San Andreas Is The Perfect Replacement-Level Disaster Movie

1. San Andreas doesn’t hit a single beat you don’t expect, and there’s comfort in that. It feels like a ritual, like a visit to a loud but harmless elderly aunt’s house where you know nothing exciting is going to happen, but you’re okay with that. Sometimes you just need some quiet time, no? This movie certainly isn’t… » 5/29/15 12:41pm Friday 12:41pm

Cameron Crowe's Aloha Is Every Bit The Disaster You Suspected

As a rule, I ignore negative buzz about upcoming movies. For one thing, you never know the agenda behind those leaking damaging information about reshoots or bad test-screening scores. For another, the film industry is littered with classic movies that were initially thought to be duds. (How many oral histories don’t » 5/28/15 6:02pm Thursday 6:02pm

Tomorrowland Is Hopeful, Uplifting, And Absolutely Intolerable 

1. Tomorrowland is a movie about optimism and hope and brightness and good cheer, which probably explains why it put me in such a foul mood. It’s like that television evangelist who’s so smiley and squeaky-clean that you just know he’s up to something weird when no one’s looking. This movie spends more than two hours… » 5/22/15 12:01pm 5/22/15 12:01pm

Pitch Perfect 2 Is Bigger, Bawdier, And Substantially Worse 

1. Pitch Perfect 2 is a total bummer, and it takes a while to figure out why. The 2012 original was such a pleasant, charming surprise, smart and clever and warm-hearted, but also pleasantly geeky; a cappella groups are not the centerpiece of the collegiate experience in the world we live in, but Pitch Perfect » 5/15/15 1:57pm 5/15/15 1:57pm

Mad Max: Fury Road Is Glorious, Thrilling, Overwhelming Lunacy

1. I quit smoking more than four years ago, but nothing—not a night full of drinks, not a table full of smokers, not a gasoline IV—has made me want a cigarette more than Mad Max: Fury Road did. You leave the theater still shaking, everything still pumping and throbbing, a treadmill stopping on a dime and sending you… » 5/14/15 11:29am 5/14/15 11:29am

Cannes Film Festival 2015: The 10 Movies We Can't Wait To See

The Cannes Film Festival starts Wednesday, lifting the veil on hotly anticipated movies from acclaimed international and American directors, be they potential blockbusters or critical darlings (or both). This year, it’ll be the first place most audiences get a look at Mad Max: Fury Road, Woody Allen’s Joaquin Phoenix… » 5/12/15 3:51pm 5/12/15 3:51pm

The D Train Gives Us The Neutered Jack Black No One Wanted

1. I’m not sure why Jack Black keeps trying to insist that he’s a sad sack. After years of being a whirling dervish of lunatic, coked-up energy—while still having the fundamental performance chops and inherent charm to deftly sidestep the usual Funny Fat Guy pitfalls—he’s toning it down as he approaches middle age.… » 5/08/15 3:04pm 5/08/15 3:04pm

A Zombie Movie Finally Made Arnold Schwarzenegger Human

Maggie’s two biggest selling points are things I wasn’t sure I ever needed to see again in a movie: a post-apocalyptic setting and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I like the idea of both of them, but after repeated exposure over the years, I confess to feeling fatigued at the notion of sitting through either anymore. But what… » 5/06/15 2:22pm 5/06/15 2:22pm

The Marvel Empire Strikes Back: Avengers: Age of Ultron, Reviewed

1. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Avengers movies is how it never feels like they’re selling you something. They are, obviously: The Marvel empire ranks among the most mammoth money-making enterprises in the history of cinema. But writer-director Joss Whedon’s signature achievement is that you barely… » 5/01/15 12:26pm 5/01/15 12:26pm

Dumber-er And Awesomer: Furious 7, Reviewed

1. Furious 7 has a scene I have been waiting a long, long time to see in a movie, and it happens twice. Two cars facing each other from opposite sides of the street. Two men, nostrils flaring, glowering, revving their engines, respective erect penises in hand. They shift into gear. They floor it. They speed directly… » 4/01/15 2:00pm 4/01/15 2:00pm

