Movie review Archive

Mr. Holmes

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August 14, 2015 Vic Thiessen

Rather than encouraging people not to waste their time watching this month’s big blockbuster (Rogue Nation, which is entertaining and well-made but also shallow and ultimately supportive of our insane and evil “intelligence” communities), I have decided to encourage people to watch a relatively obscure and underrated gem called Mr. Holmes. At its heart, Mr. Holmes is about an aging Sherlock beginning to question the value of the logic and chemistry that have ruled his mind and his life. Mr. Holmes opens with a scene in a train compartment where a young boy sitting opposite Holmes is observing what he calls a […]

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

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August 7, 2015 Jerry L. Holsopple

Take some witty dialogue from the 2007 movie Juno, mix with the movie-making madness of The Science of Sleep (2006), add teenage coming-of-age drama plus a diagnosis of cancer, and you have Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. A typical coming-of-age romance between an awkward adolescent boy and a cute young girl, but then we see the effects of chemo, and we quickly come back to reality. Greg Gaines, the Me of the title, describes the narrative early in the film as “this is a story of my senior year in high school and how it destroyed my life.” […]

Amy

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July 31, 2015 Gordon Houser

The British documentary Amy looks at the life and brief career of singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse. It shows the perils of celebrity and addiction, which in Winehouse’s case led to her death by alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011, at the age of 27. Her voice, even her honest, heartfelt lyrics, seem mature beyond her years. We get to witness her rise to fame and her thoughts about her art. Directed by Asif Kapadia, who also directed the fine documentary Senna, Amy uses raw footage taken by friends and family, such as a home movie of her at age 14 singing […]

Spy

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July 17, 2015 Michelle D. Sinclair

Another season, another spy-themed comedy, another opportunity to watch Hollywood exploit Melissa McCarthy’s weight and willingness to go to any lengths to portray the anti-leading lady. Those were my thoughts heading into Spy, the latest movie by McCarthy and director Paul Feig. In some ways, I was not far off the mark, but to my surprise I also enjoyed the movie. If only I could recommend it without reservations. Melissa McCarthy has powered a renaissance of female-driven comedies in Hollywood (is it a renaissance if it was never really there to begin with?) and for that alone, I ought to […]

Inside Out

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June 26, 2015 Matthew Kauffman Smith

When I reviewed Monsters University two years ago, I implied that Pixar, while always producing entertaining films, was in the middle of a creative rut. Cars 2, Brave, and Monsters University were decent movies, but they lacked the creative ambition, unique storytelling, and authentic emotion that helped to propel Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, and Toy Story 3 onto my year-end top movies lists from 2007 to 2010. The movie introduces characters that all kids know but may not have ever really talked or thought about: the emotions inside their heads. Part of the charm of WALL-E and Up was that they […]

Last Days in the Desert

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June 12, 2015 Vic Thiessen

I recently had the privilege of attending the first Movies and Meaning Film Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The festival was led by Gareth Higgins and Richard Rohr and featured a variety of profound films and inspiring talks. One of those profound films was a new Jesus film that is scheduled for a limited release in October (it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January). The film’s writer/director, Rodrigo Garcia, joined us for a long Q&A after the screening. Those who know the story of Jesus and are interested in exploring his wilderness encounter with the devil in a […]