The Dog, Dog Day Afternoon

The documentary vs. the drama

Magic in the Moonlight

Woody Allen recycles old philosophical material in Magic in the Moonlight

A Summer's Tale

Eric Rohmer's world is an enchanting one

Into the Storm

Into the Storm's CGI tornados don't have enough star power
There's something almost quaint about the idea that, once upon a time, the stars of disaster movies were ... well, stars. In the 1970s, when disaster was big box-office business, filmmakers gave their massive-scale life-threatening scenarios a patina of respectability by casting big-name above-the-line talent in the lead roles

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy puts the "comic" back in comic-book characters
We've seen heroes introduced in many different ways since the Marvel Cinematic Universe started to take over the multiplex universe in the past several years. They've been gods fallen to Earth, and scrawny men turned into something like gods.


An often breathtaking chronicle of the messy business of becoming a man
The audacious experiment Richard Linklater undertook with Boyhood—shooting the film in small increments over the course of 12 years, following Mason (Ellar Coltrane), the child of a struggling single mother (Patricia Arquette) and a sometimes flaky, occasionally absentee father (Ethan Hawke), from first grade through his high school graduation—has dominated coverage of the movie.

And So It Goes

And So It Goes is too concerned with making sure we like its irascible hero
In the opening moments of And So It Goes, Oren Little (Michael Douglas) visits the grave of his beloved wife. It's a scene that provides a humanizing context for Oren, since he's generally horrible to most of the people with whom he interacts—kinda casually (but vaguely adorably) racist, kinda casually (but vaguely adorably) self-absorbed, etc.

Life Itself

Roger Ebert documentary is a uniquely emotional experience
Let's not even pretend there's a way for most film critics of my generation to evaluate Life Itself—Steve James' biography of film critic Roger Ebert, taking its title from Ebert's 2011 memoir—on any remotely "objective" basis.

Venus in Fur

A foolish subtitling choice almost undercuts Venus in Fur
It's such a silly thing, really; it shouldn't matter at all. I mean, when we're considering a film adaptation of David Ives' Venus in Fur, there are so many meaty angles from which to approach it

Begin Again

A filmmaker fails to re-create his past triumph in Begin Again
Once upon a time—in that long-ago year of 2007—there was a magical musical called Once. Set in Dublin, it was the tale of two emotionally damaged musicians whose lives intersected just enough for them to start picking up the pieces and heal through their collaborative project.

Damn These Heels Film Festival 2014

LGBT film festival showcases real talent and drama
The Utah Film Center’s Damn These Heels LGBT Film Festival takes over the Rose Wagner Center this weekend with 16 features over the course of three days. Here’s a look at a few of the highlights available for pre-festival review.


Snowpiercer turns a director’s vision into propulsive genre satisfaction
Bong Joon-ho isn’t one for staying within the lines. Since making his debut with the bleakly funny Tarantino riff Barking Dogs Never Bite, the South Korean director has delivered a terrific streak of films that remain respectful to their chosen genres—crime procedurals for Memories of Murder,


Melissa McCarthy tries to stretch (inconsistently) in Tammy
I’m happy to live in a world where Melissa McCarthy can be a movie star. Even if you assume that she’s working a single stock character—an irrationally confident force of nature whose size might be used for physical punch lines—it’s baby steps of progress that she can now headline a Hollywood comedy that in years past might only have gone to a male comedian.

Obvious Child, They Came Together

Two new comedies slice up the rom-com formula
How old is “romantic comedy” as a cinematic genre? That may seem like an absurd question, since movies have been combining funny with cutesy nearly as long as there have been movies, and tales of “they hate each other,


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