Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

The law of diminishing returns strikes big-time in Avengers: Age of Ultron, an overstuffed mess of one-note characters, gaudy, incomprehensible CGI, and really, really bad one-liners. It’s so unexpected that you almost forget how fresh The Avengers was three short years ago, and what a welcome reprieve it was from the… Continue reading

McFarland USA (2015)

McFarland, USA (2015)

McFarland USA is that steady, dependable inspirational sports film that Disney churns out and releases at will. The formula is practically as old as the medium itself, but director Niki Caro and her team have crafted a touching human story that supersedes the visually uninteresting sport at the heart of the… Continue reading

Into the Woods (2014)

Into the Woods (2014)

Into the Woods is eighty minutes of energy and joy followed by forty more of tiresome, by-the-numbers visual effects. The drop-off in quality is notable. It’s a shame, as the first two-thirds are filled with crowd-pleasing tunes, beautiful set designs, and a playfulness that jumps off the screen. All 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

Need for Speed (2014)

Need for Speed (2014)

It’s really amazing that it’s taken this long for Need for Speed, a popular and never-ending video game series, to get the big-screen treatment. On the heels of the mega-popular The Fast and the Furious and its sequels, there is a built-in audience for this kind of vehicular anarchy. And… Continue reading

Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

Spoiler alert: Mary Poppins gets made. But it’s the long and frustrating journey to reach the final product that is the subject of Saving Mr. Banks, a refreshingly insightful look into the mind of the troubled author who wrote the book. This could have easily been two hours of Disney… Continue reading

Frozen (2013)

Frozen (2013)

Frozen contains all of the timeless ingredients of Disney’s wildly successful past: royalty, magical powers, familial drama, and visual splendor. All of these elements feel familiar, but Frozen puts enough energy and witty spin on them to create something new and memorable. It won’t get any bonus points for breaking… Continue reading

Cars 2 (2011)

Cars 2 (2011)

Look no further than the Toy Story short and the extended The Lion King re-release trailer that precede Cars 2 for reasons why this latest Pixar film just doesn’t cut it. The former two films have true character development, well-written, well-told stories, and spectacular animation. Cars 2 only has the… Continue reading