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NEW THIS WEEK
Starred Up 3.33
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For 3.13
To Be Takei 3
When the Game Stands Tall 3
Another Me 2.14
If I Stay 1.75
Possession of Michael King, The rate me!
Kabbalah Me rate me!
Prince, The rate me!
Are You Here rate me!
Liberator, The rate me!
Cam2Cam rate me!
Abuse of Weakness rate me!
Kink rate me!
November Man rate me!
Love is Strange rate me!
Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People rate me!
K2: Siren of the Himalayas rate me!
ALSO IN THEATERS

COMING NEXT WEEK
29-Aug As Above, So Below
29-Aug Calling, The (2014)
29-Aug Canopy
29-Aug Congress, The
29-Aug Damned, The
29-Aug Innocence (2014)
29-Aug Kundo: Age of the Rampant
29-Aug Last of Robin Hood, The
29-Aug Life of Crime
29-Aug Notebook, The (2014)
29-Aug Patema Inverted

DVD RELEASES
26-Aug Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas  
26-Aug Belle  
26-Aug Blended  
26-Aug Double, The (2014)  
26-Aug Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return  
26-Aug Young and Beautiful  
2-Sep Citizen Koch  
2-Sep Draft Day  
2-Sep For No Good Reason  
2-Sep Moms' Night Out  
2-Sep Night Moves (2014)  
2-Sep They Came Together  
2-Sep Under the Electric Sky  

TOP 5
MOVIES IN RELEASE
TITLE RATING
100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, The 5
Frank 5
Letter to Momo, A 5
Calvary 5
Life Itself 4.63

BOTTOM 5
MOVIES IN RELEASE
TITLE RATING
What If (2014) 1
And So It Goes 1.14
Into the Storm 1.38
Sex Tape 1.5
Giver, The 1.57

2012 Tribeca Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Rubberneck 2.38
Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie 3
Playroom, The 3
As Luck Would Have It (2013) 4.14
Graceland 4
MORE MOVIES

2013 Fantasia International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Across the River 4
You're Next 3.52
Frankenstein's Army 3
Key of Life 4
Apology King, The 5
MORE MOVIES

2013 Toronto International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Past, The 4.56
What If (2014) 1
Bends 5
Philomena 4.1
Begin Again 3.84
MORE MOVIES

2013 New York Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Her 4.08
Wind Rises, The 4.93
Alan Partridge 4.14
Missing Picture, The 4
Touch of Sin, A 4.63
MORE MOVIES

2013 Chicago International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
August: Osage County 1.91
Fifth Estate, The 2
Under the Rainbow (2013) 4
With You, Without You 3
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom 3.56
MORE MOVIES

2014 Sundance Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Only Lovers Left Alive 4
Double, The (2014) 4.75
Killers (2014) 3.71
God's Pocket 2.86
Trip to Italy, The 4
MORE MOVIES

2014 Chicago Critics Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Congress, The 4
Obvious Child 4.86
Housebound 5
Mood Indigo 2
I, Origins 2.43
MORE MOVIES

2014 Nantucket Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Skeleton Twins, The 4
Life Itself 4.63
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter 5
Ping Pong Summer 3
Break Point 4
MORE MOVIES

2014 Los Angeles Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Frank 5
Cut Bank 5
Echo Park (2014) 4.5
Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest, The 5
Two Faces of January, The 4
MORE MOVIES

2014 Maui Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Obvious Child 4.86
Begin Again 3.84
God Help the Girl 4.14
Awake: the Life of Yogananda 3.67
Breath of Life 5
MORE MOVIES

2014 AFI Docs Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Life Itself 4.63
Art and Craft 5
Internet's Own Boy, The: The Story of Aaron Swartz 3.14
Newburgh Sting, The 1
Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa 2
MORE MOVIES

2014 New York Asian Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Aberdeen (2014) 3
Why Don't You Play in Hell? 4.62
Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reiji, The 3.71
Uzumasa Limelight 5
White Storm, The 4
MORE MOVIES

2014 Fantasia International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
White Storm, The 4
Cheatin' 3.71
Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reiji, The 3.71
At the Devil's Door 4
In the Land of the Head Hunters 4
MORE MOVIES

2014 Black Harvest Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Forgotten Kingdom, The 3.29
DAR HE: The Lynching of Emmett Till 4
From Above 5
MORE MOVIES

2014 Toronto International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Alleluia 5
Sea Fog (Haemoo) 2
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem 5
Girlhood (Bande de filles) 2
Cut Bank 5
MORE MOVIES

2014 Fantastic Fest MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Closer to God 4
Alleluia 5
Jacky in the Kingdom of Women 3.86
Man in the Orange Jacket, The 4
MORE MOVIES

