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December 2013
Exciting Finale not Enough to Save Lumbering 47 Ronin

More often dull, listless, and unengaging than outright bad or painful to watch, though its Eastern witchcraft may be bothersome to some.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • December 26, 2013 |
  • comments
 
Blatant Commercialism Can’t Sink Sweet Walter Mitty

A comedy that deals with serious themes but manages to stay light enough on its feet that any moments of heavy-handedness are forgivable.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • December 25, 2013 |
  • comments
 
Imperfect Mandela Boasts Worthy Performances and Ideals

Takes a lionizing and fairly standard look at the life of the South African revolutionary, contextualizing debated aspects of his life.

 
Grudge Match Boxes Ears without Warming Hearts

The winner is...? Certainly not the audience. Could have been fun were it not for the thick layer of smut coating virtually every scene.

  • Susan Ellingburg |
  • December 25, 2013 |
  • comments
 
Man's Depravity Knows No Bounds in The Wolf of Wall Street

In true Martin Scorsese fashion, The Wolf of Wall Street is yet another demented tale about Man at his most dark and depraved.

  • Christa Banister |
  • December 25, 2013 |
  • comments
 
There's Something About Her, but There's Also Something Missing

Stimulates our mind more than it stirs our spirits or pulls our heartstrings; more of a discussion than a heartfelt experience.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • December 24, 2013 |
  • comments
 
A Spoonful of Sharpness Helps the Sugar Go Down in Saving Mr. Banks

Seems to serve as a family-friendly version of the art vs. commerce debate, but also packs an emotional and thematic wallop.

  • Christa Banister |
  • December 20, 2013 |
  • comments
 
Walking with Dinosaurs is 'Awesome' in 3D

Feels like something you'd see at a good science museum. Dino-crazy youngsters will love it, and their parents won’t mind it either.

  • Susan Ellingburg |
  • December 20, 2013 |
  • comments
 
News Flash: Anchorman 2 Full of Laughs

A goofy, unserious film that generates laugh after laugh, stopping well short of the raunch-fests that pass for movie comedies today.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • December 18, 2013 |
  • comments
 
American Hustle: Stylish, Well-Acted... and Surprisingly Empty

A largely improvisational effort that ultimately highlights what director David O. Russell cares about the most: interesting characters.

  • Christa Banister |
  • December 18, 2013 |
  • comments
December 2013
Middle Earth More Thrilling Than Our Last Visit in Second Hobbit Installment

Less bloated, this second installment stands as a premium Hollywood production that can teach other major lit-franchises a thing or two.

 
A Madea Christmas is a Bit Naughty, a Bit Nice

Has all the hallmarks of Perry’s former installments: a little heart, a little hope, and one pistol-packing grandma.

 
Philomena a "Good Cry Movie" about a Mom's Regret

Prepare to be overwhelmed – especially if you’re a mother. Ready yourself, both for Judi Dench's performance and for tears.

 
It's Hard to Get Inside Llewyn Davis, but It's Worthwhile

We're used to stories about dreams come true. This folk tale of folk music is the story of one that doesn't which toys with reasons why.

November 2013
Disney Does it Again - Doubly - with Frozen

Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen" comes to life in a retelling that will have families laughing and singing, and hearts melting.

  • Susan Ellingburg |
  • November 27, 2013 |
  • comments
 
Black Nativity's Dream Team Tells Universal Story with Universal Message

I was moved. Black Nativity will bring people to tears, many to forgiveness, maybe even repentance, and inspire reconciliation.

 
Homefront Nothing More Than a Momentary Diversion

Takes up the slot for those looking for a bone-breaking, pitchfork-stabbing, explosion-laden spectacle in their moviegoing.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • November 27, 2013 |
  • comments
 
Revenge is Anything but Sweet in Garishly Violent Oldboy

It's like a much darker, grittier Count of Monte Cristo without any pesky food for thought. It's also an apathetic waste of time.

  • Christa Banister |
  • November 27, 2013 |
  • comments
 
The Book Thief is Pretty but often Painful to Watch

For any who see the film before reading the exceptional novel it's based on, a helpful tip is not to judge the book by the movie.

  • Christa Banister |
  • November 25, 2013 |
  • comments
 
Catching Fire Trumps its Predecessor in Every Possible Way

Under a new director, deeper themes lurk beneath the disturbing surface story of this sequel to offer a surprisingly relevant takeaway.

  • Christa Banister |
  • November 22, 2013 |
  • comments
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