BOFCA REVIEW ROUNDUP: 5/31

After EarthAFTER EARTH

“If nothing else, let’s all congratulate STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS on no longer being the dumbest big budget sci-fi movie to come out this summer. AFTER EARTH sucks in a somewhat perversely fascinating way, but it’s deadeningly boring to watch.” – Bob Chipman, The Escapist

“Give Will Smith additional credit for being a loyal and supportive father. And now he needs to do the right thing and tell the young boy that he ought to buckle down in his studies and be prepared to go into another line of work.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, North Shore Movies

“There were moments where I flung my hands out and asked: ‘Why is this happening? Why am I watching this?’ Has this guy ever been to Film School? Because that was horrible.” – Monica Castillo, Cinema Fix

“Smith said, ‘I’m a student of patterns.’ Shyamalan made a movie about crop patterns. And finally, they’re both in a holding pattern of making shit movies, so it should be no surprise they combined their talents for AFTER EARTH.” – David Reidel, C-Ville Weekly

 

NOW YOU SEE MENow You See Me

“The talented cast keeps the pace jaunty enough, though Letterier tends to rely too much on sweeping camera zooms and pans, darting the lens around the proceedings as if he’s directing a prime time game show.” – Tim Estiloz, Boston Movie Examiner

“As satisfying and engrossing as a carefully orchestrated magic trick. You look left and they go right. This magnificent illusion kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.” – Evan Crean, Starpulse

 

BOFCA REPERTORY PODCAST #1

Ladies 2

In continuing our efforts to provide Boston with diverse viewpoints on our local cinema scene, we at the Boston Online Film Critics Association are launching a monthly podcast focusing on our city’s repertory programming. We’re looking on both sides of the river for the classic, foreign, and cult films that get us excited to go to the movies on our free time.

Stay tuned! There’s much more to come in the next few weeks.

This Month’s Episode:
Critics Monica Castillo, Evan Crean, and Steve Head discuss films coming to the Coolidge @fter Midnite series including THE BLOB (1988), THE FACULTY, and this past weekend’s pick, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE FABULOUS STAINS. They also looked over the Brattle Theatre’s Reunion Weekend picks including THEY LIVE! and THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD as well as their upcoming Tarantino retrospective. On the last leg of the tour, they look at the two new series at the Somerville Theatre: the Silents Please! slate of films and the Cinema Slumber Party list of midnight movies.

 

 

BOFCA REVIEW ROUNDUP: 5/24

FAST & FURIOUS 6Fast & Furious 6

“An action junkie’s encyclopedia. It doesn’t just cement the FAST movies into position as the most gloriously big-and-dumb in Hollywood’s menagerie of big-and-dumb franchises; it then drives a car through the cement.” – Jake Mulligan, EDGE Boston

“It’s spectacular. Stripped down to a knowingly comical bare-bones throughline, the film is a delivery system for high-octane chase scenes and bare-knuckle brawls. What a silly picture, and yet so wonderfully enjoyable.” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

I can’t believe how much fun I had watching FAST & FURIOUS 6. It reaches such heights of absurdity and stupidity that I kind of admire its willingness to be nothing more or less than a big, brashy, loud, dumb action flick.” - David Riedel, Santa Fe Reporter

“This is the first film in the series I found as enjoyable to actually watch as I did to snark at afterwards. A phenomenal action film, providing you can groove on its ‘maybe-we-know-how-dumb-this is’ wavelength.” – Bob Chipman, The Escapist

“Note for those of a scientific bent: the laws of physics are suspended for this movie just as they are in Road Runner cartoons. If you like high speed chases, fight scenes and explosions, FAST & FURIOUS 6 delivers.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, North Shore Movies

 

THE HANGOVER PART IIIThe Hangover Part III

“We’re supposed to be rooting for characters who are self-absorbed and arrogant, then laugh at what they do to their friends and family. This is about humiliating decent people who make the mistake of caring for others.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, North Shore Movies

“A singularly joyless experience, soaked in so much anger and desperation that the movie almost becomes interesting in spite of itself. Nobody wants to be here.” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

“Is THE HANGOVER PART III really good, or just so much better than PART II that it seems good? How’s that for an endorsement? The second film is so bad, the third is better by default.” - David Riedel, Santa Fe Reporter

 

EPICEpic

“Though it takes a while to get going, it does turn into a charming film with several positive messages for kids, from female empowerment to protecting the environment.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, North Shore Movies

