Blackhat (2015)

Blackhat (2015)

The ongoing struggle to make cyber crime an exciting time at the movies continues with Michael Mann’s Blackhat, a ridiculous, stone-faced mish-mash of genre stereotypes and endless exposition. We’ve come to expect much more from Mann, an accomplished director whose Heat (1995) remains one of the première crime films ever … Continue reading

A Most Violent Year (2014)

A Most Violent Year (2014)

You have to hand it to writer/director J.C. Chandor. He is immensely skilled at taking otherwise mundane topics (the stock market in Margin Call, a disastrous solo sailing adventure in All Is Lost, and the oh-so-glamorous heating oil industry here) and making tense dramas surrounding them. His films are all character-driven, … Continue reading

The Interview (2014)

The Interview (2014)

It would seem nearly impossible to discuss The Interview without addressing the bizarre circumstances leading up to its release. On December 17, 2014, Sony announced that the film would not be released in the wake of the Sony hack and subsequent 9/11-esque threats for violence issued by the hackers (believed … Continue reading

Unbroken (2014)

Unbroken (2014)

“If you can take it, you can make it.” Those were the words spoken by Louis Zamperini’s brother as he prepared to train as an Olympic runner in Unbroken. Little did he know that over the next few years those words would take on more meaning than ever. The film … Continue reading

American Sniper (2014)

American Sniper (2014)

American Sniper tells the story of Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in American military history. With 160 confirmed kills out of a probable 255, Kyle did four tours of duty in Iraq as part of SEAL Team 3. The film is a largely straight-forward look at his life. The … Continue reading

John Wick (2014)

John Wick (2014)

If ever you’ve thought that an action film didn’t have enough point blank head shots, look no further than John Wick. This is an absurdly violent, stylishly-executed revenge-action picture that delivers precisely what the genre promises. While at times repetitive, the film builds up plenty of goodwill with its lean, no-nonsense … Continue reading

Dracula Untold (2014)

Dracula Untold (2014)

The allure of the prequel, from the studio’s standpoint, makes a whole lot of sense. After all, something can always occur before something else and you can pretty much make up your own rules. Dracula Untold, the latest in the Dracula saga that has served Universal well for decades, is a … Continue reading

The Expendables 3 (2014)

The Expendables 3 (2014)

Expectations are usually set in concrete by the time the third entry of a franchise is reached, and The Expendables 3 is no exception. You know you’re in for a lot of action, cheesy one-liners, and the kind of plot that can be hung from a clothesline. On that level, … Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Bringing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the big screen has been one of the more interesting cinematic case studies of the past twenty-plus years. Whether live action, animation, or, in this case, motion-capture combined with live action, it’s pretty much impossible for the turtles not to be some combination of … Continue reading

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

The superhero genre has become so dark and self-serious, not to mention over-saturated, that it’s rapidly becoming a parody of itself. Guardians of the Galaxy seems aware of this and succeeds as a largely character and script-driven experience. Hardly any of the story is original, right down to the MacGuffin that … Continue reading