Movie Review

Veteran movie reviewer Jim Erickson shares his no-holds-barred opinions on Hollywood's best efforts. Tune in every Thursday for the latest review.

The Other Woman is a revenge comedy for women, who will probably enjoy it a good deal more than men-- for one thing, because they will probably see Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as more of a villain than men will and more deserving of what happens at the end, which is a little out of tone with most of what has gone before and descends into terrible taste, though the audience kept laughing. And The Other Woman is mostly about sex, but the ending is mostly about money.

Bears is a much more straightforward nature movie than you might expect. The story of a pair of brown bear cubs and their mother through their first year together, it doesn't try to escape the inevitable cuteness of bear cubs, but except for that, it does not present the life in nature as being cute at all.

Draft Day is made for people who know about the National Football League's draft system and care who gets to play for the Cleveland Browns. People like me, who can't even follow the scene in which Kevin Costner and Denis Leary and a lot of others look at clips of Chadwick Boseman and Josh Pence at play at then analyze what they do, were far from the concerns of director Ivan Reitman or anybody else, and should perhaps just let other people do the reviews.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is the first movie I've called a masterpiece while admitting I didn't even keep track of whether the story made sense.

The reason is that I was fascinated by the visual motif that contributed so much to the storybook effect that it shared with writer-director Wes Anderson's previous Moonrise Kingdom, which used the same technique to a lesser degree, but to much the same effect.

Since the irreverent treatment of Noah has been a tradition in theater since the medieval mystery plays, there is nothing particularly new about the free adaptation of Noah's story in the new movie, Noah.

What is new, and the best thing in the movie, is Industrial Light and Magic's presentation of what I call the "Rock People," gigantic monsters apparently made of volcanic rock with fire glowing inside. They are surprisingly sympathetic, to the point that I wondered why they weren't granted room in the ark.

Gloria is a movie from Chile and you have to read subtitles, which marks the end of interest for many moviegoers. But just in case you're the exception, I will continue.

Like all reviewers, I am sometimes required to go to movies that are not my type and which I am not likely to do justice to. In the case of Need For Speed, for example, a friend told me I should have known that cars that are swerving on the straightaway, skidding on the corners and sometimes spinning around, are being very skillfully driven at speeds in excess of 100 mph.

I thought Need For Speed was simply one of those usual Hollywood hymns to reckless driving.

The current word is that Hayao Miyazaki, the greatest and perhaps the last of the movies' hand-drawn-feature animators, is going to retire after his latest releast, The Wind Rises. And while I am always skeptical about show business retirements, I would like to report that the maker of Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away, and so many other animated masterworks, was going out in a blaze of glory.

But The Wind Rises isn't nearly up to his top standard.

The first thing to realize about Stalingrad is that it is not the story of the World War II battle that many cite as the beginning of the end for Hitler's Germany. It is the story of a little group of Russians who are defending the city and a little group of Germans who are about to attack it, both of which groups include a woman-- one who is trapped with the Russians and one who is captured by the Germans. And Stalingrad is as much the story of the women as the story of the men.

The final half hour or so of Pompeii should satisfy everybody-- it even satisfied me.