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August 2014
Robin Wright Does No Wrong in The Congress

After a promising start, the story lets Wright down in the end by losing the human-interest angle and growing less fascinating visually.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • August 29, 2014 |
  • comments
Brosnan More Geriatric Bourne Than Bond in Blasé November Man

Plenty of car chases, moral ambiguity and a serious body count, but this loose adaptation of There Are No Spies falls into no man’s land.

Football and Faith Lead When the Game Stands Tall

As well-made a faith-based movie as you're likely to see, with the professional polish you'd expect from a studio-backed film like this.

Teen Romance on Life Support in Weepy If I Stay

Nowhere near as intriguing as the novel it's based upon. In fact it feels more like "Touched by an Angel: Teen Edition."

Frank Might Leave You Wearing a Puzzled Expression

Plays like an inside joke, offering moments of diversion and offbeat humor but never amounting to anything more than a curiosity.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • August 22, 2014 |
  • comments
Second Chapter of Sin City is Still All Style and Little Substance

Tries to cram four stories into just over 90 minutes. Star-studded and easy on the eyes, but lacks a method to its shock-jock madness.

The Giver a Fair if Basic Treatise on Societal Control

A parent-friendly thriller that allows a young audience to think about complex ideas and core human values for the first time.

What If This Film Had Snappier Dialogue?

On the rom-com scale, scores fair on chemistry between leads, poor on script. Too bad in a sex-free film where marriage is a noble goal.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • August 14, 2014 |
  • comments
Cowabunga! Turtles Shells Out Action + Attitude

With fun nods to pop culture and sci-fi classics, it’s a fast-paced, high-action story that takes no prisoners.

The Hundred-Foot Journey is Worth the Trip

Not as memorable as fellow 2014 foodie film Chef, but it’s hard to find any major flaws in it. Predictable, but well-played.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • August 08, 2014 |
  • comments
August 2014
Into the Storm Looks Good, Sounds Good, Feels... Blah

Let’s get the inevitable comparison out of the way: Twister, this ain't.

Cooper's Vocal Work Saves the Day in Guardians of the Galaxy

Superhero movies are usually oh-so-serious, but what makes this one work so well is a funny, fast-and-loose style and clever soundtrack.

Get On Up Isn't Pretty, but Captures the Essence of James Brown

Not your typical birth-to-grave biography. It's a little spastic and occasionally confusing but certainly keeps the intensity set high.

July 2014
Beautiful Calvary about the Struggle to be Both Righteous, Human

When a religiously-themed film has no agenda towards evangelism or secularism, it’s amazing how legitimately thought-provoking it can be.

Mood Indigo Fails to Fully Flower

The opening bursts with a rare synthesis of music and unusual imagery that looks like the beginning of a memorable film. It doesn't last.

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.

Example: "Gen 1:1" "John 3" "Moses" "trust"
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