10 Best Movies of 2015


This year was a rich phantasmagoria of features and strong performances, capped off by a slate of better-than-average prestige pictures into December. Some years we get lucky, I guess. Here’s one critic’s take on the best the year had to offer (and the worst, which you can skip to here). Please note a couple of these films have not actually been released yet. Their opening dates are listed where applicable.

Read more »

The Hateful Eight: Thoughts On the New Quentin Tarantino Movie


I had a chance to screen The Hateful Eight this week, just before the new Quentin Tarantino movie opens in 70mm in select cities followed by a standard format-release one week later. So will it take over the world like Pulp Fiction or fade into oblivion like Death Proof? Read on for my thoughts on the film. Read more »

Some Hard Truths About Star Wars: The Force Awakens

GIVE HIM A HAND: John Boyega's Finn TK.

GIVE HIM A HAND: John Boyega is downright electric as stormtrooper-turned-Resistance-fighter Finn.

I make a lot of stupid predictions, yo. I thought both the Eagles and Sixers would be in playoff position this season, but hell no. I predicted that Jeb Bush would be the Republican nominee; instead, he’s disappearing from time and space like Marty McFly. Man, I thought they were going to kill War Machine in the second Avengers flick and I was crazy wrong.

But I got something right. I predicted that John Boyega would make Star Wars: The Force Awakens; I told my friends that the magnetism and physicality that he showed in Attack the Block (British indie smash; Boyega as latchkey kid leader of British chavs in a surprise war on aliens; see immediately) would dovetail perfectly with the anticipated — and delivered — speed of the new space opera. And it did. My God, Boyega — starring as stormtrooper-turned-Resistance fighter Finn — is downright electric, working perfectly with Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac, our two other main characters, who portray a force-sensitive metal scavenger and an ace Resistance pilot, respectively.

Read more »

Out In Theaters: The Not-So-Fresh Prince of Focus

Will Smith out of focus, much like the whole film.

Will Smith out of focus, much like the whole film.

Hometown hero (and long rumored homosexual—sorry, Jada) Will Smith returns to the big screen as a con man with a plan in Focus. The new film from writing/directing duo Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, responsible for the mildly amusing gay comedy I Love You Phillip Morris and the delightful Crazy, Stupid Love, mostly leaves comedy behind in favor of a muddled … romantic dramedy thriller? Regardless of the film’s lack of foc … cohesion, it is definitely a fun ride, at least for the first-half.

Read more »

Out in Theaters: Matthew Warchus’s Pride is the Most Enjoyable LGBT Film of the Year

pride movie gay

While many of us were gaga over Meryl Streep’s performance of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, that film did little to shine a critical light on the real-life Maggie. Her conservative clutches kept much of Great Britain in a state of crisis for years, something that came to a head during the U.K. miners strike of 1984 and 1985. For almost an entire year, hard-working British miners held strong with their union as they went on strike to protest the closing of twenty coal mines—and the doubling of the U.K.’s unemployment rate.

What’s so gay about that, you ask? Keep reading …

Read more »

Jack Ryan: Rebooted


Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Philadelphia showtimes

Armed with an unflappable understanding of justice and a haircut you can set your watch to, Jack Ryan was already a movie hero the second the late Tom Clancy committed him to paper. Given its easy appeal, the successful Clancy-inspired film franchise, inactive since 2002’s The Sum of All Fears, has been overdue for a reup. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit takes very few risks with the patriot and the formula, but its action serves as an ass-kicking reprieve from all that awards-season indigestion.

Read more »

Anchorman 2: Is It Possible to Have Too Much Ron Burgundy?


He’s reading local news in North Dakota. He’s interviewing Peyton Manning. He’s selling trucks. He’s sitting on a journalism panel at a (now slightly less) prestigious college. He’s…hosting a Canadian curling competition?! Dear God, Ron Burgundy is everywhere. I need to get some air. Wonder what the weather’s like outside…

Read more »

10 Must-See Films at the Philadelphia Film Festival

Let The Fire Burn

Let The Fire Burn

I know I wasn’t the only cinephile disappointed that the Philadelphia Film Festival didn’t make IndieWire’s inaugural list of the 50 leading film festivals back in 2010. They haven’t released a new installment of the list since then, so you’d have to imagine that the PFF – under the stalwart leadership of executive director J. Andrew Greenblatt and artistic director Michael Lerman, who took the reigns back in 2008 – would most definitely make the cut now. Especially with the wealth of films they’ve amassed for this year’s edition, which begins this Thursday and runs through October 27th, and promises some 90-plus features for our viewing consumption. Forthwith, one critic’s picks for some of the most anticipated, must-see entries over the next 10 days, in alphabetical order.

Read more »

The Best and Worst of 2013 Movies … So Far

It has been a disastrous summer for movies. Compared to last year, box office was down over 17 percent. (Much of this has been attributed to woefully under-performing clunkers The Lone Ranger, White House Down and After Earth.) But even of those films that did make money, few were actually any good. Instead, you had to go to a small theater to see most of the quality movies, like: The Way, Way Back, Fruitvale Station, Frances Ha, Before Midnight and Much Ado About Nothing. So here are my picks for the best and worst of 2013 …  so far.
Read more »

13 Life Lessons from The Conjuring

The Conjuring — opening today — is based on the “true” story of two families: the Perrons who are being terrorized by the evil spirits in their new country house, and the Warrens, paranormal experts that the Perrons turned to for help. With great acting (especially Vera Farmiga as the clairvoyant Lorraine Warren), homages to class horror movies, and old-fashioned, door-slamming scares, Conjuring is one of the most enjoyable horror movies to be released in a long time. [My grade: B+]

Read more »

« Older Posts