Movie Reviews


Magnificent Seven

Release Date: September 23, 2016

September 22, 2016 by

Action/Adventure

Oversized without being big-hearted, The Magnificent Seven has an acceptably interesting gun battle finale. But it removes the element of desperation from the story of the hired defenders of a small Western frontier town. In the latest iteration of this story, they're reduced to a band of fun-loving, wise-cracking mercenaries, just here to have a good time. The hamlet of Rose Cre... Read More

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Snowden

Release Date: September 16, 2016

September 21, 2016 by

Drama

Oliver Stone's over-emphatic style can be alienating, particularly when he's over-explaining things that don't need explaining, while glossing over the more interesting details. Whether it was fair or not, W. had juice. Snowden is more of a generic hero's struggle that ends upbeat, with the title whistleblower (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) receiving hugs and applause. Edward Snowden was... Read More

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Sully

Release Date: September 9, 2016

September 14, 2016 by

Drama

Giving the audience what they want—a fantastic aerial disaster in which no one gets hurt—Clint Eastwood's often-pretty-good Sully is highlighted by the self-effacing underacting of Tom Hanks as Chesley Sullenberger. This time, Eastwood is certainly lionizing a higher grade of person than American Sniper's Chris Kyle. Appropriately, Hanks plays the Diablo Valley-based pilot as a d... Read More

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Max Rose

Release Date: September 2, 2016

September 14, 2016 by

Drama

Decades after his heyday, Jerry Lewis is still a dreadful and awesome figure overshadowing comedy. Lewis has a vast wavelength: sometimes he's great, and when he's bad, he's even greater. Daniel Noah's 2013 indie movie Max Rose—was it released or did it escape?—gives Lewis a well-deserved part. If the movie is tripe, Lewis fills a lot of ruminative closeups. It gives him a chance to... Read More

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Indignation

Release Date: July 29, 2016

September 07, 2016 by

Drama

What's a nice Jewish boy doing in a movie like this? The answer is that the often squirm-inducing Indignation is adapted from a novel by Philip Roth, in whose work nice Jewish boys are often cast far out of their comfort zones and into the wide, treacherous world. Roth published the book in 2008, but the story looks back in anguish at the bad old days of social repression and parano... Read More

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Intolerance (1916)

Release Date: September 4, 1916

August 31, 2016 by

Drama Romance

Nate Parker's Birth of a Nation, opening in October but already a cinch for the Oscars, will draw attendees who certainly won't decode the title's reference. Parker's story of the American avenger Nat Turner appropriates the title of D.W. Griffith's 1915 Civil War epic. Birth of a Nation was cinema's first blockbuster. Even in 1915, there were those who objected to Griffith's vil... Read More

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Morgan

Release Date: September 2, 2016

August 31, 2016 by

Sci Fi/Fantasy Suspense/Thriller

In essence, Morgan is a heinously overproduced student film, complete with a scad of actors who are too good for it, and a twist ending you'd guess even if director Luke Scott weren't the offspring of Blade Runner's Ridley Scott. A generous person could call Morgan as a prequel to that vaunted, cult sci-fi film from 1982. It's about the creation of genetically altered replicants by ... Read More

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Kubo And The Two Strings

Release Date: August 19, 2016

August 24, 2016 by

Animation

Fans are startings to look forward to a new Laika film the same way we used to look forward to a new Pixar. Kubo and the Two Strings is the newest 3-D stop-motion animation from the Portland-based studio responsible for Coraline, Paranorman and The Boxtrolls. One scene has a backdrop of what looks like the famed Rashomon gate next to sequoia-sized trees; this ravishing, delicate sto... Read More

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Lo And Behold, Reveries Of The Connected World

Release Date: August 19, 2016

August 17, 2016 by

Documentary

Technologies shape us before we even halfway sense their presence. Werner Herzog examines the internet itself in Lo and Behold: Reveries of a Connected World, a documentary in 10 chapters, with commentary by local engineers such as Elon Musk and Stanford's Sebastian Thrun. The foreboding words, "What hath God wrought?" were the first ever transmitted via telegraph; the first mess... Read More

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Hell Or High Water

Release Date: August 12, 2016

August 17, 2016 by

Drama

Noticeably overwritten, yet tremendously exciting—Hell or High Water well deserves its growing rep as one of the best movies of the year. In West Texas, a pair of brothers turns modestly criminal, wearing black ski-masks and raiding the cash drawers of several half-dead small-town banks. There is a Robin Hood element to the crimes: they're intended to pay the mortgage on a family ra... Read More

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Florence Foster Jenkins

Release Date: August 12, 2016

August 10, 2016 by

Comedy Drama

Something that's really perfectly awkward is, in essence, perfect. Florence Foster Jenkins is Stephen Frears' biopic of a show-business legend who deserves her place next to The Shaggs and Ed Wood. Meryl Streep certainly sentimentalizes this deluded woman's life, but she also honors it. Frears is crafty, not letting the cat out of the bag until the right time. It was fun to watch... Read More

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Sausage Party

Release Date: August 12, 2016

August 10, 2016 by

Animation Comedy

Wrong on so many levels, the R-rated Sausage Party is a parody of Toy Story; one abject bath salts-abuser drives around with a "Pixar" bumper sticker on the back of his beater car. In a supermarket, the joyous pack of hotdogs can't wait to get between the vertical lips of the waiting buns who are saving themselves for when they're purchased. That day will come soon, since the store ... Read More

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Review: 'Snowden'

Oliver Stone's new biopic oversimplifies the life of the whistleblower

Robert Wise: We Honor the P...

With 60 years in Hollywood, his influential works changed Hollywood forever.

Sully Provides Relief After...

Tom Hanks delivers a convincing hero, and much needed hope, on the weekend an...