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Tim Burton returns to form with ‘Big Eyes’

Tim Burton returns to form with ‘Big Eyes’

Tim Burton’s tone is agreeably low-key, presenting the real-life characters as goofy without insulting them.

December 25, 2014 5:00 am Photos

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There’s rot in the vineyard setting of this lurid French melodrama.

There’s rot in the vineyard setting of this lurid French melodrama.

There’s rot in the vineyard setting of this lurid French melodrama.

October 10, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

A touching look at first love, pain

Sutter Keely, an easygoing high school senior in a blue-collar Southern city, lives for the moment.

August 22, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
New 'Lone Ranger' is an epic fail

New 'Lone Ranger' is an epic fail

The story of the Lone Ranger has been told many times, on radio, in adventure novels, a TV series and several unsuccessful films. Surely it has never been given such a strange rendition as in the latest failed movie adaptation. The film is a bloated, incoherent would-be epic that stumbles li…

July 04, 2013 12:00 am Photos

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'Stoker' a fractured fairy tale

'Stoker' a fractured fairy tale

There's a suggestion of vampirism in the title of "Stoker." The stylish chiller shares its name with Dracula's author, but its fixation on blood moves in a different direction - deposits, not withdrawals. The tale concerns bad blood being transfused from one generation to the next.

March 21, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
Just another kooky film about a Nazi-hunting Goth

Just another kooky film about a Nazi-hunting Goth

Trying to catalog the bad choices in "This Must Be the Place" is like trying to trace the slime trails at a slug orgy.

January 31, 2013 12:00 amLoading…
'Trishna' explores innocence lost

'Trishna' explores innocence lost

With its sexy, controversial themes and class consciousness, there's tremendous present-day relevance in Thomas Hardy's tragedy "Tess of the d'Urbervilles."

August 16, 2012 12:00 amLoading…
'Darling Companion' a thin story of searching, renewal

'Darling Companion' a thin story of searching, renewal

Many marriages reach a turning point when the partners regard one another not as "darling" but as "companion," or worse. "Darling Companion" concerns a couple who have been teetering on that plateau for years. Diane Keaton plays Beth, an empty-nester who rescues an abandoned collie from a De…

May 31, 2012 12:00 amLoading…
Merry and morbid 'Bernie' takes new look at true crime

Merry and morbid 'Bernie' takes new look at true crime

The true crime story is a staple of TV and publishing, but only rarely inspires movies. How lucky we are that Richard Linklater bucked that trend to make "Bernie," a one-of-a-kind comedy based on the real homicide of an innocent old lady.

May 24, 2012 12:00 amLoading…
'Darling' a thin story of searching, renewal

'Darling' a thin story of searching, renewal

Many marriages reach a turning point when the partners regard one another not as "darling" but as "companion," or worse. "Darling Companion" concerns a couple who have been teetering on that plateau for years. Diane Keaton plays Beth, an empty-nester who rescues an abandoned collie from a De…

May 24, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Latifah, Parton make a 'Joyful Noise'

"Joyful Noise" is a sort of Walmart movie, not exactly trendsetting but a decent enough offering for the heartland.

January 15, 2012 12:00 amLoading…
Spielberg's 'War Horse' rides in formidable competition

Spielberg's 'War Horse' rides in formidable competition

Steven Spielberg, arguably the most popular filmmaker of the 20th century, meets his match this week: Steven Spielberg. He will be opening two highly anticipated films just days apart. On Wednesday came "The Adventures of Tintin," based on the globally popular comics, mixing adventure, slaps…

December 25, 2011 12:00 am Photos

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Spielberg's 'War Horse' rides in

Spielberg's 'War Horse' rides in

Steven Spielberg, arguably the most popular filmmaker of the 20th century, meets his match this week: Steven Spielberg. He will be opening two highly anticipated films just days apart. On Wednesday came "The Adventures of Tintin," based on the globally popular comics, mixing adventure, slaps…

December 22, 2011 12:00 am Photos

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Surprisingly, 'Revenge' is an emotional ride

Surprisingly, 'Revenge' is an emotional ride

With the price of gas and the politics of oil ever more problematic, even electric-car skeptics seem to be coming around.

December 08, 2011 12:00 amLoading…

'Like Crazy' sweeps viewers into tale of love

How's this for a story line: Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets ... well, let's not give it all away. "Like Crazy" is built on a premise so deeply ingrained in our cultural DNA that the narrative is the least important thing about it.

November 24, 2011 12:00 amLoading…
'Hugo' an homage to cinema, childhood

'Hugo' an homage to cinema, childhood

You could hardly hope for a more colorful and tender cultural history lesson than "Hugo," Martin Scorsese's love letter to childhood, Paris and the early days of cinema.

November 24, 2011 12:00 am Photos

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'Like Crazy' sweeps viewers into tale of love

'Like Crazy' sweeps viewers into tale of love

How's this for a story line: Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets ... well, let's not give it all away. "Like Crazy" is built on a premise so deeply ingrained in our cultural DNA that the narrative is the least important thing about it.

