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Year: Stars: Rating: Reviewer:

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Just serviceable bunker thriller that asks the question, “Would you want to survive The Big One if it meant being stuck in a windowless concrete cottage with the kind of guy who spent his life preparing to survive The Big One?” (Heck, his own wife and daughter couldn’t stand the ... (PG-13)

1.0 starsMatthew Lickona

12 Strong (2018)

In the aftermath of 9/11, the United States sent a Spec Ops team into Afghanistan to assist with the country’s resistance to the Taliban. In 2012, Alex Quade made a short documentary about it called Horse Soldiers of 9/11 — so named because the operation marked the first time in ... (R)

1.0 starsMatthew Lickona

13 Assassins (2011)

Think The Seven Samurai with a revisionist twist. Yes, there’s a villain with murderous henchmen terrorizing the countryside. Yes, a master samurai must gather a team to confront the bad guys. But this time, the villain is royalty, the kind of guy the samurai usually live to serve. And this ... (R)

2.0 starsMatthew Lickona

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016)

Maestro of movie mayhem Michael Bay (Transformers) turns his camera on the real-life violence of Benghazi 2012 and despairs, giving us the story of a badass American (John Krasinski, sad-eyed and bushy-bearded) who nevertheless finds himself worried, in between firefights and rightly so, that his kids will ... (R)

1.0 starsMatthew Lickona

1 Nenokkadine (2014)

Gosh but these trailers are amazing. This one doesn't even seem to bother with the idea that you need a story behind the action. Unless a Rubik's Cube counts as a story. It's like the '80s are happening overseas! (NR)

None starsMatthew Lickona

2013 Oscar Shorts: Animated (2013)

Score one for mass culture: the animating forces behind The Simpsons aren't about to teach you anything new about the possibilities inherent in illustrated storytelling, but "Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare'" dominates this year's field through old-school craft and wit, and offers a politically topical Ayn Rand hook to ... (NR)

2.0 starsMatthew Lickona

2013 Oscar Shorts: Documentary (2013)

While brevity demands that a short film keep its focus tight and on-point, it has the opposite effect on a documentary. In a short doc, it is enough for the viewer to be presented with a detailed, engaging slice of life, with no point required save the sharing of lived ... (NR)

3.0 starsMatthew Lickona

2013 Oscar Shorts: Live Action (2013)

By turns exhilarating and devastating, the 2013 live-action short film lineup serves as a reminder of why movies matter, what they can do, and why they needn't be larded up into three-hour epics that hit all the expected beats. Every entry confronts the blunt fact of death; every entry provides ... (NR)

4.0 starsMatthew Lickona

2014 Oscar Nominated Animation Shorts (2014)

For once, Pixar is out of the picture — The Blue Umbrella was almost (but not quite) as dire as the feature that followed it (Monsters University). That clears the field for...Disney? Sigh. Look, if you've seen Frozen (and by this point, what parent hasn't?), then you know all about ... (NR)

2.0 starsMatthew Lickona

2014 Oscar Nominated Documentary Shorts (2014)

This year's lineup includes brief looks at a digger of art caves, a meeting between a Neo-Nazi and the gay he once went after, an attempt at peaceful regime change in Yemen, a terminally ill prisoner and the volunteers at his hospice, and tips on living a long and happy ... (NR)

None starsMatthew Lickona

2014 Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts (2014)

Another Oscar season, another opportunity to wonder aloud why it is that, in this age of supposedly dwindling attention spans, there has not been an explosion of interest in the short-film form. The live-action slate features a trio of heartrending horrors: It Wasn’t Me (child soldiers in Africa), Helium (terminally ... (NR)

3.0 starsMatthew Lickona

2015 Oscar Nominated Animation Shorts (2015)

A lightweight slate: nine films, but only two that marry really engaging visuals with narrative heft. Those two are Me and My Moulton, a middle sister's memoir of her family life in sixties Norway, and The Dam Keeper, a gorgeous fable about an orphaned pig who has to navigate the ... (NR)

1.0 starsMatthew Lickona

2016: Obama's America (2012)

Conservative thinking-type person Dinesh D'Souza tries to unravel the mystery of Obama the President by investigating Obama the man — or rather, Obama the son of his anticolonial father. The film gets off to an interesting start: D'Souza is an ingratiating investigator, and he pays a fair amount of attention ... (PG)

1.0 starsMatthew Lickona

2017 Oscar Nominated Shorts — Animated (2017)

Hang it all, the short film form is supposed to give the little guy a chance to shine. Sure, I may not have the budget for a feature, but then, not having the expectations brought on by a budget gives me room to play. But this year, only the Pixar ... (NR)

1.0 starsMatthew Lickona

21 and Over (2013)

At last. After the "We're too old, but who cares?" middle-aged hijinks of The Hangover and the "We're too young, but who cares?" high-school hijinks of Project X, the Drunken Bromedy genre takes up the entirely age-appropriate collegiate hijinks of 21 and Over. Miles Teller plays the master-bantering mastermind, Skylar ... (R)

1.0 starsMatthew Lickona