Muppets Most Wanted a True Friend

Review of Muppets Most Wanted, Directed by James BobinMuppets Most Wanted starts off where the The Muppets (2011) ended--having just finished their reunion show to great fanfare, they now don’t know what to do with themselves. That is, until Dominic Badguy (in French, the last name means “good man”) convinces them to go on a world tour (i.e., Europe) to reap the rewards of their new stardom. Kermit is skeptical and would rather they stay put for a little while, seeing that the Muppets had jus … [Read more...]

Come stay at The Grand Budapest Hotel

Every once in a while I run across a film that I don’t understand - and frankly, don’t even see the point of - yet still find immensely enjoyable. Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of those films.Set somewhere in a fictionalized European nation called the Republic of Zubrowka circa 1932, The Grand Budapest Hotel recounts the story of Zero, a young orphan from a war-torn country who lands a job as a bell hop in The Grand Budapest Hotel. It flows something like a storybook, with pl … [Read more...]

Veronica Charms

Veronica Mars, directed by Rob ThomasA lot of people really, really like Veronica Mars.There are several ways I have deduced this: 1) All my friends who talked about the TV show, even before it was a movie, and even though its last season ended seven years ago 2) The 91,585 people who raised more than $5.7 million to make a movie based on the show — the most backers of any Kickstarter campaign, ever, and 3) The plenteous hoots and hollers and other joyous exclamations I heard throughout the f … [Read more...]

Everyone who has ever loved Legos should see this movie

Review of The LEGO Movie, Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher MillerThe LEGO Movie begins just a few clicks away from facepalm status with a series of childish comedy-laced scenes that make us think “Oh please, not another hour and a half of this!” The cliché jokes start immediately: “Of course there’s a prophecy,” which is true “because it rhymes.” The bad guy is named “Lord Business,” and our protagonist, Emmet, is a brick-headed construction worker who needs an instruction manual to get … [Read more...]

Monument’s Men: Is Art Worth Dying For?

Review of Monument's Men, Directed by George ClooneyMonument’s Men appears on the scene during a time when the market is saturated with movies “based on a true story.” The true story is of a cohort tasked with recovering the artwork stolen by the Nazis from Western Europe during occupation. Not only must they recover it, they must do so while the war is going on since they must prevent places such as cathedrals housing invaluable pieces from being blown up. Add to this the mad dash for these ar … [Read more...]

Laughs and crazies in American Hustle

American Hustle, directed by David O. Russellby Elizabeth WhyteThere’s something about David O. Russell’s directing that makes all the characters in his films seem absolutely bonkers. American Hustle is no different. Russell has combined the big stars from his past two movies, Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and The Fighter (2010), to create a standout lineup, all of whom again deliver fantastic performances: Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, and Jennifer Lawrence. And, true to Ru … [Read more...]

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Our Understated Habit of Daydreaming

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, directed by Ben StillerBy Abe TimlerIn 2008 holiday audiences were delivered David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Five Christmases later, the Secret Life of Walter Mitty parodies a key scene from Benjamin Button’s reverse aging. Without that scene, it’s unlikely these two title characters would be compared. On the surface, both films are adaptations of short stories (by F. Scott Fitzgerald and James Thurber, respectively); and both stories … [Read more...]

Grudge Match Teaches Forgiveness

Review of Grudge Match, Directed by Peter SegalCan you believe it? After thirty years, Henry “Razor” Sharp (Sylvester Stallone) and Billy “The Kid” McDonnen (Robert De Niro) are back for a final round to settle once and for all who’s the champ. After two fights at the height of their careers, the scorecard read 1-to-1. But in 1983, before they entered the ring for a final tie-breaking match, Razor announced his retirement from boxing, thus ending both their careers. But now, in their old age, t … [Read more...]

Redbox Review: ‘Warm Bodies’—A feel-good zombie flick?

Review of Warm Bodies, Directed by Jonathan LevineR is dead. Which doesn't stop him from being hungry, eating people, and then feeling bad about being hungry and eating people. Nor does it stop him from feeling a good deal of existential angst over his lack of connection with other people, unlike the 'Boneys', skeletal monsters who feel no such angst and indeed delight in consuming anything and everything with a heartbeat. Is there any opportunity for escape from this lonely cycle of … [Read more...]

Redbox Review: ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is nothing special

Review of Much Ado About Nothing, Directed by Joss WhedonAs a longtime fan of both Joss Whedon and Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing (most notably the 1993 film starring Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh), I was delighted to hear that the genius behind Mutant Enemy would be producing his very own adaptation of this beloved play. The history of the film only adds to the charm: After years of hosting Shakespeare readings at his home, Whedon finally decided to try his hand at filming the … [Read more...]