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July 2013
Wiig Successfully Plays Against Type in Girl Most Likely

A compelling coming-of-age tale where an unexpected reconnection with family helps shape the protagonist's future journey.

 
Bridges Breathes Life into R.I.P.D.

Flawed, but it only takes one special element to set a film apart. Here, it's a loony performance from the great Jeff Bridges.

 
Fruitvale Station Rises Above Racial Grievance

More than a timely drama about racial tension, but a spiritually potent story that portrays people looking toward a better life.

 
As Faith-Based Fright Fest, The Conjuring Fails

In a way, this is a faith-based film. It's also scary, violent, and filled with images that I don't think anyone really needs to see.

 
RED 2 Delivers, Just Not as Far as the Original

Does just about everything RED did, just not quite as well. Makes attempts at the same charm and flair but the execution is often forced.

 
Title Aside, Only God Forgives Isn't Spiritually Edifying

There is neither grace nor forgiveness here, only revenge. In this story of a fight between man and 'god' it’s not clear who wins.

 
Cute Turbo Coulda Used More Torque

An impossibly cute but decidedly conventional story about striving for the seemingly impossible dream.

 
Nothing Grown Up - or Funny - about Grown Ups 2

What on earth did they do to earn their paychecks, sit around and drink beer all day until they came up with recurring plot points?

 
Pacific Rim Looks Solid but Rings Hollow

Had promise, considering del Toro, of being the rare big-budget film to fire on all cylinders, but alas, it's dumb, loud and predictable.

 
The Lone Ranger is a Wild, Wild Mess

The last half-hour is exactly what we want a summer movie to be, but we have to sit through two hours of utter tedium to get there.

July 2013
Despicable Me 2 Delivers More Than Expected

Plain and simple, a kid's movie: lots of fun to watch, the colors are bright, the laughs are many.

June 2013
Copperhead is Truly the Civil War Film for Today

Tells a desperately important, underacknowledged tale of American history, specifically for politically active modern Christians.

 
The Heat's Rap Sheet: Funny but Endlessly Profane

Laughs are consistent and abundant in this all-female take on the cop buddy genre. So are the f-bombs and misuses of God's name.

 
White House Down Gets No Thumbs Up

May prove to be a classic example where film critics and the masses part ways, as there is much to pick on but there were also cheers.

 
Shakespeare & Whedon's Worlds Mix Well in Much Ado About Nothing

Funny script and whimsical tone give movie lovers an escape from the more mindless stories where the highlight is something blowing up.

 
World War Z Grades Much Higher in the Alphabet

Plenty of action, a few amusing moments, a lot of zombies, and a whole lot of Brad Pitt. There are certainly worse combinations.

 
Bling Ring a Shiny Package with Nothing of Value Inside

A painfully slow pace plus amoral, self-obsessed teens behaving like idiots minus a good lesson equals a massive waste of time.

 
Monsters University: The Parental Guidance of Pixar Movies

Not even close to being on par with Pixar's Toy Story sequels, but a genial nature and thoroughgoing inoffensiveness make it palatable.

 
Tired Action Scenes Aside, Man of Steel is Serious, Substantial

Clear parallels to the life of Christ and themes of sacrifice, redemption and love elevate Superman's story above mere entertainment.

 
Before Midnight Beautifully Caps Trilogy Capturing Life, Love

Love is still central in this trilogy's third act, but now so much more life has been lived, and consequences can be Love’s kryptonite.

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