This Week at the Movies, Part 1 (Jul. 11-13, 2014)

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Published on: July 11, 2014

Our critics have been hard at work reviewing the latest films. Here is a look at what’s coming out this weekend (in select cities, check your local listings) and what else may be in theaters right now.

Opening: Jul. 11-13, 2014

Wide (United States)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Expanding (United States)

Begin Again

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Limited (United States)

Boyhood

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: …will have you reflecting on your own life, all those moments big and small, many of which represented crossroads you may not have seen at the time.

Land Ho!

David Bax @ Battleship Pretension

  • Excerpt: Katz’s team-up with Martha Stephens (she made 2012’s Pilgrim Song, which I have not seen), Land Ho!, is full of respectable filmmaking acumen but contains none of the quirk that makes a movie rise above mere time-passing. It’s a pleasant enough experience on the surface but its lack of identity leaves a void into which rushes, whether intentionally or not, some of the more regrettable aspects of its lead characters.

Susan Granger @ www.susangranger.com

  • Excerpt: A charming comical confection and en enticing Islandic travelogue…

Long Way Down

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

2014 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

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Happy Birthday: Craig Kennedy

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Published on: July 11, 2014

OFCS member Craig Kennedy celebrates his birthday today, July 11. Please help us congratulate him and wish him well.

You can visit his website: Living in Cinema.

Reviews: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: July 10, 2014

dawn_of_the_planet_of_the_apesReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: A Long Way Down (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: July 10, 2014

long_way_downReviews for this film from our members:

  • José Arce @ LaButaca.net [Spanish]
    • Excerpt: Pascal Chaumeil sigue abriendo zanja internacional en su trabajo con esta floja adaptación de la novela de Nick Hornby que sacrifica su mordacidad para abrirse a un discurso más bien meloso.
  • MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com
    • Excerpt: A suicide-club meet-cute? It shouldn’t work, but it does, as wonderfully sardonic British humor and as a reminder that you’re not alone in being messed up in this insane world.
  • [New - 7/10/14] | Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: Based on one of Nick Hornby’s more forgettable novels, four people happen to show up at the same time and same place to commit suicide. More lackluster comedy than drama, these shallow, one-dimensional characters are tough to care about.
  • Pat Mullen @ Cinemablographer
    • Excerpt: This disappointing adaptation of the novel by Nick Hornby falls with a splat.
  • Jason Pirodsky @ Expats.cz
    • Excerpt: Shamelessly cloying, so misguided and vacuous it made me want to scream, A Long Way Down is an unusually bad test of your patience that is bound to induce squirms.

Reviews: The Zero Theorem (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: July 10, 2014

zero_theoremReviews for this film from our members:

Happy Birthday: Robert Cashill

Categories: Birthdays
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Published on: July 10, 2014

OFCS member Robert Cashill celebrates his birthday today, July 10. Please help us congratulate him and wish him well.

You can visit his website: Pop Dose and Cineaste.

The Grab Bag (Jul. 8, 2014)

Categories: The Grab Bag
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Published on: July 8, 2014

OFCS members don’t just write film reviews. Here are several articles you might find interesting.

Best of Lists

2014 in Review: The Best So Far

Pat Mullen @ Cinemablographer

  • Excerpt: Top picks for the best films and performances of 2014 include ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’, Colin Firth, Anne Dorval, and more!

Enjoy Your Stay: The Top 10 Movies About Hotels/Motels

Frank Ochieng @ Sound on Sight

  • Excerpt: Interestingly, big screen hotels and motels almost play an important part as an extra movie character in addition to serving as a backdrop to the proceedings.

Trouble With a Cause: The Top 10 Movie Rebels

Frank Ochieng @ Sound on Sight

  • Excerpt: Now what would the movies be like if everybody on the big screen was a conformist and blandly played by the rules?

Trouble With a Cause: The Top 10 Movie Rebels

Frank Ochieng @ Sound on Sight

  • Excerpt: Now what would the movies be like if everybody on the big screen was a conformist and blandly played by the rules? Every now and then it can be quite therapeutic to have a bad apple shape our rigid outlook with a dosage of cynicism in cinema.

The Worst Movies I Have Seen So Far: 1914-2014

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Cafe Texan

  • Excerpt: These films are not just horrendous, these films are I think Satanic.

Year in Review – Halftime 2014

Kenji Fujishima @ In Review Online

Interviews

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Jul. 7, 2014)

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Published on: July 7, 2014

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Reviews of Classic Films

Atlantic City

Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com

  • Excerpt: “Atlantic City” is an understated drama, full of compact social editorializing, that elevates its seemingly run-of-the-mill trappings into something sublime by way of its emotionally dependent characters.

