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NEW THIS WEEK
4th Man Out 5
Monkey King 2, The 2
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 1.57
Choice, The 1
From Vegas to Macau III 1
Tumbledown rate me!
Regression rate me!
Eisenstein in Guanajuato rate me!
ALSO IN THEATERS

COMING NEXT WEEK
12-Feb Bridgend
12-Feb Deadpool
12-Feb Final Project, The
12-Feb Fitoor
12-Feb Glassland
12-Feb How to Be Single
12-Feb Nina Forever
12-Feb Of Mind and Music
12-Feb Southbound
12-Feb Touched with Fire
12-Feb War, A
12-Feb Zoolander 2
17-Feb Embrace of the Serpent

DVD RELEASES
9-Feb 99 Homes  
9-Feb Freaks of Nature  
9-Feb Grandma  
9-Feb Spectre (2015)  
9-Feb Truth  
16-Feb 33, The  
16-Feb Bridge of Spies  
16-Feb Labyrinth of Lies  
16-Feb Steve Jobs  
16-Feb Trumbo (2015)  

TOP 5
MOVIES IN RELEASE
TITLE RATING
Good Dinosaur, The 4.38
Detective Chinatown 4
Ip Man 3 4
Band of Robbers 4
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens 4

BOTTOM 5
MOVIES IN RELEASE
TITLE RATING
Choice, The 1
Fifty Shades of Black 1
From Vegas to Macau III 1
Dirty Grandpa 1
5th Wave, The 1.57

2012 Tribeca Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Trishna 3.71
2 Days in New York 3.15
Sleepless Night 4.14
Hysteria 3.13
As Luck Would Have It (2013) 4.14
MORE MOVIES

2013 Fantasia International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Lesson of the Evil 3
24 Exposures 4
Battery, The 3
Berserk Golden Age Arc 2: The Battle for Doldrey 3
Son of Sardaar 4
MORE MOVIES

2013 Toronto International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Missing Picture, The 4
Only Lovers Left Alive 4
Beneath the Harvest Sky 3.86
Metalhead 4
Grand Seduction, The 2.43
MORE MOVIES

2013 New York Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
All Is Lost 4.53
Captain Phillips 4.27
Only Lovers Left Alive 4
Wind Rises, The 4.62
Touch of Sin, A 5
MORE MOVIES

2013 Chicago International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Book Thief, The 3
Nordstrand 5
Blinding Sunlight, The 3
Labor Day (2013) 1
Blue Ruin 4.44
MORE MOVIES

2015 South by Southwest Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Ned Rifle 4
Love & Mercy 5
Results 4
Naz & Maalik 4
Invitation, The 3
MORE MOVIES

2015 New York Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Experimenter 4
Walk, The 3.71
Arabian Nights: Volume 3, the Enchanted One 4
Carol 4
Brooklyn 4.78
MORE MOVIES

2015 Toronto International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Martian, The 4.5
Office (2015/China/Hong Kong) 4.57
Assassin, The 5
Spotlight 4.83
45 Years 4
MORE MOVIES

2015 Fantastic Fest MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Invitation, The 3
Witch, The 4.5
Love & Peace 5
Keeping Room, The 3.86
Assassination Classroom 3
MORE MOVIES

2015 Chicago International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Spotlight 4.83
Where to Invade Next 3.57
Cash Only 4
Anomalisa 4
Tag 4
MORE MOVIES

2015 AFI Film Fest MOVIES
TITLE RATING
45 Years 4
H. 3
Forbidden Room, The 5
Carol 4
Concussion (2015) 1.87
MORE MOVIES

2015 Vancouver Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Entertainment 3
Brooklyn 4.78
Victoria 4
Deep Time 5
Deathgasm 4
MORE MOVIES

2015 Denver Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Carol 4
Raiders! 5
Anomalisa 4
Where to Invade Next 3.57
H. 3
MORE MOVIES

2015 Philadelphia Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Room (2015) 3.21
45 Years 4
Anomalisa 4
Love (2015/II) 4
Macbeth (2015) 4
MORE MOVIES

2015 Savannah Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Legend (2015) 3
45 Years 4
Anomalisa 4
Wolfpack, The 3.14
Amy 5
MORE MOVIES

