Print Reviews

A kitschy 1981 3D movie is restored and re-released in theaters for a slow rollout across the country.

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“Wild” breaks the mold of other trip-as-self-discovery films with a refreshing honesty.

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The third and final entry in The Hobbit trilogy is by far the strongest of the three. It gives a faithful and lovingly-crafted foray into Middle Earth for fans of the book and new fans alike, while being able to incorporate lore from other writings of Tolkien into the mix and tying all six films together as a unit, binding them with common story elements and ties to each other.

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Chris Rock makes his writing/directing debut in Top Five, a showbiz romantic comedy that is loose, sometimes broad and often hilarious.

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Very, very rarely a movie comes along that transcends the perceived limitations of being a “horror” or “scary” movie and becomes a full-fledged work of art. The Exorcist, Silence of the Lambs, and The Shining are some examples, and now you can add The Babadook, showing exclusively in Kansas City starting Friday at Screenland Armour, to that list as well.

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Both Whiplash and Nightcrawler are models of fast-paced, engaging storytelling that leaves a mark.

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There are a few hard-nosed, pointed remarks from Hawking—one of the most brilliant minds of the century—and very few truly selfish moments, despite the fact that even as a purely inspirational figure, he’s earned them. The same goes for Jones’ Jane, whose sacrifices just keep piling up. This renders the portrayals, however remarkable the performances are, too saintly and mawkish.

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Dreamworks Animation has always looked out for the adults who take their children to movies. From Shrek and The Bee Movie, to How to Train Your Dragon and the movie which spawned the spin-off, Madagascar, the studio makes smart and funny animated movies, all the while possessing enough heart and emotion to not just tug at the heart strings of children, but their adult counterparts as well.

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Written and directed by Ruben Östlund, Force Majeure has been selected as the Swedish entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards in February 2015. Unfortunately in my humble opinion, the film fails to really engage the viewer in any meaningful discussion or portrait of a family in the midst of crisis, and leaves you not with a feeling of conclusion, but with confusion.

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It’s no news to fans of the young-adult book series by Suzanne Collins that this third movie only covers a portion of her third novel, which is par for the course, I suppose, for a film that contains a both a colon and a hyphen in its title. But even in the Star Wars series, which now retroactively features the word “Episode” in each title, the films themselves had a form of resolution. Sometimes there were cliffhangers, sure, but the emotional journey and theme of each film were wrapped up by film’s end.

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Fury walks the line between romanticizing arguably the most important war of the past century and making you appalled that anyone ever went through such an experience voluntarily in what we’ve come to call the last great American crusade against the forces of tyranny.

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In Interstellar, Christopher Nolan is getting pretty pictures and great actors to shine up his turd of a premise until you are forced to proclaim him a master of the cinematic arts.

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Christopher Nolan’s Sci-Fi epic spans the stars, but at its heart is a family drama that errs on the side of sentiment.

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In films like 21 Grams, Biutiful, and Babel, he revels in the misery of his characters and then contrives to make them even more miserable. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of misery and pretentiousness in Birdman (which is subtitled The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) but its mostly psychosomatic—and often played for laughs, which is a new thing for Iñárritu.

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The ABCs of Death 2 moves quickly and most of it is ultimately very forgettable, but I still find myself drawn toward its desire to be different and truly artistic in its approach.

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