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NEW THIS WEEK
Planes: Fire & Rescue 3
Purge, The: Anarchy 1.5
Sex Tape 1
I, Origins rate me!
Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory rate me!
Video Games: The Movie rate me!
Among Ravens rate me!
Persecuted rate me!
Five Star Life, A rate me!
And So It Goes rate me!
Wish I Was Here rate me!
Mood Indigo rate me!
ALSO IN THEATERS

COMING NEXT WEEK
23-Jul Letter to Momo, A
23-Jul Master Builder, A
25-Jul Fluffy Movie, The
25-Jul Happy Christmas
25-Jul Hercules (2014)
25-Jul Ironclad: Battle for Blood
25-Jul Lucy
25-Jul Magic in the Moonlight
25-Jul Most Wanted Man, A
25-Jul My Man is a Loser
25-Jul Very Good Girls

DVD RELEASES
22-Jul Blue Ruin  
22-Jul Cesar Chavez  
22-Jul Dom Hemingway  
22-Jul Heaven Is for Real  
22-Jul Sabotage (2014)  
22-Jul Transcendence  
22-Jul Tyler Perry's Single Mom's Club  

TOP 5
MOVIES IN RELEASE
TITLE RATING
Jackpot 5
Willow Creek 5
Obvious Child 4.86
We Are the Best! 4.86
Boyhood 4.73

BOTTOM 5
MOVIES IN RELEASE
TITLE RATING
Sex Tape 1
Third Person 1.14
Tammy 1.5
Million Ways to Die in the West, A 1.5
Purge, The: Anarchy 1.5

2012 Tribeca Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Take this Waltz 3.19
Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal 5
Whole Lotta Sole 4
Revisionaries, The 4
Marvel's The Avengers 4.43
MORE MOVIES

2013 Fantasia International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Raze 2.43
You're Next 3.52
Last Tycoon, The 4
Son of Sardaar 4
Tiger Mask, The 3
MORE MOVIES

2013 Toronto International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Like Father, Like Son (2014) 4.75
Stray Dogs (2013) 2
Begin Again 3.87
Starred Up 3
In Secret 2
MORE MOVIES

2013 New York Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Square, The (2013) 4.89
All Is Lost 4.53
Inside Llewyn Davis 4.37
Omar 4.5
Invisible Woman, The (2013) 4.78
MORE MOVIES

2013 Chicago International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Inside Llewyn Davis 4.37
Sacrament, The 3.21
Nebraska 3.5
Philomena 4.1
Blue Ruin 4.56
MORE MOVIES

2014 Sundance Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Blue Ruin 4.56
Signal, The (2014) 2
Ida 5
Trip to Italy, The 4
Internet's Own Boy, The: The Story of Aaron Swartz 3
MORE MOVIES

2014 Chicago Critics Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Congress, The 4
Obvious Child 4.86
Willow Creek 5
OXV: The Manual (aka Frequencies) 4.18
Copenhagen 5
MORE MOVIES

2014 Nantucket Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Land Ho! 3
Boyhood 4.73
Begin Again 3.87
Ping Pong Summer 3
Break Point 4
MORE MOVIES

2014 Los Angeles Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Starred Up 3
Snowpiercer 4.1
Echo Park (2014) 4.5
Man From Reno 5
How to Train Your Dragon 2 3.13
MORE MOVIES

2014 Maui Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Obvious Child 4.86
Begin Again 3.87
God Help the Girl 4.14
Awake: the Life of Yogananda 5
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
Search for General Tso, The 3.78
MORE MOVIES

2014 New York Asian Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Aberdeen (2014) 3
Public Enemy 3.88
Why Don't You Play in Hell? 4.62
Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reiji, The 3.71
Uzumasa Limelight 5
MORE MOVIES

2014 Fantasia International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Reconstruction of William Zero, The 4.86
Ju-On: The Beginning of the End 4
That Demon Within 4.57
Time Lapse 3
Something Wicked This Way Comes 4.19
MORE MOVIES

