Reviews: The Book of Life (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: October 16, 2014

book_of_lifeReviews for this film from our members:

  • William Bibbiani @ CraveOnline
    • Excerpt: I don’t know about you and your kids, but after watching The Book of Life, I couldn’t WAIT to die. It certainly looks like a serious improvement on everything I’m doing right now.
  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: If only the story, which includes an awkwardly defined character called Candle Maker voiced by Ice Cube(?!), were up to its visuals.
  • Tony Dayoub @ Cinema Viewfinder
    • Excerpt: While not the animation game-changer that THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS may have been, THE BOOK OF LIFE perhaps has even more room to grow into a classic in the coming years. And curiously it has a similar pedigree.
  • Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: Here is a movie of impressive imagination and surprising sympathy that still winds up feeling like the product of less pure intentions.
  • Kenji Fujishima @ Slant Magazine
  • [New - 10/24/14] | MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com
    • Excerpt: The animation is fresh, unique, and gorgeous. But we don’t need another tale of a man having exciting adventures while a woman waits around to marry him.
  • Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: n this global and interconnected time, I suppose it is about time a Mexican fairy tale complete with Mexican traditions, culture, and its people find a place on the big screen.
  • Brent McKnight @ Paste Magazine
    • Excerpt: Despite revolving around a formulaic love story and a climactic battle with a largely inconsequential villain, The Book of Life carves out a stunning visual niche and a fantastic world full of memorable characters that provides a different perspective than the typical animated feature.
  • [New - 10/23/14] | Darren Mooney @ the m0vie blog
    • Excerpt: A real livewire…
  • [New - 10/24/14] | Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys
  • [New - 10/23/14] | Kristy Puchko @ Kristy Puchko
    • Excerpt: Kids will likely eat up this candy-colored confection offered up just in time for Halloween/Day of the Dead. But Fox Animation still lacks that something extra, that compelling plot and jaw-dropping level of animation detail that makes their movies a must-see for anyone over the age of ten.

Reviews: Fury (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: October 16, 2014

furyReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: The Good Lie (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: October 16, 2014

good_lieReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: Nas: Time Is Illmatic (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: October 16, 2014

nas_time_is_illmaticReviews for this film from our members:

  • [New - 10/2/14] | Candice Frederick @ Reel Talk
  • [New - 10/9/14] | Travis Hopson @ Examiner
    • Excerpt: A celebration of the seminal album’s 20th anniversary, but also a dissection of the influences that allowed a street poet like Nas to create such an influential album.
  • [New - 10/10/14] | Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: “Life’s a Bitch” are apt words to describe Queensbridge, but for some folks out there, it is home.
  • [New - 10/2/14] | Mike McGranaghan @ The Aisle Seat
    • Excerpt: An engaging document of how – and, more importantly, why – this particular album had such an impact.
  • [New - 10/2/14] | Aaron Pinkston @ Battleship Pretension
    • Excerpt: Nas: Time Is Illmatic, a look at the influential album twenty years later, doesn’t feel like the complete account that some may want, but it is a sharp and entertainment profile of an important artist.

Reviews: St. Vincent (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: October 16, 2014

st_vincentReviews for this film from our members:

  • Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire
    • Excerpt: The big tearjerker ending is maudlin and manipulative, which would be a bigger problem if it didn’t totally get me anyway, sniff sniff. In that sequence, and throughout the movie, Murray elevates the material — but the scene itself is a bit worrisome, since it is, in essence, a celebration of Bill Murray, and that kind of pandering isn’t what we like about him, as a personality or an actor.
  • Nicholas Bell @ IONCINEMA.com
    • Excerpt: Melfi puts in a bit more elbow grease in this tried and true concoction, to make an effective, though utterly formulaic film.
  • Luke Bonanno @ DVDizzy.com
    • Excerpt: St. Vincent would not be nearly as endearing with a different actor in the title role.
  • Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ SpiritualityandPractice.com
    • Excerpt: A heart-affecting cinematic parable about the saints among us who enable us to come alive in new ways.
  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: …we’ve seen all this before (“Bad Santa” being but one example). Still, Murray is Murray and watching his sweetness peek through his outer curmudgeonly crust is worth the price of admission. More surprising is Naomi Watts…
  • Billy Donnelly @ This Is Infamous
  • Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: It gives us a character who is completely unlikeable on the surface, and without changing a thing about who the character is, the film dares us not to like him by the end.
  • [New - 10/23/14] | Steven Greydanus @ Crux
    • Excerpt: “St. Vincent” is a movie essentially without a single surprise, which doesn’t make it disagreeable.
  • Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: Bill Murray engraves his name with authority on the growing list of movie adults who should be banned from interacting with children. Picture Billy Bob Thornton’s Bad Santa, Adam Sandler’s Big Daddy, and to make sure the charges stick, we must not forget any man who has played Humbert Humbert as he helps ‘guide’ Lolita through those tough adolescent years.
  • [New - 10/24/14] | Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic
    • Excerpt: What one will find nice and heartwarming, another will find forced and cloying, but “St. Vincent” is the definition of a perfectly pleasant crowd-pleaser done well enough.
  • [New - 10/24/14] | Kristin Dreyer Kramer @ NightsAndWeekends.com
  • Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk
    • Excerpt: riter/director Theodore Melfi’s major-league debut is hard to dislike and certainly will work as a crowd-pleaser for folks looking to warm their hearts. For all the salty language and Vin’s rowdy lifestyle, there is a nice message here and a genuine sense of inclusion.
  • Frank Swietek @ One Guys Opinion
    • Excerpt: Bill Murray’s irascibility, even at the most mawkish moments, is enough to save the picture from drowning in a sea of sentimentality.

Reviews: Whiplash (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: October 16, 2014

whiplashReviews for this film from our members:

  • David Bax @ Battleship Pretension
    • Excerpt: To Chazelle’s credit, he asks questions seriously and seriously ponders the myriad outcomes. In the end, though, his film never uses its fangs enough for the questions to leave a mark.
  • Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ SpiritualityandPractice.com
    • Excerpt: A mesmerizing drama about the toxic fallout from perfectionism and unbridled ambition.
  • [New - 10/23/14] | Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: Damien Chazelle begins his film with a black screen, the sound of a drumbeat escalating into a frenzy, before we see Andrew isolated with his kit at the end of a hall. Tunnel vision. In one brief moment, Chazelle’s set his primary theme.
  • [New - 10/23/14] | Billy Donnelly @ This Is Infamous
  • Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: The greatest testament to Chazelle’s accomplishment with these characters is that we dread what’s still to come for them.
  • James Jay Edwards @ FilmFracture
    • Excerpt: ‘Whiplash’ Is The Most Exciting Band Geek Movie Ever
  • Candice Frederick @ Reel Talk
  • [New - 10/23/14] | Mark Hobin @ Fast Film Reviews
    • Excerpt: Not since Black Swan have the body modifying rigors generated from one’s dedication to an artistic discipline, been rendered so graphically on film.
  • Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: Instead of metronomes and Mr. Holland’s Opus, the audience plows ahead into an edge of your seat thriller.
  • [New - 10/24/14] | Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic
    • Excerpt: Never would one expect a film like “Whiplash” about discipline and raw talent in the world of jazz music to be as brutal and emotionally distressing as a blood sport. Miles Teller is fiercely riveting and J.K. Simmons is nothing short of unforgettable.
  • [New - 10/23/14] | Simon Miraudo @ Quickflix
  • [New - 10/24/14] | Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk
    • Excerpt: Unfortunately, there is some third-act silliness on the way to that finale that nearly kicks Whiplash‘s legs out from under it. After ushering us into the private space of the band room, Chazelle doesn’t really know how to open that back up and return characters to the real world.
  • [New - 10/23/14] | Frank Swietek @ One Guys Opinion
    • Excerpt: Its strength lies in the teaming of Teller and Simmons, who play their scenes together like an inspired jazz duet.

