Jonathan Kiefer



The animated nautical journey Finding Nemo 3D finds new dimension in a return to the big screen. (Disney)

Film review: Finding Nemo 3D

The 3D re-release of Pixar’s 2003 undersea saga may or may not be a bid from director Andrew Stanton to make back some of the cash his John Carter lost at the box office. Or it may just be de rigueur for controlling partner and distributor Disney to slap a 3D stamp on its most […]

Shia LaBeouf stars in the moonshine gangster drama Lawless, set in Virginia's Franklin County.

Film review: Lawless

With more precision and presence of mind, Lawless might have pitched itself as an origin story of the whole gangster-movie genre. But like the transparent moonshine its backwoods brooders guzzle down in just such a way as to remind us it’s fake, the movie itself seems conspicuously diluted, more water than fire. Sourced from Matt […]

Film review: Celeste and Jesse Forever

Film review: Celeste and Jesse Forever

When you’re young and in love, “forever” is a word you dare to carve in tree trunks or wedding cakes. Getting older, if you’re not careful, that same word could mean a purgatory of codependence. Such is the wry wisdom of Celeste and Jesse Forever, a romantic comedy whose main characters spend the duration figuring […]

Jeremy Renner furthers the thematic cat-and-mouse plot line in The Bourne Legacy.

Film review: The Bourne Legacy

The best way to enjoy The Bourne Legacy is by not having seen the other three Bourne films. (Oops.) That way, those trilogy tidbits which play out again here, as a sort of instigating background action, won’t seem redundant but instead like alluring ads for the better and more adroitly managed movies that still await […]

Zach Galifianakis and Will Ferrell play fast and loose with the political system in The Campaign.

Film review: The Campaign

The agenda of director Jay Roach’s new movie is obviously not to mine the finer nuances of American electoral procedures. This might come as a shock or a relief, depending on whether you go into The Campaign remembering Roach as the politically-minded maker of HBO’s Recount and Game Change or you only know him from […]

Colin Farrell fills Arnie’s shoes in the remake of the sci-fi sub-classic Total Recall. (Columbia Pictures)

Film review: Total Recall

And so another Philip K. Dick story gets another shot at being another movie. Funny how hard it is not to go in feeling protective and skeptical, as if Paul Verhoeven’s admittedly singular Schwarzenegger staple from 1990 were some kind of inviolable masterpiece. This version, from director Len Wiseman and a complex web of writers, […]

Quvenzhané Wallis stars as Hushpuppy in the survival fantasy Beasts of the Southern Wild. (Twentieth Century Fox)

Film review: Beasts of the Southern Wild

The feature debut from writer-director Benh Zeitlin, working with playwright Lucy Alibar and a New Orleans collective, rides in on a murky flood of festival hype. And what caused that anyway? The inevitable Sundance-stamped confluence of poverty porn and indie quaintness? Wow, already this is sounding cynical, but Beasts of the Southern Wild has a […]

Jonah Hill, Ben Stiller, Richard Ayoade, and Vince Vaughn buddy up to protect the neighborhood in The Watch. (Twentieth Century Fox)

The Watch; R, 98 minutes; Regal Downtown Mall 6

Do not think that just because its name was changed, the movie formerly known as Neighborhood Watch has in any way been neutered. Granted, it does have some fertility issues, even within the plot, but those were there to begin with. You can rest assured that The Watch, as it’s now called, takes the maintenance […]

Christian Bale stars in The Dark Night Rises, the final installation in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. (Warner Bros.)

The Dark Knight Rises; PG-13, 164 minutes; Regal Seminole Square 4

No wonder Bruce Wayne retired from being Batman. Everybody wants to psychoanalyze the guy: His butler, his burglar, his nemesis, his police commissioner, and practically anyone with a hand in managing his assets. Among other things, he is accused of pretense and, perhaps worse, of “practiced apathy.” Well, it was a double identity, and a […]

Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, and Bruce Willis star in Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, a whimsical tween love story set against a nostalgic 1960s backdrop. (Focus Features)

Moonrise Kingdom; PG-13, 94 minutes; Regal Downtown Mall 6

The new Wes Anderson movie is certainly a richer pastiche than anything else you’ll see at the multiplex this season. And in its Andersonian manner, Moonrise Kingdom is a nourishing regressive pleasure, a sort of summer movie for grown-ups. Yes, the manner is mannered, but the intention is noble: to affirm the dignity of escapism […]

