Showing Tag: " period" (Show all posts)

REVIEW: Battle of the Sexes Pits Lobber Sugar Daddy Bobby Riggs Up Against Libber Women's Tennis Superstar Billie Jean King

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, September 30, 2017, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Battle of the Sexes

Directed By: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

Starring: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue, Austin Stowell, Eric Christian Olsen, and Andrea Riseborough
I've been away from STMR for quite a while now, and the reason has primarily been that I've had nothing to say.  It's nice to have been on the sidelines as the summer box office tanked and as the masses ignored their local cineplexes.  Quality wasn't there on the big screen...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: With the Persistent Love of An Ugly Woman, Martin Scorsese's Silence Is More Than A Formality of Faith for Two Padres in the Swamp of Japan

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, January 21, 2017, In : 0.00% Water 

Directed By: Martin Scorsese 

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Tadanobu Asano, Ciarán Hinds, and Liam Neeson

For just the second time in the 21st century, director Martin Scorsese has directed a live action film not starring his second muse Leonardo DiCaprio — his first being longtime collaborator Robert De Niro.  Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island, and Wolf of Wall Street all featured DiCaprio.  His latest feature Silence, however, follows in the foot...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: When NASA Faces A Go / No Go Decision for John Glenn & the Friendship 7, Hidden Figures Working As Colored Computers Save the Day

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, January 21, 2017, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Hidden Figures

Directed By: Theodore Melfi

Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, and Aldis Hodge

History is told by those who wield the pen or the mic.  What we often remember is what we're told to remember over and over again by those in a position to tell it.  This is particularly true when it comes to the contributions made by African-Americans that have been vital to the success of the United States.  From the free slave labor...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Taking the Crookeds With the Straights, Troy Maxson Builds Fences From Mr. Death & His Hell Hounds

Posted by James Brown on Friday, December 30, 2016, In : 0.00% Water 

Directed By: Denzel Washington

Starring: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson, and Saniyya Sidney

"You got to take the crookeds with the straights."
-Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington)

The statement above is especially true when it comes to Denzel Washington's acting career as of late.  For every Flight with which we're enamored, we have to deal with a slate of films such as Safe House, 2 Guns, and The Equalizer.  There ar...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Embracing the Vanity of Camelot, Jackie Gives a Beautiful Tour of White House History

Posted by James Brown on Monday, December 19, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

Directed By: Pablo Larraín

Starring: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, and John Hurt

"Don’t ever let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was Camelot.  There will be great presidents again, but there will never be another Camelot.
-Jackie Kennedy

I've been pretty political in many of my recent reviews.  With all that's happening just a dozen or so miles away from me downtown that's tearing the moral fabric of these Uni...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: In Hacksaw Ridge, The Lord Helps Conscientious Objector Desmond "Corn Stalk" Doss Get One More

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, November 13, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Hacksaw Ridge

Directed By: Mel Gibson

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths, and Vince Vaughn

"Lord, please help me get one more."
-Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield)

In my five years writing for STMR, there's one prominent filmmaker whose movies I've not had the chance to review — the one and only Mel Gibson.  There's a good reason for it.  The Passion of the Christ director has maintained a pretty low standing in the court of public ...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: If It Bleeds, It Leads in the Sensational Television First Christine

Posted by James Brown on Friday, November 4, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

Directed By: Antonio Campos

Starring: Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Maria Dizzia, J. Smith-Cameron, John Cullum, and Timothy Simons

I had the distinct pleasure of voting this past weekend.  As you can all probably guess, I'm voting to be able say Madam President by the time the next Commander-in-Chief is sworn into office in January.  I recognize that with all the chaos that is unfolding, there is a pretty large possibility that we could turn back the clock on the idea th...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Biblical Black Preacher Nat Turner Leads The Birth of a Nation on a Bloody Righteous Path

Posted by James Brown on Monday, October 10, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Birth of a Nation

Directed By: Nate Parker

Starring: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley, Penelope Ann Miller, and Gabrielle Union

With President Obama wrapping his historic tenure as the President of these United States and the recent unveiling of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, there are plenty of historic milestones around which I could open up this review.  With the enduring scars of racial injustices that are most prevalent in an ep...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: What The Magnificent Seven Loses in the Fire at Rose Creek, It Finds in the Ashes

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, September 25, 2016, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Magnificent Seven

Directed By: Antoine Fuqua

Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett, and Peter Sarsgaard

Remakes are the new sequels if the 2016 slate of films proves anything, and there have certainly been both hits and misses.  We went back to Peace Rock for the bare necessities of life in The Jungle Book.  We asked a new generation who you gonna call in the female-headlined Ghostbusters....

