‘Twas the Night Before Easter contrasts the popular sentiment that “bigger is better” with the gospel truth that Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection is our true source of hope. The writers did not flinch from including the Bible’s themes of hope and salvation. In this tale, the gospel message shines bright and clear.
- March 05, 2011 |
Burlesque will play better or worse depending on what you like to see in a musical—a well told story or big-screen, razzle-dazzle music numbers. The best musicals have both, the biggest failures neither. Burlesque splits the difference.
Danny Boyle's 127 Hours takes you through the ringer, sure to elicit audible (and collective) gasps, groans and shrieks before concluding in one cathartic exhale of relief and redemption. It's not the kind of movie to engender multiple viewings, but one is enough to sear it into your mind forever.
For those who enjoy nothing more than a big, loud, escapist flick with a little takeaway value on a holiday weekend, don't worry. Faster isn't a turkey. If anything, it's the right move forward for the actor formerly known as The Rock.
Part Love Story, part Up in the Air with a smidge of the satirical spirit of Thank You for Smoking, Love & Other Drugs never quite knows what it is, and the story ultimately suffers for it. Truth be told, bothering to label it "good" is probably too strong of praise.
An uplifting story of guilt, repentance and reconciliation, Get Low is a low-key work that is profound in its simplicity.
It's déjà vu all over again with Megamind, yet another superhero story in which super-villains go to great lengths to undermine the good guys. Think The Incredibles, Despicable Me, Shrek Forever After or… well, we've seen a lot of this sort of story recently.
Much like its R-rated Planes, Trains & Automobiles predecessor that starred Steve Martin and the late John Candy back in 1987, Due Date is also the madcap tale of two guys who would never take a cross-country road trip together, if extenuating circumstances weren't involved.
The premise is simple, the execution is competent and the film delivers the requisite amount of crowd-pleasing thrills. And yet, the film feels a little too easy in the depiction of its main characters, who are sketched out with scant information about their motivations.
- February 15, 2011 |
Whether or not viewers wholeheartedly agree with how documentarian Davis Guggenheim actually goes about proving his thesis, Waiting for "Superman" is still an important and compelling look at the current state of public education—unsightly warts and all.
- February 15, 2011 |
In Life As We Know It, the latest rom-com to hit theaters, the combined charms of Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel, plus a little help from an adorable baby, ultimately elevates what could've been a big-screen sitcom gone seriously wrong.
A film about depression that isn't depressing; how's that for a small miracle? Starring Keir Gilchrist and Zach Galifianakis, It's Kind of a Funny Story is a title perfectly suited to this appealing slice of despondent life, one that comes by its laughs in insightful ways.
If you've never seen a romantic comedy, or a story about old rivalries rekindled, then you might—just might—find You Again tolerable, even enjoyable. It's well performed by a game cast that tries to make the most of a limp screenplay that's virtually free of surprises.
Is there a broader point here? The filmmakers may be saving it for yet another sequel (which is sure to come), although after two films with the same style and approach to the material, one can't help but wonder if the filmmakers have figured out the point of their own story, or if they're just stringing viewers along.
Based on a true story, Conviction delivers a life-affirming message about the pursuit of truth and the love of family. It's a powerful story wrapped in an unassuming package, but its adult language and content make it suitable only for more mature audiences.
Director Matt Reeves has taken the original Swedish film, Let the Right One In, moved the setting to 1983 New Mexico, and has crafted a beautifully realized film about the uncertainties and loneliness of adolescence. It also explicitly raises the idea that evil is quite real—although not always in the places we might think.
Although it could have resulted in a unique hybrid of different styles, Monsters is unique more for its failure to generate any well-earned emotions—or thrills. Better to rent District 9, Cloverfield or The Host, which work much better on their own terms, than to try to make do with this.
Secretariat is a quintessential family film in this respect: there's nothing to complain about and nothing to rave about. It's safe, conventional, professional; an old-fashioned movie made up of warm fuzzies. In short, Secretariat is as inoffensive as it is ineffectual.
- January 25, 2011 |
Like this past summer's surprise hit The Expendables, the bulk of Red's cast may qualify for AARP card-carrying status—Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, etc. But it's a serious mistake to underestimate their strength.
- January 25, 2011 |
Stone is about religion and Christianity on one level, but it's not entirely satisfying on those subjects, nor is it particularly revelatory. The best that can be said is that it raises some intriguing ideas about the nature of faith and our ability (or lack thereof) to do good in the world.
- January 18, 2011 |