Big Screen Movie Reviews

Dark Horse, Puerto Ricans in Paris, Warcraft, The Conjuring 2, and more

New movies opening this week

Vanity Fair film critic Richard Lawson did not like the based-on-a-video-game fantasy pic Warcraft. I know this because of the headline: “Game Turned Movie Warcraft Fails on Every Single Level.” But his review is actually ...

“Knup’s” April Fools joyride to Texas

All roads lead to Aretha

The April Fools is one of those terribly mod (and borderline terrible) late ’60s romantic comedies that for reasons both numerous and peculiar, earned its unit of storage in my memory bank. The one-sheet took ...

Art Bastard’s Robert Cenedella talks with the Reader

What gets shown?

Meet Robert Cenedella: painter, pictorial satirist, art teacher, and all around swell guy who also happens to be the subject of a new documentary, Art Bastard, opening June 17 exclusively at the Angelika Film Center ...

A sneak peek at Monster Trucks

Reuse. Recycle. Reduce.

My buddy, John Albert, posted a link to the trailer for the inescapable Monster Trucks with the following comment on my Facebook wall: “Remember this, the next time anybody says that Hollywood ought to stop ...

Turtles, DJs, princesses, idols, popstars, and a Weiner

Movies opening this week

A couple of grudging two-stars from me this week, first to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows for its tonal achievements — it's a lot like the old Saturday morning cartoon, with just ...

Melissa McCarthy does Israel

The literary forger, not the country

Variety recently reported that Melissa McCarthy will star as celebrity-biographer-turned-literary-forger Lee Israel in Fox Searchlight’s upcoming biopic, Can You Ever Forgive Me? Israel had a knack for cranking out facsimile correspondences — numbering over 400 ...

Debating Love & Friendship

Dueling reviews discussed

I think I was maybe 12 when I first saw Citizen Kane. Here’s what I knew going in: Orson Welles had been the voice of the Shadow in my brother’s beloved collection of old radio ...

The Original Spinner

As I AM: The Life and Time$ of DJ AM

Once upon a time, a little girl walked into her parents’ bedroom to find Daddy in bed with a guy. Mommy promptly retaliated by having an affair that left her expecting another child. Mommy eventually ...

Trailer for War Dogs could use a fleabath

Stoner comedy poised to give pot smokers a bad name

The unpleasantness began even before Neighbors 2 hit the screen. The trailer for War Dogs screamed, “From the Director of The Hangover Series!” My face grew cold, and I started bawling. When Jonah Hill’s traditionally ...

Francofonia, Hockney, The Lobster, X-Men: Apocalypse

All opening this week

Francofonia Credits normally withheld for a closing crawl open Aleksandr Sokurov’s (Russian Ark) latest self important hymn to the importance of art museums. Listen as the disembodied voice of the documentarian expresses disappointment over his ...

Hollywood hotheads compete in The Anger Games

Ten angry men: George C., Kirk, the Duke, Jack, Bobby D., Ray Burr, Robert Ryan, Clint, Lee Marvin, and Moe

From the mind of the working-class Chuck Workman comes another kaleidoscopic array of clips strung together as only this smart aleck can. The idea had been growing in my brain for some time. True farce. ...

Love & Friendship brings out anything but

Whit Stillman’s stillborn wit?

One film, two critics and a world of disagreement. Lickona hung on every turn of the page in Whit Stillman’s variation on Jane Austen, Love & Friendship, while Marks wanted to tear out a row ...

Nice try, Mr. Black

This week’s openings: The Nice Guys, Dragon Inn, and more

Well, drat. A tough week at the movies: I managed to miss the screening for Love & Friendship, so my membership in the Whit Stillman enthusiast society has been temporarily suspended. But I hope to ...

Fiddlesticks flips Flip in first color cartoon

No croaking over this animated delight

For those unaware, almost a decade of my life was spent teaching animation history, affectionately dubbed “cartoons for credit,” at Chicago’s Columbia College. It’s not unusual to find me popping in a thematically paired seven-minute ...

Dragon Inn, guaranteed to out-Marvel any of the major blockbusters

Eunuch vs. children

For the first 15 years or so of my life, I was weaned almost exclusively on English-language movies. At the time, a Taiwanese martial arts epic (badly dubbed or otherwise) would not have ranked high ...

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