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June 2011
Green Lantern Lights Up to Entertain

Green Lantern does have a lightness of spirit throughout much of it that makes it more fun than it might have been otherwise.

 
Mr. Popper’s Penguins Almost Worth Flipping For

For moviegoing families who’ve already seen Kung Fu Panda 2 and Judy Moody’s NOT Bummer Summer, Mr. Popper’s Penguins is another option worth considering.

 
Black Gospel Surveyed in Rejoice & Shout

Rejoice & Shout is a near-encyclopedic journey through the almost 200-year history of “other people” who spoke God’s Word through black gospel music. And that’s good news—literally.

 
Beautiful Boy: A Study in Emotional Inertia

Beautiful Boy, from co-writer and director Shawn Ku, is about the furthest thing from a summer blockbuster that could be imagined. It’s the “feel bad” movie of the summer—if not the year.

 
Super 8 Captures the Summer Movie Experience

Super 8 is the kind of summer movie that made an entire generation fall in love with movies. The kind that didn’t just “wow” us but moved us, and meant something to us.

 
Nothing That New in Midnight in Paris

Woody Allen’s statement isn’t anything original: now is your Golden Age, whether you like it or not, so live in it rather than lament the past.

 
Life, Love Studied in Mike Mills’ Beginners

Starring Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer and based on his own life story, director Mike Mills’ Beginners is a study of life, love and complicated relationships.

 
New X-Men is First Class Entertainment

Beyond the inspired direction, X-Men: First Class’ genius lies in the casting, particularly of James McAvoy as Professor X.

May 2011
Tree of Life a Mixed Bag of Beauty, Boredom

While The Tree of Life claimed the biggest prize at the Cannes Film Festival, it still received a decidedly mixed reaction—cheers and boos—from the screening audience.

 
Plenty of Kick Found in Kung Fu Panda 2

Sticking with the bear necessities, a few lessons worth learning, and plenty of action to boot, Kung Fu Panda 2 is the rare sequel that’s as much fun as its predecessor.

May 2011
Hangover II Leaves Viewers with a Headache

The Hangover Part II aims for the upper decks but is, instead, a major whiff—unnecessary, witless and inferior in every way to the highly overrated first film.

 
Meek’s Cutoff Traffics in Spare Story, Stark Visuals

Starring Michelle Williams, Meek’s Cutoff is an exploration of suspicion, mistrust and the American spirit. Base instincts keep the characters moving toward an uncertain destination.

 
Pirates 4 Could've Used Even Stranger Tides

Pirates 4 should’ve leaned a little more heavily on the "strange." After all, it’s sad seeing Jack basically having nothing to do after the opening scene.

 
Ferrell More Thoughtful in Everything Must Go

Will Ferrell takes a large step on the career-path transition from riotous comedies to heavier material.

 
Priest is a Gruesome Gorefest

It’s amazing what isn’t considered “R” nowadays. And Priest, a gruesome gorefest based on a graphic novel, is a prime example.

 
Here Come the Brash Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids has already been labeled everything from the female answer to The Hangover to Judd Apatow’s debut of the wo-mance.

 
Thor's Origin Story is More of the Same

Thor has a few moments of excitement, but does nothing to ease concerns that these stories are getting a bit long in the tooth.

 
Wobbly Compass Navigates Something Borrowed

In Something Borrowed, you can’t help feeling relieved that what’s happening to these characters isn’t happening to you.

 
Sexual Content Trips Up Jumping the Broom

Knowing that Dallas pastor T.D. Jakes was a producer, I was surprised at the amount of flesh on display in this film.

 
The Beaver Movingly Portrays Mental Illness

“People love a train wreck unless it’s happening to them.” Perhaps that line from The Beaver really connected with Mel Gibson.

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