Oscar Roundup

by Paul D. MillerIt's that time of year again. Time to ignore the actual quality of movies and instead watch an antiquated and unrepresentative cultural weathervane known as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences arbitrarily pick the winners and losers of 2013. Time for the Oscars.The frontrunner for Best Picture is 12 Years a Slave, directed by Steve McQueen. Christian Hamaker said of the American slavery drama that "It’s a harsh, at times brutal film, devoid of humor or other d … [Read more...]

Like Father, Like Son a Valentine’s Day Gift for Film Lovers

Like Father, Like Son, directed by Hirokazu Kore-edaBy Christian HamakerWhat kind of love story do you like to watch on Valentine’s Day? A lighthearted story in which a man and woman meet cute, fall in love, break up and then find a way back together? A three-hankie weeper in which one of the lovers dies? A standard rom-com that doesn’t challenge you but delivers exactly what you want? Stories of love and loss come in different shapes and sizes. This last Valentine’s Day weekend brings a … [Read more...]

The Disappointment of Winter’s Tale

Winter's Tale, directed by Akiva GoldsmanBy Elizabeth WhyteWhenever any movie studio announces they are going to adapt a 700-page novel for the silver screen, every good book lover groans. And when the 700-page novel is on a book lover’s list of favorites, that book lover sheds a little tear, then hopes against all odds that the movie studio will somehow do literature justice.With Winter’s Tale, my hopes suffered a violent, messy death.Hear me out. I am not one of those bibl … [Read more...]

Liam Neeson Punches Death

Review The Grey, Directed by Joe CarnahanWhen The Grey was released two years ago, one critic, who may not have actually seen the movie, witheringly wrote an article titled “What Should Liam Neeson Punch Next?” You can’t entirely blame her. It is easy to mock the film as “Liam Neeson Versus Wolves!”  The trailer makes it look exactly like its own parody: a stupid action movie about men running around in the snow punching wolves.The caricature is grossly unfair. The Grey isn’t Taken in the … [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...]

Gravity Soars

Review of Gravity, Directed by Alfonso CuaronWhat makes any work of art good? Years ago I had the opportunity to tour Europe. After weeks of walking through the Louvre, the British Museum, the Vatican, the Pergamon, the Acropolis, Topkapi Palace, the Gallery of the Academy of Florence, and more, I noticed something about virtually all art before the 19th century. Whether it was a painting, a sculpture, a frieze, or a building, it was about something: religion, war, victory, death, the … [Read more...]

Her Not Here

Review of Her, Directed by Spike JonzeBy ABE TIMLERHer, the latest of Spike Jonze’s highly unconventional films, retains the quirky, independent personality and the relentless preoccupation with psychological discovery that marked his much celebrated Being John Malkovich (1999), Adaptation (2002), and Where the Wild Things Are (2009). Equally owned by Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as Theodore Twombly, this two-hour examination of romance (albeit one lacking the necessary reciprocating oth … [Read more...]

Hannah Arendt Against World Opinion

Review of Hannah Arendt, Directed by Margarethe von Trotta“The best books in the world sit on shelves, but are never read,” Mark Twain once remarked. When hearing the name “Hannah Arendt,” most educated people today say, “Who?” Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) established her as the prominent female philosopher of her era. Origins placed both the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany within the Western tradition for the first time and showed their striking similarities despite being on … [Read more...]

This Week on Sleepy Hollow: It’s the End of the World as We Know It!

Review of Sleepy Hollow Season Finale (Episodes 12 & 13)The Apocalypse is one step nearer as Moloch prepares to break the second seal and release the Second Horseman upon humanity. Only a secret message hidden in the pages of George Washington's Bible (written by Zombie George Washington himself!), combined with magic sin-filled prayer beads and the ancient Masonic art of finding hidden tombs, can reveal the map to Purgatory. With the map, Ichabod and Abbie can free Ichabod's trapped … [Read more...]