November 17, 2011 12:00 amLoading…
'Smurf' film won't leave you with the blues

'Smurf' film won't leave you with the blues

The Muppets took Manhattan, so why not the Smurfs? The little blue trolls with the mushroom homes and the most aggravating theme song in musical history invade Manhattan in a bright, broad live-action, computer-animated comedy.

July 29, 2011 12:00 amLoading…

'Smurfs' provides laughs for kids and grownups alike

The Muppets took Manhattan, so why not the Smurfs? The little blue trolls with the mushroom homes and the most aggravating theme song in musical history invade Manhattan in a bright, broad live-action, computer-animated comedy.

July 28, 2011 12:00 amLoading…

'Beginners' bogged down in self-pity

For Hal, life begins at 75. His wife has died after 45 years of marriage, and the long-closeted gay widower emerges from decades of repression to celebrate his new identity openly and joyfully.

July 07, 2011 12:00 amLoading…
3rd 'Transformers' has only one new idea

3rd 'Transformers' has only one new idea

If "Transformers 3" isn't the summer's lousiest whiz-bang movie, it's only because there's so much competition. It's not even the best "3-D anthropomorphic automobiles and explosions" movie of the month. The demolition derby of "Cars 2" seems a work of staggering genius in comparison.

June 30, 2011 12:00 am Photos

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"X-Men: First Class' lives up to its name

There are so many things going right in "X-Men: First Class" that you can almost overlook its glaring faults. 

June 03, 2011 1:00 pmLoading…
'X-Men' prequel is first-class

'X-Men' prequel is first-class

There are so many things going right in "X-Men: First Class" that you can almost overlook its glaring faults.

June 02, 2011 12:00 am Photos

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3-D, more emotion pay off in 'Panda 2'

3-D, more emotion pay off in 'Panda 2'

Huggable Po gets all touchy-feely in "Kung Fu Panda 2," a sturdy sequel to the 2009 blockbuster.

May 26, 2011 12:00 am Photos

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'Borrowed' wastes 2 hours of your life with silly pity party

Let's hope that audiences craving matrimonial entertainment got their quota from last Friday's William and Kate Show.

May 05, 2011 12:00 amLoading…
'Fast Five' hits the gas early and never slows down

'Fast Five' hits the gas early and never slows down

As adolescent male power fantasies go, "Fast Five" has an undeniable trashy charm. Things blow up right and left, muscle cars are pulverized, sexpots vamp, and brawny men wallop the tar out of one another.

April 28, 2011 12:00 am Related Loading…

'Elephants' no 3-ring circus, plays out love, survival tales

"Water for Elephants" is partly a sawdust love story, partly a survival story. It opens with an old man's reminiscence, as Jacob Jankowski (Hal Holbrook) tells a young circus hand about his own Depression-era adventures under the big top.

April 24, 2011 12:00 amLoading…
'Highness' is pox on comedy

'Highness' is pox on comedy

Early in the medieval stoner adventure "Your Highness" there's a scene in which a haughty prince dons an ostentatious suit of armor. Then he tumbles clattering down a flight of stairs. That labored pratfall is the template for this movie. It is a pox on comedy.

April 07, 2011 12:00 am Photos

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Re-Branding gone bad

Re-Branding gone bad

If you must see "Arthur," choose a theater that serves alcohol. You'll be needing it. Like a 3-D adventure, this fiasco is best viewed through beer goggles.

April 07, 2011 12:00 am Photos

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Flashback-filled film adaptation of 'Jane Eyre' would do Bronte proud

Flashback-filled film adaptation of 'Jane Eyre' would do Bronte proud

"Poor, obscure, plain and little" is how the heroine of "Jane Eyre" describes herself. The latest film of Charlotte Bronte's moody Gothic romance is anything but.

March 31, 2011 12:00 amLoading…

'Wimpy' sequel aims to please middle school set

With approximately 50 million copies of his "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" graphic novels in circulation, author Jeff Kinney has a loyal following of readers who've outgrown Dr. Seuss but aren't ready for Harry Potter.

March 24, 2011 12:00 amLoading…
'Paul' can't match duo's earlier efforts

'Paul' can't match duo's earlier efforts

When you're really good at something, the time comes when the ghosts of your earlier accomplishments are your toughest competition. The English comedy team Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who brilliantly satirized zombie movies in "Shaun of the Dead" and buddy-cop flicks in "Hot Fuzz," gave audie…

March 17, 2011 12:00 amLoading…
'Year' a layered look at life

'Year' a layered look at life

The English ensemble drama "Another Year" stars Jim Broadbent as a civil engineer who takes geological core samples of the world we stand upon and determines how much stress it can bear. In a way, that's what Mike Leigh's film does.

February 03, 2011 12:00 am Photos

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'Let Me In' would have done better to let original guide it

'Let Me In' would have done better to let original guide it

Give two artists the same still life to paint, and you'll get two different results. Give an American director coming off a big monster movie the remake rights to a subtle, chilling European thriller and you get "Let Me In."

