The Sucky New Peter Pan Reboot Oughta Fly Straight Into The Toilet 

1. It is difficult not to approach Pan with a deep, weary sigh. I am fortunate that people pay me to write about movies, and it’s something that no one should ever take for granted, particularly in this day (year? decade? quarter-century?) of media turmoil. Every assignment is a gift. One of the many, many reasons to…

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Steve Jobs May Be About The Apple Guru, But Aaron Sorkin Is The Real Star

The trick to enjoying an Aaron Sorkin project is to never take it as seriously as he does. The creator of The West Wing and The Newsroom and the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Social Network doesn’t write dialogue—he stages showy talk-fests that are meant to either show off how smart his characters are or how smart…

Get Your Ass Off Mars: The Martian Is A Thrilling, Crowd-Pleasing Science Problem

1. The Martian will make you feel better about America, about the goodness of your fellow man, about the limitless possibilities of human achievement. That it’s also rooted in hard science (or at least a movie’s version of hard science, which is close enough), that all its surprises and accomplishments are borne of…

The Walk Is A Cloying, Uneven Caper With An Absolutely Amazing Final Act

The feat that made Philippe Petit legendary—his tightrope walk between the two towers of the World Trade Center on August 7, 1974—was both brave and insane. What made 2008’s Man on Wire, the Oscar-winning documentary about his achievement, so striking was that despite full access to Petit and his cohorts, the film…

The Gambling Drama Mississippi Grind Will Break Your Heart

When their eyes first meet, there’s an immediate spark, or perhaps a shared recognition. Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) sells houses, but he’s not particularly good at it, mostly because he doesn’t care at all about his job, and only gets excited about the next time he can gamble. Curtis (Ryan Reynolds) is a little harder to…

The Idiotic Stonewall Is A Bigger Disaster Than Roland Emmerich's Actual Disaster Movies

1. Stonewall misses the point of the Stonewall riots in almost the exact same way that Pearl Harbor missed the point of Pearl Harbor. That’s not a comparison I make lightly. Pearl Harbor turned one of the most seminal moments in American history into the pretext for a lame story about two white schmucks fighting over…

Robert De Niro Redeems The Dopey Fantasy That Is The Intern

At a time when some romantic comedies are flexing an edgier, more smart-ass tone—They Came Together, Sleeping With Other People, even Trainwreck—perhaps it’s a refreshing palate-cleanser that Nancy Meyers movies continue to operate in their own storybook world. You know what to expect from the writer-director behind …

Everest Works Best When It Focuses On The Mountain, Not The Feeble Men On It

1. If nothing else, you should see Everest on as big a screen as possible. I was fortunate enough to see it in 3-D on a digital IMAX screen—not the same as the IMAX format, mind you, there’s a difference, but still, you know, big—and I’m glad I did. The most you can hope for from a movie about Mount Everest is that it…

The Visit Proves That M. Night Shyamalan Is Still Trying Way Too Hard

1. Man oh man, remember the Newsweek that dubbed M. Night Shyamalan “The Next Spielberg?” Has an entertainment-cover of a national newsmagazine ever aged worse? All right, maybe this one. But man, that Newsweek cover might have been the worst thing that ever happened to Shyamalan. The Sixth Sense was a surprise…

Richard Gere's Homelessness Drama Time Out Of Mind Will Hit You Hard

1. New York City is obviously the central setting of thousands of movies, and, being New York City, it’s adept at serving as whatever backdrop you want it to serve. It can connote romance or menace, limitless possibility or untold decadence, Candyland or the Hellmouth. But, as someone who lived there for 13 years, I…

Toronto Film Festival 2015: 10 Movies We Can’t Wait To See

The 40th Toronto Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday, represents both what’s great and what’s maddening about the fall movie season. With the summer blockbusters behind us, we can focus more on serious, ambitious dramas—though some of those might turn out to be lame awards bait or pretentious misfires. Below are…

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The Dystopian Love Triangle Z For Zachariah Proves That Hell Is Other People

One of the best things about Z for Zachariah, the new drama starring Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Chris Pine, is that even after seeing the movie twice, I still have no idea how I feel about any of its three protagonists. That’s by design. Based on Robert C. O’Brien’s 1974 sci-fi novel, the movie plays like a…

American Ultra Is A Sweet, Ultraviolent Stoner Love Story

1. There’s an undeniable kick in watching a reedy nerd unleash cinematic violence, particularly when he’s confused by it, separate from the act, almost observing it. I’ve always thought this was the initial, primal appeal of The Matrix, how Keanu Reeves was a weirdly dispassionate participant in his own fight scenes,…

Straight Outta Compton Celebrates The Day The Bad Guys Won

Director F. Gary Gray’s group-endorsed new N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton brings us back to a time when hip-hop didn’t yet dominate popular culture. Now that rap has long been at the forefront of pop music, it’s easy to forget that in the 1980s, the form wasn’t just new but also novel, an outsider’s music not yet…

You'll Forget About The Man From U.N.C.L.E. While You're Still Watching It

1. You need a pretty good reason to resuscitate The Man From U.N.C.L.E.—a ’60s television series that went off the air before Jay Z was born—and I’m afraid Guy Ritchie’s movie version doesn’t have one. Perfectly passable, generic, and inoffensive, it vanishes from your brain almost while you’re watching it. This is…

Meryl Streep Rocks Out: Ricki And The Flash Could've Been Worse

Ricki and the Flash could’ve easily been yet another broad, obvious dysfunctional-family comedy. It’s right there in the setup: A middle-aged woman who years ago abandoned her buttoned-down Midwestern husband and kids to be a rock ’n’ roll star must now make amends, setting up a feel-good redemption (with a side order…