David Riedel

Ron Howard recaptures his movie making mojo with the racing rivalry flick, Rush, starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl.

Film review: Ron Howard’s Rush is a high-speed joy ride

It’s that time of year between the end of summer and the beginning of the Oscar races when, traditionally, the genuine crap starts hitting the multiplexes. (You’ll also find crap from January to March, and, depending on your point of view, all year.) Rush, Ron Howard’s latest, is not crap. It isn’t Oscar-worthy, either, but […]

Hugh Jackman overdoes it and Paul Dano refines his creepy persona in "Prisoners," which is actually pretty good. Photo Credit: Wilson Webb

Thank your favorite deity: Summer movies are over

Let’s not mince words. It was a lackluster summer, movie-wise. For every decent surprise (Fast & Furious 6, which was better than it had any right to be; The Spectacular Now, which is a bittersweet rumination on growing up), there was a major letdown. Take Elysium. The Matt Damon-starring, Jodie Foster-supporting progressive sci-fi bloodfest should […]

Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro are married and in the mob in Luc Besson’s The Family.

The Family pulls a few punches to get laughs

When I think of Luc Besson or watch one of his movies, the thing I feel most is ambivalence. It’s refreshing to watch a guy use real violence in movies that are supposed to be comedies—violence isn’t all that funny, even when it’s played for laughs. A great example of horrific violence used for comedic […]

Hollywood heavyweights Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez never quite gain enough speed in the plotless action flick Getaway. Image: Warner Bros.

Film review: Getaway

“Tremendously shitty.” That’s the best phrase to describe the new Ethan Hawke-Selena Gomez (!) driving thriller Getaway, a movie in which characters can break the Internet in fewer than five seconds and a car can be armored to prevent total destruction, but the guy who armored it forgets long enough to send someone to shoot it up who didn’t bring armor piercing bullets.

Robots infiltrate a small English town in order to stop old friends from completing a reunion pub crawl in The World’s End.

Film review: The World’s End

Sorry, peeps. The World’s End just isn’t as good as Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, the other features in the Simon Pegg-Nick Frost-Edgar Wright canon. Luckily, The World’s End is still a lot of fun, and Pegg and Frost prove once again to be captivating screen presences and fully committed, especially when dealing […]

Jennifer Aniston (above) and Jason Sudeikis star in the mad, mad Mary Jane farce, We’re the Millers.

Film Review: We’re the Millers

We’re the Millers has the kind of story that can be hammered out in about 15 minutes, if its writers follow the “Save the Cat” formula. (Read this outline before you see it and you’ll actually see the story beats play out when you watch the movie.) The central plot—a pot dealer recruits three people […]

Held hostage by his own immortality, The Wolverine (played by Hugh Jackman), mutates his way through a thrilling superhero flick. Photo credit Ben Rothstein.

Film review: The Wolverine is a comic book blast

Now that we’re six films into the X-Men series, it’s about time we got one that can stand on its own. It’s not that viewers should skip all the other X-Men films—but seriously, skip Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand, the truly wretched X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and Bryan Singer’s original X-Men—but Hugh Jackman is captivating […]

Kristin Wiig (left) and Annette Bening co-star in the you-can’t-go-home-again comedy Girl Most Likely. Photo provided by Lionsgate.

Film review: Girl Most Likely fumbles through a series of bad choices

Give Kristen Wiig credit: She’s clearly not interested in repeating the Bridesmaids formula. And though Girl Most Likely has, at least on the surface, some plot threads in common with Wiig’s breakthrough movie—she’s a loser who moves home with her mother (Annette Bening)—it’s a decidedly more somber picture. That’s not to say Girl Most Likely […]

Spoiler alert: Katniss Everdeen is still a terrible name. From left: Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." Photo credit: Murray Close

Spoiler alert: No more spoiler alerts

There’s an episode of “Magnum P.I.” in which Magnum (Tom Selleck), who played for Navy’s football team during his time at the academy, can’t watch that season’s Army-Navy game live on television. There’s a case or someone gets shot or something—you know how it goes with Magnum. This is all from distant memory, but Magnum […]

A new breed of bad guy, the kaiju, emerges from a breach in the ocean’s floor to destroy earth in the summer thriller Pacific Rim.

Film review: Pacific Rim knows no monster fight boundaries

Many years ago, when summer action blockbusters were a new-ish thing, my mother would say at their conclusion, “That movie was so loud.” It wasn’t really a complaint. It was an observation that, at 10 years-old, I found spurious. Maybe they were loud, maybe they weren’t. I was probably more interested in disagreeing with her. […]

Supervillains have more fun, and so does the audience, in the giddy sequel Despicable Me 2.

