Historical Circuit: Apollo 13 (****)

(1995) Directed by Ron Howard When the Academy Award nominations were announced the movie excellence in 1995, I was stunned that Ron Howard was not nominated for Best Director for his stunning work in Apollo 13 (1995) which had been nominated for nine Oscars in all, including Best Picture. The critically acclaimed work would earn […]

Women In Cinema: Emma Stone

Young actresses with the potential to have an extraordinary career are a rare find. Emma Stone is one of those actresses. With a strong beginning to a career, it only makes sense it will get bigger and better. Emily Stone was born November 6th, 1988 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Growing up she was a member of […]

Women In Cinema: Dakota Fanning

In 2001, a young actress broke into the business displaying an overwhelming amount of talent at 7 years old that many actors spend their careers working to achieve. That actress is Dakota Fanning. At a young age, Fanning has displayed talent and maturity well beyond her years. Last week when I was discussing the “Oscarettes” […]

Sayonara, Summer!

The Big Boys By Robert Hamer And so the summer flies by, and we Oscar prognosticators can steel ourselves for the “real” contenders to roll out over the fall and winter months.  But as we look forward to how this season shapes up, what can we take from this year’s summer slate?  What interesting events […]

The Most “Taxing” People in Film Today

Most Americans have had to start last Friday going through an ungodly amount of paperwork, W-2 forms, and financial documents (if not just pay an accountant to do it for them) to get through the jagged little pill that is Tax Day. Meanwhile, MSN Movies had the rather clever idea of writing short essays of […]

On Racism and The Help

  There isn’t much that I can say about Tate Taylor’s hit social message drama The Help from a pure critical standpoint that hasn’t already been said.  My own reaction is south of my colleague Mike’s review, but the film is not quite “bad.”  I can’t exactly champion a film with such an overlong running […]

Top Ten Patriotic Films

To commemorate the 235th Independence Day of the United States, I decided to celebrate the films that have done the most to invoke feelings of pride in our country.  Patriotism, to me, is not defined within the confines of a partisan philosophy or simplistic nationalism.  True patriots are loyal not to an individual or political […]

Under the Circuit: Guy Pearce

Born: October 5, 1967 Place: Cambridgeshire, England Major Awards and Citations: Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast of 2008 (The Hurt Locker) Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor of 2001 (Memento) San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor of 2001 (Memento) SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in […]

The Folly of Source Loyalty

It must be hell to adapt a comic book superhero franchise into a movie.  It’s not enough that they are attempting to create a fresh and original take on a story that has basically been told dozens of times in other films.  In the case of longstanding canon, a writer also has to navigate through […]

Top Ten Funniest Female Performances of All Time

It’s no secret by now that I am very excited for Bridesmaids.  Not just because of its great reviews or my not-so-secret crush on Kristen Wiig, but also because the film stands for something you rarely see in Hollywood: the great comedic film actress.  Not that women haven’t given funny performances in the past, far […]

Cannes Post-Mortem

So the most prestigious film festival in the world is over, the prizes have been handed out, and all of the pundits are abuzz about how this ties into the Oscar season.  So to repeat a question that some readers have posited on this very site: is The Tree of Life the new Oscar frontrunner? […]

Michael Fassbender: A Star Is Born

 This weekend is the release of X-Men: First Class, a prequel of sorts to the original X-Men trilogy most of us grew up with the past decade.  Reviews have been surprisingly positive considering the hole dug by X-Men: The Last Stand and Cumbersome Franchise Title: Wolverine, but praise has especially been heaped on its star […]

The Curious Case of Michael Bay

Another summer, another Michael Bay movie.  Or perhaps vice versa is more appropriate?  After all, he appears to have marketed himself successfully as the King of the Summer; indeed, I can’t name anyone else compacting all of the elements of the typical “turn off your brain” summer flick into a single 2+ hour experience more […]

TV Review: Mildred Pierce (***)

So now the five-part Mildred Pierce saga is over, and after its utterly fantastic conclusion had settled for me, I have to admit a slight tinge of disappointment at the series as a whole.  Now, clearly a three-star miniseries (borderline three-and-a-half) is nothing to sneer at, and I am still glad I took this journey.  […]

Don’t Be Fooled

I’m guessing – based on its box office take – that at least some of you saw The Hangover: Part II.  Which means that you also saw the teaser trailer for David Fincher’s highly anticipated remake of the hit Swedish film based on the megahit crime novel series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (or […]

The Summer and the Oscars

Ah, summer.  The season when school is out, sun tan is in, and cinephiles like us can look forward to massive studio-produced blockbusters that rake in the big bucks.  These movies don’t usually have a strong presence during the awards season, but that’s slowly changing with the recent expansion of the Best Picture nominees to […]

Historical Circuit: Manhattan (****)

This weekend, Woody Allen released his 41st full-length feature in select Los Angeles and New York theaters.  Sadly, the anticipation that greets his releases is not the same as it was fifteen or twenty years ago.  From 1977 to roughly 1994, he was one of cinema’s most important auteurs, and one of the America’s greatest […]

Historical Circuit: Mildred Pierce (***)

In preparation for the HBO miniseries, I decided to take a look at the original Mildred Pierce, about an independent and successful divorcée desperate to win the approval of her ungrateful daughter.  The film is widely remembered today for Joan Crawford’s Oscar-winning performance, though it was nominated for several others and was a major box […]

