Movie Meter: Reese Witherspoon is Back and Chris Rock Deserves a High Five

SEE IT NOW

Wild: Through the more than two decades of her acting career, 38-year-old Reese Witherspoon has gone from being totally unknown to known to overrated to supremely overrated, and now all the way back down to significantly underrated. Jean Marc Vallé’s film—based on an Oprah-approved memoir by Cheryl Strayed about an emotionally devastated woman who decides to hike the PCT from Mexico to Canada to reclaim her lost soul—gives Witherspoon a showcase opportunity to show the world what she’s capable of with the right material. Not unlike Matthew McConaughey, who starred in Vallé’s previous film, Dallas Buyers Club, and rode that performance to Oscar glory, Witherspoon is getting rave notice for her most welcome return to form. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Read more »

5 Best New Movies To Stream on Netflix in December: Wolf of Wall Street, Almost Famous and Bertolucci at His Absolute Peak

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

December may be the cruelest month for many reasons, but it’s especially hard on VOD options. For one thing, everyone is completely preoccupied with shopping. For another, studios have seen fit to release all their most notable and award-worthy features to a clamoring public, so serious-minded movie lovers willfully return to the multiplex after a summer of underwhelming blockbusters. But for those nights when the weather is too much to bear, we present the best Netflix streaming films of the month.

Read more »

Movie Meter: The Theory of Everything Is Ready for Award Season, Dumb and Dumber To Is Ready for the Trash

SEE IT

The Theory of Everything: This biopic concerning the brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking, stricken to a wheelchair from ALS as a young man, sagely avoids many of the common melodramatic liberties that so often plague the genre. James Marsh’s film — which stars the phenomenal Eddie Redmayne as Hawking, and the luminescent Felicity Jones as his long-suffering wife — is a shoo-in for Oscar-nom glory. Expect nominations for its two young stars and likely for the film itself, which is a good deal more honest in its warts-and-all depiction of its subject than you might expect. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%

Read more »

Movie Meter: Interstellar Is Predictably Spectacular, Big Hero 6 Makes Disney-Marvel Magic

SEE IT NOW

Interstellar:  Please consider this a vote based more on the spectacle of the film—which director Christopher Nolan shot in wondrous 70mm—than the film itself. Essentially, a large, well-rounded cast, including Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, and Michael Caine, receive a timely lesson in gravitational physics that involves ripping through space-time in search of a new planet for human beings to populate. Long-winded, stilted, and weirdly unsatisfying, the film’s brilliant effects and all-out audaciousness help save it from Nolan’s more fanciful notions about physics and quantum mechanics. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%

Read more »

5 Best New Movies to Stream on Netflix in November: Snowpiercer, Nebraska, and An Elisabeth Moss Rom-Com

NetflixNovember

November is actually a fine time to make the effort to go to the damn movie theater. This month will see the release of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, Stephen Hawking bio-pic The Theory of Everything, John Du Pont/Dave Schultz drama Foxcatcher, Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, and the second-to-last installment of The Hunger Games. Be that as it may, we still have some pretty good stuff identified for you on Netflix for those lazy nights when you want to stay in.

Read more »

Movie Meter: Jake Gyllenhaal Goes Full-Creeper for Nightcrawler

SEE IT

Nightcrawler: You have to give Jake Gyllenhaal some credit: Dude is not afraid to go full-creep if a role demands it. In Dan Gilroy’s scathing indictment of mass media and gore-celebrating TV journalism, Gyllenhaal plays a gaunt sociopath who looks as if he’s survived for months on Jolly Ranchers and cigarette ashes. Seeking some kind of direction in his life, he becomes an indispensable freelance cameraman for a desperate local L.A. affiliate. He films the city’s murders, fires, car accidents and other assorted horrors on his all-night shift to bolster their sagging morning ratings. The film is brilliantly unsettling. (Pearl, Rave, UA Main Street, UA Riverview) Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Read more »

Movie Meter: Michael Keaton Makes a Comeback, John Wick Is Surprisingly Good

SEE IT

Birdman: Despite the brilliant devastation of his film Biutiful, Alejandro González Iñárritu has not received quite the same level of fame as other Mexican directors of his generation, like Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro. That likely ends now. His new film is a complex allegory concerning the nature of art, fame, and soulful pursuit, but it’s also just a hell of a lot of fun. Michael Keaton plays a former big-star superhero actor who, many years past his prime, yearns to produce something of significance on the Broadway stage. Edward Norton plays the actor just talented and/or uncontrollable enough to ensure his success or failure. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Read more »

5 Questions With Whiplash Director Damien Chazelle

Damien Chazelle (center) with the cast of "Whiplash." | Photo: Shutterstock

Damien Chazelle (center) with the cast of “Whiplash.” | Photo: Shutterstock

Twenty-nine-year-old writer/director Damien Chazelle has found himself in career overdrive. He made quite a splash at this year’s Sundance festival with Whiplash, his latest work about a maniacally hard-driving jazz teacher and his equally obsessed drum student. (The film took home both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize.) The film, which offers star-making turns for both leads J.K. Simmons and Downingtown native Miles Teller, is an uncompromising exploration of true artistic attainment, and the heavy price of achieving it. It is also a brilliantly executed and savage back-and-forth between pupil and student that leaves the film’s audience shifting allegiances and sympathies—not unlike so many time-signature changes in a Thelonious Monk composition.

Ticket spoke with Chazelle over the phone the evening before his film finally opened outside the festival circuit.

Read more »

« Older Posts