Manchester by the Sea

Note: With Manchester by the Sea opening in theaters this weekend, we’re re-running our review from the Sundance Film Festival.

This year’s Sundance slate is positively jam-packed with tales of family tragedy, from Other People to The Hollars to The Fundamentals of Caring to Hunt for the Wilderpeople. But grief has rarely been explored as deeply and as beautifully, at Sundance or elsewhere, as in Kenneth Lonergan‘s Manchester by the Sea. This film wrecked me, to the point that I started crying all over again while working on this very review.

Casey Affleck, giving a career-best performance in a career-best role, is the devastating heart of this exquisitely wrought drama. Surrounding him are a rock-solid cast that also includes Kyle ChandlerLucas HedgesMichelle Williams, and C.J. Wilson. Collectively, they’ve put together a film that I strongly suspect will turn out to be the very best of this year’s Sundance crop, at least in my personal estimation. Read More »

24: Legacy Review

24 has been remarkably consistent over the years. Even when they switched to 12 episodes, the machinations that keep the real time going are a well-oiled machine. With 24: Legacy, it feels good to be back in a familiar zone but see all the new directions this story could take.

It is just after noon when Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins) springs into action, defending himself and his wife Nicole (Anna Diop) from killers who come to their home in Arlington, VA. Rebecca Ingram (Miranda Otto) makes one last trip to CTU after she’s left the agency, and gets roped back in when Eric needs her help. Meanwhile, Rebecca’s husband John Donovan (Jimmy Smits) is beginning a day of campaigning for President in D.C.  Read More »

Magicians: Life In The Impossible Trailer

/Film’s David Chen has said that half of his top ten list this year will probably be populated by documentaries. There have been some real fantastic documentary films in 2016, and I want to add a new one to your to-do list. It is called Magicians: Life in the Impossible. Yes, the title is so horribly generic that if you search “magicians movie” on Google, the film doesn’t even show up on the first page of results, but please don’t let that scare you away.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Reviews

This week Harry Potter fans can return to the wizarding world in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first installment of what will eventually be a five film series, spanning 19 years of narrative time, all directed by David Yates and written by J.K. Rowling. But will it be worth a trip to theaters? The first reactions indicated that this was the perfect follow-up to Harry Potter, delivering a different kind of magic in a simultaneously familiar and refreshing fashion, thanks to a whole new roster of characters.

Now the first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them reviews are in (so far resulting in 100% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of this writing, though that probably won’t last), and they seem to echo the first impressions, but with some key pieces of criticism.

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Loving review

Note: With Loving in limited release this weekend, we’re re-running our review from the TIFF.

Jeff Nichols has never been one for outsized drama. It’s not that dramatic things don’t happen in his movies — on the contrary, his films are full of superpowered kids and apocalyptic dreams and the like. But he often seems less interested in big events than in all the moments in between, the everyday bonds and minute details that make up the textures of everyday life.

In Loving, Nichols applies that same approach to the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, which struck down anti-miscegenation laws across the country. Aided by awards-worthy performances from Joel Edgerton and especially Ruth Negga, Nichols delivers an intimate drama that feels all the bigger for keeping its scope so resolutely small.  Read More »

Doctor Strange Reviews - Benedict Cumberbatch

Last week brought the first reactions to Doctor Strange after press saw the movie before it hits international markets this coming week. Now the embargo has lifted on full reviews of Marvel’s latest addition to their cinematic universe, providing us with a much more detailed reception from critics.

The full Doctor Strange reviews paint a promising picture full of rich performances, dazzling visuals and some of the best action we’ve ever seen. However, these reviews also dive deeper into the movie’s shortcomings, mainly coming from treading familiar territory as another origin story and putting forth a lead character whose defining characteristics might be a little to close to the Marvel franchise that started this whole universe with Iron Man. But thankfully, Benedict Cumberbatch and director Scott Derrickson keep that from being too frustrating.

Check out some highlights from the Doctor Strange reviews after the jump. Read More »

Michael Moore in Trumpland

Never one to stay quiet in the midst of a heated political discussion, Michael Moore has weighed in on the 2016 presidential election with Michael Moore in TrumpLand. Sure, he’s already weighed in a bunch of times through other venues — as Moore likes to point out, he correctly predicted earlier than most that Donald Trump would win the Republican primary. But now the filmmaker gets to offer his two cents in the form of a film.

Or rather, a filmed version of a one-man show. Michael Moore in TrumpLand is essentially a concert film, shot during his performance in Wilmington, Ohio earlier this month. The most surprising thing about it, though, is that despite the title TrumpLand isn’t really about Donald Trump. Rather, it’s an impassioned, if not entirely effective, case for Hillary Clinton.  Read More »

Jack Reacher Never Go Back Reviews - Tom Cruise

This weekend brings Tom Cruise back to the big screen in action star mode again with Jack Reacher: Never Go Back hitting theaters. While the first Jack Reacher movie was a surprise throwback of an action movie with an old school tough guy hero in the lead, it sounds like the follow-up has lost some of the magic that made audiences like the cocky, no nonsense character so much the first time around.

In the first Jack Reacher Never Go Back reviews hitting the web today, it appears most of the blame is being put on director Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai), who doesn’t seem to understand what made the title character special. In addition, the sequel suffers from having a forgettable villain. But at the very least, Tom Cruise is still outstanding, and the action sounds like it’s on solid ground as well.

Read a round-up of Jack Reacher Never Go Back reviews below.

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Michael Moore in TrumpLand

Last night brought the surprise premiere of Michael Moore in TrumpLand, a film that was put together in seven weeks after staging a one-man-show about the 2016 election at a theater in Wilmington, Ohio, a town known for being on the right side of the aisle. At only 73 minutes, it turns out that this project (which Moore had just finished cutting yesteray morning) isn’t a documentary about Donald Trump, but rather a one-man show that feels more like a commencement speech or stand-up routine featuring Michael Moore explaining why you should vote for Hillary Clinton rather than why you shouldn’t vote for Donald Trump.

So how did it turn out? Find out what the first Michael Moore in TrumpLand reviews have to say. Read More »

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Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk Reviews

Last night brought the world premiere of Ang Lee’s latest film, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. Yesterday we happened to run a featurette exploring director Ang Lee‘s use of new technology that allowed the film to be shot at 120 frames per second (FPS). That’s a significantly higher frame rate than Peter Jackson’s experimental use of 48 FPS for The Hobbit trilogy, and it sounds like the reaction to this format from the first reviews of the movie is even more resistant than to that previous effort.

Most of the criticism from the first Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk reviews are with regards to the distracting presentation (which will end up not matter for general audiences, as we’ll explain at the end). But beyond that, it sounds like the film doesn’t bring anything else potentially groundbreaking to the table, offering another metaphor for our society to deal with in relation to war with some decent performances and occasionally beautiful visuals scattered throughout.

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