Kicking Ass for Christ

A strange feeling rose up in me while I was watching the latest trailer for Priest.  No, it was not the feeling that this was going to be a banal, humorless rehash of countless other films, blatantly ripping off the same dark noir future as Blade Runner, though that certainly crossed my mind.  But seeing […]

Under the Circuit: Maria Bello

Born: April 18, 1967 Place: Norristown, Pennsylvania Major Awards and Citations: Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series of 1998 (“ER”) Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture of 2003 (The Cooler) Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Performance of 2005 (A History […]

Under the Circuit: Paul Bettany

Born: May 27, 1971 Place: London, England Major Awards and Citations: London Critics Circle Film Award for British Supporting Actor of the Year 2001 (A Knight’s Tale) Evening Standard British Film Awards for Best Actor of 2003 (The Heart of Me and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World) London Critics Circle Film […]

Under the Circuit: Jeff Daniels

Born: February 19, 1955 Place: Athens, Georgia Major Awards and Citations: Saturn Award for Best Actor of 1990 (Arachnophobia) International Fantasy Film Award for Best Actor of 1992 (Timescape) Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actor of 2005 (The Squid and the Whale) Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast of 2005 (The Squid and the Whale) […]

Weekend Openings (August 26-28)

The summer draws to a close, but before we wave goodbye to the sunny season, there are a few more new releases left:  First up in wide release, the gorgeous Zoe Saldana stars in the revenge thriller Colombiana.  Witnessing her parents’ murder as a child, Cataleya Restrepo grows up to be a Hot Skinny Damaged […]

Weekend Openings (August 19-21)

This weekend – I’m not gonna lie – looks rough, both in terms of quality and box office (none of them are likely to topple The Help). Here goes… Conan the Barbarian is the first of two new remakes this week.  Starring Jason Momoa in the role that Arnold Schwarzenegger immortalized, everyone’s favorite barbarian undertakes […]

Weekend Openings (August 12-14)

Oscarphiles should be interested in at least one new release this week.  The rest, well…take a look:  Our first wide release of this weekend actually opened last Wednesday, the adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling novel The Help.  The feel-good drama stars Emma Stone as a young journalist who befriends two African-American maids and strives to […]

Weekend Openings (August 5-7)

Just one more month in the summer movie season before the Oscar heavies start rolling out; could any film in that time redeem the (mostly uninspiring) past three months?  First up in wide release is The Change-Up, directed by David Dobkin and starring Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds.  Two friends with very different lives – […]

Weekend Openings (July 29-31)

After a slight hiccup last week, I am back to preview the new releases for the end of July!  Genre buffs have been hotly anticipating Jon Favreau’s Cowboys & Aliens, pitting a band of gunslingers and a hostile extra-terrestrial force against each other in 19th Century New Mexico.  I have to admit, the premise sounds […]

Weekend Openings (July 22-24)

This Comic-Con weekend marks the last comic book superhero film of 2011, and the second commitment-free sex comedy of the summer: Continuing Marvel Studios’ attempt to build up to The Avengers, Captain America: The First Avenger stars Chris Evans as Steve Rogers, a brave but puny young man who is selected for the U.S. Army’s […]

Weekend Openings (July 15-17)

This is it, readers.  The end of a decade-long saga.  The final chapter of, for many, a beloved series of adventures:  I am of course referring to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which will conclude one of the most successful film franchises of all time.  After the protracted and boring build-up of […]

Weekend Openings (July 8-10)

Hope everyone had a good Independence Day weekend last week.  Let’s see what new releases will be helping us recover from the resulting hangover…  Those under the rule of a tyrannical supervisor may find some catharsis in Seth Gordon’s dark comedy Horrible Bosses, about three men who conspire to assassinate their psychotic bosses with disastrous […]

Weekend Openings (July 1-3)

We’re entering the month of July with some unconventional summer flicks and one VERY typical summer release:  Let’s start with a film that officially opened last Wednesday: Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Michael Bay’s purported final installment of Hollywood’s loudest franchise.  This time, the Autobots learn of a crashed spacecraft on the moon that could […]

Weekend Openings (June 24-26)

Greetings, dear readers!  Time for another preview of the new releases this weekend:  First up in wide release is Cameron Diaz being a Bad Teacher.  The film, directed by Jake Kasdan of Walk Hard and The TV Set, is about a crude, substance-abusing middle school teacher who decides to woo the new substitute (Justin Timberlake) […]

Weekend Openings (June 17-19)

Father’s Day weekend sees the release of a superhero action flick, a family comedy about a man who learns about the TRULY important things in life, and an indie dramedy about a depressed teenager who learns…the same lesson.  Boy, haven’t seen any of these kinds of films in a while, have we?  For whatever reason, […]

Weekend Openings (June 10-12)

A major blockbuster film is coming out this weekend, one that could even be an Oscar contender.  That’s right; the highly anticipated Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer is finally hitting theaters in wide release!  Adapted from Megan McDonald’s Judy Moody children’s book series, the film tells the story of the titular third-grader (Jordana […]

Weekend Openings (June 3-5)

We’re entering a new month in the summer, folks, so that means…surprisingly only one action blockbuster opening this weekend.  The only new wide release is the superhero prequel X-Men: First Class, a factor which should work in its favor at the box office.  An origin story to the entertaining but very flawed X-Men trilogy that […]