BOFCA REVIEW ROUNDUP: 3/29

G.I. JOE: RETALIATIONGI Joe

“110 minutes worth of mindless gun porn, aimed squarely at the lowest common denominator. Trust me: this isn’t coming from some misplaced sense of knee-jerk liberal reaction. It’s coming from a viewer who is tired of having his intelligence insulted.” – Jake Mulligan, EDGE Boston

“The problem might be that the movie just isn’t silly enough, given its preposterous plot and roster of goofy-named characters. Cheap and flimsy, it looks and feels like a more CGI-heavy version of something Cannon Films or Golan & Globus might have made in the mid-eighties.” – Bob Chipman, The Escapist

“The nostalgia instead comes from the cheap 3D effects that feel like you’re looking through the lens of a Fisher Price ViewMaster.” – John Black, Boston Event Guide

 

StarbuckSTARBUCK

“The film steers clear of farce, opting instead for optimism. The result is a heartwarming little charmer that is best enjoyed with your story logic chip powered down and your hand firmly planted in that of your sweetheart’s.” - Kilian Melloy, EDGE Boston

“While STARBUCK has its share of lowbrow humor, the film is more about what makes a family after a child is born than the biological batter mixing that creates it in the first place.” - John Black, Boston Event Guide

“Well, hipster cynics, you can go one of two ways. Avoid the movie altogether, or give in to its bear-hug of an attitude that says yeah, really wonderful things can happen in a distrustful world.” - Norm Schrager, Meet In The Lobby


The HostTHE HOST

“An impressively novel, creative reworking of the alien invasion template filtered through Meyer’s by-now familiar fixations and rendered unintentionally hilarious by her unwieldy ‘Is she kidding?’ storytelling.” – Bob Chipman, The Escapist

“The vacuous Young Adult claptrap that made Meyer made millions in her TWILIGHT books eats away at your brain as the movie crawls to its ridiculous conclusion.” – John Black, Boston Event Guide 

“In the hands of GATTACA director Andrew Niccol, the result is occasionally challenging, dealing with both the science fiction elements and the teen angst at the heart of the story.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, North Shore Movies

 

The SapphiresTHE SAPPHIRES

“O’Dowd dominates; his co-stars’ quiet talents be damned. He mugs for the camera as if this were a talk show. If there’s been a more nakedly ingratiating performance in recent months, I haven’t seen it.” – Jake Mulligan, EDGE Boston

 

RealityREALITY

“It’s too straight-faced to be comedy, too divorced from reality to be a drama, too dry to be satire, too creepy and off-putting to function as general entertainment, and too well-crafted for me to write off as a mess.” – Jake Mulligan, EDGE Boston

 

 

BOFCA REVIEW ROUNDUP: 3/22

SPRING BREAKERSSpring Breakers

“As if Jean-Luc Godard directed a GIRLS GONE WILD video, here’s a film that wallows in everything toxic, empty and nihilistic about American youth culture, sumptuously scolding with a knowing guffaw. This is a movie that has its cake and then eats more cake.
” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

“A mash-up of B-movies, rap videos and soft-core pornography. A weird dream that Michael Mann might have had while on vacation in Florida after eating too much cheese. Harmony Korine has made his best film; a beguiling piece of pop-art and a true original. It’s a masterpiece of a genre that doesn’t exist yet.” – Jake Mulligan, EDGE Boston

“The cavorting we see is joyless and mindless, and Korine’s visual and aural aesthetics mount such a sensory assault that the film’s power lies in its ability to jolt and unnerve us. After a point, SPRING BREAKERS begins to feel like body horror instead of a party movie.” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

“A masterpiece of sleaze-as-art on par with genre classics like NATURAL BORN KILLERS or FREEWAY. One of the most important and vital works of the year; a rowdy, context-free walking tour of the Boschian hellscape lurking just outside the borders of your niece’s Instagram update.” – Bob Chipman, The Escapist

