This Week at the Movies, Part 2 (Nov. 21-23, 2014)

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Published on: November 22, 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: Nov. 21-23, 2014

Wide (United States)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

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

Limited (United States)

V/H/S: Viral

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

2014 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

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This Week at the Movies, Part 1 (Nov. 21-23)

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Published on: November 21, 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: Nov. 21-23, 2014

Wide (United States)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Limited (United States)

V/H/S: Viral

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…)

Reviews: The Babadook (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: November 20, 2014

babadookReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: Happy Christmas (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: November 20, 2014

happy_christmasReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: The Homesman (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: November 20, 2014

homesmanReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: November 20, 2014

hunger_gamesReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: The Imitation Game (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: November 20, 2014

imitation_gameReviews for this film from our members:

  • Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire
    • Excerpt: Cumberbath carries his intelligence with him from role to role, like Jennifer Lawrence’s likability or Tommy Lee Jones’ gruffness, and it allows each character to start with a set of expectations, and work forward from there. In the case of ‘The Imitation Game,’ that specific quality helps elevate what could’ve been a rote boilerplate biopic into a film with the spark of a live wire.
  • Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice
    • Excerpt: A great performance by Benedict Cumberbatch and an illuminating portrait of the large role secrets can play in our lives.
  • Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: The Imitation Game is simple, but it is also cogent in making the case for its subject’s place in history…
  • [New – 12/18/14] | Sarah Gopaul @ Digital Journal
    • Excerpt: ‘The Imitation Game’ is the fascinating story of Alan Turing (played by an indelible Benedict Cumberbatch) and his contributions to a top secret military project that turned the tides in WWII.
  • Susan Granger @ www.susangranger.com
    • Excerpt: Engrossing, if emotionally evasive – featuring Benedict Cumberbatch’s exceptional performance…
  • [New – 12/18/14] | Mark Hobin @ Fast Film Reviews
    • Excerpt: For most of the run time, The Imitation Game remains a highly polished, beautifully acted picture. That mystifying resolution though.
  • MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com
    • Excerpt: A marvelous combination of thrilling intellectual adventure and sensitive portrait of a man ahead of his time both personally and professionally.
  • Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: Did the geeks win World War II?
  • Marty Mapes @ Movie Habit
    • Excerpt: Intriguing character study and exciting war drama rolled into one
  • Simon Miraudo @ Quickflix
  • Darren Mooney @ the m0vie blog
    • Excerpt: Imitation of life…
  • Pat Mullen @ Cinemablographer
    • Excerpt: Review from the Toronto International Film Festival
  • Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys
  • Jonathan Richards @ www.jonrichardsplace.com
    • Excerpt: The Imitation Game is a very entertaining movie. It could have been a lot more than that.
  • Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com
    • Excerpt: Genius mathematician Alan Turning finally takes center stage as the father of the modern computer, an unsung British hero of World War II, and as a victim of Britain’s draconian punishment of gays in this well-rounded biopic about the man who broke the Nazi’s cryptographic code machine — the “Enigma.”

Reviews: Jessabelle (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: November 20, 2014

jessabelleReviews for this film from our members:

  • Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema
  • James Jay Edwards @ FilmFracture
    • Excerpt: Jessabelle’ Shows Potential, But Quickly Becomes The Ghost Movie That Everyone Expects
  • Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic
    • Excerpt: Before going to the proverbial swamp for abrupt, jittery attacks by a screaming dead girl and shots of drippy faucets, “Jessabelle” is a tepid gumbo gaining some mileage out of its lived-in location.
  • [New – 12/4/14] | João Pinto @ Portal Cinema [Portuguese]
    • Excerpt: Um filme sem apelo que apenas tem potencial para ser recordado como um dos primeiros trabalhos de Sarah Snook
  • Jason Pirodsky @ Expats.cz
    • Excerpt: Here’s one I thought I’d never see: a supernatural horror movie where the ghost behaves as a Talking Killer. As our heroine cowers in fear during the climax of Jessabelle, the evil spirit appears to her and explains the plot of the movie to us, telling poor Jessie why she is being haunted and what the ghosts plan to do with her now. Just like a Bond movie.
  • Betty Jo Tucker @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews
    • Excerpt: Ghosts, nightmares and Voodoo — that’s horrortainment for me, and “Jessabelle” passes the test.