“An overcrowded hodgepodge of familiar tropes and Xeroxed bits from other, better films. It’s the kind of movie that even while watching it for the first time you could swear you’ve seen it before.” – Sean Burns, Metro

 

FRANCES HAFrances Ha

“Baumbach and Gerwig have done something wonderful, giving us a lead character at a crossroads without resorting to crazy plot twists or big ta-da moments.” – David Riedel, Santa Fe Reporter

“Obviously the work of a man giddy in love. Gerwig is at the center of nearly every shot. The camera adores her, probably because the director does, too.” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

 

WHAT MAISIE KNEW What Maisie Knew

“A children’s film in the purest sense possible — one in which the fledgling protagonist learns who really has her best interests in mind, and gains the strength to survive and thrive in the face of abandonment.” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

 

MIDNIGHT’S CHILDRENMidnight's Children

“For about an hour, this is all terribly amusing. But there’s nothing to hang onto here; most scenes last only two or three minutes, and events don’t accrue so much as they just pig-pile on top of one another.” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

“Rushdie, who wrote the screenplay, narrates. Why? A better question: Why would anyone want to see this convoluted, nonsensical tale, which lasts 140 minutes?” – David Riedel, Santa Fe Reporter

 

AT ANY PRICEAt Any Price

“Bahrani muddies the waters by including side conflicts involving infidelity, resentful business partners, and even manslaughter. The agonizingly slow pacing makes these disparate struggles completely uninteresting.” – Evan Crean, Starpulse

 

BOFCA REVIEW ROUNDUP: 5/17

Star Trek Into DarknessSTAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

“Open Letter To Paramount: The cowards and cretins in your publicity department have made a lot of critics angry, ensuring that whatever negative reviews the film gets will be even nastier than they might have been. Fire these idiots.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, North Shore Movies

“As glum and mechanical as its predecessor was buoyant. The muddiest-looking movie you’ll find in theaters right now, this sorry sequel feels rote and hopelessly derivative, timidly going where we all have already been before.” – Sean Burns, Metro

“It’s reckless fan service. No more, no less. The film goes out of its way to undermine its own stakes and drama at every opportunity by turning incidents into mild inconveniences. Nothing bad that happens here matters.” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

“A big handful of clunky, messy nothing. It’s a sloppy, poorly constructed sequel with no clear sense of identity or direction, relying too often on references and callbacks to a series legacy it neither respects nor understands.” – Bob Chipman, The Escapist

“J.J. Abrams needs to confront his addiction to fake zooms, lens flares and shaky cam. The second installation of this rebooted franchise delivered half the suspense of the first one and almost forgot its bad guy for half an hour.” – Monica Castillo, Dig Boston

 

STORIES WE TELLStories We Tell

“There’s nary a dull moment nor a dry eye throughout the film. It’s a creative and emotional effort, quite a collaborative feat. I wanted to tell Sarah Polley that it’s okay to share stories. That’s what the movies are for.” – Monica Castillo, Dig Boston

“The subtext outweighs the text, dragging the whole thing down into conceptual gobbledygook and leaving it feeling less like a personal, needed-to-get-it-out-there document than a well-financed Grad School project.” – Jake Mulligan, EDGE Boston

“Yes, the subject matter is generally self-involved, but Polley’s curiosity, investigation and filmmaking technique add a layer of complexity that’s worth attention. She treats reality—her dad’s, her mom’s, her own—in fascinating ways.” – Norm Schrager, Meet In The Lobby

“The film stops dead in its tracks so every on-camera participant can muse, at not inconsiderable length, about what exactly they are trying to say here. Polley goes from directing a movie to defending her dissertation.” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

“There’s affection for each of the people on screen no matter what their version of the tale. It’s too bad we can’t hear Diane’s take on things in her own words. Some mysteries can’t be solved.” – David Riedel, Santa Fe Reporter

“Polley ends up exploring universal truths in her bid to understand her background and origins. In watching her explore these areas of her life, we may come to strong, cathartic realizations about our own.” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

 

LOVE IS ALL YOU NEEDLove Is All You Need

“The movie plods along enjoyably for 110 minutes. You kill time, staring at the vistas, waiting for the conclusion you always know is coming. It’s a nice vacation, but not one I’d want to pay $12 to take.” – Jake Mulligan, EDGE Boston

 

THE ICEMANThe Iceman

“The result is an ugly muddle, burying an absurdly overqualified cast beneath phony handlebar moustaches and the umpteenth iterations of New Jersey goombah stereotypes.” – Sean Burns, Metro

 