The Bitter Tea of General Yen

Marilyn Ferdinand @ Ferdy on Films

  • Excerpt: In this subversive Pre-Code romance, Capra builds a dreamy, romantic setting full of sparkling jewels, cherry-blossom moons, caressing costumes, and candle-kissed lighting. Stanwyck glows, her unusual beauty enhanced by Capra’s flattering, soft-focus close-ups, her tears like diamonds on her cheeks.

The Bootleg Files: The Thief and the Cobbler

Phil Hall @ Film Threat

  • Excerpt: A consideration of Richard Williams’ legendary unfinished animated epic

The Divine Lady

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Cafe Texan

  • Excerpt: On the whole I found The Divine Lady to hold up rather well. It told its story well, the acting was not exagerrated (mostly) and as a bonus, it integrated sound effects into a silent film to where it didn’t topple one or the other.

Do the Right Thing

Kenji Fujishima @ The House Next Door

Hearts and Minds

Jamie S. Rich @ Criterion Confessions

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Matt Brown @ Twitch

Judex

Jamie S. Rich @ Criterion Confessions

  • Excerpt: For a movie that features both a wicked villainess in a black catsuit and a pretty circus acrobat (Sylva Koscina, Juliet of the Spirits) who randomly shows up to help out, Judex is decidedly unsexy. None of the relationships have much sizzle, nor does the action really ever take off.

Stations of the Elevated

Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com

  • Excerpt: Kirchheimer relies on formal compositions of New York’s subway rail yards, elevated platforms, and surrounding locations to tell a complex tale of environmental and urban dislocation where pop art billboards — depicting gigantic hamburgers, bikini-clad women, and a male smoker whose enormous mouth issues forth billowing smoke — inform ghetto children who draw on the art and atmosphere around them to create their own original art form.

The Wicker Man (1973)

Diego Salgado @ Diagonal [Spanish]

Recent Home Video Releases

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Happy Birthday: Jason Pirodsky

Categories: Birthdays
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Published on: July 6, 2014

OFCS member Jason Pirodsky celebrates his birthday today, July 6. Please help us congratulate him and wish him well.

You can visit his website: Expats.

This Week at the Movies, Part 2 (Jul. 4, 2014)

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Published on: July 5, 2014

Because of embargoes (those happy little restrictions on when critics can post reviews, good or bad), a lot of our critics aren’t able to share links with you until release day. Here are some last-minute reviews for this weekend’s upcoming films. We’ve kept in all the reviews posted yesterday as well so you can have more help in deciding what to see (if you haven’t already).

Our critics have been hard at work reviewing the latest films. Here is a look at what’s coming out this weekend (in select cities, check your local listings) and what else may be in theaters right now.

Opening: Jul. 2, 2014

Wide (United States)

Deliver Us from Evil

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Earth to Echo

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Tammy

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Limited (United States)

The Girl on the Train

[New Today] Josh Spiegel @ Movie Mezzanine

Life Itself

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

2014 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

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Happy Birthday: Piers Marchant

Categories: Birthdays
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Published on: July 5, 2014

OFCS member Piers Marchant celebrates his birthday today, July 5. Please help us congratulate him and wish him well.

You can visit his website: Sweet Smell of Success, Arkansas Online, Friendly Suggestions and 215 Magazine.

Happy Birthday: Mary Ann Brussat

Categories: Birthdays
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Published on: July 5, 2014

OFCS member Mary Ann Brussat celebrates her birthday today, July 5. Please help us congratulate her and wish her well.

You can visit her website: Spirituality and Practice.

Happy Birthday: Locke Peterseim

Categories: Birthdays
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Published on: July 5, 2014

OFCS member Locke Peterseim celebrates his birthday today, July 5. Please help us congratulate him and wish him well.

You can visit his website: Open Letters Monthly.

This Week at the Movies, Part 1 (Jul. 2, 2014)

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Published on: July 4, 2014

Our critics have been hard at work reviewing the latest films. Here is a look at what’s coming out this weekend (in select cities, check your local listings) and what else may be in theaters right now.

Opening: Jul. 2, 2014

Wide (United States)

Deliver Us from Evil

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Earth to Echo

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Tammy

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Limited (United States)

Life Itself

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

2014 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

(There’s still more to this post. Click here to continue reading…)

Happy Birthday: José Arce

Categories: Birthdays
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Published on: July 4, 2014

OFCS member José Arce celebrates his birthday today, July 4. Please help us congratulate him and wish him well.

You can visit his website: La Butaca.

