"Killing Them Softly" more of a drawn-out cinematic death
On the outside, "Killing Them Softly" looks like the perfect respite from all the glittering Oscar bait scrambling to hit theaters before the year's out. Yeah, not so much.
"Life of Pi" a magical journey for the eye
"Life of Pi," director Ang Lee's adaptation of Yann Martel's 2001 bestselling novel, frames itself as the ultimate spiritual, religious adventure. The jury's still out on all that, but Ang Lee is an outrageously talented and inventive visual director.
"Rise of the Guardians" continues the string of solid kid flicks
It's been a great year for kids movies. This week adds "Rise of the Guardians" to that list - a whimsical fantasy about children's most famous fabled icons and their secret allegiance to protect the collective innocence of childhood.
Take note of "Silver Linings Playbook"
As much as I like him in his more serious work, I'm always surprised when Bradley Cooper turns in a performance that strays from his name-making "Hangover" persona. If anything can change my mind, though, it's his thoroughly human contribution to "Silver Linings Playbook."
New "Red Dawn" should never have risen
After some minor financial oopses at MGM (read: filing for bankruptcy) and even more post-production delays (Chinese invaders don't just Photoshop themselves into North Koreans overnight, you know), the remade "Red Dawn" finally gets to see the light of day.
Make an appointment for "The Sessions"
Considering Hollywood's typical brand of cloying tearjerkers, it's a delightful surprise to find a movie that can get the tears flowing without guilt. "The Sessions" is that movie.
"Breaking Dawn - Part 2": It's exactly what you think it is
It wasn't too long ago that the Mythbusters proved to the world that you can, indeed, polish a turd. So, I don't know why I ever had so many reservations about the cinematic incarnations of the "Twilight" saga.
"Lincoln" is irresistible Oscar bait
Critics everywhere are falling all over themselves raving about "Lincoln," Steven Spielberg's epic narrative about America's notable president. It is, without a doubt, a very good film. Its all-encompassing excellence, however, is lost on me.
Raise a glass to "Smashed"
It's hard for me to comment on the reality and authenticity of "Smashed." While it's definitely fair to say that not all of "Smashed" goes down smoothly, the end result is an intimate, complicated film about an intimate, complicated topic, with a smashing lead performance to boot.
UWM students bring Oscar-nominated director to Milwaukee
Debra Granik, director of the Academy Award-nominated film "Winter's Bone," will speak Nov. 14 at the Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts, 2419 E. Kenwood Blvd., at 7 p.m.
"Skyfall" plays a dangerously good game
The James Bond franchise celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and what better way to celebrate such a long-standing series than with a film centered around its foundation's near destruction?
Packard Brothers' Bowling Month strikes Funny or Die
Last month I previewed Jack and Nick Packard's upcoming Funny or Die videos, a set of five focused on the all-important (and a little made-up) National Bowling Month. The collection, which finally dropped today, has taken over the website.
The best of Bond ... James Bond
Alongside Darth Vader, the Tramp and Indiana Jones, James Bond is one of cinema's most iconic characters. With the much-ballyhooed "Skyfall" hitting theaters Friday, what better time to take a look at the five best of Britain's most famous agent.
See "Skyfall" early with Marcus Theatres
"Skyfall," the latest installment in the James Bond series, is due out in theaters this Friday. But, you won't have to wait that long to see it.
"The Paperboy" a wet, sloppy, sweaty mess
Just a few months ago, William Friedkin's "Killer Joe" took an unpleasant story featuring murder and sexual embarrassment, and made it a dementedly captivating genre mash-up. Lee Daniels, who struck Oscar gold with "Precious" in 2009, does not have the same sense of control with "The Paperboy," a sweaty, swampy mess of a movie.
"The Man with the Iron Fists": hands of metal, brains of air
There's a place in the world for sleazy, fun, no-holds-barred entertainment that hopes to thrill audiences with insane action and old-school genre references. Unfortunately, for every good movie of this ilk, there are several imitators that attempt to pull off the same trick but fall on their faces. This is where "The Man with the Iron Fists" sadly comes in.
Turbulence abound in "Flight"
It's been 12 years since director Robert Zemeckis last brought a live-action venture to the big screen. This hit-and-miss bout of computer generation has given way to "Flight," a similarly hit-and-miss story about a troubled pilot and the aftermath of a harrowing plane crash.
"Wreck-It Ralph" a smashing addition to Disney's catalog
Combining a kid-friendly story and slick, well-written script is a pretty good way to guarantee a box office hit. Throw in the nostalgia of a whole history of bygone video games and there's no way you can fail. "Wreck-It Ralph" does just that, and the results are expectedly superb.
The best of director Robert Zemeckis
In the '80s and '90s, he was one of America's top directors, but then the new millennium hit and Zemeckis hitched his creative wagon to the creepy motion capture horse. But why linger on those technological terrors? Let's look back at five films that show why Zemeckis' legacy deserves better than "the producer behind 'Mars Needs Moms.'"
No fun to be had in "Fun Size"
It seems only fitting that the last sound the audience hears in "Fun Size" before the end credits roll is a poop dropping into a toilet. It serves as the final annoying punctuation to a previous 85 minutes of confused, exhaustingly "zany" and inept comedy.
"Chasing Mavericks" hits viewers with wave of boredom
I've never been surfing (Wisconsin has a limited supply of gnarly waves), but it seems like an awesome adrenaline rush. So why in the name of Laird Hamilton is "Chasing Mavericks" so boring? It's the sleepiest on-screen presentation of an extreme sport possible, riding a current of bland characters and dull inspirational drama without a hint of what makes surfing or the surfing lifestyle alluring.
The revelation in "Silent Hill: Revelation?" It's really bad
"Silent Hill: Revelation" sounds like a terrible film on paper. Unfortunately, the second "Silent Hill" plays like a terrible film on screen as well.
"Cloud Atlas" soars
Anyone who's seen a trailer for "Cloud Atlas" or even heard the smallest amount of buzz surrounding it knows it looks a little, well, nuts. This massive new undertaking from the Wachowski siblings boasts teaser footage guaranteed to melt your brain, plus a cast of characters and settings that - while impressive on paper - could have easily stifled the promise right out of it. Thankfully (and a little surprisingly), it didn't.
Flipeleven will blow up car near 6th Street Viaduct
Tomorrow at 8 a.m., head to the 6th Street Viaduct and watch the film crew at Flipeleven Creative blow up a car for a scene in their new film "The Nugget."
Five memorably trippy movies
The new film "Cloud Atlas" is heading into theaters this weekend, taking all of its multiple timelines, eras and crazy future cafes with it. To celebrate, here are five other memorably mind-boggling movie experiences - and whether they are worth the ride.