Movie Reviews

Starry messenger

In a culture where girls are not allowed out at night to observe the skies, how does a tenacious 16-year-old astronomy student like Sepideh Hooshyar even begin to dream of viewing Earth from space? That’s ...

The Interview leaves no “Suk,” “Poon,” or “Dong” unturned

Seth Rogen and James Franco leave no “Suk,” “Poon,” or “Dong” unturned in their quest to whack North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in The Interview. Worth seeing, if just for the schizo opening logo and ...

A bad year for good movies

Nighttime soaps, voices behind the toons, God, and sci-fi

By way of indicating just how terrible a year it’s been for movies, for the first time in I don’t know how long English language films outnumber foreign entries. Sequels, comic books, and young adult ...

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 ...

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