Reviews: Begin Again (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: July 3, 2014

begin_againReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: Deliver Us from Evil (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: July 3, 2014

deliver_us_from_evilReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: Earth to Echo (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: July 3, 2014

earth_to_echoReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: Life Itself (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: July 3, 2014

life_itselfReviews for this film from our members:

  • Marina Antunes @ Row Three
  • Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ SpiritualityandPractice.com
    • Excerpt: A powerful, illuminating, and heart-affecting documentary about the long career of the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic and his courageous battle with cancer.
  • Bill Clark @ From The Balcony
  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: we see how the man who’d literally lost his voice procured a new one via his blog where he wrote about everything under the sun and if there’s a weakness in this film it is that we don’t hear enough about this fine work.
  • Edwin Davies @ A Mighty Fine Blog
    • Excerpt: I write about films because I love cinema, and if I do it with any skill, it’s because I spent hours reading Ebert.
  • Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: Life Itself is an empathetic, affectionate, and, at times, shattering film that honors its subject through its candor.
  • [New - 7/17/14] | Frank Swietek @ One Guys Opinion
    • Excerpt: A playful-yet-serious rumination on sexual gamesmanship presented through a form of theatrical artifice that Polanski embraces while giving it cinematic polish.
  • Mark Hobin @ Fast Film Reviews
    • Excerpt: The latter scenes with his wife Chaz contrast with his often cantankerous relationship with his famous cohort Gene Siskel. Although those displays are where the documentary soars, the final act provides a poignant coda on the life of a man who left an indelible legacy on film criticism.
  • Dustin Jansick @ Way Too Indie
    • Excerpt: A superb tribute that will leave Roger Ebert fans delighted and inspired. Thumbs Up.
  • Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: As Roger would say about any of his four star reviews, “I could not imagine not seeing this film again.”
  • Benjamin Kramer @ The Voracious Filmgoer
    • Excerpt: It’s filled with biographical information, clips of films, great anecdotes, and loving reminiscences. But what lingers is the sight of Ebert in the hospital, propped up in a wheelchair with a keyboard on his lap, determined to put down more words.
  • Don Lewis @ Film Threat
  • Glenn Lovell @ CinemaDope.com
    • Excerpt: The ultimate cineaste to the end, Ebert saw himself as James’s collorator rather than his compliant subject … Fascinating, engrossing, life-affirming … without being in the least mawkish.
  • Matthew Lucas @ From the Front Row
    • Excerpt: It exudes his love of the movies from every frame, and ultimately, the love that the movies returned to him.
  • Piers Marchant @ sweet smell of success
  • Simon Miraudo @ Quickflix
  • [New - 7/17/14] | Frank Swietek @ One Guys Opinion
    • Excerpt: A playful-yet-serious rumination on sexual gamesmanship presented through a form of theatrical artifice that Polanski embraces while giving it cinematic polish.
  • Jerry Roberts @ Armchair Cinema
    • Excerpt: This is not a sponge-cleaned prepackaged documentaries that glorifies Ebert as a product, but rather the bittersweet story of a kid who came from a small town in down-state Illinois, fell in love with journalism, developed a deep passion for the movies, and became famous by being lucky enough to talk about it on television.
  • Tom Santilli @ Examiner.com
    • Excerpt: Life Itself may not be perfect, but it is compelling, insightful and most of all, personal. I’d like to believe that is exactly what Roger would have wanted it to be.
  • Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com
    • Excerpt: In the end, “Life Itself” has too much to do with Roger Ebert’s death and not enough to do with the man who trademarked a couple of thumbs pointed either up or down.
  • Josh Spiegel @ Sound on Sight
  • Betty Jo Tucker @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews
    • Excerpt: A truly extraordinary documentary about Roger Ebert’s life — warts and all.
  • Mel Valentin @ VeryAware.com
    • Excerpt: A heartfelt, poignant documentary of the world’s favorite film critic.

Reviews: Tammy (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: July 3, 2014

tammyReviews for this film from our members:

  • Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire
    • Excerpt: The formula is going to wear itself out, and either McCarthy will disappear, or she’ll figure out how to properly harness her considerable talent. For now, ‘Tammy’ is a disappointment, because it asks an energetic, unpredictable performer to play it so calculatingly, frustratingly safe.
  • [New - 7/17/14] | Frank Swietek @ One Guys Opinion
    • Excerpt: A playful-yet-serious rumination on sexual gamesmanship presented through a form of theatrical artifice that Polanski embraces while giving it cinematic polish.
  • Bill Clark @ From The Balcony
  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: It is admirable that McCarthy and Falcone try to push an agenda that gives the young perspective on their elders (and vice versa), but except for a (very) few funny set pieces, the film’s pretty flat.
  • Jim Dixon @ Examiner.com
    • Excerpt: The most frustrating thing about this ego-driven misfire of a movie is the unforgivable squandering of Melissa McCarthy’s gigantic talents. Beautiful and funny with almost preternaturally good comic timing, McCarthy is absolutely wasted here, and by her own script.
  • Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: The jokes are either too obvious or rely on our patience for the actors to riff on a joke well after its point has been made.
  • Susan Granger @ www.susangranger.com
    • Excerpt: Tiresome and tedious, Melissa McCarthy takes an unfortunate pratfall.
  • Travis Hopson @ Examiner
    • Excerpt: It makes one wonder why this was such a big deal project for her in the first place.
  • MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com
    • Excerpt: Dumb, pointless, unentertaining crap. But at least it’s about women. Yay? Nah.
  • Daniel Kelly @ Danland
    • Excerpt: The picture gets off to a boisterous start, evading all but the most basic of character work, leaving audiences with no point of emotional connection for the spiralling labyrinth of nothingness that follows.
  • Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic
    • Excerpt: Jagged around the edges and far from perfect, just like its protagonist, TAMMY is still fitfully amusing and its dramatic moments surprisingly work more often than not. Ultimately, the moderate success of this episodic road dramedy all comes back to Melissa McCarthy whose presence alone makes a considerable difference in jockeying material and making it better.
  • Kristin Dreyer Kramer @ NightsAndWeekends.com
  • Benjamin Kramer @ The Voracious Filmgoer
  • Piers Marchant @ sweet smell of success
  • Josh Spiegel @ Movie Mezzanine
  • Frank Swietek @ One Guys Opinion
    • Excerpt: Too scattershot and episodic to work as a whole, but overall it’s a better vehicle for McCarthy than those she’s shouldered before.

Reviews: Willow Creek (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: July 3, 2014

willow_creekReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: Young & Beautiful (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: July 3, 2014

young_and_beautifulReviews for this film from our members:

Happy Birthday: Eric Henderson

Categories: Birthdays
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Published on: July 3, 2014

OFCS member Eric Henderson celebrates his birthday today, July 3. Please help us congratulate him and wish him well.

You can visit his website: Slant Magazine and CBS Minnesota.

The Grab Bag (Jul. 1, 2014)

Categories: The Grab Bag
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Published on: July 1, 2014

OFCS members don’t just write film reviews. Here are several articles you might find interesting.

Best of Lists

The Bad Movies Volume 1: 1914-2008

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Cafe Texan

  • Excerpt: Now, we close out our Review Retrospective with the bottom of the bottom, those simply dreadful films from yesteryear that I found hideous, evil, I daresay…Satanic.

The Bad Movies Volume 2: 2008-2014

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Cafe Texan

  • Excerpt: The listing of the Worst Movies I have seen since I began writing about films.

The Best Films of 2014 (So Far)

Simon Miraudo @ Quickflix

Get into the Habit: The Top 10 Movie Nuns on the Big Screen

Frank Ochieng @ Sound on Sight

  • Excerpt: Spirituality in cinema has been expressed in various ways where the feel-good aspect of faith-based films are put to great use for emotional manipulation.

She Works Hard for the Money: The Top 10 “Loose” Women in Film

Frank Ochieng @ Sound on Sight

  • Excerpt: One of the most explosive roles for women in motion pictures have been in the titillating realm of prostitution.

The Top 15 Hollywood Movies Shot in Prague

Jason Pirodsky @ Expats.cz

  • Excerpt: After the fall of communism and the formation of the Czech Republic in 1992, Hollywood studios rushed into the country to take advantage of not only low production costs, but also the high level of talent available throughout the local industry.

Interviews

Bruno Forzani and Hélène Cattet on THE STRANGE COLOUR OF YOUR BODY’S TEARS

Anton Bitel @ FlmDivider

Hidden in Plain Sight: Joanna Coates on Hide and Seek

Jennie Kermode @ Eye For Film

Kat Candler on “Hellion”

Frank Swietek @ One Guys Opinion

Festivals: Individual Reviews

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Jun. 30, 2014)

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Published on: June 30, 2014

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Reviews of Classic Films

Batman

Kenji Fujishima @ The House Next Door

China Gate

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee Coffee and more Coffee

The Last Day of Summer

Marilyn Ferdinand @ Ferdy on Films

  • Excerpt: Winner of 1958 Grand Prix at the International Festival of Documentary and Short Feature Films in Venice, The Last Day of Summer has the brevity of most experimental films, and it creates a dreamlike ambiguity that makes an almost too-subtle comment on World War II.

Vertigo

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies

  • Excerpt: Did any movie produced under the Hollywood studio system ever torture its protagonist as mercilessly as ‘Vertigo’ torments Scottie Ferguson?

Recent Home Video Releases

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