“Don’t let the sandy beaches and brightly colored bikinis fool you, Korine is not in the business of sloppy movie-making. Behind the film’s vacuous candy-colored outer shell are ambiguous and morally challenging concepts.” – Monica Castillo, Bitch Magazine

 

Admission2ADMISSION

“It’s sad because we know that Tina Fey and Paul Rudd can do better. What ADMISSION makes clear is they don’t care. So long as the check clears, they’re willing to go through the motions. This may be the worst romantic comedy since ALL ABOUT STEVE.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, North Shore Movies

“Nat Wolff displays a talent for getting into the skin of an offbeat character. It would be interesting to see what he could do in a better, gutsier movie. Then again, the same applies to Fey and Rudd.” – Kilian Melloy, Kal’s Movie Blog

“What exactly does ADMISSION exist to convey? That all parents screw up their child-rearing duties at one point or another? That the Ivy League system is nothing but a meritocratic sham? Or that middle-aged white people are the causes of their own discontent?” - Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

“The morphine-drip pacing of the scenes makes Fey’s dizzy self-deprecation look more like depressive floundering. Photographed in fifty shades of beige, ADMISSION is the blandest movie I’ve seen in months.” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

 

GINGER & ROSAGinger And Rosa

“Sally Potter delves into history and imagination to tease out vivid moments in the lives of two young women. But this is more than a coming-of-age movie, it’s also an indictment of how the world at large affects each new generation.” – Kilian Melloy, EDGE Boston

“The big takeaway appears to be that Elle Fanning is destined to be the next great actress of our time. The film may as well have been called simply GINGER, as it’s completely hers through and through.” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

“This is a fabulous film, vividly realized and anchored by a brilliant performance from young Elle Fanning, rendering the usual teen angst and disillusionment as something both deeply felt and oddly mysterious.” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

 

Olympus Has FallenOLYMPUS HAS FALLEN

“Everything Bruce Willis’ last DIE HARD film should have been, but wasn’t. Director Antoine Fuqua stages the improbable in such exciting fashion, you forget about the implausibility and get caught up in the thrilling bombast of it all.” – Tim Estiloz, Boston Movie Examiner

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN does not by any means constitute hard-hitting filmmaking, but damned if it doesn’t have that action movie je ne sais quoi that lets it straddle the line between trumped-up solemnity and goofy fun.” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

“The movie equivalent of the paperback thriller you bring to the beach or for a long plane trip. It grabs you from the start and then returns you to your seat two hours later. A great ride.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, North Shore Movies

“An entertaining action vehicle that’s exploding with patriotism and non-stop excitement. It may be based on a well-established formula, however the movie handles it well.” - Evan Crean, Reel Recon

 

The CroodsTHE CROODS

“The characters pretty much fall into prefabricated categories. But playing with, and within, stereotype gives the writers and the cast a certain creative latitude that offers occasional inspired surprises.” – Kilian Melloy, EDGE Boston

“Not a great movie, but it’s pretty good throughout: well-animated, good voice cast, and clever, if largely predictable. Almost by default she’s probably the most interestingly rendered female protagonist to hit animation in awhile.” – Bob Chipman, The Escapist

 

BurnBURN

“This well-traveled festival winner from Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez is expertly told and exceptionally executed; the highest quality entry in a recent spate of docs set amid the cautionary disaster story of Detroit.” – Norm Schrager, Meet In The Lobby

 

BOFCA REVIEW ROUNDUP: 3/15

LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVESans titre - 5

“Kiarostami’s is the cinema of ideas and subdued feelings, not of narrative propulsion and overt excitement. He teases your brain, forcing your hand as a participant rather than letting you sink back and accept everything as mere entertainment.” – Jake Mulligan, EDGE Boston

“I was enraptured by LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE, taken with a visual intelligence and thoughtfulness we seldom see onscreen. I could have watched it all day, until Kiarostami eventually realizes that he has to come up with an ending. ” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

 

