Stand Up Guys

The film starts as Al Pacino gets out of prison after 28 years. He’s met by his best friend, Christopher Walken, and they spend one wild night before it’s Walken’s job to kill Pacino. Sure, the characters have names, but it doesn’t matter. This is an indulgent acting workout for the two leads (plus Alan Arkin in a funny smaller role). The dialogue is forgettable, the situat... »


Jason Statham plays himself: This time as a pro thief who gets double-crossed by his gang, causing him to seek revenge. It’s a pretty standard story with steady beats of action: lots of hand-to-hand, but not much that shows off his skills. Jennifer Lopez shows up to add some feminine charms, but the role is useless. Even though this is starting to sound negative, the movie is solid and never... »


This year’s “Exotic Marigold Hotel” in so many ways: a group of (even more) elderly interact, look back at their lives and face the inevitable with pluck, grace and humor. This time, they’re residents of a home for retired musicians and opera singers. Everyone is preparing for the annual fundraiser, when a grand diva (Maggie Smith) arrives and, of course, refuses to sing. T... »

Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies

A deadpan delight »

Side Effects

Channing Tatum gets out of jail for insider trading and his loving wife (Rooney Mara) is having trouble with depression. Her shrink (Jude Law) recommends drugs to help, but the title happens, so he connects with her former doc (Catherine Zeta Jones) for counsel. I don’t usually include that much plot, but the story is complicated. Unfortunately, none of the twists are that surprising. The pa... »

Bullet to the Head

Walter Hill used to be a top action director and Sylvester Stallone was once an action hero. Both men have blown it with this lame dud. Stallone plays a hit man who teams up with a cop (Sung Kang) to avenge their partners and shut down a group of gangsters. Stallone acts more wooden than ever and the character’s weak attempt to channel Eastwood’s racist curmudgeon in “Grand Turin... »

Identity Thief

Jason Bateman’s character has his identity stolen and sets out to bring the culprit (Melissa McCarthy) to justice. Their antagonistic road trip involves broad physical gags, continuous embarrassments and risky situations. Bateman plays his usual hapless character: mild-mannered, exasperated but always amusing. McCarthy spends most of the time in manic mode, which is sometimes amusing, other ... »

Amour (review)

Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva play a Parisian couple in their 80s. When she has an attack, he nurses her thru the final agonizing days. Michael Haneke is a skilled director, who’s at his most stark and dispassionate, which translates into interminable pacing, uncompromising camera and oblique narrative. If you like watching the deterioration of a woman in a detached, heavy and b... »

Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (review)

This film has been flying under the radar (only playing in Richmond at Criterion) and/or may be the target of a Charlie Sheen backlash. Either way, it’s got a pretty good pedigree. Sheen plays a graphic designer who’s suffering over a breakup. Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman deliver amusing comic turns and director Roman Coppola gives the whole thing a lighthearted touch. This could ... »

Beautiful Creatures (review)

It’s opposite day in teen romance world: Instead of vampires, it’s witches (or Casters, as they call them). Instead of Portland, the deep South. Instead of a mortal girl, it’s a boy, He (Alden Ehrenreich) isn’t a pretty boy, but has charm and personality. She (Alice Englert) isn’t typical pretty either, but can act OK. Much of the screen time is spent with the two of ... »

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