Sept. 4, 2015

A Coming-of-Age Story for the Dustbin of History

'Ten Thousands Saints' is terrible

Barf The story, despite being convoluted, is entirely predictable. The characters are paper-thin, and everyone is an asshole.

Aug. 26, 2015 by David Riedel

Yawning for Fire

Yep, 'Digging for Fire' is standard white malaise fare

Barf I’m all for movies that mirror real life (or attempt to mirror real life), but Digging for Fire is so vapid I can only feel pity for the people who find it interesting.

Aug. 26, 2015 by David Riedel

Made for TV?

'A Murder in the Park' has a big-screen story but small-screen treatment

Barf This documentary has a can’t-miss story, but the filmmakers have hacked this film together as if it’s a true-crime doc on cable.

July 22, 2015 by David Riedel

Snoozeland

It’s all glowers and dropped plot threads in 'Strangerland'

Barf This is a movie where people look sternly at each other for long periods of time and then shout, and then look sternly at each other again.

July 08, 2015 by David Riedel

People Suck, and So Does This Movie

Take heart; the Italians are as bad as the Americans if 'Human Capital' is proof

Barf If Human Capital is the kind of thing that’s supposed to pass for great foreign cinema these days, we’re all assuredly fucked.

Feb. 18, 2015 by David Riedel

Gobbledygook and Silliness

'Jupiter Ascending' is so, so bad

Barf Is it too early to declare the Jupiter Ascending the worst movie of 2015? Probably, but there's going to have to be some serious shit out there to compete with it.

Feb. 04, 2015 by David Riedel

Oh, Enough

Let’s hope 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' sits on its own sword

Barf The Battle of the 144 Minutes I’ll Never Get Back became the epitome of everything shitty about the 2014 movie year.

Dec. 16, 2014 by David Riedel

Eternal Vanity

'The Immortalists' could be fascinating, but its subjects aren’t

Barf The Immortalists takes an intriguing premise and squanders it with one of the least likable documentary subjects to ever grace the screen.

Dec. 09, 2014 by David Riedel

Piece. Of. Shit.

'Horrible Bosses 2' is so bad it defies comprehension

Barf There are four laughs in Horrible Bosses 2, but at 108 minutes, you deserve more than a laugh every 27 minutes.

Nov. 25, 2014 by David Riedel

It’s 'Twister' Part 2!

'Into the Storm' is worse than bad; it’s boring

Barf Into the Storm is so similar to Jan de Bont’s mid-1990s unintentional larf-fest that one wonders how Warner Bros. isn’t suing itself.

Aug. 05, 2014 by David Riedel

Cold Inside

There are no big surprises in Steve Jobs: 'The Man in the Machine'

Meh Alex Gibney spends two hours going through every rotten thing Steve Jobs did in his life, and that would be a revelation if all this information hadn’t been available when Jobs was alive.

Sept. 02, 2015 by David Riedel

Nouns Should Be More Interesting

'People Places Things' is flat

Meh People Places Things barely registers. It’s all so twee you’ll swear it’s a low-rent version of a Wes Anderson film.

Aug. 19, 2015 by David Riedel

This. Goddamn. Film Series.

It’s become Mission: Impossible to see an end to this nonsense

Meh Considering how little Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation cares about a coherent story, exciting action set pieces or jokes that aren’t eye-rollers, it’s worth noting that this film is the fifth in a series that has an uncharismatic lead and absolutely jack shit to contribute to the spy genre.

July 31, 2015 by David Riedel

How Pruned Was My Garden

In 'A Little Chaos', Alan Rickman and Kate Winslet turn French history into a British period piece

Meh Alan Rickman has only directed two films now. His lack of practice is a hindrance, but not a deal-breaker on A Little Chaos.

June 24, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

Can You Tell Me How to Get to the Story?

'I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story' is featherweight

Meh When I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story is over, you'll have no better idea of what makes Spinney tick.

May 13, 2015 by David Riedel

Why Can’t You Just Play Ball, Dude?

'5 to 7' is great until it isn’t (and then it really isn’t)

Meh 5 to 7 starts so wonderfully that its left turn into bologna is all the more disheartening.

April 22, 2015 by David Riedel

Be Brave, Bold Robot

Alex Garland’s 'Ex Machina' has human limitations

Meh There are many things to admire in Alex Garland’s directorial debut, but there’s an underlying ickiness to the entire film.

April 22, 2015 by David Riedel

All Hail the Underdog(s)

'White God' is hard to watch

Meh For those who feel pained whenever animals suffer, on the screen or in real life, White God will be tough going.