2014 Chicago International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Dear White People 3.86
MORE MOVIES

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EFC STATS
Movies Listed: 27090
Total Ratings: 245680
Total Reviews: 26390
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SPOTLIGHTED FEATURES REGULAR COLUMNS
DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews For 8/25: "Joe Couldn't Find A Prayer In The Bible."
Films I Neglected To Review: European Vacation Edition.
Remembering Robin Williams (1951-2014)
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Silly walk right in and sit right down...
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Criticwatch - The Not-So-Perfect Date Movie
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Criticwatch - Shawn Edwards: The 2013 Quote Whore of the Year, Decade And Ever
Criticwatch - The 2013 Quote Whores of the Year
Criticwatch Presents: Peter Travers (The 2013 Retrospective)
Criticwatch Presents: Pete Hammond (The 2013 Retrospective)
Celebrity Exclusive Interviews
Film Festivals of the World
Criticwatch
Rants and Raves
Court of Public Opinion
DVD Reviews
Movies & Money with Erik Childress (WCIU-TV)
The HBS/EFC Hall of Fame
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WGN Radio's Midnight Movie Reviews Podcast (w/ Nick Digilio, Erik Childress & Collin Souter)
DVD/Blu-ray Schedules
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LATEST REVIEWS
FRANK
"Much more than just the movie where you don't see Fassbender's face."
5 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Not being a drinker, I'm probably appropriating a terrible metaphor here, but this movie strikes me as being like a certain kind of binge: You start out down, but soon the alcohol gets you and everything is crazy and funny and even when somebody clocks you, it doesn't feel like any real damage has been done until the uncomfortable truths start coming out. That's when you realize that the movie you had filled away as "the one where Michael Fassbender wears the papier-maché head" is going to leave you with something to chew on." (more)
DEAD SNOW: RED VS. DEAD
"More of the same, but the same is still Nazi zombies."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2014 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: As much as I would tell many that Norwegian filmmaker Tommy Wirkolka's "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" was an underrated bit of high-concept fun, I was not the biggest fan of his first international hit. That's a bit of a problem by some definitions of what it takes to give a movie a fair shake, as this sequel was definitely made to give those who liked "Dead Snow" more of that thing that they liked. It is that, although I give Tommy Wirkola plenty of credit in pushing it into being a "next step" rather than just a repeat." (more)
ANOTHER ME
"Not scary, and that's not enough."
2 stars
Jay Seaver says... ""Another Me" didn't look like much - a young-adult thriller that likely would have gone straight to video-on-demand but for a slow release week and the fact that the other line on star Sophie Turner's filmography is "Game of Thrones" - but Isabel Coixet as the person to adapt it to the screen is a strange enough choice to be interesting. Unfortunately, as much as the gamble of putting an art-house filmmaker in charge of a mainstream horror movie could pay off well, it can also turn out as dull and muddled as this one." (more)
SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR
"The long bad night, indeed."
2 stars
Brett Gallman says... "In terms of artists who have managed to wedge themselves up their own ass, I can’t think of a more toxic pairing than Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, a couple of former wunderkinds turned exasperating self-parodies. Considering it took nine years to shepherd it to the screen, you’d assume a “Sin City” sequel would be a prime opportunity for both to return to form, and yet “A Dame to Kill For” feels like the sort of effort you would have expected from a cheap, quick cash-in from hacky imitators with no real feel for what made the original work. That it comes from the exact same creative team is almost astounding." (more)
SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR
"Insert "Naked City" Reference Here"
4 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "To call "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For," Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller's long-awaited followup to their groundbreaking 2005 adaptation of Miller's acclaimed series of noir-influenced graphic novels, "lurid" would be like calling fried chicken "tasty," the new Taylor Swift song "catchy" and Eva Green "attractive"--those words may be technically accurate but they hardly begin to scratch the surface in doing justice to the subjects at hand (as I will be demonstrating later on in this review in regards to at least one of those premises). Seemingly containing a higher concentration of sex, violence and ultra-hard-boiled dialogue than any single movie since the original "Sin City," this is a film that seems to have been designed to make audiences cheer with delight or swoon in horror at the excesses that it revels in from the very first frame to the last. Although it may not be the unequivocal knockout that its predecessor was, it still packs enough of a giddily grisly punch to make for a ridiculously entertaining good time, though you might want to make sure that your multiplex is equipped with defibrillators in the even that it proves to be too much for more delicate moviegoers." (more)
IF I STAY
"Not-Quite-Gone Girl"
1 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "Although it has occasionally been suggested that I am of a cynical, cold-hearted and borderline dyspeptic disposition, especially in reference to any film of a more sentimental nature than "Sin City 2," I have nothing at all in particular against movies that have plenty of emotions to share and are willing to do so at the drop of a hat or an especially poignant music cue. I only ask two things of such films--that they earn those big sentimental moments and that give us characters that are interesting and likable enough so that viewers can legitimately care about what happens to them in the end. The teen romantic tragedy "If I Stay" drops the ball in regards to the first part but if that had been its only major sin, I could have easily just dismissed it with a couple of mildly snarky rebukes while admitting that I am quite obviously not part of its key audience demographic of 14-year-old drama queens equally obsessed with their own mortality and whether or not that cute new boy in study hall likes them or not. Alas, "If I Stay" also whiffs things by offering up as one of its main players a character who, thanks to a combination of shabby writing and painful miscasting, is one of the biggest douchebags to ever grace a movie screen in my lifetime. As a result, his mere presence is enough to throw the whole thing off-balance and set up a bizarre challenge for viewers--how can audiences possibly hope for our star-crossed lovers to get back together again if his very presence is enough to send most of them reeling in distaste?" (more)
EXPENDABLES 3, THE
"Time to retire lads."
1 stars
Daniel Kelly says... "Looking back at my archives, it appears I neglected to pen anything on the subject of 2012's “The Expendables 2”, despite a vivid memory of absorbing the picture in my local, endearingly scruffy flea-pit. The sequel was an improvement over the dour 2010 original, a feature that promised jazzy nostalgia and career revivals for the world's most famed beefcakes, but actually delivered little other than an occasional witty line. “The Expendables 2” dispensed with any pretence of earnestness, instead becoming an intentionally ludicrous post-modern jaunt through the annals of late 20th century action cinema. It was a crass effort for sure, but one that generated enough smiles to eke out mild satisfaction. Essentially these films amount to an elaborate practical joke, which leads me to assume “The Expendables 3” is the punchline. The third outing has an expanded cast and even a hot new director (Patrick Hughes, who helmed the exceptional Australian thriller “Red Hill”), but somehow manages to become the most impressively redundant of the series so far. The film attempts to cultivate the sombre essence of part one whilst indulging the cheesy chuckles of its immediate follow-up; yet provides none of the limited pleasures permitted by either. It's an unapologetically dumb feature, but that's forgiveable. The real mortal sin perpetrated is the lack of finesse or energy evident in anything other than a shrill Antonio Banderas." (more)
ZERO THEOREM, THE
"Gilliam's best in a decade an a half."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2014 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: I wonder if writer Pat Rushin ever thought something along the lines of "this script is so screwed if we don't get Terry Gilliam" when writing "The Zero Theorem". There are other directors who would dive into the weirdness of its world, but the material seems so perfectly matched that Gilliam passing on it or expressing interest and getting bogged down in development hell or the million other things that can seemingly go wrong when Gilliam makes a movie seem like they would have killed any chances to see this." (more)
MORE REVIEWS

