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NEW THIS WEEK
Antarctica: A Year on Ice 5
Women Who Flirt 4
Babadook, The 3.8
Horrible Bosses 2 2
Aftermath (2014) rate me!
Penguins of Madagascar, The rate me!
Imitation Game, The rate me!
Immortalists, The rate me!
Before I Disappear rate me!
Touch the Wall rate me!
Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, The rate me!
Historian, The rate me!
ALSO IN THEATERS

COMING NEXT WEEK
3-Dec Wild
3-Dec Zero Motivation
5-Dec Barefoot Artist, The
5-Dec Comet
5-Dec Dying of the Light
5-Dec Foxy Merkins, The
5-Dec Lap Dance
5-Dec Life Partners
5-Dec Miss Julie (2014)
5-Dec Murder of a Cat
5-Dec Pioneer
5-Dec Poker Night
5-Dec Pyramid, The
5-Dec Skating to New York
5-Dec Still Alice
5-Dec Take Care
5-Dec Uzumasa Limelight

DVD RELEASES
25-Nov Expendables 3, The  
25-Nov Giver, The  
25-Nov Merry Friggin' Christmas, A  
25-Nov November Man, The  
25-Nov Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)  
25-Nov Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas  
25-Nov What If (2014)  
2-Dec As Above, So Below  
2-Dec Cantinflas  
2-Dec Congress, The  
2-Dec Dawn of the Planet of the Apes  
2-Dec Hundred-Foot Journey, The  
2-Dec Magic in the Moonlight  
2-Dec Notebook, The (2014)  

TOP 5
MOVIES IN RELEASE
TITLE RATING
Housebound 5
Force Majeure 5
Tale of the Princess Kaguya, The 4.86
Camp X-Ray 4.8
Walk Among the Tombstones, A 4.63

BOTTOM 5
MOVIES IN RELEASE
TITLE RATING
Laggies 1.14
Left Behind 1.4
Before I Go to Sleep 1.44
Judge, The 1.9
Goodbye to Language 2

2012 Tribeca Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
2 Days in New York 3.15
Resolution 4
Playroom, The 3
Revenge for Jolly! 1
Graceland 4
MORE MOVIES

2013 Fantasia International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Four Soldiers (Les 4 Soldats), The 4
Hello, My Dolly Girlfriend 2
Key of Life 4
Curse of Chucky 4.11
Zombie Hunter 2
MORE MOVIES

2013 Toronto International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Major, The 5
Joe 4.29
Stray Dogs (2013) 2
Labor Day (2013) 1
Beneath the Harvest Sky 3.86
MORE MOVIES

2013 New York Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
All Is Lost 4.53
About Time 2
Inside Llewyn Davis 4.29
Jimmy P. 3.91
Missing Picture, The 4
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2013 Chicago International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Stray Dogs (2013) 2
Kill Your Darlings (2013) 2.22
Motel Life, The 2.86
Voyage 1
Heli 4
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2014 Toronto International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Tusk 4
Beyond the Lights 3.22
Rosewater 3
Drop, The 3
Sea Fog (Haemoo) 2.5
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2014 Chicago International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Alleluia 5
Beyond the Lights 3.22
Young Kieslowski, The 4
Piano Room, The 4
Supernova (2014) 4
MORE MOVIES

2014 Telluride Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Homesman, The 3.63
Wild Tales 2
Rosewater 3
Birdman 4.5
Madame Bovary (2014) 4
MORE MOVIES

2014 Denver Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Midnight Swim, The 3
'71 4
Alleluia 5
Thou Wast Mild and Lovely 3
Killers (2014) 3.75
MORE MOVIES

2014 AFI Fest MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Faults 4
Duke of Burgundy, The 4.71
Over Your Dead Body 2.86
Wild Tales 2
Alleluia 5
MORE MOVIES

2014 Hawaii International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
But Always 2
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter 5
Revivre 4
Uzumasa Limelight 5
Thermae Romae II 2.86
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2014 Polish Film Festival in America MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Immigrant, The 4.11
Ida 4.71
MORE MOVIES