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

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Movies Listed: 26840
Total Ratings: 244841
Total Reviews: 26302
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SPOTLIGHTED FEATURES REGULAR COLUMNS
Interview: RichardLinklater on "Boyhood"
Criticwatch - The Not-So-Perfect Date Movie
DVD Reviews For 7/6: "There You Go--Hiding Behind A Smokescreen Of Bourgeois Cliches!"
Films I Neglected To Review: Wet Hot American Romantic Comedy
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
The Oscar Eye
Films I Neglected To Review with Peter Sobczynski
Short Stuff
WGN Radio's Midnight Movie Reviews Podcast (w/ Nick Digilio, Erik Childress & Collin Souter)
DVD/Blu-ray Schedules
MORE FEATURES
LATEST REVIEWS
THOU WAST MILD AND LOVELY
"Sometimes the line between 'striking' and 'bizarre' is thin. Not this time."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2014 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Before Joesphine Decker's "Thou Wast Mild and Lovely" starts to be a weird, creepy sort of movie in a way that has real certainty and direction, it's got two scenes that kind of warn the audience what it's getting into. In the first, farmer Jeremiah (Robert Longstreet) and his daughter Sarah (Sophie Traub) are rolling around in the grass, throwing a headless chicken back and forth, getting blood all over their clothes. In the second, Sarah narrates, describing a strange, ethereal, perfect lover while the camera slowly zooms in on her increasingly agitated dog. Decker quickly moves on to other things, and maybe I'm reading things into that latter juxtaposition that aren't meant, but even if that's the case, what the hell is the deal with everything else?" (more)
BOYHOOD
"A masterwork 12 years in the making."
5 stars
Brett Gallman says... "I was 18 and on the verge of my high school graduation when Richard Linklater started production on “Boyhood,” which is coincidentally where the film leaves its subject, Mason (Ellar Coltrane). By that time, we’ve watched twelve years of his life unfold over the course of 160 minutes, and it’s not the profound changes that amaze so much as Linklater’s ability to capture the authenticity of this moment: the excitement, the anxiety, the sheer relief of having made it through childhood and adolescence relatively unscathed. All of this resonated within me even with the distance of the twelve years I experienced since 2002—perhaps, more than anything, “Boyhood” is a reminder that life is sometimes just about finding a place where you can simply be okay even after being presented evidence that things won’t always be okay." (more)
ZOMBEAVERS
"Exactly what you want a zombie beaver movie to be."
5 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2014 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: "Zombeavers" gives the audience what they want from a movie with that title, pretty much the way they want it, and that way involves puppets. Puppets and blood." (more)
BOYHOOD
"A Boy's Life"
5 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "Thanks to the constant stream of technological advances that Hollywood seems to put forth every few years--ranging from the early experiments with sound and color to the current state-of-the-art developments involving CGI effects and presenting a noticeably dingier and duller screen image while convincing moviegoers to pay an extra $3 a head for that "privilege"--it seems that there are precious few things out there that cannot be presented convincingly within the context of a feature film. Ironically, one of those things is something that all of us experience in our lives and that is the passage of time. Oh sure, films can recreate different time periods with an astonishing degree of detail and fidelity but when it comes to presenting the passage of a few years in the lives of the characters on display, they tend to come up short because while they may be getting older, the people playing them are not since the entire film, regardless of the storyline, is being shot within a relatively compressed timespan. As a result, the filmmakers are forced to rely on costumes, hair & makeup and music cues to signify to passing of time and if they aren't done with the upmost care (as was the case with the ghastly old-age makeup at the end of "Jersey Boys"), the results can be downright embarrassing." (more)
PURGE, THE: ANARCHY
"Stupid Purge--Wish We Was Trick Or Treating!"
1 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "At least once a year, a low-budget horror film comes along that, thanks to the right combination of an ingenious premise or gimmick, a slick promotional campaign effective exploiting said premise or gimmick and the sometimes questionable taste of the moviegoing public, exceeds all expectations at the box office and inspires its producers to strike while the iron is hot by quickly churning out a sequel that will hit theaters maybe a year later in order to milk it for all that it is worth before the next big thing comes along. From a financial standpoint, these films are a pretty good idea as they are usually produced on the cheap as well but as entertainments, the results are often pretty dire, as anyone who sat through "Friday the 13th Part 2," "Nightmare on Elm St. Part 2: Freddy's Revenge," "Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows," "Saw 2," "Hostel 2," "Paranormal Activity 2" and many others can blearily attest." (more)
SEX TAPE
"Turn It Off!!!"
1 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "The idea of a married couple whose attempt to spice up their floundering sex life by making their own homemade porn video backfires when it falls into the hands of others is one of those notions that sounds so good at first blush that you can hardly imagine how a film utilizing it could possibly miss. And yet, "Sex Tape" not only misses, it does so in spectacular fashion. This is a grotesquely misfired farce that isn't particularly funny, is certainly never sexy and which gives viewers the dubious pleasure of watching a couple of normally likable actors stumble around like idiots for 90-odd minutes until the whole enterprise finally crashes around them. Not even a couple of amusing supporting star turns can save this from being yet another entry in this summer's parade of sorry studio comedies." (more)
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
"They're starting to blow it up!"
4 stars
Daniel Kelly says... "There weren’t many level-headed insiders rooting for “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” in 2011. A prequel to a now flagging sci-fi series, the film boasted a first-time director, wearisome production troubles and an unenviable August release date. For Twentieth Century Fox “Rise” represented an instance where limiting losses usurped turning a profit in their list of priorities. The rest is history. The movie opened to strong critical notices and healthy box-office, luring audiences in with the promise of quality over gimmicky pyrotechnics. As a result, its sequel, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” opens with a very different set of expectations; Fox hoping the project will round out the year as one of the studio’s bigger hits. Based on the standard of the final product they’re probably in luck. “Rise” surpassed its runtish pedigree through audience engagement and word of mouth - cinephiles were eager to share the delight of a surprise package with their kin - and the same should apply here. “Dawn” equals its predecessor across the board, building a fabulous apocalypse atop the dystopian promise of the last movie’s finale. The attention to character and theme has also been preserved, incoming director Matt Reeves (replacing the jettisoned Rupert Wyatt) continuing to evolve the art of performance capture with remarkable thespian contributions and visual wizardry." (more)
RAGE (2014)
"Hey Joe--I Hear You Shot Another Crummy Action Film"
1 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "Well, that didn't take Nicolas Cage very long. After delivering one of the very best performances of his long, strange career earlier this year in the powerful drama "Joe," some movie fans, while hoping that his work there signaled a recommitment to his craft that would make better use of his talents, may have cynically wondered how soon it would be before he returned to the kind of low-grade junk that he has been wasting everyone's time and energy on for the last few years. Now, a mere three months later, Cage is back with "Rage," a depressingly dopey thriller that lacks the edge and originality of its title and which will almost certainly go down as one of the dullest projects with which he has ever been associated." (more)
MORE REVIEWS