April 15, 2015 by David Riedel

Stolen Art, Stolen Lives

'Woman in Gold' should have huge stakes but struggles dramatically

Meh Here’s a question for you: What happens when you make a movie that’s a shameless bid for awards but isn’t good enough to win any of those awards?

April 08, 2015 by David Riedel

Gay Panic! (At the Prison Yard)

Good chemistry can’t elevate 'Get Hard's lethargy

Meh Apparently in 2015, no one got the memo that it’s not funny when someone thinks sucking a dick is the worst thing that can happen to him.

March 24, 2015 by David Riedel

Nativize Me

Sandler gaffe proves old habits are hard to shake off in Hollywood

Movie Reviews Last week, news broke that some Native American actors working on a new Adam Sandler movie in the area walked off the set over what they say are disrespectful jokes in the script, historically inaccurate costumes, characters who speak in halting English and generally shitty attitudes (my take) from producers.

April 27, 2015 by David Riedel

Good Riddance, 2014

It was a bad year for good movies and a good year for bad movies

Movie Reviews So 2014 is finally over, and I think I speak for everyone who loves movies when I say: Good goddamn riddance, 2014. You sucked. Like, REALLY SUCKED.

Dec. 30, 2014 by David Riedel

It’s a Wrap!

2013 was a year filled with glory, slurps and triple barfs

Movie Reviews So this year was a pretty good one for movies. It’s just that movies that were bad were so bad. Just inexcusable. Sweet Jesus. But we’ll get to those after my five favorite movies of 2013.

Dec. 31, 2013 by David Riedel

Fall Flicks

It’s the attack of the award-worthy films!

Movie Reviews Welcome to autumn. As we all know—and if you don’t, WHAT THE FUCK, ARE YOU LIVING UNDER A ROCK?—it’s the time of year when the studios, big and small, start pushing their awards fodder picture

Oct. 25, 2013 by David Riedel

Blood and guts… gotta problem with that?

'Machete Kills' is long, dumb, and a lot of fun

Movie Reviews The early reviews for Machete Kills have largely been unkind. The big gripe appears to be that Machete Kills is too long, too repetitive and too superviolent. How many of these critics have seen a Robert Rodriguez movie before?

Oct. 11, 2013 by David Riedel

Tom Hanks… and pirates

'Captain Phillips' has its moments

Movie Reviews Sometimes when watching a movie that’s particularly emotionally distressing, one has to ask, “Just how much harrowing adversity can we watch these characters go through? What’s the endgame here?

Oct. 09, 2013 by David Riedel

Nothing to see here

'Love, Marilyn' is truly lame

Movie Reviews Hey, here's something to savor. A bunch of actors reading—on camera no less!—words by lots and lots of people who have written things about Marilyn Monroe. And words by Monroe herself.

Oct. 09, 2013 by David Riedel

I Seem to Be Floating, And Downward

It’s ‘Gravity’!

Movie Reviews Calling a movie Newton’s Laws of Motion would probably have the potential audience running for the hills.

Oct. 01, 2013 by David Riedel

Not Enough

‘Enough Said’ is delightful

Movie Reviews It’s a shame there aren’t more movies like Enough Said. It’s a touching (and truly hilarious) comedy with moments of drama about people who are actual adults—people with children and responsibilities and jobs—and not just assholes who work in graphic design.

Oct. 01, 2013 by David Riedel

Come for the Crashes, Stay for the Story

Rush is better than it should be

Movie Reviews It’s that time of year between the end of summer and the beginning of the Oscar races when, traditionally, the genuine crap starts hitting the multiplexes. (You’ll also find crap from January to March, and, depending on your point of view, all year.)

Sept. 24, 2013 by David Riedel

Political Theatre

'Best of Enemies' is entertaining but skin-deep

Ok Best of Enemies is strongest when it lets its two lead characters have at it.

Aug. 12, 2015 by David Riedel

Behind the Voice

A filmmaker looks for answers in 'Do I Sound Gay?'

Ok Do I Sound Gay? doesn’t get very deep, but it does highlight a lesser-known struggle inside the gay community.

Aug. 05, 2015 by David Riedel

Death Came with Compassion

'The Farewell Party' takes a light-ish look at a serious subject

Ok How does one die with dignity when suffering from a progressive, painful, fatal illness?

July 29, 2015 by David Riedel

Traffic

'Cartel Land' shines a light on the cyclical nature of the war on drugs

Ok Cartel Land is a heartbreaking piece of cinema, it looks great and it exposes the drug war for it is.

July 15, 2015 by David Riedel

Insects Are Heroes, Too!