2015 Austin Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Brooklyn 4.78
Carol 4
Love the Coopers 1
Mojave (2015) 4
33, The 3
MORE MOVIES

2015 Hawaii International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Assassin, The 5
Assassination (2015) 4.86
Invitation, The 3
Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen 4
Where to Invade Next 3.57
MORE MOVIES

2015 London Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Black Mass 3
Trumbo (2015) 4
Beasts of No Nation 5
Arabian Nights: Volume 2, the Desolate One 5
Sunrise (2015) 4
MORE MOVIES

2016 Sundance Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Sophie and the Rising Sun 4
MORE MOVIES

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EFC STATS
Movies Listed: 29227
Total Ratings: 243583
Total Reviews: 27114
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SPOTLIGHTED FEATURES REGULAR COLUMNS
Films I Neglected To Review: "Now What Are You, And Who Are You Doin' Here?"
Interview: Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson on "Anomalisa"
Criticwatch - The 2015 Quote Whores of the Year
Criticwatch Presents: Peter Travers (The 2015 Retrospective)
Criticwatch Presents: Pete Hammond (The 2015 Retrospective)
Celebrity Exclusive Interviews
Film Festivals of the World
Criticwatch
Rants and Raves
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DVD Reviews
Movies & Money with Erik Childress (WCIU-TV)
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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
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LATEST REVIEWS
FROM VEGAS TO MACAU III
"A sucker bet."
1 stars
Jay Seaver says... "When I saw the first "From Vegas to Macau" at a festival a couple years ago, I figured that I was just a victim of bad expectations, not prepared for something so silly, especially thinking of Chow Yun-fat as an icon of cool. This time, I knew what I was getting into, so maybe it would go over better. No such luck; as much as the zaniness occasionally appeals, it's sloppy and too self-satisfied to work for long stretches." (more)
MONKEY KING 2, THE
"Not an auspicious start to the Year of the Monkey."
2 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Believe it or not, this is not the first Chinese fantasy sequel I've seen where not having seen the predecessor was no big deal because it starts with "500 years have passed..." This is a good thing, because the first movie in an expected Monkey King trilogy never made it to the U.S. (a recurrent event as day-and-date releases become more common). Given that the general word is that this one fixed some of what was wrong with the first, I'm not necessarily eager to catch up; it's a sleek but dull take on the mythology." (more)
CHOICE, THE
"You bother me. Now leave."
1 stars
Jaycie says... ""Now pay attention," intones an unenthusiastic bro-country accent at the opening of this movie, "'cause I'm about to tell you the secret to life. You ready? The whole damn thing is about choices." Wow. Insightful. Or at least it might be if it weren't the message of every Nicholas Sparks story ever, and possibly every story ever in general. What do you have for us next, disembodied cowpie? "Everything happens for a reason"?" (more)
FINEST HOURS, THE
"Does a bit more than what's expected with what it has."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Movies like "The Finest Hours" win people Oscars. Not folks like Chris Pine and Carry Affleck, but the guys listed as doing research and development for the visual effects companies at the other end of the closing credits, who spend months researching the motion of large bodies of water and figuring out how to replicate it on-screen while other engineers build state of the art machinery to both safely twist a set in any conceivable direction and precisely record this movement (while being buffeted by wind and rain machines) so that a third set of people can digitally stitch it together. These accomplishments alone aren't enough to rate a ticket purchase today, but they're a big part of why a movie like this can be dismissed as enjoyable but not extraordinary, and they'll be making movies better well after we move on to the next thing at the multiplex." (more)
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES
"Darcy Goes Down"
1 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "In a just an ideal world, the title “Pride & Prejudice and Zombies” would have turned up as a punchline in a MAD Magazine article about how publishers of classic literature might try to spice up their musty wares in order to attract an entirely new audience and it probably would have scored a decent laugh—the mere idea of juxtaposing Jane Austen’s exquisite romantic comedy of manners with flesh-eating ghouls sounds amusing, at least in theory. Alas, because we live in a terrible world—and one with suspect copyright laws to boot—some idiot not only came up with the jokey title but, in defiance of all rational thought, actually decided to write the damn book, albeit by including enough of Austen’s original text to earn her arguably the least impressive co-writing credit since the 1929 version of “The Taming of the Shrew” allegedly went out with credits that said that it was written by Shakespeare with “additional dialogue by Sam Taylor.” To make matters worse, the thing became a best-seller—though I wonder as to how many people actually made it all the way through and how many gave up after a couple of chapters once the joke wore off—and inspired an entire cottage industry of sequels, spinoffs, rip-offs and the like." (more)