Happy Birthday: William Graham

Categories: Birthdays
Comments: No Comments
Published on: October 16, 2014

OFCS member William Graham celebrates his birthday today, October 16. Please help us congratulate him and wish him well.

You can visit his website: The Film Stage, Collider, Go See Talk, Twitch Film and Critics Associated.

Happy Birthday: Stacia Kissick Jones

Categories: Birthdays
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Published on: October 15, 2014

OFCS member Stacia Kissick Jones celebrates her birthday today, October 15. Please help us congratulate her and wish her well.

You can visit her website: She Blogged By Night, Next Projection and Classic Flix.

Happy Birthday: John Hanlon

Categories: Birthdays
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Published on: October 15, 2014

OFCS member John Hanlon celebrates his birthday today, October 15. Please help us congratulate him and wish him well.

You can visit his website: Breitbart.com and John Hanlon Reviews.

The Grab Bag (Oct. 14, 2014)

Categories: The Grab Bag
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Published on: October 14, 2014

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

Best of Lists

2014 Film Reviews Rated Five Stars

Blake Howard @ Graffiti With Punctuation

Five Star Films: The Whole Bloody List

Blake Howard @ Graffiti With Punctuation

Interviews

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Happy Birthday: Edgar Chaput

Categories: Birthdays
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Published on: October 14, 2014

OFCS member Edgar Chaput celebrates his birthday today, October 14. Please help us congratulate him and wish him well.

You can visit his website: Sound on Sight.

Classics and Other Films on DVD (Oct. 13, 2014)

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Published on: October 13, 2014

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Reviews of Classic Films

Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Kristen Lopez @ Journeys in Classic Film

  • Excerpt: It’s a very fun romp through the wild and wacky world of witchcraft, so jump on the bed and let’s go!

Bonnie and Clyde

Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com

  • Excerpt: Equal parts true-crime exposé, dysfunctional love story, and Depression-era think piece, the picture underscores American police departments’ longstanding proclivity for short cuts to justice, i.e. murder.

Chase a Crooked Shadow

Kristen Lopez @ Awards Circuit

Drive

Blake Howard @ Graffiti With Punctuation

Ghost in the Shell

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies

  • Excerpt: … less exploitative and far more thoughtful than most of its kin… an invigorating animation for the mind and eye.

Hiroshima Mon Amour

Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com

  • Excerpt: Fierce in its condemnation of America’s racist military attacks against Hiroshima and Nagasaki that killed a quarter of a million Japanese citizens, “Hiroshima Mon Amour” bridges a gap between death and life via a doomed love affair that helps heal two emotionally damaged people from different races.

Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS

Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com

  • Excerpt: Even by modern cinema’s jaded standards, “She Wolf of the SS” remains a powerfully sexy, campy, blood-soaked, and fetishistic tour de force.

Maurice

Jamie S. Rich @ Criterion Confessions

Vertigo

Matthew McKernan @ FilmWhinge

  • Excerpt: Vertigo is a film about passion and love and trying to overcome the past, though all of these themes are problematized – the film is rarely as simple as it looks…

Recent Home Video Releases

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Happy Birthday: Glenn Dunks

Categories: Birthdays
Comments: No Comments
Published on: October 13, 2014

OFCS member Glenn Dunks celebrates his birthday today, October 13. Please help us congratulate him and wish him well.

You can visit his website: Blog Quick Flix, Glenn Dunks, The Film Experience, Junkee, Onya Magazine and Stale Popcorn.

Happy Birthday: Phil Hall

Categories: Birthdays
Comments: No Comments
Published on: October 12, 2014

OFCS member Phil Hall celebrates his birthday today, October 12. Please help us congratulate him and wish him well.

You can visit his website: Film Threat and Edge Boston.

This Week at the Movies, Part 2 (Oct. 10-12, 2014)

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Published on: October 11, 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: October 10-12, 2014

Wide (United States)

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

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

Dracula Untold

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

The Judge

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

Expanding (United States)

Men, Women & Children

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

Limited (United States)

Awake: The Life of Yogananda

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ SpiritualityandPractice.com

  • Excerpt: A rounded portrait of the Father of Yoga in the West that celebrates his practical and uplifting art of spiritual living.

Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead

Nicholas Bell @ IONCINEMA.com

  • Excerpt: a feeling akin to the difference between joking about an easy target like Christian Scientologists, and then, say, being forced to attend an eight hour seminar that seriously teaches its religious tenets.

Kill the Messenger

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

One Chance

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Overnighters

Chris Barsanti @ Film Journal International

  • Excerpt: In Jesse Moss’ taut and morally complex documentary, a pastor opens his church to homeless men looking for work in the booming North Dakota oil fields and faces the wrath of a small town nervous about their community’s rapid transformation.

St. Vincent

Nicholas Bell @ IONCINEMA.com

  • Excerpt: Melfi puts in a bit more elbow grease in this tried and true concoction, to make an effective, though utterly formulaic film.

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ SpiritualityandPractice.com

  • Excerpt: A heart-affecting cinematic parable about the saints among us who enable us to come alive in new ways.

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: …we’ve seen all this before (“Bad Santa” being but one example). Still, Murray is Murray and watching his sweetness peek through his outer curmudgeonly crust is worth the price of admission. More surprising is Naomi Watts…

[New Today] Billy Donnelly @ This Is Infamous

Whiplash

David Bax @ Battleship Pretension

  • Excerpt: To Chazelle’s credit, he asks questions seriously and seriously ponders the myriad outcomes. In the end, though, his film never uses its fangs enough for the questions to leave a mark.

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ SpiritualityandPractice.com

  • Excerpt: A mesmerizing drama about the toxic fallout from perfectionism and unbridled ambition.

Candice Frederick @ Reel Talk

2014 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

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This Week at the Movies, Part 1 (Oct. 10-12, 2014)

Comments: No Comments
Published on: October 10, 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: October 10-12, 2014

Wide (United States)

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead

Nicholas Bell @ IONCINEMA.com

  • Excerpt: a feeling akin to the difference between joking about an easy target like Christian Scientologists, and then, say, being forced to attend an eight hour seminar that seriously teaches its religious tenets.

Dracula Untold

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Judge

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Expanding (United States)

Men, Women & Children

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Limited (United States)

Awake: The Life of Yogananda

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ SpiritualityandPractice.com

  • Excerpt: A rounded portrait of the Father of Yoga in the West that celebrates his practical and uplifting art of spiritual living.

Kill the Messenger

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

One Chance

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Overnighters

Chris Barsanti @ Film Journal International

  • Excerpt: In Jesse Moss’ taut and morally complex documentary, a pastor opens his church to homeless men looking for work in the booming North Dakota oil fields and faces the wrath of a small town nervous about their community’s rapid transformation.

St. Vincent

Nicholas Bell @ IONCINEMA.com

  • Excerpt: Melfi puts in a bit more elbow grease in this tried and true concoction, to make an effective, though utterly formulaic film.

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ SpiritualityandPractice.com

  • Excerpt: A heart-affecting cinematic parable about the saints among us who enable us to come alive in new ways.

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: …we’ve seen all this before (“Bad Santa” being but one example). Still, Murray is Murray and watching his sweetness peek through his outer curmudgeonly crust is worth the price of admission. More surprising is Naomi Watts…

Whiplash

David Bax @ Battleship Pretension

  • Excerpt: To Chazelle’s credit, he asks questions seriously and seriously ponders the myriad outcomes. In the end, though, his film never uses its fangs enough for the questions to leave a mark.

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ SpiritualityandPractice.com

  • Excerpt: A mesmerizing drama about the toxic fallout from perfectionism and unbridled ambition.

