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NEW THIS WEEK
Hunger Games, The: Mockingjay, Part 1 3.77
Late Phases 3.71
Pulp: a Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets rate me!
Monk with a Camera rate me!
Extraterrestrial (2014) rate me!
V/H/S: Viral rate me!
Happy Valley rate me!
Bad Hair rate me!
Little Hope Was Arson rate me!
Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, A rate me!
Mule, The rate me!
Reach Me rate me!
Flamenco, Flamenco rate me!
ALSO IN THEATERS

COMING NEXT WEEK
26-Nov Horrible Bosses 2
26-Nov Penguins of Madagascar, The
28-Nov Aftermath (2014)
28-Nov Antarctica: A Year on Ice
28-Nov Babadook, The
28-Nov Before I Disappear
28-Nov Historian, The
28-Nov Imitation Game, The
28-Nov Immortalists, The
28-Nov Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, The
28-Nov Touch the Wall

DVD RELEASES
18-Nov 20,000 Days On Earth  
18-Nov 22 Jump Street  
18-Nov Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory  
18-Nov And So It Goes  
18-Nov If I Stay  
18-Nov Sin City: A Dame to Kill For  
18-Nov Wind Rises, The  
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)  

TOP 5
MOVIES IN RELEASE
TITLE RATING
Force Majeure 5
Housebound 5
Golden Era, The 5
Tale of the Princess Kaguya, The 4.86
Camp X-Ray 4.8

BOTTOM 5
MOVIES IN RELEASE
TITLE RATING
Laggies 1
Left Behind 1.4
Before I Go to Sleep 1.44
Judge, The 1.9
Merry Friggin' Christmas, A 2

2012 Tribeca Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie 3
Whole Lotta Sole 4
Playroom, The 3
War Witch 4.5
Graceland 4
MORE MOVIES

2013 Fantasia International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Library Wars 3
Imaginaerum 3
Uzumasa Jacopetti 3
Night That Panicked America, The 4
Go Down Death (2013) 3
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2013 Toronto International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Touch of Sin, A 4.63
Field in England, A 4.71
Bends 5
Philomena 4.1
Beneath the Harvest Sky 3.86
MORE MOVIES

2013 New York Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Her 4.08
Alan Partridge 4.14
Stray Dogs (2013) 2
Nebraska 3.59
Touch of Sin, A 4.63
MORE MOVIES

2013 Chicago International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Stray Dogs (2013) 2
Despite the Gods 4
Contracted 1.5
Major, The 5
Voyage 1
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2014 Toronto International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Mary Kom 2.88
World of Kanako, The 5
1001 Grams 2
Revenge of the Green Dragons 3
Madame Bovary (2014) 4
MORE MOVIES

2014 Chicago International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Babadook, The 3.8
Young Kieslowski, The 4
100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, The 5
Piano Room, The 4
Dear White People 3.5
MORE MOVIES

2014 Telluride Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Homesman, The 3.57
Wild Tales 2
'71 4
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
Girlhood (Bande de filles) 2
Duke of Burgundy, The 4.71
Over Your Dead Body 2.86
Wild Tales 2
MORE MOVIES

2014 Hawaii International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Sea Fog (Haemoo) 2.5
Golden Era, The 5
But Always 2
Revenge of the Green Dragons 3
World of Kanako, The 5
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2014 Polish Film Festival in America MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Immigrant, The 4.11
Ida 4.71
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EFC STATS
Movies Listed: 27349
Total Ratings: 244487
Total Reviews: 26463
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SPOTLIGHTED FEATURES REGULAR COLUMNS
The Curious Case of "The Gambler" - The Woes of Hollywood's International Release Strategy
Films I Neglected To Review: Insert "Blind Side" Joke Here
DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews For 10/19: "The Man Has Raisins In His Brainpan!"
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
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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
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)
DUMB AND DUMBER TO
"Just when you thought they couldn't possibly be any dumber..."
2 stars
Brett Gallman says... "“Dumb and Dumber To” feels like a cruel joke not unlike the one Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) springs on buddy Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) at the beginning of this belated sequel. When we catch up with the dimwitted duo, we learn that Lloyd’s been faking catatonia for the past twenty years as a gag, which is met with great enthusiasm from his friend, who still can’t help but point out that the ruse robbed Lloyd of his prime years. You can’t help but feel the same about the gang behind this film—they really waited two decades to unleash this?" (more)
THEORY OF EVERYTHING, THE (2014)
"Honestly, we don't admire Stephen Hawking enough."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Stephen Hawking's life story is extraordinary, but not necessarily cinematic - its milestones are often losing the ability to do things, and his accomplishments can be difficult for laymen to understand. So what do you do? In this case, try and let the audience know a guy whose public face is often inscrutable, as well as hs wife." (more)
DUMB AND DUMBER TO
"Carrey On The Wayward Dumb"
1 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "I must confess that the original "Dumb and Dumber," the high-grossing gross-out 1994 hit that solidified Jim Carrey as the biggest new comedic force of the day, allowed the generally serious-minded Jeff Daniels to let it all hang out and introduced the cinematic world to the Farrelly Brothers, only made me laugh out loud twice. That said, I should also mention that those two moments (the bit involving the dead parakeet and the one with Jim Carrey running through the airplane terminal) made me laugh longer and louder than the entirety of many other ostensibly more successful comedies that you or I could mention. Now, after twenty years of rumors, false starts and a misbegotten prequel that the producers no doubt hope you have forgotten about by now, "Dumb and Dumber To" has finally arrived and lo and behold, there are still only two moments in it that made me laugh out loud. The difference is that those two bits aren't nearly as convulsive as the ones I enjoyed the first time around and the project as a whole is a mess that arrives in theaters at least a decade too late for its own good and practically drenching viewers in the flopsweat that it generates in its desperate effort to generate laughs." (more)
DON'T GO BREAKING MY HEART 2
"Manages to live up to its predecessor and then, wow."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... ""Don't Go Breaking My Heart 2" repeats quite a bit from part one, from rescuing a weird pet to flirting through facing windows; one character even wryly asks another if she thinks her life is a "to be continued". You might be tempted to deride that as unoriginal, but the idea of a sequel is often to recapture what people liked before, and that's what director Johnnie To and his cast & crew do here - they give us more "Don't Go Breaking My Heart", in a way that doesn't have to undercut the original." (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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'THE BIGGEST WASTE OF TALENT IN MOVIE HISTORY.'
- Hawkboy, On "Cannonball Run 2"
 
 

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