Reviews: Let’s Be Cops (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: November 20, 2014

lets_be_copsReviews for this film from our members:

  • [New – 8/21/14] | Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire
    • Excerpt: ‘Let’s Be Cops’ is a pretty disposable movie, the kind of picture that seems destined for Sunday afternoons on TBS. Many of the comic set pieces are sort of half-thought-out, and the climax makes the mistake that police comedies have made since ‘Beverly Hills Cop,’ of taking their shoot-outs and crime plots seriously (as if anyone actually cares).
  • [New – 8/21/14] | Susan Granger @ www.susangranger.com
    • Excerpt: So rotten that you have the right to refrain.
  • [New – 8/15/14] | Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic
    • Excerpt: Enthusiastically performed at best and exasperatingly unfunny at worst. Watching it in a theater of smart, discerning moviegoers will be like witnessing the sound of a pin drop or crickets chirping.
  • [New – 11/13/14] | Simon Miraudo @ Quickflix
  • [New – 11/20/14] | João Pinto @ Portal Cinema [Portuguese]
    • Excerpt: Não vale a pena ser visto

Reviews: The Liberator (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: November 20, 2014

liberatorReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: Starry Eyes (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: November 20, 2014

starry_eyesReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: V/H/S: Viral (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: November 20, 2014

vhs_viralReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: Wild (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: November 20, 2014

wildReviews for this film from our members:

  • Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire
    • Excerpt: There’s no question that empty, random sexual encounters aren’t exactly a five-star coping mechanism, but the presentation of female sexual aggressiveness as the ultimate debasement is slightly problematic. What’s worse, Vallée wants to have it both ways; if the sex scenes are tragic emblems of Strayed’s downfall, they’re also shot and cut in the formal language of filmed erotica, carefully framing Witherspoon’s nude body less for emotional impact than for the titillation of an infrequently disrobed star baring all for “the right role.”
  • David Bax @ Battleship Pretension
    • Excerpt: When people compare films to the work of Terrence Malick, they are usually talking about aesthetics. Wild doesn’t look like a Malick film but it is heartbreakingly specific and tender while simultaneously vast and contemplative in ways any Malick fan should recognize.
  • Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema
  • Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice
    • Excerpt: A soul-stretching movie about surviving in the wilderness, a solid mother and daughter relationship, and bringing out the best in yourself.
  • Bill Clark @ From The Balcony
  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: With an impressive physical and emotional performance from producer Witherspoon and a heart breaking yet joyous turn from Dern, “Wild” is not only a self-reflective adventure tale but a deeply moving mother/daughter story.
  • Edwin Davies @ A Mighty Fine Blog
    • Excerpt: One of the underlying themes of Wild is that life is hard, particularly if you’re on the road, particularly if you’re on your own, and especially if you’re a woman. There are no easy answers in Cheryl Strayed’s journey.
  • [New – 12/18/14] | Jim Dixon @ Examiner.com
    • Excerpt: The journey is both geographic and psychic, and Witherspoon is never less than involving along the way. What she doesn’t do, ever, is make us forget she’s a movie star in an obvious Oscar bid.
  • Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: The physical backdrop of the story is the trail, but the far more vital and vibrant one is the repetitive, unceasing terrain of Cheryl’s memory.
  • Marilyn Ferdinand @ Ferdy on Films
    • Excerpt: Wild is a showcase for Witherspoon, a controlled, conventional actor who is a good fit for this material. Ultimately, despite the many good things it has going for it, Wild left me sadly uninspired.
  • Candice Frederick @ Reel Talk Online
  • [New – 12/18/14] | Dustin Freeley @ Movies About Gladiators
    • Excerpt: Wild posits that plot might be tertiary…it might be right.
  • Kimberly Gadette @ doddle
    • Excerpt: At the end of the long and winding road, between lack of dramatic heft and a character arc that’s as slender as a sapling, we’re left wondering just where the Wild went.
  • Sarah Gopaul @ Digital Journal
    • Excerpt: ‘Wild’ is another tour de force starring Reese Witherspoon in which she puts aside her good girl guise to portray a woman determined to face her life’s mistakes on a 1,000 mile hike alone.
  • Susan Granger @ www.susangranger.com
    • Excerpt: A compassionate, arduous, stream-of-consciousness journey of self-discovery…
  • Mark Hobin @ Fast Film Reviews
    • Excerpt: There will be inevitable comparisons to Into the Wild, the tale of Christopher McCandless in the Alaskan wilderness. The difference is Cheryl Strayed is a more sympathetic character.
  • Travis Hopson @ Examiner
    • Excerpt: Bristles with emotional resonance and enlightenment.
  • [New – 12/18/14] | MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com
    • Excerpt: A film full of spectacular landscapes of both the natural world and the human spirit. This is what it looks like when women get to be people onscreen.
  • Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: Our protagonist’s multiple poor life choices fail to produce a bountiful level of empathy for her situation, yet Wild is frequently an engrossing and enjoyable experience.
  • Jennie Kermode @ Eye For Film
  • Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic
    • Excerpt: Wild is a slightly familiar journey of self-discovery and perseverance that hits the viewer with a moving catharsis. In playing the real Cheryl Strayed, Reese Witherspoon has never been this raw, shaded, brave, emotionally (and literally) naked, and unglamorous.
  • [New – 12/19/14] | Kristin Dreyer Kramer @ NightsAndWeekends.com
  • Marty Mapes @ Movie Habit
    • Excerpt: Engrossing story of two parts may be Witherspoon’s best role yet
  • Pat Mullen @ Cinemablographer
    • Excerpt: This is how you do a great adaptation.
  • [New – 11/28/14] | Kristin Dreyer Kramer @ NightsAndWeekends.com
  • João Pinto @ Portal Cinema [Portuguese]
    • Excerpt: Um poderoso drama humano que merece ser abraçado por todos.
  • Jamie S. Rich @ Oregon Live
    • Excerpt: The best stuff in “Wild” is the simplest. The movie is at its strongest when it’s just Strayed out in the wilderness, seeing what there is to see and finding the strength to keep going.
  • Jerry Roberts @ Armchair Cinema
    • Excerpt: Wild sounds like the kind of outdoor travelogue that Walt Disney use to make. Today, in the 21st century, it’s not good enough to simply show someone communing with nature. Now, we have to leaden the story with the interior struggle, with horrid flashbacks to unhappiness and tragedy.
  • Tom Santilli @ Examiner.com
    • Excerpt: Wild is much more character study than adventure, and has more to offer than just watching our protagonist learn how to survive.
  • Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com
    • Excerpt: “Wild” is an unsatisfying self-help drama that exposes the limitations of Reese Witherspoon’s range.
  • Betty Jo Tucker @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews
    • Excerpt: Inspiring and thought-provoking — but gruelling to watch.

Happy Birthday: Nicholas Bell

Categories: Birthdays
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Published on: November 20, 2014

OFCS member Nicholas Bell celebrates his birthday today, November 20. Please help us congratulate him and wish him well.

You can visit his website: Ion Cinema.

Happy Birthday: Leo Goldsmith

Categories: Birthdays
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Published on: November 19, 2014

OFCS member Leo Goldsmith celebrates his birthday today, November 19. Please help us congratulate him and wish him well.

You can visit his website: Brooklyn Rail, Not Coming, Reverse Shot and Moving Image Source.

The Grab Bag (Nov. 18, 2014)

Categories: The Grab Bag
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Published on: November 18, 2014

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

Best of Lists

12 Seriously Underrated Christmas Episodes

William Bibbiani @ CraveOnline

12 Things We Learned from the ‘Desolation of Smaug’ Commentary

William Bibbiani @ CraveOnline

All 92 ‘Step Up’ Dance Sequences: Ranked

William Bibbiani @ CraveOnline

Take 5… Comedic Actors Who Went Serious

Ross Miller @ Scotcampus

  • Excerpt: To celebrate the release of The Skeleton Twins, I take a look at 5 other comedy actors who have taken on more serious roles.