Candice Frederick @ Reel Talk

2014 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

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Reviews: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
Comments: No Comments
Published on: October 9, 2014

alexanderReviews for this film from our members:

  • Nicholas Bell @ IONCINEMA.com
    • Excerpt: To those outside of its heteronormative clutches, the film plays rather like an excellent case study for theories related to population control and the weird social experiment that families tend to resemble.
  • Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ SpiritualityandPractice.com
    • Excerpt: Entertaining family film based on the classic children’s book about dealing with difficulties with optimism.
  • Kevin Carr @ 7M Pictures
    • Excerpt: “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” is a cute and fun – if not somewhat disposable – film that both kids and parents can enjoy.
  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: a cute enough family film about empathy, but it’s based in a Disney reality where parents never snap…young Ed Oxenbould holds the center as the unfortunate Alexander.
  • Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: [F]orces its characters into kooky scenarios with little interest if those scenarios make any sense for the characters or in any form of real-world experience.
  • Sarah Gopaul @ Digital Journal
    • Excerpt: ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’ is more succinct than its title suggests, as well as an excellent source of family-friendly entertainment.
  • Mark Hobin @ Fast Film Reviews
    • Excerpt: Bad things happening to people has been the basis for many comedies: The Out of Towners, Home Alone, etc. The cast gamely registers discomfort in awkward situations with amusing results.
  • MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com
    • Excerpt: It’s strictly for kids, this very silly, mostly sweet tale of middle-school angst, with a few nonconformist hand grenades tossed in for good measure.
  • Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: Despite the obvious set ups and a day with so much stuff crammed into it for any family in the history of families, Alexander is borderline recommendable for those with kids.
  • Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic
    • Excerpt: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is actually pleasingly solid family entertainment that even makes some bold (or questionable) choices within the Disney banner to go with its accident-filled, “jumping from the frying pan into the fire” plot. If that’s what a pleasant surprise sounds like, then we’ll take it.
  • [New - 10/24/14] | Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys
  • Josh Spiegel @ Movie Mezzanine
  • Frank Swietek @ One Guys Opinion
    • Excerpt: Though one can name lots of worse family movies, if not horrible, terrible, and very bad this one is–considering its pedigree and the quality of the cast–disappointingly mediocre.
  • [New - 10/23/14] | David William Upton @ So So Gay
    • Excerpt: Alexander… thrives on destruction, gleefully watching as things collapse, explode and burn. It all lives just within the boundaries of realistic, escaping the need to make the audience complicit in Alexander’s belief in the moment of magic granted to him.

Reviews: All Cheerleaders Die (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
Comments: No Comments
Published on: October 9, 2014

all_cheerleaders_dieReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: The Blue Room (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
Comments: No Comments
Published on: October 9, 2014

Reviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: The Dance of Reality (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
Comments: No Comments
Published on: October 9, 2014

dance_of_realityReviews for this film from our members:

  • Joshua Brunsting @ The CriterionCast
  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: Indulgent, Felliniesque, funny, sad, philosophical, political, religious and some might even say incestuous, Jodorowsky’s latest features the filmmaker as the compassionate guardian of his 8 year-old self
  • [New - 10/9/14] | Carlos del Río @ El rincón de Carlos del Río [Spanish]
    • Excerpt: La danza de la realidad peculiar y personal lo es mucho, y de vez en cuando tiene grandes ideas y momentos, pero el conjunto es demasiado caprichoso y disperso.
  • [New - 8/28/14] | Mathieu Li-Goyette @ Panorama-cinéma [French]
  • [New - 10/9/14] | Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies
    • Excerpt: The hallucinogenic excesses of 1970’s ‘El Topo’ and 1973’s ‘The Holy Mountain’ have been replaced with a mellower style that suggests Jodorowsky has moved away from the testicular filmmaking of his youth, and closer to the intellectual playfulness of late Buñuel or Ruiz. This new, wiser Jodorowsky is wistful, less willfully obscure, and, most importantly, much funnier…
  • Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com
    • Excerpt: Hopefully, “The Dance of Reality” will usher in more films from a brave filmmaker whose imagination, inspiration, and execution is pure.