The CallTHE CALL

“It’s amazing that this script could have been approved like this or that this cast would agree to it. Did they get some casting director angry at them or are these empty roles really the best they can find?” – Daniel M. Kimmel, North Shore Movies

“The crime here isn’t that Anderson made a bad movie, but that he made a solid one and gave up on it at the end, which is by far a bigger offense.” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

 

UPSIDE DOWNUpside Down

“You might feel yourself heating up with annoyance as the running time drags on and the absurdities pile higher by the minute. Indeed, there were moments when I thought I was about to levitate straight out of my chair with sheer aggravation.” – Kilian Melloy, Kal’s Movie Blog

“If you can play along, it’s a beautiful love story. If you can’t, even the best special effects won’t save it.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, SciFi Movie Hype

 

The Incredible Burt WonderstoneTHE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE

“This is a painfully unfunny movie, in large part because we’ve seen this kind of disingenuous nonsense forced out of Carell before. He’s just doing what he’s famous for without deriving an ounce of joy from it.” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

“It’s too insubstantial and unassuming to get that worked up about, but the whole thing still feels like a miss.” – Bob Chipman, The Escapist

“Burt Wonderstone isn’t the most outrageous or depressing sad sack character we’ve seen Steve Carell play to date, but he is certainly the most arrogant. Carell’s ridiculous buffoon act is starting to become a bit tired, though.” – Evan Crean, Starpulse

“Like good magicians, the filmmakers get us to believe that anything is possible in this world, even a comedy that doesn’t insult our intelligence.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, North Shore Movies

 

Charles SwanA GLIMPSE INSIDE THE MIND OF CHARLES SWAN III

“I’m not sure if Coppola intended the film as an allegorical account of the last two years of Sheen’s life, as an attempt at image rehabilitation, or a grotesque novelty gag at his star’s expense. Then again, I’m not really sure that it matters.” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

 

West Of MemphisWEST OF MEMPHIS

“The case is more intriguing than the film about it, which panders to middlebrow tastes with pedestrian metaphors and pat philosophical statements.” – Jake Mulligan, The Boston Phoenix

 

BOFCA REVIEW ROUNDUP: 03/08

Oz The Great And PowerfulOZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

“The actresses are just so damn good that you can’t help but notice how flat Franco’s performance really is. The script may call for him to be the center of attention, but it’s impossible to focus on what Oz is doing once the three sisters start heating things up on screen.” – John Black, Boston Event Guide

“A visual screen delight; a thoroughly enjoyable and thrilling adventure for both adults who love the classic Oz stories; as well as for the kids new to the wondrous land that exists over the rainbow.” – Tim Estiloz, Boston Movie Examiner

“A blast. A great family film, a worthy successor and reverent homage to a classic, and the return of one of the great modern American filmmakers. Unreservedly recommended.” – Bob Chipman, The Escapist

“There is a lot to like here. Visually the film is a feast. This may be the first family-friendly acid flashback. There are sequences where you’re just overwhelmed.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, North Shore Movies

 

NoNO

“As with LINCOLN, this is a movie about pragmatism, and sometimes you have to sacrifice your ideals and fudge the rules a bit for the greater good, because the people casting votes are generally stupid.” – Sean Burns, The Improper Bostonian

“There’s a great scene in TAXI DRIVER where Cybill Shepherd says that selling a political candidate is like selling mouthwash. Here’s a movie about a man who realizes that.” – Jake Mulligan, The Boston Phoenix

 

DEAD MAN DOWNDead Man Down

“Sometimes international filmmakers come to America and bring their style along with them. Some adapt to the Hollywood house style. But this movie’s so bad, and so clichéd, that I can’t help but ask if Oplev filmed it as satire.” – Jake Mulligan, EDGE Boston

“It’s probably a good thing that Danish filmmaker Niels Arden Oplev isn’t that good of a craftsman to begin with. Nobody will decry his fall from artiste status because he never attained it in the first place.” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

 