Nowhere does the phrase “size doesn’t matter” appear in this 'Ant-Man' review; congratulate me on my restraint

Ok Marvel has gotten so good at making Marvel movies, it doesn’t seem to matter that it doesn’t matter that a Marvel movie isn’t firing on all thrusters.

July 15, 2015 by David Riedel

In Defense of Shutting In

'The Wolfpack' is a documentary about kids growing up in a locked house

Ok The Wolfpack becomes a loose laboratory study of the nature of escapism, raising such context-dependent questions as whether an obsession with Reservoir Dogs is healthy for kids.

June 24, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

The Man Makes the Clothes

Design not quite within reach in 'Saint Laurent'

Ok Bertrand Bonello’s film comes on like a narcotic and presents the life of late designer Yves Saint Laurent in a series of oblique narrative vignettes.

June 10, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

Once More Unto the Beach

'Love & Mercy' lies in bed just like Brian Wilson did

Ok In Love & Mercy, a bedridden Brian Wilson struggles mightily with almost becoming the star child from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Or something like that.

June 03, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

Here’s that Estonian Oscar Submission You Asked For

'Tangerines' probably is as sweet and tart as a little Eastern European war drama can probably be

Ok Have you heard this one? A Chechen and a Georgian lie wounded in an immigrant Estonian’s house, circa 1992.

May 27, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

The Kids Are…Well, They’re OK

Meet the Who’s managers in 'Lambert & Stamp'

Ok What it takes to produce a great quartet of gear-smashing mod rockers is this: on the one hand, a gay, Oxford-educated son of a composer, and on the other, yes, the kid brother to the future General Zod.

May 20, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

What Did You Do in the War on Terrorism, Daddy?

The Interview debacle isn’t over, and it’s pretty bizarre

See By the time you read this piece, it will be a week since Sony canceled the release of James Franco and Seth Rogen’s comedy The Interview. And then news broke Tuesday that the The Interview will screen on Christmas after all, just in limited release.

Dec. 23, 2014 by David Riedel

Killing Hollywood-Style for Real

‘The Act of Killing’ is a bizarre must-see

See The Act of Killing is such a surreal movie it’s almost hard to believe that all the killings in it took place. 

Feb. 25, 2014 by David Riedel

One Hit-and-Run, a Bunch of Dirty Cops and a Funeral

'A Hard Day' has a fresh take on some cinematic tropes

Yay A Hard Day delivers the shocks and thrills, with a couple moments that are so jarring you may actually jump out of your seat.

Sept. 02, 2015 by David Riedel

Eek!

That’s the best one-word description of 'The Tribe'

Yay The Tribe is well crafted and smartly filmed and has heavy doses of nihilism and fatalism, all things that are right up this critic’s alley.

Aug. 19, 2015 by David Riedel

From the Ashes a Betrayal

Director Christian Petzold shows his influences but makes 'Phoenix' his own

Yay Phoenix is beautifully acted, and asks that the audience think for itself instead of leading it around.

Aug. 12, 2015 by David Riedel

Baa Baa Smart Sheep!

'Shaun the Sheep' is delightful

Yay If only every children's movie were Shaun the Sheep. Expect it on lots of “Best of” lists this year.

Aug. 05, 2015 by David Riedel

Manically Depressed

'Infinitely Polar Bear' understands mental illness and, better yet, isn’t afraid of it

Yay Maya Forbes, who wrote and directed Infinitely Polar Bear, made a great film rooted in her personal experiences.

July 22, 2015 by David Riedel

A Film Critic Tried to Come up with a Snappy Headline…

Just go see 'A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence'

Yay Whatever dumb adjectives I come up with to describe it, writer-director Roy Andersson has made a masterpiece.

July 08, 2015 by David Riedel

A Bike Lane Runs Through It

Dutch doc 'The New Rijksmuseum' reveals how art institutions do and don’t work

Yay Though it actually observes people falling asleep in meetings, the film itself is not boring.

July 01, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

Well, They Seem Nice

Let’s all make new friends with 'The Overnight'

Yay The establishment of intimacy, with all its confusions, frustrations and consolations, is just what interests writer-director Patrick Brice, who juices this minimal scenario with maximum efficiency.

July 01, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

Emotion Graphics

With 'Inside Out', Pixar once again gets into your heart and head

Yay A nimble ensemble piece, Inside Out exemplifies the platitudes of teamwork that seem baked in to the famously by-committee studio that produced it.

June 17, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

Wastrels of the Upper West Side

Arielle Holmes gets discovered in 'Heaven Knows What'

Yay Heaven Knows What is a quasi-documentary of homeless young addicts adrift in the area that once was known as Needle Park.

June 17, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer
 

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