Reviews: Dracula Untold (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
Comments: No Comments
Published on: October 9, 2014

dracula_untoldReviews for this film from our members:

  • [New - 10/23/14] | José Arce @ LaButaca.net [Spanish]
    • Excerpt: Universal resta un poco más de épica a su propio legado con esta peliculita que no tiene muy bien a qué agarrarse. Historia disparatada, producción irregular, poca permanencia en la memoria.
  • Nicholas Bell @ IONCINEMA.com
    • Excerpt: While its title will open it up to a countless number of snarky comments, perhaps now that we’ve reached the Untold region we don’t have to march on into the Retold territory.
  • Kevin Carr @ 7M Pictures
    • Excerpt: Even if “Dracula Untold” isn’t the greatest version of the Dracula legend, I welcome it as a reboot of this shared universe from the 1940s.
  • Bill Clark @ From The Balcony
  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: Director Gary Shore and screenwriters Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless meld history with mythology for an entertainingly cheesy period fantasy adventure cum origin film grounded by a committed performance by Luke Evans as Lord Impaler.
  • Jim Dixon @ Examiner.com
    • Excerpt: It’s tempting, if facile and snarky to say “Dracula sucks.” But…
  • Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: [W]hat we get is an overly familiar Dracula movie that lacks a distinguishing personality.
  • James Jay Edwards @ FilmFracture
    • Excerpt: ‘Dracula Untold’ Shows A Kinder, Gentler Prince Of Darkness
  • Sarah Gopaul @ Digital Journal
    • Excerpt: ‘Dracula: Untold’ entirely reimagines the famed vampire’s origin story, updating the tale for an audience raised on spectacle over subtlety.
  • Susan Granger @ www.susangranger.com
    • Excerpt: Is it damning with faint praise to say that this horror fantasy doesn’t totally suck?
  • Vadym Grygoriev @ kinoblog.com [Ukrainian]
  • MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com
    • Excerpt: A solid action fantasy more elemental and visceral than I expected, thanks to the potent presence of Luke Evans.
  • Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic
    • Excerpt: Dracula Untold isn’t a tale that had to be left untold, but couldn’t someone have told it in a less stiff way? At least Luke Evans is the hunkiest Vlad the Impaler this world has ever seen.
  • Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys
    • Excerpt: Breathes new life into an otherwise tired stomping ground, taking this story back hundreds of years and delving into the unknown origin story of the innovator himself, Mr. Dracula.
  • Jason Pirodsky @ Expats.cz
    • Excerpt: Bram Stoker’s creation enters the world of George R. R. Martin in Dracula Untold, a supposed vampire movie that features precious little gothic horror, and instead combines Game of Thrones theatrics with epic (but bloodless PG-13) Braveheart-styled battle sequences. Terrific. This is exactly what Dracula fans have been clamoring for.

Reviews: The Judge (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
Comments: No Comments
Published on: October 9, 2014

judgeReviews for this film from our members:

  • [New - 10/23/14] | José Arce @ LaButaca.net [Spanish]
    • Excerpt: Propuesta que escapa de la mera consideración telefílmica por el trabajo de sus actores principales. Mucho metraje, mucho cliché, poco espacio para la sorpresa. Un descanso para Robert Downey Jr. entre tanto ajetreo Marvel.
  • Nicholas Bell @ IONCINEMA.com
    • Excerpt: Groaning beneath the weight of its desperate grandstanding for awards consideration, David Dobkins’ The Judge launches a continuous covey of clichés at you as it vacillates between middlebrow familial melodrama, murder mystery, and half-baked courtroom drama.
  • Luke Bonanno @ DVDizzy.com
    • Excerpt: The Judge is severely lacking the intelligence and excitement we expect of courtroom dramas.
  • Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ SpiritualityandPractice.com
    • Excerpt: Drama about the transformation of a smart and slick Chicago defense lawyer during a visit to his small Indiana hometown.
  • Kevin Carr @ 7M Pictures
    • Excerpt: tries too hard with too much to deliver too little
  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: Time and again, the writers attempt sleight of hand – tossing out ideas in order to upend them with a different revelation – but the tactic doesn’t work and Dobkins’ direction of plot is ungainly.
  • Jim Dixon @ Examiner.com
    • Excerpt: A deliberately manufactured, self-conscious class act from beginning to end, this dysfunctional family drama has been cast like a Yankees’ World Series contention team, photographed by Steven Spielberg’s cinematographer and scored by a 12-time Oscar nominee. Director David Dobkin (“Wedding Crashers,” “The Change-Up”) is attempting something more ambitious here, and he keeps his ducks in a row, but “The Judge” relentlessly refuses to pass up any opportunity to remind the audience they’re watching a movie.
  • Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: Screenwriters Nick Schenk and Bill Dubuque are working under the misapprehension that having things happen to a character is the same as developing that character…
  • Susan Granger @ www.susangranger.com
    • Excerpt: Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall team up together for the first time in this sentimental journey, following a prodigal son from sin to redemption.
  • [New - 10/23/14] | Vadym Grygoriev @ kinoblog.com [Ukrainian]
  • Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: The prodigal son returns is frequently a crowd pleaser and Downey and Duvall will entertain you with their version of it.
  • Ben Kendrick @ Screen Rant
    • Excerpt: ‘The Judge’ is a very familiar tale of a man that finds humility in a return to his hometown – albeit one with a few genuinely powerful moments of drama.
  • Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic
    • Excerpt: A slick, sturdily performed middlebrow melodrama that meanders a bit and overstays its welcome, “The Judge” is just fine. If nothing else, Robert Downey Jr. gives this overlong, schmaltzy material a shot in the arm with his no-bull charisma.
  • Kristin Dreyer Kramer @ NightsAndWeekends.com
  • Pat Mullen @ Cinemablographer
    • Excerpt: ‘The Judge’ plays it safe and pleads ‘no contest’. Nothing risked is nothing gained.
  • Jerry Roberts @ Armchair Cinema
    • Excerpt: The Judge resembles those John Grisham thrillers that were popular in the 90s before the public came to the realization that he was basically telling the same story over and over. This is not a Grisham thriller, it’s actually better because it has more investment in the characters. Yes, it’s about a big criminal trial but that’s only a backdrop. It’s just as effective as a human drama.
  • Frank Swietek @ One Guys Opinion
    • Excerpt: Slick but superficial and overloaded with cliches…entertaining enough, but in a shallow, manipulative fashion.

Reviews: Kill the Messenger (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
Comments: No Comments
Published on: October 9, 2014

kill_the_messengerReviews for this film from our members:

  • David Bax @ Battleship Pretension
    • Excerpt: There are ways in which both fictional and documentary films can bring the truth to a life that is bigger than the facts alone. Kill the Messenger is just an adaptation of a Wikipedia entry.
  • Nicholas Bell @ IONCINEMA.com
    • Excerpt: Avoiding the trap of a procedural, Cuesta’s film feels very much like an intimate character drama spliced with its overarching message concerning easily manipulated media frenzies and the undiscussed corruption going on within our governmental agencies.
  • Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ SpiritualityandPractice.com
    • Excerpt: A drama made memorable by a Jeremy Renner’s mercurial performance as the passionate investigative journalist Gary Webb.
  • Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: What’s missing is some expression of the emotional and psychological toll on Gary beyond the basic acknowledgement that these events are affecting him…
  • Candice Frederick @ Reel Talk
  • Susan Granger @ www.susangranger.com
    • Excerpt: Suspenseful political thriller, focusing on the fate of yet another truth-seeking whistleblower.
  • [New - 10/23/14] | Mark Hobin @ Fast Film Reviews
    • Excerpt: What makes this so watchable is Jeremy Renner’s portrayal of newspaper reporter Gary Webb. He is really good at getting the audience to like him.
  • Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: The subject remains strong enough to recommend but Kill the Messenger is too choppy to rank as one of the harder hitting political thrillers.
  • Kristin Dreyer Kramer @ NightsAndWeekends.com
  • Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com
    • Excerpt: “Kill the Messenger” is a frustrating movie. It fails both as a brief biopic and as a political thriller. It works somewhat as a sketch character study, but that’s not enough to satisfy a movie audience.
  • Frank Swietek @ One Guys Opinion
    • Excerpt: A solid fact-based period piece…anchored by a vivid performance from Jeremy Renner…a welcome throwback to the days of activist Hollywood David-vs.-Goliath films.
  • Andrew Wyatt @ St. Louis Magazine
    • Excerpt: Director Michael Cuesta and screenwriter Peter Landsman have difficulty structuring the story to best exploit its intrinsic drama, leaving Messenger feeling somewhat lumpy.