YOSSIYOSSI

“Fox hardly breaks new ground — this is a standard bildungsroman. But he lights the scenes well, frames shots competently, and moves things along at an enjoyable pace. Maybe with another 10 years, he’ll develop a voice.” – Jake Mulligan, The Boston Phoenix

“Fox seems to understand that the joys and tears of looking for love are not unique to gay Israeli men, and is able to present his protagonists so that viewers can relate to the emotional conflicts regardless of one’s orientation.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, The Jewish Advocate

 

EMPEROREmperor

“Just like Bruce Willis in a super-cheap 50 Cent movie, pretty much all of Tommy Lee Jones’ scenes take place on the same set; and they add up to about a combined ten minutes. His name may be on the top of the poster, but I doubt he was shooting for more than three days.” – Jake Mulligan, EDGE Boston

“Alas, instead of putting Jones front and center, the film demotes him to a supporting role and weaves a threadbare fiction involving MacArthur’s real-life second-in-command. The real criminals are the screenwriters, who distract with a dopey, doomed romance.” – Brett Michel, The Boston Phoenix

“The big problem is the casting of Matthew Fox as General Fellers. He looks completely out of place in a general’s uniform – it’s almost shocking to hear other characters refer to him as general because he looks like such a boy scout.” – John Black, Boston Event Guide

“Director Peter Webber turns this pivotal moment in world history into a poorly told melodrama. This is a complex story and compelling historic fact watered down to Little Golden Book simplicity and flavored with the saccharine of a Harlequin romance novel.” – Tim Estiloz, Boston Movie Examiner

 

Greedy Lying BastatrdsGREEDY LYING BASTARDS

“Not just another environmental movie about how we’re killing our planet and ourselves, Craig Scott Rosebraugh’s documentary focuses on the political manipulation of the debate, both nationally and around the world.” - Monica Castillo, The Boston Phoenix

An ideological affirmation. Provocative and inciting, the film very much preaches to the choir. On the other hand, Rosebraugh probably won’t change any minds, at least not while he’s so busy being sarcastic and self-righteous.” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

 

LORELore

“Cate Shortland’s second feature is raw, disorienting and never bothers to tell you what it can instead show. The grit and squalor of the filmmaking push the survivalist angle into strictly visceral territory.” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

 

BOFCA REVIEW ROUNDUP: 3/01

JACK THE GIANT SLAYERJack The Giant Slayer

“Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a farm boy dreams of adventure, finds it, and falls in love with a princess along the way. For everyone’s sake, let’s just hope she’s not his sister.” – Brett Michel, The Boston Phoenix

“This is filmmaking by committee — one of those unwieldy studio tentpoles where there’s so much money on the line, every executive gives notes and nobody’s making the same movie, so you end up with a bizarre mishmash of conflicting tones.” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

“Surprisingly, while not a perfect film in many ways, JACK THE GIANT SLAYER has enough excitement and visual thrills going for it to make it a palatable little diversion.” – Tim Estlioz, Boston Movie Examiner

“It’s the epitome of a mixed bag, or it would be if any of its numerous facets worked on their own. As it stands the whole bushel is so rotten that the incongruities barely matter. This is what a movie looks like when nobody involved gives a damn.” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

“While it’s PG-13, we see people stabbed, plummet to their deaths, get smashed against walls, and even eaten or stepped upon by giants. Do not bring the little ones unless you plan on paying their therapy bills for many years to come.” – Daniel Kimmel, North Shore Movies

“Hey guys, this movie is terrible. It was supposed to come out late last year but got delayed, probably because it sucks. Go see something else.” – Bob Chipman, The Escapist

“It’s hard to tell which is more distracting in JACK THE GIANT SLAYER, the cheaply animated giants or the cheap haircut worn by Ewan McGregor. Since they are on screen longer, it’s probably the giants…but only by a hair.” – John Black, Boston Event Guide

 

A Place At The TableA PLACE AT THE TABLE

“Although sometimes slightly hidebound by  formula, it’s essential viewing nonetheless. Attacking the rather unsexy and woefully under-reported topic of hunger in America, this is an informative and often infuriating picture.
” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

“Directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush cover a lot of ground in their heartbreaking documentary examining the hunger experienced by nearly 50 million Americans. But at less than 90 minutes, it feels a bit overstuffed.” – Brett Michel, The Boston Phoenix

“So, is this a painful, heartbreaking depiction of a problem that need not exist? Yes. But is A PLACE AT THE TABLE, on a stylistic level, any different from the average episode of TEEN MOM? Not really. Ask yourself: do you go to the movies for essays, or for stories?.” – Jake Mulligan, EDGE Boston

 

THE SWEENEYThe Sweeney

“THE SWEENEY was originally a 1970s TV show, but with the archetypal characters, the rote plot, and the nondescript gunfights, it feels more like an adaptation of a video game. Even with its superhero influence and foreign setting, this is the same old shtick.” – Jake Mulligan, The Boston Phoenix

“Heck, it’s worth the price of a ticket just to watch what Winstone – one of the best actors working in film for the past few decades – can do with a part that, in lesser hands, might have come off as a bit too cliché. He nails the tough guy banter, and he’s absolutely charming when it comes too being father/protector to his squad.” – John Black, Boston Event Guide

“Giving credit where it’s due, he peppers THE SWEENEY with enough humor, machismo, and energy to make the effort worthwhile, but it’s difficult not to imagine what this film could have been in the hands of someone capable of putting their own stamp on it..” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

 

PhantomPHANTOM

“There must be a checklist that filmmakers are issued when they make movies set in submarines. It would all be very suspenseful but for the fact that these same bits are in every other submarine movie ever made.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, North Shore Movies

“Simultaneously bizarre and banal. The crass Americanization invalidates the detail; the silly melodrama invalidates the realism of the script; and a climactic spiritualist conceit leaves it all feeling like self-parody.” – Jake Mulligan, The Boston Phoenix

“It has the look and feel of a WWII movie from the late 50s or early 60s, the kind of movie that would have starred Burt Lancaster or Kirk Douglas. The kind of solid, unpretentious war movie you’d catch on cable some rainy afternoon and think, when it was over, they sure don’t make movies like that anymore.” – John Black, Boston Event Guide

 

STOKERStoker

“What’s great about this film is the texture of it. Every frame of this film is fascinating to look at, and the startling cold-bloodedness is truly fucked up. I think if you have the patience to stick with it, it’ll really impress you.” – Steve Head, The Post-Movie Podcast

“It’s exhilarating while it lasts, but then the script catches up with him. Characters stand around for the majority of the third act and explain their back stories, which manages to simultaneously kill both the ambiguity at the center of Chan-Wook’s approach and all the momentum he has built up.” – Jake Mulligan, Charleston City Paper

“The director does a masterful job of pacing the story, balancing moments of unnerving terror with images that are as beautiful as they are haunting. You can almost feel the film sucking you in until the rational part of you, the part that keeps saying it’s only a movie, is snuffed out completely.” – John Black, Boston Event Guide

 

21 AND OVER21 And Over

“A 14-year-old’s dream of what being a college senior is like: which is to say it’s simultaneously overwrought and utterly lacking in imagination or knowledge.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, North Shore Movies

“Jeff spends the remainder of the film dead drunk, in an extended lift from WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S. But before passing out, he stands atop a bar, drops trou, and pisses all over the patrons. I know how they feel.” – Brett Michel, The Boston Phoenix

 

The GatekeepersTHE GATEKEEPERS

“American Jews see Israel through rose-tinted glasses, while the country struggles against darker forces from within. That’s a prevalent undercurrent in his provocative, powerful film.” – Kilian Melloy, EDGE Boston

 

The Last ExorcismTHE LAST EXORCISM PART II

“You probably thought you’d never miss the found-footage gimmick, but now that the shaky-cam nonsense has been left behind, what remains are textureless, overlit, sub-TV-quality visuals.” – Brett Michel, The Boston Phoenix