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: With Chocolate Ice Cream & Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing, Southside With You Is One Stark Reminder of the Good Times with the Obamas

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, August 27, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Southside With You

Directed By: Richard Tanne

Starring: Parker Sawyers, Tika Sumpter, and Vanessa Bell Calloway

2016 has been one wild election year.  One thing that has come of the political tumult is that Americans are reminded just how good we have it with our current Commander-in-Chief.  While Secretary Clinton tries to dance away from the perceptions of impropriety during her tenure at the State Department courtesy of the Clinton Foundation and Donald Trump talks about black people and flip...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Playing Carnegie Hall for True Music Lovers Despite Syphilis, Florence Foster Jenkins Sings Though She Can't Sing

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, August 21, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Florence Foster Jenkins

Directed By: Stephen Frears

Starring: Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg, Rebecca Ferguson, and Nina Arianda

Director Stephen Frears has chosen some interesting stories to tell over the years, and he's worked with some great leading ladies over the years.  He directed Helen Mirren in her triumphant portrayal of living royalty in The Queen.  He guided Dame Judi Dench in her journey as an elderly mother retracing her long lost son's steps in Philomena.  This year, he g...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Indignation Features Son of a Kosher Butcher & Atheist Marcus Messner Spurning Dean Caudwell & The Winesburg Chapel

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, August 13, 2016, In : 0.00% Water 

Directed By: James Schamus

Starring: Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon, Tracy Letts, Linda Emond, Danny Burstein, Ben Rosenfield, Pico Alexander, Philip Ettinger, and Noah Robbins

I'm really enjoying my return to independent film.  The timing couldn't have been better.  As the mainstream box office continues to largely disappoint, arthouse cinemas are here to pick up the pieces of aficionados' dashes hopes, as long as we're willing to indulge indie filmmakers' tendencies to experiment and di...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Tackling Enfield in The Conjuring 2, Ed & Lorraine Warren Face Off With the Crooked Man Bill Wilkins & Demon Valak

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, June 11, 2016, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Conjuring 2

Directed By: James Wan

Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Frances O'Connor, Madison Wolfe, Simon McBurney, Franka Potente, Benjamin Haigh, and Maria Doyle Kennedy

We all could use a good scare right about now.  After taking a break from the genre with the action spectacle Furious 7 last year, James Wan is back with the follow-up to his 2013 hit The Conjuring. As fate would have it, I've found one of the rare horror movies of 2016 I don't loathe.  I'm not putting The Conjurin...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: For Her Kentish Nightingale Frederica, Lady Susan Vernon Brings Love & Friendship to Churchill

Posted by James Brown on Tuesday, May 31, 2016, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Love & Friendship

Directed By: Whit Stillman

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Xavier Samuel, Emma Greenwell, Morfydd Clark, Jemma Redgrave, Tom Bennett, James Fleet, Justin Edwards, Jenn Murray, Stephen Fry, and Chloë Sevigny

There are such things as guilty pleasures at the box office.  They're like Donald Trump for his supporters still in the closet.  Just look to films such as Twilight, Step Up, and most horror movies.  Adaptations of Jane Austen novels appear to fit that bill as well.  Take Austen...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Despite Bird Protesters, Misty Mountains & Nixon's Angel of Death, The Nice Guys Will Be Happy

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, May 22, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Nice Guys

Directed By: Shane Black

Starring: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Keith David, and Kim Basinger

There are some folks in the industry who may not be widely known despite a well-documented history of commercial success.  Shane Black is most definitely one of these individuals.  He's the man who played a pivotal role in shaping mainstream action flicks into what they are today with his screenplays for Lethal Weapon and Lethal Weapon 2.  He's ...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: With Black Shoes & Duran Duran, Sing Street Lead Cosmo Solves The Happy Sad Riddle of the Model Raphina

