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August 2013
Unoriginal Closed Circuit a Decent Alternative

Intelligent, but not smart enough; appealing, but nothing really stands out. It's more Masterpiece Theater than major studio release.

 
Blue Jasmine Introduces Woody Allen's Newfound Sense of Justice

Cate Blanchett's powerhouse performance as the titular character is what the accolade tour de force is reserved for.

 
Avoid The World's End if You Take Your Movies Clean with a Message

Not a film for movie-goers looking for a heart-tugging story or an uplifting theme. But fans of British sci-fi and comedy will love it.

 
Awful Paranoia Could Cost Ford an Oscar for 42

Doomed by predictability, but worst of all is the complete lack of suspense. Hopefully it won't hurt Harrison Ford with the Academy.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • August 19, 2013 |
  • comments
 
The Butler Serves a Moving Slice of Dramatic History

Quite the opposite of feel-good cinema, but director Lee Daniels is mostly successful in satisfying his multi-faceted objectives.

 
If Only Jobs Were as Sleek & Beautiful as an Apple Product

Sounds like a great American dream, and it is—but the filmmakers show us the downright ugly along with the good in this TV-ish biopic.

 
Prince Avalanche Reverses David Gordon Green's Directorial Slide

Not everything works, but the film's oddness makes for a unique viewing experience. It's a major comeback for director Green.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • August 16, 2013 |
  • comments
 
Ain't Them Bodies Saints is Beautiful but Exhausting

A truly beautiful film about an outlaw, but one can’t shake the feeling that it's the exhaustive visual equivalent of a sad country song.

 
Neither Soaring nor Crashing, Planes Just Kinda Glides

Not bad, but not awesome, and definitely below Disney standards for quality. It's cute, funny, sweet, and forgettable.

 
Spectacular Now Reboots Teen Romance Genre with Strong Acting, Message

Young romantic leads Teller and Woodley are launching careers with this story about recognizing our failures and need for love.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • August 09, 2013 |
  • comments
August 2013
Elysium Works if One Can Set Aside its Soapbox

Despite the socialistic sermonizing, this brainy thrill-ride is smartly constructed in a manner reminiscent of Christopher Nolan.

 
Endless Exposition, Lack of Humor Doom Percy Jackson Sequel

So poorly executed that it's safe to say all comparisons between Percy Jackson and Harry Potter will come to a screeching halt.

 
Smurfs 2 Will Leave You Blue

What is meant to be a family-friendly comedy sadly becomes a big blue blunder and waste of studio money.

 
2 Guns Fires, Scores a Hit

Finally, the funny, fast-paced action movie we've been waiting for all summer has arrived.

July 2013
Wolverine a Fascinating Study of the Man behind the Mutant

Surprising how much better it is to its predecessor is in every possible way. The storyline is just as compelling as the special effects.

 
The Way, Way Back is Way, Way Overrated

The only distinguishing characteristic is that it doesn't have one. The writing and direction lack distinction; the young lead is bland.

 
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.

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