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July 2014
Besson Brings Style, but Lucy is Philosophically Problematic

Rather than cautioning about aspiring to god-like omniscience, Lucy appears to long for that outcome. But this is secondary to the fun.

 
Chilly Story of A Most Wanted Man Could Leave Some Viewers Cold

Hoffman’s strong performance in A Most Wanted Man reminds us again of what we lost when he died.

 
Woody Allen Ponders the Afterlife in Enchanting Magic in the Moonlight

Like the best screwball comedies of the past, the magic in Magic in the Moonlight lies in the sharp witty banter between the film’s leads.

 
Hercules Flexes Some Muscle

This new Hercules is a completely different animal (and I’m not just talking about the lion our hero so famously slew with his bare hands).

 
Keaton Sings! Douglas Finds Love! And So it Goes...

Begins with several forced, tasteless jokes before settling into a familiar but not unpleasant story which the lead actors carry well.

 
Planes: Fire & Rescue Flies Higher Than Original

This time the cute factor doesn’t get in the way of meaningful characters and it’s a much better picture as a result.

 
Sex Tape a Shallow Exercise in Rekindling the Marital Spark

Not only do Diaz and Segel lack believability as a couple, they’re simply too old to be acting this foolish in this unfunny 'comedy.'

 
Exuberant Boyhood Soars before Hitting Teenage Skids

A magnificent experiment that succeeds in a fashion so spectacular that not even the most dazzling CGI-driven popcorn movie can match it.

 
Intelligent Apes, Mindless Entertainment

Every cliché is covered, and there are plot holes big enough to drive a tank through, but it's all about the spectacle and effects.

 
Too Many Recycled Parts Clutter Earth to Echo

A shallow slog of a movie that never delivers the magic, fun or creativity of all the films (E.T., The Goonies, etc.) it aspires to be.

July 2014
Tammy Takes the Long, Long Road to Redemption

Amusing, but difficult to endorse. A good message on taking responsibility for a lousy lot in life is lost in a lack of good taste.

 
Faith Meets Fear in Deliver Us from Evil

Like 2013’s The Conjuring, Deliver Us From Evil is reportedly inspired by true events, and drags its viewers into a terrifying realm.

 
Knightley & Ruffalo Make Beautiful Music in Begin Again

Thanks to winning performances, a catchy soundtrack, and storytelling that's sincere, Begin Again has a good thing going.

June 2014
Gratuitous Action Lives on in Transformers: Age of Extinction

Transformers: Age of Extinction is a reboot of sorts. Mark Wahlberg plays a Texas widower raising a 17-year-old daughter.

 
Obvious Child Collapses under Pro-Choice Message

Dubbed "the abortion comedy," Obvious Child is about a young New York stand-up comic named Donna Stern who becomes pregnant.

 
Jersey Boys Goes Behind the Music of the Four Seasons

Sweet but sordid, a darker take on music that's usually identified with a more carefree, wholesome era.

 
Pattinson Surprises in Post-Apocalyptic Arthouse Film The Rover

Basically a less-stylized, more realistic version of Mad Max; a completely humorless Wild West-like tale of obsession.

 
Alone Yet Not Alone Only Works for Those Tired of Everything Else

Plays like a companion piece to Little House on the Prairie, but without engendering the same affection and falling dramatically flat.

 
Family Themes Breathe Fire into Dragon Sequel

Doesn't offer the same measure of surprise as the original but has different strengths of its own, including how regret and apology heal.

 
22 Jump Street: At Best, a Diversion; At Worst, Crass

Doesn't take itself too seriously; the actors have a blast, creating lightheartedness. But it just had to sink into the gutter.

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