CHOICE, THE
"Pretty Much A Cinematic Kobayashi Maru"
1 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "As the result of a rather oddball quirk of scheduling, the screening of “The Choice,” the latest big-screen adaptation of a best seller by the tragically prolific Nicholas Sparks, occurred right after the press viewing of “Pride & Prejudice and Zombies,” the film version of the inexplicably popular book that took the Jane Austen classic and, thanks to it being out of copyright, added hordes of flesh-eating ghouls into the mix. Both films are, perhaps unsurprisingly, bottomlessly terrible but those in danger of mixing the two of them up will be relieved to know that there are two major points of distinction between them. For one thing, in the case of “The Choice,” it comes from an author who is bad enough to actually have a movie this lousy connected to their name. For another, while “PPZ,” as the kids are calling it, is lousy with undead creatures stumbling across the screen looking for brains to snack on, any similar hordes attempting the same thing in “The Choice” would wind up dying of starvation long before the end credits." (more)
HAIL, CAESAR!
"The Man Who Was Everywhere"
5 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "Every few years, Joel & Ethan Coen take a bit of a break from their meticulously crafted and highly artistic productions—things like “Barton Fink,” “Fargo” and “No Country for Old Men”—in order to make something deliberately broad and goofy as all get out, such as “Raising Arizona,” “The Big Lebowski,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and “Burn After Reading.” These film are enormously entertaining, of course, but with the possible exception of “Lebowski,” I am not entirely certain that I would include any of them in a discussion of what I felt were their finest and most memorable films. Now, after a recent string of relatively sober-minded films that included “A Serious Man,” the “True Grit” remake and “Inside Llewyn Davis,” they have once again gone to the goofball side with their latest effort, “Hail, Caesar!,” but this time around, they have attached the wackiness to a narrative and characters as strong and complex as those found in their finest films. The end result is the first genuinely great film of 2016—not that there is much competition for that title—and if I were forced to be make a ranking of all the Coen Brothers joints (as so many on the Internet seem to be doing these days), there is a fairly good chance that this love note/poison pen letter to the Hollywood studio system that was long dead before the Coens began making films themselves would wind up placing very near the top of that list." (more)
KUNG FU PANDA 3
"Still entertaining,but getting stretched a bit thin."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... ""Kung Fu Panda 2" ended with a tease of a hidden panda village, which makes it surprising to me that DreamWorks let four and a half years pass before following that up. Sure, that's partly just how it goes with animation - this stuff takes time - but it's a heck of a long gap considering that the kids who loved the first back in 2008 are teenagers by now, probably feeling like they've outgrown this sort of thing. And while these movies are still plenty of fun, they haven't exactly grown up with their audience." (more)
MORE REVIEWS

LATEST FEATURES
SHORT STUFF: THE 2015 OSCAR-NOMINATED ANIMATED SHORTS
by Jay Seaver
"Of the three short film awards presented at the annual Oscars ceremony, the animation category is where most people are likely to feel some sort of routing interest because there's generally one entry that played before a feature, and this got seen, and thus made the viewer feel some sense of ownership. That one tends to win a lot, and often has a good argument, because it's got not just visibility, but the budget and technical resources of a major studio behind it, compared to the independent or student productions it's competing with." (more)
FILMS I NEGLECTED TO REVIEW: "NOW WHAT ARE YOU, AND WHO ARE YOU DOIN' HERE?"
by Peter Sobczynski
"Please enjoy short reviews of "The Pack" and "Southbound" and a look at three new Blu-Ray releases, including a Best Picture nominee and two classicsone acknowledged and one of sorts." (more)
FILMS I NEGLECTED TO REVIEW: IT MUST BE JANUARY
by Peter Sobczynski
"Please enjoy short reviews of "The 5th Wave," "Martyrs," "Mojave," "Monster Hunt" and "A Perfect Day."" (more)
MORE FEATURES

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