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Anthony Chiarella  |  Jun 05, 2015  |  0 comments
Uber-lawyer Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.) has it all: a lucrative career defending crooked millionaires, a masterpiece home in suburban Chicago… and a dysfunctional family he hasn’t seen for 20 years. When his mother dies, Hank returns to rural Indiana to attend the funeral and grudgingly console his father (Robert Duvall), a stoic judge who had long ago thrown the book at him, sentencing his son to four years in reformatory. When the judge is involved in a hit-and-run accident, Hank must mount a defense, despite his father’s seeming desire to be found guilty. Along the way, we uncover not only the truths surrounding the accident, but the Palmers’ toxic family history as well. There’s also a rekindled romance between Hank and his childhood sweetheart (Vera Farmiga), the only individual who has flourished in this Hoosier backwater.
Chris Chiarella  |  Dec 02, 2016  |  0 comments
So I guess revisiting in live action the catalog of Disney animated classics is officially a thing now. And that’s fine, if they can all manage to be as good as director Jon Favreau’s astutely conceived, beautifully realized take on The Jungle Book. The story here is different enough from the popular 1967 version to make the tale of man-cub Mowgli (endearing newcomer Neel Sethi) fresh and worth watching all over again. He’s been raised by wolves and lives happily among the animals until a ferocious tiger sets his sights on the boy, sending brave Mowgli on a dangerous journey back to the world of man. Yes, there are a couple of familiar songs along the way, but plenty of surprises as well, in addition to some rough beast-on-beast combat that might frighten the little ones.
David Vaughn  |  May 10, 2010  |  0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/kk.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Daniel (Ralph Macchio) and his single mother move from the east coast to Los Angeles and he has a difficult time meeting new friends. When he becomes the object of bullying by the Cobra Kai, a menacing group of karate students, a local handyman (Pat Morita) teaches the teenager self defense and in the process the two become the best of friends.

David Vaughn  |  Dec 02, 2009  |  0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/kevinsmith.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Writer/director Kevin Smith made his feature-film debut in 1994 with the cult-classic comedy <i>Clerks</i>, a hilarious story about a pair of witty counter clerks in New Jersey starring Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson as the two main characters Dante and Randal. Also debuting in the film are Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith), who will show up in many more of Smith's productions.

Fred Kaplan  |  Jun 19, 2013  |  0 comments
The Kid With a Bike is a heartbreaking, gripping, ultimately unsettling, but very satisfying film—an odd jumble of adjectives, I know, but the Dardenne brothers of Belgium routinely provoke these dissonances in the works they jointly write and direct. Their earlier films (The Child, The Son, La Promesse, among others) are notoriously hard to warm to: The characters are obstinate, the pace slides and rambles. The Kid With a Bike, which won the Grand Prix at Cannes, is sunnier, more kinetic, but it, too, disrupts assumptions, snaps you in unexpected directions: just like life.
Fred Kaplan  |  Sep 23, 2011  |  1 comments
Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing is a nifty film noir with brisk dialogue (by noir novelist Jim Thompson) and brushstroke characters. It features a taut narrative within a daringly fitful structure (the plot starts over and over, charting the events from different points of view, leading up to the climax) and an ending straight out of O. Henry. The story line is fairly conventional—a racetrack heist, the mastermind who devises it, and the gang of misfits who try to pull it off. But the theme—human foibles trumping the best-laid plans—anticipates many Kubrick films to come, notably Paths of Glory, Dr. Strangelove, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is also the first film where Kubrick, just 28 years old, displays a master director’s touch: a keen visual sense, both for the composition of the frame and for the fluid camera motion (it seems to be moving almost constantly). The acting is a bit outsized, but so it is in most Kubricks, and as with most, it fits the movie’s mood. This one marks his first association with Sterling Hayden, who’s very fine as the methodical planner: mordantly witty, slow-burning with desire to break through life’s trappings, and in the end stoic about his prospects.
Jamie Sorcher  |  Nov 03, 2002  |  0 comments
(Movie Images Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.)

"This, like any story worth telling, is all about a girl," Peter Parker tells us at the beginning of Spider-Man-not what you'd expect to hear from a superhero. But, as delighted audiences soon discovered, Spider-Man doesn't play by the rules.

David Vaughn  |  Nov 23, 2008  |  0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/thekingdom.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>When Islamic terrorists attack United States citizens in Saudi Arabia, the FBI wants to dispatch an investigative team to track down the people responsible. Unfortunately, the Attorney General and the State Department are more worried about politics and diplomacy than justice, so the FBI takes matters into its own hands. Special Agent Ronald Fleury (Jamie Foxx) and his three-man team circumvent the system and gain access to the crime scene only to find the local authorities stonewalling them at every turn.

David Vaughn  |  Apr 18, 2011  |  0 comments
After the death of his father and the scandalous abdication of his brother King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), Bertie (Colin Firth), who has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all of his life, is suddenly crowned King George VI of England. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). After a rough start, the two delve into an unorthodox course of treatment and eventually forge a genuine friendship.

Taking home the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor (Firth), Best Director (Tom Hooper), and Best Original Screenplay (David Seidler), I had extremely high expectations of this film and they were mostly met. That being said, I don't think this was the best picture of 2010, my pick would be The Social Network, but I can see why the Academy chose this film due to the lavish sets, decadent costumes, and historically significant story.

Rad Bennett  |  Jul 31, 2008  |  0 comments
Movie •••½ Picture •••½ Sound •••• Extras •••

In Kabul, before the Russians invad

Josef Krebs  |  Feb 23, 2009  |  0 comments
The Criterion Collection
Movie •••• Picture ••••• Sound •••• Extras ••••
In 1987, director and co-writer Bernardo Be
David Vaughn  |  Apr 18, 2009  |  0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/lastkiss.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Michael (Zach Braff) is immature and dreads both his 30th birthday and marrying Jenna (Jacinda Barrett), who's carrying his unborn child. When he meets Kim (Rachel Bilson) at a wedding, she makes him feel 10 years younger, and he questions whether he should be taking himself off the market.

David Vaughn  |  Aug 24, 2010  |  0 comments
Banished by their mother (Kelly Preston) to spend the summer with their father (Greg Kinnear) in Georgia, Veronica (Miley Cyrus) and her younger brother Jonah (Bobby Coleman) get a chance to reconnect with him since their parents divorced a few years earlier. Before the split, Veronica would spend countless hours together at the piano and since he left she has refused to play despite receiving a scholarship offer to Julliard. Can a summer with her father rekindle her desire to play or will other circumstances alter her life?

Written by Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook), The Last Song certainly caters to a female audience but I can't say I didn't enjoy certain aspects of the production. The screenplay is very melodramatic with pitfalls lurking behind every corner, although I felt the performances by Kinnear as the loving father was genuine and young Coleman steals the show with some great one-liners. Cyrus has improved as an actress, but still has quite a ways to go to graduate to more adult productions.

Chris Chiarella  |  May 08, 2014  |  0 comments
High on the list of stars needing a good movie under their belt we would find the beleaguered Mr. Schwarzenegger. His box office clout was waning, then he spent many years away from show business to run California. At one point his most promising comeback vehicle seemed to be a bizarre "Governator" cartoon, and then it all came crashing down amid a horrible public scandal. But could he still hold his own on the big screen if he wanted to?
Tom Norton  |  Sep 20, 2007  |  First Published: Sep 21, 2007  |  1 comments

I confess to a serious weakness for <I>The Last Starfighter</I>. Even by 1984 standards, the year of its release, it wasn't a great science fiction film. But there is something immensely appealing in its old-fashioned innocence.