Rock Goes for Broke with Top Five

Building awareness about a mid-budget film is a tricky thing in today’s Hollywood (upsetting a nation leading to a cyber-attack that puts your own country on high alert is one such method…but I digress). Often publicity departments err in generating hype so large that the film in question can’t live up to it.

Witherspoon and Vallee Fully Invest in Powerful "Wild"

There are many ways that Jean-Marie Vallee’s adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild could have gone wrong.  A story anchored more by internal struggles than external conflict this is the sort of insular story that’s often difficult to present in a film with directors often falling back on melodramatic methods when all else fails.

“Before” not as clever as it needs to be

I’ve often wondered why directors attempt to follow in the steps of Alfred Hitchcock.  Having nearly singlehandedly created the paranoid thriller, modern filmmakers unwisely invite comparisons to the master’s work and they usually come out on the losing end, unable to build the sort of suspense or use the kind of intelligence found in such films as “Notorious,” “Rope” or “Psycho.” Rowan Jo

Gyllenhaal Continues to Impress in Nightcrawler

Having lost 30 pounds before filming Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal has a reptilian appearance in the film.  It suits his character well as Lou Bloom is as coldblooded as they come.  A product of the alienating factors that are part-and-parcel of big cities, he’s fallen victim to his own worse qualities, becoming a sociopath, unable to function in the company of o

"Ouija" reveals nothing new

It isn’t that Ouija, the latest property from Hasbro Toys, after G.I.

"Alexander” an Effective Reminder of Our Blessings

We’ve all had them, those days when, not only do things go badly, but circumstances occur that are so outlandish, so catastrophic that we can’t possibly understand how they came to be.  These are the days where you not only wish you’d never gotten out of bed but when you start thinking back on past sins, wondering just what it was you did to deserve the awful fate that’s befallen you.

Lithgow and Molina Elevate "Strange"

When director Leo McCarey was awarded the Academy Award for Best Director in 1938 for his film The Awful Truth, he said in his acceptance speech that he was getting the Oscar for the wrong movie.  He was referring to his other 1937 effort Make Way for Tomorrow, a heartbreaking examination of the vagaries of getting old in which we witness how the marriage of an elderly co

"Congress" Drowns in its Own Ambition

To say that Ari Folman’s The Congress has an axe to grind is an understatement of titanic proportions.

It Never Came to Town - "Words and Pictures"

It Never Came to Town

Highlighting Films that were Released Theatrically but Never Came to C-U

Words and Pictures – 3 Stars