, memory-deprived woman inside of the same film without hiding behind heavy aging makeup.

   

Black Sea (Focus Features, R)

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Written by Lea Vrábelová Thursday, 29 January 2015 20:10

black sea_75There is a very smothering feel—the men are so dirty and so sweaty that you can almost smell them on the screen. If you like that kind of panicky feeling, I suggest you watch this film.

 

Mommy (Roadside Attractions, R)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Thursday, 29 January 2015 20:05

mommy 75It’s better to accept Dolan’s film on its own terms and allow him to take you where he wants to go without trying to pigeonhole the experience he is delivering in the process.

   

A Most Violent Year (A24, R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Thursday, 29 January 2015 19:54

most violent_75It’s being marketed as something of a Goodfellas type of throwback, which isn’t far off the mark, but for the most part all of the violence has been stripped away, and the 80s aesthetic and decadence is what remains.

 

Project Almanac (Paramount Pictures, PG-13)

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Written by Samantha LaBat Thursday, 29 January 2015 19:06

project almanac_75I want to note for sci-fi fans that this film focuses less on the time travel and more on the things that the characters want and what drives them toward their actions.

   

Oscar-Nominated Animated Short Films 2015 (shorts.tv, NR)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Thursday, 29 January 2015 11:50

boslaugh oscars_shortfilms_2015_75If you’re weary of the endless discussion about which nomination actually deserved it, it can be great fun to step away from the features and dip into the Oscar-nominated short films.

 

Oscar-Nominated Live-Action Short Films 2015 (shorts.tv, NR)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Thursday, 29 January 2015 11:43

boslaugh oscars_shortfilms_2015_75One thing AMPAS has gotten right is preserving the Oscars for short films…they still offer a chance to see a variety of work from directors who aren’t exactly household names yet, but may be some day.

   

Art and Craft (Oscilloscope Pictures, NR)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Thursday, 29 January 2015 11:27

art and_craft_75To again pretend this was a fiction film, I’d criticize it for having poor characters, but since it’s nonfiction that particular objection doesn’t stick.

 

Everly (Radius-TWC, R)

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Written by Samantha LaBat Thursday, 22 January 2015 22:48

everly 75The best thing about this film is you have absolutely no idea what will happen from one moment to the next. 

   

Mentor (Garden Thieves Pictures, NR)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Wednesday, 21 January 2015 21:30

dvd mentorSupposedly, tolerance and respect for others, including those who are different from you, are core values both of the United States in general and of our school system in particular.

 

Adua and Her Friends (Raro Video/Kino Lorber, NR)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Wednesday, 21 January 2015 21:22

dvd aduaThe dark turn also delivers a strong critique of several of the less pleasant aspects of Italian society.

   

Hi-8 (Wild Eye Releasing, NR)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Wednesday, 21 January 2015 21:20

dvd Hi-8The DVD includes eight short horror films shot on Hi8 or similar video formats.

 

20,000 Days on Earth (Drafthouse Films, NR)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Wednesday, 21 January 2015 21:18

film 20000-days-on-earth_smIt’s a stubbornly avant-garde film that doesn’t really offer much exposition, music, or show footage.

   

The Boy Next Door (Universal Pictures, R)

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Written by Samantha LaBat Wednesday, 21 January 2015 21:15

film boys-next-door_smWhat I did not expect was for the film to be worse than I originally imagined.

 

The Wedding Ringer (Screen Gems, R)

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Written by Matthew Newlin Thursday, 15 January 2015 21:12

weddingringer 75Garelick flirts with gross out humor in the vein of The Hangover, but never fully commits so the blend of comedic styles feels uneven. 

   

American Sniper (Warner Bros., R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Wednesday, 14 January 2015 23:26

sniper 75This could have been a good film, if not for poor storytelling, bad characterization, bad effects…bad everything.