SIGHTSEERSSightseers

“I think we’ve just gotten to the point in cinema where violent head-bashings set to ironic songs are all that a certain crowd needs from their movies. They’ll get their money’s worth here.” – Jake Mulligan, Rushmore Kite Flying Society

“The actual acts of murder are extremely horrifying and disgusting. Not only do you see too much of the graphic gore, but there are loud gut-wrenching sound effects like cracking and crunching, which ruin the satirical tone of the movie.” – Evan Crean, Starpulse

 

BOFCA REVIEW ROUNDUP: 5/10

THE GREAT GATSBYThe Great Gatsby

“A tacky, cluttered, 3-D muddle in which Leonardo DiCaprio happens to be amazing. Words fly from the typewriter in large blocks of text that sail into the audience because this is a literary adaptation, after all. Might as well have words shooting out of the screen at your head.” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

“Hey, when you’ve created such luscious, CGI-inspired landscapes, why dolly a camera when you can swoop it in from a half-mile away at record speeds? Sometimes, even the purposefully overdone can feel too overdone.” – Norm Schrager, Meet In The Lobby

“I spent a tad more than two and a half hours utterly in love with this movie. The cast brings a powerful human charge here that matches Luhrmann’s technical acrobatics; not even the occasional clunking line of dialogue detracts.” – Kilian Melloy, EDGE Boston

“In 3D. Just like F. Scott Fitzgerald intended, right? The movie is no masterpiece, but it’s not the train wreck it might have been. One wishes Baz Luhrmann had pursued a career as an art director rather than as a filmmaker.” – Daniel M. Kimmel, North Shore Movies

“If you want the Fitzgerald experience, stick to his original words. If you want the experience of being slapped in the face with a leather-bound edition of the book, watch this movie. It’s Cliff Notes-level stuff.” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

“Less like an adaptation than the next generation of books-on-tape, where we absorb the story aurally. But hey, it comes with some pretty if utterly redundant illustrations if you want to something to look at.” – Inkoo Kang, Screen Junkies

“If gaudy anachronism was a crime, Baz Luhrmann would be doing serious time for THE GREAT GATSBY. He literally beats you over the head with every metaphor in the film, especially the green light.” – Evan Crean, Starpulse

“It’s silly, and yet another Baz Lurhmann exercise in artifice for the sake of artifice. But whatever else may be wrong with the film, Leonardo DiCaprio is absolutely magnificent in the title role. ” – Bob Chipman, The Escapist

“If Michael Bay had joined the theater club in high school, he would have ended up as Baz Luhrmann. Apparently the only parts of the book that Luhrmann even read were the first twenty pages and the last ten.” – Kristofer Jenson, Dig Boston

 

Something In The AirSOMETHING IN THE AIR

“Assayas’ best pictures are as elusive as they are carnally pleasing, like pop songs you listen to over and over again without ever understanding why. SOMETHING IN THE AIR is one of those films.” – Jake Mulligan, EDGE Boston

“Director Olivier Assayas looks at this tumultuous time with a sense of understanding and empathy. Viewers are supposed to enjoy this ambitious anarchy just as much as the group of friends do.” – Monica Castillo, Paste Magazine

“A film about fading out, about how youthful passions dissolve. The day-to-day business of living so often saps us of our resolve, and even the most ardent convictions wither away over time.” – Sean Burns, The Improper Bostonian

 

THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALISTThe Reluctant Fundamentalist

“Comments on a plethora of national and global issues, from terrorism to economics to business practices to the erosion of traditional culture and lore. The film’s many aspects don’t all work equally well.” – Kilian Melloy, EDGE Boston

The movie is a thriller. Or it’s trying to be, unsuccessfully. In a production this well-mounted, there are distractions from the malaise that sets in when you can see the plotting coming from a mile away.” - David Riedel, Santa Fe Reporter

 

AFTERSHOCKAftershock

“Is it about Americans being menaced in a foreign land, or is it about how much mankind lives at the whim of shifting tectonic plates? Either way, it’s not particularly good, so it probably doesn’t matter.” – Andrew Crump, Go See Talk

 

PEEPLESPeeples

“A far cry from Perry’s punitive churchiness, the film contains no violent tonal shifts, not a single morality lecture, and only one (rather ill-judged) moment in which a man dons women’s clothing. It’s just warm and funny.” – Sean Burns, Philadelphia Weekly

 

THE SOURCE FAMILYThe Source Family

“Your level of interest in this documentary will be directly related to how much you care about cults and dislike burned-out hippies. Fortunately, there’s great music.” – David Riedel, Sante Fe Reporter