LATEST FEATURES
CAPSULE REVIEWS: JERSEY BOYS, BAD WORDS & THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
by Daniel Kelly
"Jersey Boys (Clint Eastwood, Warner Bros., 2014) Clint Eastwood’s musical gets off to a vivacious and energetic start, mixing warmth and wit with surprising aplomb, but goes off the deep-end somewhere around the halfway mark. The film’s characters weave in and out of the action satisfactorily, Eastwood using a potentially hackneyed but oddly effective “fourth wall” smashing address to keep audiences engaged. It’s as if he read Walter Benjamin’s “Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, moving to maintain some of the theatre’s “aura” through a means of faux-immediacy and soul, allowing his characters to bust the screen and intrude on a space they shouldn’t be aware of. Maybe I’m overthinking it, but the concept works, especially when combined with the enigmatic likes of Vincent Piazza’s roguish Tommy, the most memorable of the film’s assortment of young dreamers. The ease and grace of the opening doesn’t carry much further though, Eastwood’s stiff direction of the musical numbers and a selection of ham-fisted subplots slacking the pace and sobering the buzz. When the end credits roll, we get a sense of what might have been, Eastwood unleashing a fearsomely executed encore, replete with fantastic energy and pageantry. It’s a pity that the hour leading up to that point should dither so aimlessly, and fill itself so distractingly with diversions aborted before they conjure up sufficient nuance. A curiosity peppered with worthy highlights, but hardly a certifiable return to form for Clint. Grade - C" (more)
FILMS I NEGLECTED TO REVIEW: PONY MEN
by Peter Sobczynski
"Please enjoy short reviews of "A Brony Tale," "Dormant Beauty" and "Video Games: The Movie."" (more)
INTERVIEW: RICHARDLINKLATER ON "BOYHOOD"
by Peter Sobczynski
"The director of such cult favorites as "Slacker," "Dazed and Confused," "Waking Life" and the "Before Sunrise" trilogy talks about his latest masterpiece, the intimate epic "Boyhood," and its unusual journey to the screen." (more)
CRITICWATCH - THE NOT-SO-PERFECT DATE MOVIE
by Erik Childress
""The next person to call a movie "the perfect date movie" must punch themselves in the face, stomach, crotch and both eyes until they fall down and agree to never did it again." I wrote that early in 2013 when the latest attempt to sell such a thing to prospective couples aroused my ire like most things involving junky junket press. Surely such a thing does exist. Say Anything back in the day certainly qualifies. Maybe a more sprawling epic like Love Actually covers all the bases necessary to get guys off of home plate. A perfect date movie to critics should be as recognizable as porno to Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart. You know it when you see it. So why is it so difficult to attach the phrase to the right movies? Oh right, because it is a phrase terminally used by the average quote whore and the latest example is as questionable as ever." (more)
MORE FEATURES

'I WATCHED A SNAIL CRAWL ALONG THE EDGE OF A STRAIGHT RAZOR. THAT'S MY DREAM. THAT'S MY NIGHTMARE.'
- Col. Kurtz, Apocalypse Now
 
 

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