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, April 24, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Sing Street

Directed By: John Carney

Starring: Lucy Boynton, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Aidan Gillen, Jack Reynor, Kelly Thornton, and Ferdia Walsh-Peelo

2016 has been a hard year for music aficionados of all genres.  We've lost a lot of legends this year.  The names are iconic to say the least.  David Bowie, Natalie Cole, Phife Dawg, Glenn Frey, Maurice White, and many others have transitioned to the next life in the last several months leaving legacies that will endure for years to come.  This weeke...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: From the Sound Machine to Dorm Room 307, Everybody Wants Some of Richard Linklater's Baseball F*ckwithery

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, April 2, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Everybody Wants Some!!

Directed By: Richard Linklater

Starring: Blake Jenner, Zoey Deutch, Will Brittain, Ryan Guzman, Tyler Hoechlin, Glen Powell, Wyatt Russell, and J. Quinton Johnson

It must be April Fool's Day because I really can't write this stuff.  Oscar-winning director of Birdman Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu starts a winning streak by rolling out The Revenant.  Meanwhile, his biggest competition (and last year's more deserving winner), Boyhood director Richard Linklater goes back to di...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: In the Kabubble of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Reporter and Kabul 9.5 Kim Baker Delivers Some Decent News at the Box Office

Posted by James Brown on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Directed By: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa

Starring: Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Alfred Molina, and Billy Bob Thornton

When I think of Tina Fey and live action movies over the last several years, I think of halfway decent comedies at best.  Sisters.  This Is Where I Leave You.  Admission.  The list goes on, but not necessarily in a good way.  I don't typically think of her when it comes to more dramatic fare, but she may have just found a good role that could pr...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Up Back Forward Down! With Bo Derek, Milk, & Broken Glasses in Blake's Biscuits, Eddie the Eagle Has Landed In His Moment

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, February 27, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Eddie the Eagle

Directed By: Dexter Fletcher

Starring: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Jim Broadbent, and Christopher Walken

"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well."
-Pierre de Coubertin

There's nothing better than a surprise treat at the box office.  I typically don't have too many of these, especially this time of year.  In the last three weeks, however, I've had three rather enjoyable cinematic ...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: The Witch Crackles With Old School Horror & One Dysfunctional Puritan Family

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, February 27, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Witch

Directed By: Robert Eggers

Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger, and Lucas Dawson

Having the benefit of having reviewed hundreds and hundreds of films, I generally can size up a film in its first fifteen minutes or so.  My ego lets me think I can do it in only five minutes sometimes.  In the case of Robert Eggers's The Witch, I thought I had it pegged after the first few moments.  I thought it was going to be a dry, fright-less affair. ...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: With Four Gold Medals, Jesse Owens Runs His Race Regardless of Jim Crow or the Third Reich

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, February 21, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

Directed By: Stephen Hopkins

Starring: Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Irons, Carice van Houten, Shanice Banton, and William Hurt

Simplicity can be elegance, especially when it comes to movie titles.  One-syllable titles are especially potent because they say everything and hardly anything at all.  Heat.  Ray.  Up.  These titles are short and sweet but convey so much.  There's no better example this weekend than the Jesse Owens biopic Race.  In the case of the period biographical pict...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Pride And Prejudice And Zombies – A Surprisingly Fun Mix Of Jane Austen and Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Monday, February 15, 2016, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Directed by:  Burr Steers

Starring: Lily James, Sam Riley, Charles Dance, Lena Headey, and Suki Waterhouse

A week ago, I was forced to review Fifty Shades of Black.  Right on the heels of viewing that debacle, I was assigned to review Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  I assumed that I was being punished by the movie gods for some unknown sin.  Perhaps I was too lenient on Magic Mike XXL?  Or maybe this was penance because I haven’t seen Bridge of S...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: An Upside Down Tree, Jane Got a Gun Doesn't Exactly Ride Up the Ridge to Victory

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, February 7, 2016, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Jane Got a Gun

Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

Starring: Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Noah Emmerich, Rodrigo Santoro, Boyd Holbrook, and Ewan McGregor

Making a movie trailer has to be a challenging art.  The men and women that make these trailers have to make a film worth moviegoers' time and money with just a brief two-minute snippet of the movie at hand.  They must convey the essence of the film without revealing too many key plot details.  They must make a film seem terrific even when it isn't...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: In The Finest Hours, Coast Guard Man Bernie Webber Does Everything to Get Over the Bar to the SS Pendleton for April 16th with Miriam

Posted by James Brown on Wednesday, February 3, 2016, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Finest Hours

Directed By: Craig Gillespie

Starring: Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Holliday Grainger, John Ortiz, and Eric Bana

The aftermath of Jonas is more of his old man winter plaguing us with bone-chilling cold this past week.  As I hit the movies, the weather served as a frosty reminder that I had been absent from the box office for a little while.  Fittingly, the first movie on deck for me was about being caught in the throes of a deadly winter storm.  Yes, I'm talking about ...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: A Tree with Strong Roots, The Revenant's Hugh Glass Learns That Revenge Is in God's Hands Not His

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, January 9, 2016, In : 0.00% Water 
The Revenant

Directed By: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, and Will Poulter

"As long as you can still grab a breath, you fight.  You breathe.  Keep breathing.  When there is a storm.  And you stand in front of a tree.  If you look at its branches, you swear it will fall.  But if you watch the trunk, you will see its stability."
-Hugh Glass's Wife (Grace Dove)

The reigning Oscar champ is back!  I may not have been rooting for Birdman throughout last ...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: With the Power of Soap Opera Character Danica & the Next Tom Jones, Joy Becomes Friends in Commerce With QVC Executive Neil Walker

Posted by James Brown on Monday, December 28, 2015, In : 0.09% Cocktails 

Directed By: David O. Russell

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Édgar Ramírez, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini, Dascha Polanco, and Bradley Cooper

Recurring actor-director collaborations happen fairly often.  We call the actors in these collaborations the directors' muses.  Alfred Hitchcock had James Stewart (and his blonds).  Martin Scorsese had Robert De Niro (and now Leonardo DiCaprio).  Steven Spielberg has Tom Hanks.  Quentin Tarantino has Samuel L. Jackson...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: The Danish Girl Entirely Her Violet Self, Lili / Einar Proves That Married People Are Easily Shocked

Posted by James Brown on Tuesday, December 22, 2015, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
The Danish Girl

Directed By: Tom Hooper

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ben Whishaw, Sebastian Koch, and Amber Heard

On paper, The Danish Girl has a winning formula.  We've got the filmmaker behind The King's Speech and Les Misérables directing Oscar winner and future Harry Potter torchbearer Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) and current Hollywood "it girl" Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, Testament of Youth, The Man ...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Hail Tyrant Macbeth, AKA Michael Fassbender in the Next Great Shakespeare Adaptation

Posted by James Brown on Monday, December 21, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

Directed By: Justin Kurzel

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Paddy Considine, Sean Harris, Jack Reynor, Elizabeth Debicki, and David Thewlis

Here we are again with yet another Shakespearean adaptation at the box office. The fun thing about reviewing these films is that the narrative hardly ever factors into my review.  It's all about the execution and the overarching creative vision driving each big screen take on the famed playwright’s theatrical works (if he wrote them)...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: In the Heart of the Sea Doesn't Steal Our Attention Like That White Whale Steals the Whaling Ship Essex

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, December 19, 2015, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
In the Heart of the Sea

Directed By: Ron Howard

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson, and Michelle Fairley

Twas the night before Star Wars, when all through the house
Not a viewer was stirring, not even a mouse.
The light sabers were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Luke soon would be there.

