Movie Reviews

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Keane eyes

Jeepers creepers, peepers

What could Tim Burton have possibly seen in Big Eyes, the story of a monotonous, marginally talented, yet enormously successful “artist?” Something of himself, perhaps? For years, even Burton’s staunchest detractors (I’m one of them) ...

Walk it off

More from than toward.

Wild tells the story of a woman named Cheryl Strayed (an unadorned Reese Witherspoon) and her attempt to, in her words, “walk myself back to the way I was.” How was she? “I was strong,” ...

War is hell

Paris is exploding?

Diplomacy employs a brave dramatic premise: as the Allies approach Nazi-occupied Paris, the German military governor of the city prepares to follow his orders and blow up the City of Lights. Notre Dame, the Louvre, ...

Horrible Bosses 2: Cheerfully dirty

Adventures in autonomy

Often, the minds behind superhero movie franchises decide to start things off with an origin story. And often, that origin story, however mythologically compelling, is not as dramatic or interesting as what follows. Think: Batman ...

Foxcatcher does fruitful work in the land of sport

For much of its running time, Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher was among my favorite films this year. Like Miller’s last movie, Moneyball, it does fruitful work in the field of sport, where lofty notions of excellence ...

You are my density

Based on what little I know of Stephen Hawking’s private and personal life, the man has never given the impression of one prone to wresting pity from gawkers. Then why rely on The Theory of ...

SDAFF 2014: A few pics

The Pacific Arts Movements’ 15th Annual San Diego Film Festival kicks into full gear this week with ten days (November 6–15) of seemingly nonstop movies. Artistic director Brian Hu and his team have once again ...

Basest instinct

Gyllenhaal delivers genuinely unnerving performance in Nightcrawler

Don’t let his unblinking doe-eyes, hands-in-pockets demeanor, and proverbial gift of gab fool you. Within ten minutes of meeting Nightcrawler protagonist Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), screenwriter and first-time director Dan Gilroy casts a purposeful light ...

The thing with feathers

The artist and the self

Michael Keaton used to be a box-office superstar, in part because he played Batman in two films. Now he’s starring in much artier fare: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s darkly comic backstage drama Birdman or (The Unexpected ...

Rough brotherhood

God and guns.

Fury’s title refers to an American tank that started out WWII fighting Germans in Africa and is now pushing toward Berlin as the enemy makes its last stand. Its crew — evangelical Shia LaBoeuf, brutish ...

Grecian Daddy Drama

The Two Faces of January could have been urid and awful and fun.

It’s not a subtle move to open your story with a tour guide (Oscar Isaac) leading a group around some sun-drenched ruins and telling site-specific stories from the Greek myths. (In this case, the story ...

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