Birdman
The Theory of Everything
Foxcatcher
Wild
An Enigma Wrapped in a Riddle of a Brilliant Screenplay: Graham Moore on The Imitation Game’s Tortured Hero, Who Won the War but Lost the Battle
Unbroken
Into the Woods
American Sniper
A Most Violent Year

A Most Violent Year

A Most Violent Year 

* * * * A hard boiled saga of capitalism, crime and family cira 1981 New York City, J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year is a high-order throwback to Sidney Lumet’s social urban dramas of the 70s, a sensationally written and directed movie about a beleaguered businessman (Oscar Isaac) trying to get a leg up […]

Continue reading...

American Sniper

American Sniper 

* * 1/2 American Sniper, an acceptable if lesser Clint Eastwood picture based on Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s memoir of four tours in Iraq, is a movie with a lot going for it. It’s got Eastwood at the helm delivering a sometimes muscular movie with modern political relevance and ideas about heroism and nationalism; a […]

Continue reading...

The (11) Best Movies of 2014

The (11) Best Movies of 2014 

2014 wasn’t what you might call a great year in film, though it was a respectable one of solid enough pictures, if only a few truly inspired much passion. And while most of the below won’t be taking home Academy Awards in February, my list of the 11 best movies this year largely avoided finding […]

Continue reading...

Unbroken

Unbroken 

* * Unbroken, Angelina Jolie’s long-awaited adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption, the extraordinary story of World War II vet and former Olympian Louis Zamperini’s experiences surviving Japanese POW camps, is a crushing movie disappointment. What should have been a moving, richly historic account of an […]

Continue reading...

Into the Woods

Into the Woods 

* * * Director Rob Marshall and Disney had high expectations and a bit of skepticism riding on their adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s beloved 1986 musical Into the Woods, and what initially seemed an unwieldy combination—a fractured trio of fairy tales where love doesn’t conquer all and human weakness and doubt upend […]

Continue reading...

An Enigma Wrapped in a Riddle of a Brilliant Screenplay: Graham Moore on The Imitation Game’s Tortured Hero, Who Won the War but Lost the Battle

An Enigma Wrapped in a Riddle of a Brilliant Screenplay: Graham Moore on The Imitation Game’s Tortured Hero, Who Won the War but Lost the Battle 

Few pictures this season reach the complexity and substance of The Imitation Game, the story of Alan Turning, the genius mathematician plucked from Cambridge to assemble a crack team of code breakers and decipher Enigma, the German communications waging World War II.  From the excitement of a secret bunker at Bletchley Park to the lonely […]

Continue reading...

Wild

Wild 

* * * What do you do when you’re mired in a painful past and your identity is so shaped by regret and emptiness that you no longer recognize yourself?  If you’re Cheryl Strayed, you draw a line in the sand—one that reaches 1100 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada—and you […]

Continue reading...

Foxcatcher

Foxcatcher 

* * * 1/2 We know how he did it—on January 26, 1996, billionaire eccentric John Eleuthere du Pont shot and killed, in cold blood, Olympic wrestler and gold medalist Dave Schultz. But why did he? Foxcatcher, Bennett Miller’s arresting new picture on the subject, has some very potent ideas why, and features three indelible […]

Continue reading...

The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything 

* * * 1/2 The Theory of Everything is both a fascinating biopic of renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking and a complex love story told from the perspective of Hawking’s long-suffering wife, Jane, whose memoirs informed this portrait of a marriage that nearly made it through everything, and two remarkable characters who grew to love each […]

Continue reading...

Interstellar

Interstellar 

* * * 1/2 An imperfect masterwork still qualifies as one, and Christopher Nolan’s transcendent magnum opus Interstellar is perhaps the most thematically and technically ambitious mainstream movie in memory, one so demanding for its 169-minute running time that at times it feels like a final exam, but one that pays off beautifully for the […]

Continue reading...