 

Blackhat (Universal Pictures, R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Wednesday, 14 January 2015 23:18

blackhat 75These fighting and chasing and shooting and blowing up sequences are necessary because, you know, computer hacking isn’t visually interesting enough for a mainstream audience.

   

Mr. Turner (Sony Pictures Classics, R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Wednesday, 14 January 2015 23:08

mrturner sqMr. Turner is an obstinately artful film, which wholly fits its subject.

 

Paddington (The Weinstein Company/Dimension, PG)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Wednesday, 14 January 2015 22:53

paddington sqWe come to learn that all bears’ names sound like something between a burp and a roar, which makes sense, I suppose.

   

Selma (Paramount Pictures, PG-13)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Friday, 09 January 2015 11:15

film selma_smSince David Oyelowo is too much of a professional to let the seams show, he may not get the recognition her deserves.

 

Inherent Vice (Warner Bros., R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Friday, 09 January 2015 11:10

film inherent-vice_smIt isn’t so much about the story, but about the details along the way, the ambiance you create.

   

She Makes Comics (Sequart, NR)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Wednesday, 07 January 2015 21:56

She Makes Comics is the kind of film that can teach you a lot while also making you feel optimistic towards the future.

 

 

The Gambler (Paramount Pictures, R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Thursday, 25 December 2014 11:34

gambler 75It expects you to care that this fictional character wants another card at 18 when you don’t give a shit about him in the first place.

   

Into the Woods (Walt Disney Studios, PG)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Monday, 22 December 2014 14:04

film into-the-woods_smDirector Rob Marshall opens up Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s stage musical nicely, making it feel sufficiently cinematic and not just like a filmed play.

 

Unbroken (Universal Pictures, PG-13)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Monday, 22 December 2014 14:01

film unbroken_smIf you think of it as a cross between Forrest Gump, Life of Pi, and The Deer Hunter, but based on a true story, you wouldn’t be too far off.

   

The Imitation Game (The Weinstein Company, PG-13)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Monday, 22 December 2014 13:58

film imitation-game_smThere’s a high degree of forced and borderline silly conflict here, which doesn’t sit well given the dramatic reality of the story.

 

Annie (Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Releasing, PG)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Thursday, 18 December 2014 22:36

annie2014 sqGluck and his team deserve credit for making a good mainstream musical, and also a solid family film for the holidays.

   

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (20th Century Fox, PG)

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Written by Lea Vrábelová Thursday, 18 December 2014 22:26

nightatthemuseum3 sqWe have seen it all before in the previous two movies; of course, that does not make it any less entertaining.

 

Foxcatcher (Sony Pictures Classics, R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Thursday, 18 December 2014 22:17

foxcatcher sqIn addition to Carell’s performance, Tatum’s and Ruffalo’s are Oscar-caliber, as well.

   

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Warner Bros., PG-13)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Tuesday, 16 December 2014 10:21

film hobbit3-smIf this new one is the best, what does that say about the other Hobbit movies?

 

Exodus: Gods and Kings (20th Century Fox, PG-13)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:10

film exodus_75The end result is less like Gladiator or 300 and somewhat closer to Oliver Stone’s Alexander: bloated, campy, often unintentionally funny.

   

Wild (Fox Searchlight, R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:08

film wild_75Wild is a film that seems promising on paper, but in practice is uninvolving and a slight misfire.

 

Top Five (Paramount Pictures, R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:05

film top-five_75After its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, there have been some murmurings that this is a for-real awards contender.

   

The Babadook (IFC Midnight/Sundance Selects, NR)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Monday, 08 December 2014 16:46

film Babadook_75The Babadook is impressive: Imagine if Neil Gaiman wrote the screenplay to a horror movie, and you’d be pretty close.

 

Force Majeure (Magnolia Pictures, R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Monday, 08 December 2014 16:42

film Force-Majeure_75Force Majeure is something of a chamber piece, and is as engrossing as one to have come along recently.

   

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