Movie Review

Prisoners starts out as a pretty realistic story about youngsters who go missing, morphs into a story of how people react to terrible loss and lust for vengeance-- almost an anti-vigilante story-- and ends up as a fairly standard mystery with a lot of twists and turns.

And, and is common these days, it's less a trail of clues to be unraveled to a logical solution than a story of dogged pursuit of possible suspects, until almost by accident the truth comes out.

The Family seems to want to be a comedy, but its supposedly sympathetic protagonists react to even the slightest discontents with excessive violence.

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Closed Circuit is another of those mystery thrillers in which everybody is keeping secrets from everybody else, to the extent that defense attorneys Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall are not allowed to communicate with each other, and their defendant won't speak to them.

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The Spectacular Now was written by the screenwriters of 500 Days of Summer, and director James Pensoldt apparently respected their efforts, because The Spectacular Now is very nearly as great as 500 Days of Summer-- maybe just as great, because what it lacks in not having Zooey Deschanel it gains in having Shailene Woodley, whose final close-up does with facial expression more than I can imagine any other current performer doing.

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I have been maligning Lee Daniels' The Butler as a movie without a central storyline, but my powers of prophecy were weak: its story is the whole civil rights movement, from beginning lunch counters to South African apartheid and the Reagan administration.

Movie Review: Paranoia

Aug 22, 2013
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Paranoia wants to be serious about corporate misbehavior, but falls short because of uninvolving characters and a tendency to depart from realism in favor of melodramatic and sentimental cliches.

Movie Review: Elysium

Aug 15, 2013
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Elysium makes a few gestures in the direction of serious interests and even current events.

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I hope this does not represent a trend, but for the second week in a row I must try to review a movie that has no plot whatsoever.

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SPOILER ALERT: I cannot review Fruitvale Station without giving away the ending, so if you’re planning to see it and don’t want to know what happens, you might want to stop here.

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Pacific Rim qualifies as almost the ultimate special-effects sci-fi movie in that it involves almost no plot and includes almost nothing but robots and monsters the size of 25-story buildings. And it proves that you don’t need a plot to be illogical and inconsistent.

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