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EFC STATS
Movies Listed: 27369
Total Ratings: 244552
Total Reviews: 26469
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SPOTLIGHTED FEATURES REGULAR COLUMNS
DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews For 11/18: "Time To Drink From The Fire Hose!"
The Curious Case of "The Gambler" - The Woes of Hollywood's International Release Strategy
Films I Neglected To Review: Insert "Blind Side" Joke Here
Criticwatch - The Not-So-Perfect Date Movie
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
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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
WOMEN WHO FLIRT
"Might be more clever than it initially appears to be."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... ""Women Who Flirt" (or, to use its full Chinese name, "Women Who Know How to Flirt Are the Luckiest") teeters on the edge of being the sort of romantic comedy that doesn't respect its primary target audience of women much at all, depicting them as all about landing a man via manipulation, even when theoretically trying to say the opposite. Even when "two girls fight over a guy" mostly works, as it does here, a more progressive or individual story might be nice." (more)
ROSEWATER
"Not as urgent on film as in real life."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "I want more from "Rosewater", but I'm not exactly sure what I want more of. More obvious suffering and torment on the part of its protagonist would certainly drive the point home better, but demanding that seems callous and sadistic. A more traditional narrative that reduces real-life events to an early digestible story would do the people and events depicted a disservice. A broader perspective might lose the point entirely. And yet, it's hard to shake the feeling that this fairly well-made movie should make a viewer feel more, whether that more be anger, fear, or hope." (more)
WORLD OF KANAKO, THE
"Like father, like daughter - so watch from a distance."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT FANTASTIC FEST 2014: The latest from Tetsuya Nakashima is not quite so sublime as his mid-aughts peak ("Kamikaze Girls" and "Memories of Matsuko" is a heck of a one-two punch), and it kind of stretches out too long, padded by some increasingly ugly violence. On the plus side, though, it is energetic as all heck, propelling the audience through the underworld with a protagonist that they're not supposed to like, but who makes it hard to look away." (more)
TOMMY (2014)
"Not just the wife."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT FANTASTIC FEST 2014: "Tommy" starts out looking like it might be a certain type of movie - you know, the one where the underestimated woman at the center is eventually revealed to always be three steps ahead of everyone around her (or if not quite that far ahead, still the smartest person in the room) - with a certain type of twist - seeing it all from her perspective. I'd like to see that movie someday, but this one is more about a gamble, which some may not find quite so satisfying. I dig it, though." (more)
HUNGER GAMES, THE: MOCKINGJAY, PART 1
"A franchise taking flight"
4 stars
Daniel Kelly says... "It worked for Harry Potter and Twilight, so why not the continuing adventures of Katniss Everdeen? I'm of course alluding to the “Part 1” disclaimer that follows the title of the latest “Hunger Games” outing “Mockingjay”. It's become the done thing that the defining chapter in any popular adaptation should be divided into two, maybe to accommodate purists clamouring for unblemished reverence, but more likely as a means to ensure everybody involved makes an extra buck; except for the audience. By slicing the material with such obvious capitalist intent, movies suffering the symptom incur innate wrath from the consumer, decreasing their odds of making a favourable impression. Nobody likes to feel ripped-off, and this new Hollywood tactic carries a definite whiff of wheeler-dealer salesmanship. It's with some pleasure then that “Mockingjay: Part 1” actually provides a fulfilling cinematic experience, a slower feature than its immediate predecessor (and one would assume next year's continuation), but filled with intelligent ideas and action beats, that whilst sparse, form very real stakes. The political underbelly of author Suzanne Collin's universe is finally bearing narrative fruit, leading to a sobering but intense extension of her dystopian myth." (more)
MEA CULPA
"Unapologetically good action."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "A couple years ago, French director Fred Cavayé garnered some attention from international action-movie fans with "Point Blank", a fast-paced thriller that didn't break any new ground but did everything better than expected, adding up to a great little movie. His follow-up "Mea Culpa" is along the same lines - basic story, impressive action, a satisfying hour and a half." (more)
HOMESMAN, THE
"And You Thought "A Million Way To Die In The Old West" Was Depressing. . ."
4 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "Yes, "The Homesman," the second directorial effort from beloved actor/sourpuss emeritus Tommy Lee Jones, is a western but do not be fooled for a second by the mistaken belief that this is a film filled with either the usual excitement and heroics of the classics of the genre or the more ambiguous takes of the revisionist efforts that took their place as the genre as a whole was fading from popularity in the 1970's. This is, in fact, one of the bleakest and most despairing films of any sort to hit theaters this year and while this is not necessarily a problem per se, it is so painful and wounding to observe that even those with a fondness for darker narratives may be surprised by just how grim things get. Put it this way--Jones' previous directorial effort, "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" was a modern-day western involving digging up a corpse and carrying it across the border into Mexico for a proper burial and that was a breezy walk through the park when compared to this one." (more)
HUNGER GAMES, THE: MOCKINGJAY, PART 1
"Revolution Blues"
4 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "Under normal circumstances, it would be so easy to be annoyed with the very existence of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1." For starters, it is yet another adaptation of a YA best-seller positing a future dystopia featuring good-looking youngsters who discover that they have the power to change things forever and female elders who appear to have been issued Edgar Winter's hair. More specifically, it is the third film in the "Hunger Games" franchise to appear in as many years and that rate of output can get a little tiresome after a while. It stars Jennifer Lawrence and as delightful as she can be, her ubiquitous presence at the multiplex, award shows and Internet hacking scandals is almost at the point where some form of backlash is almost inevitable. Then there is the fact that, following in the hallowed footsteps of the last entries in the "Harry Potter" and "Twilight" sagas, the final books have been split into two parts in order to give their sprawling narratives room to breathe and, more importantly, inspire audiences to essentially pay two separate admissions to see one complete story. And yet, despite the over-exposure and over-familiarity of the material and its participants, "Mockingjay, Part 1" is a real movie and not simply an excuse for its producers to print money. This is smart and ambitious filmmaking that contains so many good and surprising things, even at this stage of the game, that most viewers will not only easily forgive its occasional hiccups but wonder why other films of this sort don't even attempt to hit the heights that this one does." (more)
MORE REVIEWS