Age Ain't Nothing But A Bummer: While We're Young, Reviewed

1. Of all the criticisms my fellow Gen-Xers have of Millennials, there isn't one that cracks me up more than "they're too self-involved." This is freaking rich, coming from us. Being self-involved was our thing. We were the ones who were obsessed with authenticity, and "reality," and not "selling out," even though… » 3/26/15 5:15pm 3/26/15 5:15pm

Ebony And Agony: Get Hard, Reviewed

Despite how broad and silly they are, Will Ferrell's movies often have a stealth political side to them. When he works with his longtime creative partner, director and co-writer Adam McKay, he usually manages to address current events in a way that's pointed without being preachy. Everybody loves Anchorman because… » 3/25/15 4:38pm 3/25/15 4:38pm

Sean Penn Is Way Too Weird To Be Your Next Great Action Hero

If nothing else, The Gunman gives us a scene in which Sean Penn goes surfing. Of all the mysteries of centuries of American film, one that has always vexed me in particular is, "How did the doof who played Spicoli turn into that guy?" If you haven't watched Fast Times at Ridgemont High recently—and the movie is… » 3/19/15 12:14pm 3/19/15 12:14pm

Liam Neeson's Slightly Diminishing Skills: Run All Night, Reviewed

Critics may not like Liam Neeson's action movies, but that hasn't translated into folks not liking him for making them. Unlike, say, Johnny Depp and his endless array of "zany" characters or Nicolas Cage and his pitiful cornucopia of forgettable doing-it-for-the-paycheck roles, he hasn't become a punchline. In… » 3/12/15 3:05pm 3/12/15 3:05pm

Confusion Is Sex: It Follows, Reviewed

It's not unusual for a horror movie to connect sex with death: Scream even made a joke of the fact that the best way to stay alive in a slasher flick is to be a virgin, since the horny teens always get offed first. So there's not much novelty to the fact that the much-hyped indie It Follows draws its initial… » 3/11/15 5:05pm 3/11/15 5:05pm

Like Short Circuit For Knuckleheads: Chappie, Reviewed

1. District 9, the 2009 full-length debut from South African writer-director Neill Blomkamp, gave us an entirely new way of thinking about science-fiction movies. I wasn't as crazy about it as most other critics, but you couldn't deny that it was trying something different, creating an alternate universe and… » 3/06/15 4:03pm 3/06/15 4:03pm

Drink The Kool-Aid: Why True/False Is Our Best Little Film Festival 

Film festivals are weird things. If you love movies and have dreamed of going to, say, Cannes or Sundance, you might have this romantic vision of watching dozens of movies amid happy, goodhearted souls who share your abiding passion for film. The reality is, you'll meet some of those people at a film festival,… » 3/05/15 12:59pm 3/05/15 12:59pm

Will Smith Is A Blank Slate Now, And Focus Doesn't Help

Most movie stars charm us by creating the illusion that we know them. Tom Cruise's appeal comes in large part from our identification with his intense, full-throttle performances; the Rock, his eyebrow always arched in a self-mocking way, lets us in on the joke that action movies are preposterous, and,… » 2/27/15 2:14pm 2/27/15 2:14pm

Oscar Predictions 2015: The Categories No One Understands 

Sunday's Academy Awards will have plenty of suspense: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor are all toss-ups at this point. Will and I will tackle those and the other major categories Friday, but today, I'm going to look at the lower-profile awards: the tech prizes, short films, etc. They're not any easier… » 2/18/15 4:04pm 2/18/15 4:04pm

Whip It Good: Fifty Shades of Grey, Reviewed

1. I've never read the book Fifty Shades of Grey, but I'm fairly certain this film is the best possible adaptation of the material. From the looks of it, the 2011 erotica sensation seems not only to lack any semblance of a story, but even the backbone of one—as if author E.L. James never really thought to include… » 2/13/15 1:17pm 2/13/15 1:17pm