The Top 12 Nostalgic Christmas Commercials

William Bibbiani @ CraveOnline

Interviews

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Classics and Other Films on DVD (Nov. 17, 2014)

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Published on: November 17, 2014

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Reviews of Classic Films

Daybreak

Budd Wilkins @ Slant Magazine

  • Excerpt: “Daybreak typically gets shoehorned, along with a handful of other collaborations between director Marcel Carné and screenwriter Jacques Prévert, into a filmic historical movement known by the oxymoronic catchall “poetic realism.” But, in many ways, it’s more productive to view this relentlessly dour and disillusioned masterwork as a feel-bad forerunner of film noir.”

Everlasting Regret

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

The Glory Guys

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Go Go Tales

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

It Happened One Night

Jamie S. Rich @ Criterion Confessions

Journeys From Berlin

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

The Killing

Stacia Kissick Jones @ Next Projection

The King of Comedy

Aaron Pinkston @ Battleship Pretension

The President

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

Recent Home Video Releases

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This Week at the Movies, Part 2 (Nov. 14-16, 2014)

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Published on: November 15, 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: Nov. 14-16, 2014

Wide (United States)

Beyond the Lights

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

Dumb and Dumber To

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

Limited (United States)

Foxcatcher

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Homesman

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema
Susan Granger @ www.susangranger.com

  • Excerpt: Sturdy, bleak and understated – or, as one wag said, it’s No Country for Crazy Women.

Donald Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Rosewater

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

Wolves

[New Today] Sarah Gopaul @ Digital Journal

  • Excerpt: ‘Wolves’ is a coming-of-age story about an uninformed werewolf accepting his true nature, meticulously constructed by a first-time director.

Susan Granger @ www.susangranger.com

  • Excerpt: A bloody, brutal bore…

Carson Lund @ Slant Magazine

  • Excerpt: At its best, the film is a whirring, eclectic oddity without a clear target audience, which is why its eventual turn toward muddled father-son hokum and strained commentary on the duality of human psychology (good and evil impulses exist in us all, but we must learn to tame the evil!) registers as a disappointment.

2014 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

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This Week at the Movies, Part 1 (Nov. 14-16, 2014)

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Published on: November 14, 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: Nov. 14-16, 2014

Wide (United States)

Beyond the Lights

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Dumb and Dumber To

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Limited (United States)

Foxcatcher

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Homesman

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema
Susan Granger @ www.susangranger.com

  • Excerpt: Sturdy, bleak and understated – or, as one wag said, it’s No Country for Crazy Women.

Donald Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Rosewater

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Wolves

Susan Granger @ www.susangranger.com

  • Excerpt: A bloody, brutal bore…

Carson Lund @ Slant Magazine

  • Excerpt: At its best, the film is a whirring, eclectic oddity without a clear target audience, which is why its eventual turn toward muddled father-son hokum and strained commentary on the duality of human psychology (good and evil impulses exist in us all, but we must learn to tame the evil!) registers as a disappointment.

2014 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

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

Happy Birthday: Jerry Roberts

Categories: Birthdays
Comments: No Comments
Published on: November 14, 2014

OFCS member Jerry Roberts celebrates his birthday today, November 14. Please help us congratulate him and wish him well.

You can visit his website: Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.

Happy Birthday: Jason Bailey

Categories: Birthdays
Comments: No Comments
Published on: November 14, 2014

OFCS member Jason Bailey celebrates his birthday today, November 14. Please help us congratulate him and wish him well.

You can visit his website: DVD Talk, Flavorwire and The Atlantic.

Reviews: Beyond the Lights (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: November 13, 2014

beyond_the_lightsReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: Dumb and Dumber To (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: November 13, 2014

dumb_and_dumber_toReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: Foxcatcher (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: November 13, 2014

foxcatcherReviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: Mr. Turner (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: November 13, 2014

mr_turnerReviews for this film from our members:

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Awards Announcement Schedule

Nomination Announced:
Monday, December 8, 2014

Award Winners Announced:
Monday, December 15, 2014

About the OFCS
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Welcome , today is Friday, December 19, 2014