LATEST FEATURES
DVD/BLU-RAY REVIEWS FOR 11/18: "TIME TO DRINK FROM THE FIRE HOSE!"
by Peter Sobczynski
"All is good with the world tonight--"UHF" is now on Blu-ray. . ." (more)
THE CURIOUS CASE OF "THE GAMBLER" - THE WOES OF HOLLYWOOD'S INTERNATIONAL RELEASE STRATEGY
by Dan Kelly
"On Thursday a full trailer for Paramount's remake of The Gambler went live, following on from the potty-mouthed teaser. With a cast including Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, Jessica Lange and Brie Larson, the film, like the original (which featured James Caan) has a high calibre cast, but more excitedly marks director Rupert Wyatt's first film since 2011's impressive Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Wyatt walked from the equally excellent sequel (this year's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) back in 2012, for reasons that were never entirely clear, lining up The Gambler as his next project. Despite reservations from original scribe James Toback, the film trundled into production late last year, and wrapped in the first quarter of 2014. Things went quiet for a few months, then came trailers, posters and crucially, release announcements. Like Wahlberg's Lone Survivor the film will undergo a small December exhibition (to qualify for awards consideration) before expanding on New Year's Day. All fine, and more than a little promising. As a fan of the creatives and marketing materials,I was eager to find out when UK audiences might sample the film, presuming that sometime around January/February was probable. The UK release calendar works a little differently than the US, in that we tend to get the big awards contenders a month or two after Christmas, as opposed to 6 weeks before. As a result, I was perfectly willing to accept that there might be some delay with The Gambler. It's an outsider, and Paramount will like any sensible studio, want the film to perform in a comfortable window, without having to worry about an assortment of higher profile pedigree horses. Heck, even March 2015 would be fairly pragmatic. This morning I flicked open the IMDB to confirm it's international release pattern, and was shocked. 1st May 2015. That's almost 5 whole months after it dbuts in the States. A full 135 days by my calculation." (more)
FILMS I NEGLECTED TO REVIEW: INSERT "BLIND SIDE" JOKE HERE
by Peter Sobczynski
"Please enjoy short reviews of "23 Blast" and "Stonehurst Asylum."" (more)
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