September 30, 2010 12:00 amLoading…
Ogre comes to town to atone

Ogre comes to town to atone

Felix Bush is the closest thing his Tennessee town has to Bigfoot. Hirsute, anti-social and at times downright violent, the elderly hermit has kept real life at bay for 38 years, posting his backwoods property with "No Damn Trespassing" signs and patrolling the perimeter with a rifle.

August 26, 2010 12:00 am Related Loading…
Efron solid in a mediocre 'Charlie St. Cloud'

Efron solid in a mediocre 'Charlie St. Cloud'

His latest film marks a rise, and a dip, on Zac Efron's creative trajectory. Moving beyond high-school roles and away from the song-and-dance silliness of "Hairspray" and "High School Musical," he takes a confident half-step toward becoming a mature romantic lead.

July 29, 2010 12:00 amLoading…

Douglas wearily digs a man-size hole

Michael Douglas has played some scoundrels in his day but few have been as incorrigible, or as perversely endearing, as Ben Kalman. A respected pillar of the business community ("New York's Honest Car Dealer"), and a decent family man, he suffers an existential crisis in his cardiologist's o…

July 08, 2010 12:00 amLoading…
'Despicable' is forgettable fun

'Despicable' is forgettable fun

In a contest of wills, a villain with access to freeze rays and rocket ships is no match for a trio of adorable orphan girls. So we reminded by "Despicable Me," an animated film featuring Steve Carell as the voice of Gru, an arch-fiend hamstrung by moppets.

July 08, 2010 12:00 am Photos

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'Exit Through Gift Shop' takes you into strange life of artist on the run

Iconoclastic English painter Banksy may be the most important artist on the run from police. Or the most creative vandal.

July 01, 2010 12:00 amLoading…
'Grown Ups' so bad that it merits a timeout

'Grown Ups' so bad that it merits a timeout

There's a practice among standup comedians called "emptying the notebook." It's a housecleaning exercise in which they get together, read off the jokes that didn't fly and toss away the index cards to start writing afresh.

June 24, 2010 12:00 amLoading…
Solid cast makes explosive 'A-Team' remake lots of fun

Solid cast makes explosive 'A-Team' remake lots of fun

Excuse me, I need to sit down, catch my breath and extinguish my singed eyebrows. I've just experienced "The A-Team," a highly combustible concoction of testosterone, napalm and gunpowder, seasoned with cheesy comedy and served flambe.

June 10, 2010 12:00 am Related Loading…
Provocative 'Splice' suffers from uninspired execution and clichés

Provocative 'Splice' suffers from uninspired execution and clichés

The genetic engineering chiller "Splice" is a double helix of perversity.

June 03, 2010 12:00 amLoading…
A gripping period drama worthy of Verdi

A gripping period drama worthy of Verdi

"Vincere" is a thrilling period drama about the power of delusions.

May 06, 2010 12:00 amLoading…
Alpinists re-create German-Austrian effort

Alpinists re-create German-Austrian effort

Sport is a proxy for war in "North Face," a nerve-snapping account of German mountaineers' assault on the Eiger, an impregnable 13,000-foot spike in the Swiss Alps.

March 18, 2010 12:00 amLoading…

Blunt rules as 'The Young Victoria'

Rules, rules, rules - it's enough to drive a girl mad.

December 24, 2009 12:00 amLoading…
Theirs is a grim duty

Theirs is a grim duty

In a sense, the soldiers at the center of "The Messenger" are engaged in house-to-house combat. Capt. Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson) and Sgt. Will Montgomery (Ben Foster) are unwelcome visitors, wary of what might detonate behind the next door.

December 24, 2009 12:00 amLoading…

Mortensen mesmerizing in bleak tale of survival

"The Road" is a prophecy of a blasted world. The unchanging sky resembles hammered lead. The trees are leafless, lifeless, crashing to earth like poleaxed cattle. Animals have vanished. Cities are rubble fields. Houses are empty.

December 17, 2009 12:00 amLoading…
Yearning, loss illuminated by directing in 'Bright Star'

Yearning, loss illuminated by directing in 'Bright Star'

Restraint, artistic and emotional, is the great strength of "Bright Star," opening Friday at the Loft Cinema.

October 29, 2009 12:00 amLoading…
Imagine getting rid of your nagging soul

Imagine getting rid of your nagging soul

The soul: albatross or asset? It seems as if soulless people, unhindered by conscience, have a huge advantage in life. They calculate options without sentiment and act decisively to advance their objectives. But could a person nagged by inner voices become like them? Should he?

September 24, 2009 12:00 amLoading…
'Love Happens' will fill the bill if you like your love stories bland

'Love Happens' will fill the bill if you like your love stories bland

Burke (Aaron Eckhart) is a widowed psychologist whose best-seller about dealing with loss has made him a celebrity bereavement guru.

September 19, 2009 12:00 amLoading…

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