To Rome With Love at Vinegar Hill Theatre

To Rome With Love at Vinegar Hill Theatre

The eternal city hosts an aspiring cast that includes Alessandro Tiberi, Roberto Della Casa, and Penélope Cruz in Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love. (Sony Pictures Classics) For some of us, Woody Allen could film the phone book and we’d find pleasure in it: How nice all those listings might look in his signature white-on-black […]

Prometheus; R, 124 minutes; Regal Seminole Square 4

Prometheus; R, 124 minutes; Regal Seminole Square 4

  Michael Fassbender stars in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, an appendage to the sci-fi horror franchise Alien. (Twentieth Century Fox) In 1979, the crew of the space vessel Nostromo came upon a shipwreck, in whose cockpit sat the fossilized corpse of a giant man with his guts blown inside out. What was that all about, the […]

Dark Shadows; PG-13, 113 minutes; Carmike Cinema 6

Dark Shadows; PG-13, 113 minutes; Carmike Cinema 6

Johnny Depp stars in Tim Burton’s over-the-top adaptation of the ’60s supernatural soap opera, “Dark Shadows.” (Photo by Warner Brothers) Even in our dimmest memories of the original “Dark Shadows” TV show, the reluctant vampire Barnabas Collins stands out. He wasn’t a major player at first, but he had a way of chomping at the […]

Marvel’s The Avengers; PG-13, 155 minutes; Regal Seminole Square 4

Marvel’s The Avengers; PG-13, 155 minutes; Regal Seminole Square 4

Marvel Comics’ action figure all-stars come to life on the big screen (above: Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson) in Joss Whedon’s production of Marvel’s The Avengers. (Disney Pictures) It seems like a fine idea to put Joss Whedon in charge of Marvel’s The Avengers. Given his knack for wisecracking-ensemble revitalizations of chancy entertainment properties […]

Marley; PG-13, 144 minutes; Vinegar Hill Theatre

Marley; PG-13, 144 minutes; Vinegar Hill Theatre

After years in the making, Marley, the documentary of Rastafarian reggae legend Bob Marley was released on 4/20. (Magnolia Pictures) At first glance, I gleaned from an e-mail subject line only that it was a movie and that it was called Marley. I drew a breath, made a face. One more treacle bomb from the […]

The Kid with a Bike; Not rated, 87 minutes; Vinegar Hill Theatre

The Kid with a Bike; Not rated, 87 minutes; Vinegar Hill Theatre

Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s The Kid With A Bike stars Thomas Doret and Cécile De France in search of a heartful home. (Sundance Selects) Sibling Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne bring their customary immediacy and unsentimental compassion to this naturalistic fable of an innocently furious at-risk kid (Thomas Doret) who finds himself […]

Jiro Dreams of Sushi; PG, 81 minutes; Vinegar Hill Theatre

Jiro Dreams of Sushi; PG, 81 minutes; Vinegar Hill Theatre

Lauded as the best sushi chef on the planet, Jiro Ono (left) defines the secrets of success in David Gelb’s documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. (Magnolia Pictures) One reason it’s so hard to get a table at Sukiyabashi Jiro, the unprepossessing sushi restaurant wedged beneath an office building just next to a Tokyo subway station, […]

American Reunion; R, 113 minutes; Carmike Cinema 6

American Reunion; R, 113 minutes; Carmike Cinema 6

It’s a little unnerving how the American Pie movies are starting to add up to some kind of national sociology. With the latest, American Reunion, exuding a relaxed sense of duty, the whole franchise seems like the adolescent sex-farce equivalent of Michael Apted’s Up series 

The Hunger Games; PG-13, 142 minutes; Regal Seminole Square 4

The Hunger Games; PG-13, 142 minutes; Regal Seminole Square 4

Jennifer Lawrence stars in the post-apocalyptic death match drama, The Hunger Games, based on the best-selling novel by Suzanne Collins. (Lionsgate Films) Odds are, by the time you read this, you’ll already have seen it. Possibly more than once. So let’s discuss. How about those Hunger Games, huh?! Speaking of odds, let’s speak of odds, […]