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The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3 Out of all of the “prestige” projects that inundated movie goers in 2014, actress/co-producer Jessica Chastain’s “labor of love,” The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, is a hell of a lot more ambitious than Jennifer Aniston’s Cake or Reese Witherspoon’s Wild.  Following in the footsteps of ... Read More »

Goodbye to Language 3D (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  4   Every once in a while throughout the history of popular art, it seems like a minimalist movement comes along that enables a few individuals of marginal talent (and a particular brand of salesmanship) to hop on the bandwagon and capture the attention of the czars ... Read More »

A Most Violent Year (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?): 4 Writer/director J.C. Chandor burst onto the scene with Margin Call (2011), which dramatized a 24-hour period in 2008 when the major players at a New York brokerage firm realized (or could no longer ignore) that they had built their house of cards on snake oil.  ... Read More »

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)

In one late scene in Mockingjay-Part 1, while confined to an underground bunker, Jennifer Lawrence’s now familiar action hero, Katniss, eyes a target and cocks her bow to test out a new arrow, but she is abruptly stopped by this franchise’s representation of Q (Jeffrey Wright), who warns “let’s not shoot those in here.”  That pretty much sums up this feature-length ... Read More »

Interstellar (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?): 2 As the modern god (or devil) of middlebrow cinema, writer/director Christopher Nolan’s primary strength (or weakness) is his penchant for abbreviating the narrative beats.  And this aspect is indispensable (or overdone) in his latest film, Interstellar, where time is relative and characters need to traverse galaxies ... Read More »

Gone Girl (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?): 4    After any unnecessary remake, an above-average biopic, and an adaptation of a half-baked short story, it’s damn good to see director David Fincher back on his game – or I should say, The Game (1997), because that’s Gone Girl‘s closest touchstone to any of ... Read More »

The Drop (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3    Sometimes we cannot save ourselves.  We are not worthy of confession, communion, or redemption.  And perhaps the best we can muster from the core of our remaining humanity is to save an abused puppy left in a garbage can for dead. Well, that seems ... Read More »

Calvary (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3   From its opening frame, Calvary jumps right into the void with an unseen male parishioner’s confessing, “I first tasted semen when I was seven years old.”  “Certainly a startling opening line,” remarks Father James (Brendon Gleeson), immediately setting the stage for this self-referential, black comedy.  ... Read More »

Life Itself (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3   “I don’t know Pauline Kael.  Fuck Pauline Kael.”  It’s the kind of comment that a serious film critic may find downright “unseemly,” but that’s kind of the point.  As delivered by a long-time friend and colleague of Roger Ebert in the documentary Life Itself, it sums up Ebert’s place, relatively speaking, ... Read More »

Devil’s Knot (2014)

Spoiler scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  4   Nothing undermines art like reverence.  And biopics are no exception to this rule.  Over the last 20 years, four feature-length documentaries have covered the 1993 murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas, the resulting trials and conviction of the so-called “West Memphis Three,” the growth of their celebrity and civilian supporters alike, and ... Read More »

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