Too Much Is Just Enough: Guardians of the Galaxy, Reviewed

1. The best thing about the Marvel movies, to my eyes, is how self-aware they are without ever getting too winking about it. Captain America and Thor are excellent at this, playing off their leads' lunkheaded, uber-wholesome charm, but 2012's The Avengers—still the best Marvel film, and one of the best superhero… » 7/30/14 2:59pm Yesterday 2:59pm

Scarlett Johansson Enters The Matrix: Lucy, Reviewed

1. Lucy posits that if a person were able to somehow assess 100 percent of his or her brain capacity, he or she would be able to travel through time, from the Big Bang to the dinosaurs to the dawn of man to the end of the world, and gather all the wisdom from millennia and hand it over as a gift to humanity. This… » 7/25/14 1:05pm Friday 1:05pm

High On Life: The Divine Boyhood, Reviewed.

1. Boyhood makes you want to protect—to save—everyone onscreen. They're not in any sort of peril, at least not plainly so; there are alcoholic dads and neighborhood bullies and some broken hearts, but no one's ever in any danger of being attacked by a bear or anything. But without ever seeming to try, Richard… » 7/09/14 12:06pm 7/09/14 12:06pm

Melissa McCarthy's Self-Made Waterloo: Tammy, Reviewed

1. So what happened here, exactly? Tammy is a passion project for Melissa McCarthy—she co-wrote the film with her husband, Ben Falcone, who also directed and has a small role as a fast-food manager—and she spent nearly a decade trying to make it. So why is it so, so terrible? This is the movie McCarthy was fighting… » 7/02/14 11:26am 7/02/14 11:26am

Mo' Meta Blues: 22 Jump Street, Reviewed

1. How much credit are we supposed to give a movie for being self-aware? 22 Jump Street is so self-conscious and nervy about its status as an unnecessary cash-grab sequel that it never stops bringing it up. There are multiple inside-baseball asides about how much more expensive missions are the second time around, and… » 6/13/14 1:50pm 6/13/14 1:50pm

Groundhog Day Goes Sci-Fi: Edge Of Tomorrow, Reviewed.

1. Edge of Tomorrow is such a terrific idea for a movie that everyone involved seems to be in high spirits, like they all have a little pep in their step knowing they're making a good movie. There's so much junk out there that you can tell when the filmmakers know they've hooked a big one; there's a seriousness of… » 6/03/14 1:36pm 6/03/14 1:36pm

Unforgivable: A Million Ways To Die In The West, Reviewed.

1. Think about how much of an indictment it is to say, "All the good jokes are in the trailer" about a movie. Trailers, at most, are three minutes long. A Million Ways to Die in the West runs 116 minutes. That is a ton of time to comb through to dig out a Family Guy-esque gag about running into Emmet Brown and his… » 5/30/14 11:36am 5/30/14 11:36am

Time Is Not A Flat Circle: X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Reviewed

1. X-Men: Days of Future Past feels like one of those special-edition comic books that takes all the characters we know and love, drops them in some sort of parallel universe (so the storyline's ramifications don't affect the current canon timeline), and shakes up both the plot and those characters like crazy, just to… » 5/23/14 12:45pm 5/23/14 12:45pm

Kill All Humans, Or At Least Mute Them: Godzilla, Reviewed.

1. The go-to example for critics complaining about big-budget summer blockbusters today—and how they've devolved from some past, theoretical peak—is Steven Spielberg's Jaws. One of that 1975 film's many genius innovations was to hold off, as long as possible, on ever letting us see the shark. The movie took its time,… » 5/16/14 11:21am 5/16/14 11:21am

I Guess This Is Growing Up: Neighbors, Reviewed

1. Neighbors is your typical Seth Rogen/Apatowian coming-of-age comedy, in which an overgrown manboy learns that he has to curtail his childish pursuits of weed, video games, and general irresponsibility to become a functional member of society. (They've now cranked out a decade's worth of movies about accepting adult… » 5/09/14 1:16pm 5/09/14 1:16pm

(500) Hours of Spidey: The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Reviewed

1. There's a moment in 2004's original Spider-Man 2, directed by Sam Raimi, that represents the peak of what a comic-book movie can do. It's when an unmasked Spider-Man attempts to save a (geographically impossible, but no matter) elevated NYC subway train from careening off the platform and into the street below.… » 5/02/14 3:57pm 5/02/14 3:57pm

Get Off The Internet, Johnny Depp: Transcendence, Reviewed

1. Transcendence is what Her would be like if Her were made by idiots. All the things that film did right—establish a love story convincing enough to make us believe its crazy premise; scale down a global story for a specific focus; have a weirdo lead actor willing to dial it down and do something real—Transcendence » 4/17/14 10:50am 4/17/14 10:50am

Fucking With Us. Nymphomaniac, Part Two, Reviewed.

1. You know, I probably should have seen this coming. The first half of Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac two-parter was confrontational and insane, as you'd expect, but it was also, surprisingly, funny and daring and light on its feet. It was as if Von Trier, finishing up his Depression Trilogy, couldn't help finally… » 3/25/14 6:38pm 3/25/14 6:38pm

Who Was The Best Oscars Host Of The Past 25 Years?

11. James Franco and Anne Hathaway (2011). Always beware of courting the "young," particularly two young people who are basically 50-year-olds in grownup clothing. Franco, stripped of all self-referential schtick, turned into an empty suit with nowhere to hide, and Hathaway's desperate attempts to pep up the room made… » 3/03/14 12:53pm 3/03/14 12:53pm