Film review: Despicable Me 2

How does a reformed supervillain, Gru (Steve Carell), have anything to do in a sequel in which he’s not made the villain? Simple: He’s recruited by an international crime-fighting organization led by Silas Ramsbottom (ha, yeah; he’s played by Steve Coogan and resembles an obese James Fox) and partnered with Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) to […]

Johnny Depp (left) pumps up the irony as Tonto to Armie Hammer’s Lone Ranger.

Film review: Despite itself, The Lone Ranger delivers

In case you missed it, lots of people are angry over Johnny Depp’s decision to play Tonto in the manner he plays Tonto in The Lone Ranger. There’s further anger over the decision to have a white man play Tonto. And the dead bird on his head. Et cetera. Sorry, peeps: The redface is a […]

Left to right: Mireille Enos is Karin Lane and Brad Pitt is Gerry Lane in WORLD WAR Z, from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions in association with Hemisphere Media Capital and GK Films.

Film review: World War Z

Brad Pitt’s attack on zombies fails to capture the trend It’s not that World War Z is bad. Any movie with star Brad Pitt and director Marc Forster—whose resume swings from Stranger Than Fiction to Machine Gun Preacher-—can’t be bad. It can, however, be pretty mediocre. Fans of Max Brooks’ novel World War Z would […]

Brad Pitt tries to save his family from being chowed on by zombies in "World War Z," all while having amazing hair. Photo credit: Jaap Buitendijk, (c) 2013 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

A movie’s source material doesn’t matter

It’s the perfect time of year to discuss a longstanding moviegoers’ gripe: “The book was better.” Or “they changed the ending.” Or World War Z is an in-name adaptation only. (To be fair, that last statement, sort of uttered by World War Z novelist Max Brooks, isn’t a gripe. It’s the book’s fans who are […]

Henry Cavill does the tights and cape to portray Superman in the superhero reboot, "Man of Steel", produced by Christopher Nolan. Warner Bros.

Film review: Man of Steel

After seeing Man of Steel, the Christopher Nolan-iphied Superman update, it’s become clear: Nolan is limited. He needs real-world characters who can supply real-world solutions, even if those real-world characters are fighting The Joker or swimming in someone else’s dreams. Starting off on an alien planet? It’s just too otherworldly for him to make worldly. An alien infant crash-landing on Earth needs a […]

Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel, James Franco and Craig Robinson face fear in Seth Rogan’s Hollywood house party meets apocalypse comedy This is the End. SONY PICTURES.

Film review: This is the End

This is the End is so devoid of good ideas, smarts or laughs that it’s hard to understand just what its purpose is. I can only conclude it’s to get the six leads together who appear on the poster—James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson—and let them riff. And, boy, […]

The Smiths rely on their father-son bond to survive a post-global warming planet and pull off the sci-fi summer flick, After Earth. SONY PICTURES.

Film review: After Earth

Will Smith and M. Night Shyamalan made a movie together. See, they’re both into patterns. After all, in a recent interview in New York Magazine, Smith said, “I’m a student of patterns.” Shyamalan made a movie, Signs, about crop circles (which, really, are patterns). And finally, they’re both in a holding pattern of making shit movies, so it should be no surprise they combined their talents for After Earth.

Tyrese Gibson (above) is flying high in the sixth installment of the quippy, car crash thriller franchise Fast & Furious 6. Universal Pictures.

Film Review: Fast & Furious 6 is big, dumb summertime fun

Wow. Where does one begin? The insipid dialogue? Paul Walker’s non-presence? A plot that makes almost no sense? Stunts that defy the laws of physics? Nah. Let’s start here: I can’t believe how much fun I had watching Fast & Furious 6. Don’t get me wrong. It’s so absurd and stupid that it doesn’t really […]

Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) lead the Enterprise crew in an epic battle for the soul of the fleet. Photo Paramount Pictures.

Film Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

A great trick director J.J. Abrams and screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman pulled with Star Trek (2009) was to shake the Etch-a-Sketch and start over. After all, how does one deal with the monster that is the Star Trek universe? One doesn’t. Abrams destroyed, on screen, nearly everything that came before him. It’s disheartening […]

Leonardo DiCaprio plays the dashing and mysterious millionaire in the glitzy Hollywood version of The Great Gatsby. Warner Bros.

Film Review: Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby forgoes substance for spectacle

Now that The Great Gatsby is out, there’s just one relevant question: To whom is this film targeted? It can’t be people who read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel when it was first released. They’re dead. Is it for recent high school graduates? The millennials, who are plugged into everything all the time and don’t seem to have the attention span for Fitzgerald? Or is it for hip-hop lovers?