Big Screen Movie Reviews

What’s in a name?

Naming names in this week’s new releases: Paterson, Toni Erdmann, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, and more

Adam Driver is a bus driver named Paterson in Paterson, New Jersey in Paterson, the new Jim Jarmusch film that earned a whopping five stars from Scott this week. Me, I’m holding out for Miles ...

Paterson’s hometown pride

Life surrounds us with poetry

Paterson refers both to the film’s New Jersey locale and lead character (Adam Driver), a married bus driver who fancies himself a poet. Imagine The Honeymooners’ Ralph Kramden as the Bard of Bensonhurst: Cook me ...

Paul W.S. Anderson puts an end to Resident Evil

3D or not 3D: that is the question!

I became aware of Paul W.S. Anderson while teaching film classes at Chicago’s Columbia College. It was around the time Anderson’s Mortal Kombat was released on home video and one of my students couldn’t wait ...

Family values on the big screen

The ties that bind in this week’s new releases: 20th Century Women, The Ardennes, and more

Scott’s big (and mostly positive) review this week is 20th Century Women, Mike Mills’s memory of growing up surrounded by strong feminine figures of all sorts. (Greta Gerwig strikes again!) It’s one more example of ...

Glasses aren’t just for drinking

“You say ‘Asante,’ I read ‘Assante.’ Asante, Assante…”

The email subject heading read: “A United Kingtdom Press Screening and Phoners.” Great! And who is Fox Searchlight pitching for a possible phone interview? None other than durable leading man Armand Assante who, according to ...

That ’70s movie

Life in Santa Barbara, 1979, “the time before America lost its individuality”

The characters in Mike Mills’s third feature, 20th Century Women, can’t wait to share their writer-director’s sketchy reminiscences of life in Santa Barbara, 1979. Mills calls it “the time before America lost its individuality,” but ...

Monster Trucks and the marvel of confounded expectations

Mix them all together and voilà — instant aneurism!

I’m not sure which is a more salient critical experience: disappointed expectations (The Nice Guys), fulfilled expectations (Mad Max: Fury Road), or confounded expectations (John Wick). I’m thinking the second, just because it’s so rarefied ...

They don’t care if their picture sucks

2016, the year in review

Critics and fans alike are calling 2016 a terrible year for movies. That would be the case if all one took in were the blockbusters and the well-intentioned message pictures that round out the list ...

Movies can make you feel things

New January releases: Patriots Day, Julieta, and more

A lot of critics liked Patriots Day — The Boston Globe‘s Ty Burr being a notable exception. I didn’t much care for it. Peter Berg’s dramatization of the Boston Marathon bombing and ensuing manhunt started ...

Patriots Day, a net cast wide but with little care

Berg’s Boston Marathon

Based on Peter Berg’s sprawling Boston Marathon bombing drama Patriots Day, here is what I know about Dzhohkar Tsarnaev, the younger of the two brothers who planted pressure cooker bombs near the marathon’s finish line ...

Choral Consortium hosts a screening of Robert Shaw documentary

"Hearing Shaw explain the reasoning behind his approach made so many things fall into place."

I found myself listening to the Robert Shaw Chorale over the holidays. It was a bit of a nostalgic journey as this was the soundtrack for Christmas at my grandparents' house. I also remembered that ...

The best isn’t Silence

New year, new movie releases: Hidden Figures, Train to Busan, and more

Hmph. Happy New Year, indeed. All y’all out there in movie-pass land had a chance to win tickets via the Reader to see an advance screening of Underworld: Blood Wars. But not us critics. Like ...

Digital Gym and the NAT team for Reel Science

All four Saturdays in January

The little theater that could and the best screening venue in Balboa Park — sorry, MoPA, you’ve been outclassed — and a group known only as Film Geeks SD are joining together for a month-long ...

Boresese

Scorsese’s painful piety

Silence isn’t golden. He may not be the hardest working man in show business — not with just one theatrical release every two years — but at 74, and with almost 60 features, shorts, and ...

Ten minutes with Debbie Reynolds

She did it Debbie’s Way

“Hi, this is Debbie. If you are over 30 and have been inactive or have any ankle, knee, or back problems, you should have a medical checkup before starting any exercise program.” The preceding disclaimer ...

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