LATEST FEATURES
DVD/BLU-RAY REVIEWS FOR 8/25: "JOE COULDN'T FIND A PRAYER IN THE BIBLE."
by Peter Sobczynski
"What better way to celebrate the anniversary of Sean Connery's birth than by reading this round-up of recent releases on DVD and Blu-ray, including one of the best vampire movies in years, a horror cult classic and another piece of crap with Nicolas Cage? Oh yeah, there is also a lot of smut to be had as well." (more)
FILMS I NEGLECTED TO REVIEW: EUROPEAN VACATION EDITION.
by Peter Sobczynski
"Please enjoy short reviews of "Are You There," "The One I Love," "The Possession of Michael King," "A Summer's Tale" and "The Trip To Italy."" (more)
REMEMBERING ROBIN WILLIAMS (1951-2014)
by Daniel Kelly
"Children love to laugh. The act itself is an inherently innocent and joyous one; releasing copious amounts of serotonin and making us feel, if not for the briefest of moments, entirely happy. This is probably the reason that so many youngsters find their way to art through comedy. When executed well, comedy rewards the basest of our desires, offering contentment, warmth and amusement. Good comedy doesnt have to be complex, layered or undercut by palpable darkness (although these things can help); it just has to be funny. Its that simple. In the mid-1990s, when my appetite for film was beginning to blossom, I had a very distinct set of Hollywood heroes. There was Ace Ventura, the nutty, possibly sociopathic animal sleuth; Happy Gilmore, the skilled but resistant golfer prone to fits of psychosis; and then there was Robin Williams. Unlike the other fictional characters (portrayed by Jim Carrey & Adam Sandler respectively) I was always conscious of Williams as a person, not just as comedic caricature. Something about the performer encouraged an immediate, human rapport. Perhaps it was the fact he had already been involved with dozens of famed works (Carrey & Sandler were only beginning to take flight around 1994-1997), and thus his star presence superseded anything he brought to the screen." (more)
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'IF YOU'D COME TO ME IN FRIENDSHIP, THEN THIS SCUM THAT RUINED YOUR DAUGHTER WOULD BE SUFFERING THIS VERY DAY.'
- Don Corleone, The Godfather
 
 

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