Reviews: Men, Women & Children (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
Comments: No Comments
Published on: October 9, 2014

men_women_and_childrenReviews for this film from our members:

  • Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire
    • Excerpt: Following last year’s bizarrely tone-deaf adaptation of Joyce Maynard’s ‘Labor Day,’ Reitman’s latest is a peculiarly alarmist ensemble piece about how, in spite of our copious technology, we’re all just so disconnected, man. When Reitman burst on the scene with ‘Thank You for Smoking’ back in 2005, he seemed bent on making another ‘Dr. Strangelove'; based on his new picture, he’s apparently spent those years harboring the desire to make another ‘Crash.’
  • William Bibbiani @ CraveOnline
    • Excerpt: The kids are all right. The internet is all right. It’s this dreary, futile, meandering movie that sucks the life out of everything.
  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: I didn’t like this movie when it was called “Disconnect,” and cowriter/director Jason Reitman’s (“Juno,” “Labor Day”) adaptation of Chad Kultgen’s novel lays on pretension masquerading as deep thought for an even less convincing mix
  • Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: Considering its lack of concern in addressing a solution to the problem it raises, the movie’s fascination with masturbation is appropriate.
  • MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com
    • Excerpt: Jason Reitman is way too young to have produced a work of such fuddy-duddy handwringing over These Kids (And Adults) Today and how we play with our e-toys.
  • Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: Future Reitman analysts will have his early period to begin their dissections and then will move on to his films which feel aimed at his neighborhood Rotary Club, which feels like the only demographic Reitman will end up scaring here.
  • [New - 10/17/14] | Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic
    • Excerpt: Critically, “Labor Day” was unfairly mocked because it was filmmaker Reitman in a different, more earnest mode, many claiming that he was losing his way and his spiky edge. Correction: “Men, Women & Children” is his first miscalculation.
  • [New - 10/17/14] | Kristin Dreyer Kramer @ NightsAndWeekends.com
  • [New - 10/9/14] | Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk
    • Excerpt: Given the fact that Men, Women & Children has a kind of a forest-for-the-trees thing happening, it’s not surprising that some details are lost in the earnest pursuit of so many others. The problem that co-writer and director Jason Reitman has, though, isn’t that he can’t see the forest, it’s that he thinks he does, and he ignores the good trees within it by trying to have it all
  • Frank Swietek @ One Guys Opinion
    • Excerpt: Banality posing as profundity.

The Grab Bag (Oct. 7, 2014)

Categories: The Grab Bag
Comments: No Comments
Published on: October 7, 2014

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

Best of Lists

The 10 Best Faithful Shakespeare Adaptations on Film

Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire

  • Excerpt: Polanski’s ‘Macbeth’ is a terrific movie; and noteworthy as being a Shakespeare adaptation that is mostly done “straight” — i.e., basically as written, rather than relocated to outer space or a high school or the mob underworld or anything crazy like that. In fact, it seems more difficult to just do the play, without all the bells and whistles.

The 10 Creepiest Kids in Movie History

Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire

  • Excerpt: With Halloween sneaking up like a well-dressed child with a knowing smirk, we take a look at some of cinema’s creepiest kids.

The 11 Creepiest Creepy Doll Movies

William Bibbiani @ CraveOnline

  • Excerpt: Creepy dolls are creepy. These creepy doll movies are creepier.

Every Martin Scorsese Movie, Ranked

Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire

  • Excerpt: Flavorwire presents the DEFINITIVE ranking of Martin Scorsese’s narrative and documentary features (stretching feature a bit to include long-ish documentaries and made-for-TV works), stacking up 36 films over nearly 50 years.

Interviews

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

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