It's the quiet before the storm this weekend.  Yes, the force awakens next weekend and will be calling all moviegoers to the box of...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Immigrant Eilis Lacey Has a Fun Choice Between the Irish Catholic Life With Jim or the Brooklyn Dodgers Life With Tony

Posted by James Brown on Thursday, November 26, 2015, In : 0.00% Water 

Directed By: John Crowley

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, Jessica Paré, Eve Macklin, Nora-Jane Noone, and Emily Bett Rickards

Immigrant-themed period piece Brooklyn couldn't have had more perfect timing for its release.  It's a time when courts are blocking President Obama's executive action on immigration reform.  It's a time when Donald Trump and his fellow Republican presidential contenders are indoctrinating their base with the ...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: With Deeds Not Words, Foot Soldier & Suffragette Maud Watts Never Surrenders & Never Gives Up the Fight for the Vote for Women

Posted by James Brown on Monday, November 2, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

Directed By: Sarah Gavron

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Gleeson, Anne-Marie Duff, Ben Whishaw, and Meryl Streep

The best cinematic experiences are often the ones from which moviegoers take away something, the ones from which they learn something.  Entertainment and education aren't mutually exclusive objectives in filmmaking.  With all the adaptations we're seeing during this particular awards season, it's safe to say that we as a movie-going public ought to...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: For A Monstrous Love, Many Women Have Sipped the Poisonous Tea at Allerdale Hall in Crimson Peak

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, October 25, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Crimson Peak

Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, and Jim Beaver

I've been highly critical of the horror genre since I began STMR (and long before that as well).  There are few films I've given high marks in recent years including slasher flick You're Next and supernatural horror flick It Follows.  Still, the genre's been languishing in my eyes for quite some time.  The proof is in the mockumentary-flavored pudding Hollywood ...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: In Bridge of Spies, Standing Man James B. Donovan Gives Us More Than Just a 2-for-1 at Glienicke Bridge & Checkpoint Charlie

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, October 17, 2015, In : 0.00% Water 
Bridge of Spies

Directed By: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, and Alan Alda

"You're not worried?!"
-James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks)
"Would it help?"
-Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance)

There is such a thing as a match made in heaven on the big screen.  Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks are living proof of this.  You need to look no further than films such as Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can, and The Terminal.  Any collaboration between these two cinema legends is a 2-for-1 spe...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Straight Outta Compton – One Time, Suge Knight And Jerry Don’t Fare Too Well In This Hip Hop Epic

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Monday, August 17, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Straight Outta Compton

Directed by:  F. Gary Gray

Starring: O’Shea Jackson, Jr., Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins, Paul Giamatti, Neil Brown, Jr., and Aldis Hodge

The Black Lives Matter movement, along with cell phone cameras, has recently shined a light on the tense relationship between people of color and law enforcement.  But in the mid-1980’s, a rap group by the name of N.W.A. (Niggaz Wit Attitudes) shined a light on police brutality in their infamous song “F*ck the Police....

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: The Facts Behind Mr. Holmes' Long Life on the Big Screen Include Royal Jelly, Prickly Ash & the Delightful Charms of Sir Ian McKellen

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, July 19, 2015, In : 0.00% Water 
Mr. Holmes

Directed By: Bill Condon

Starring: Sir Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Milo Parker

In the pantheon of British fictional characters, there are three reigning kings.  Harry Potter certainly has a place in our hearts with the magic he's to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in recent years.  MI-6 secret agent James Bond has had us preferring our martinis shaken not stirred for more than half a century now.  The most iconic British character of them all, however, ...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Testament of Youth Is A Beautiful, Tragic Testament for Pacifism from WWI Nurse, Oxford Scholar, & Writer Vera Brittain

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, July 12, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Testament of Youth

Directed By: James Kent

Starring: Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Colin Morgan, Emily Watson, Hayley Atwell, Dominic West, and Miranda Richardson

I recently had the distinct displeasure of watching Kit Harington die twice in the same weekend on the big and small screens.  As you all may be aware, there was a mutiny against Jon Snow (Harington) on Game of Thrones for his love of the Wildlings, for the Watch.  With the perception of Snow as breaking bread with their enemy, the i...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Love & Mercy Is All About the Beach Boys' Paranoid Schizophrenic Brian Wilson

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, June 14, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Love & Mercy

Directed By: Bill Pohlad

Starring: John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, and Paul Giamatti

I would be lying if I were to say that am a huge fan of the Beach Boys.  I'm familiar with their discography, and I respect what they accomplished in their day.  However, I'm not exactly rocking to their tunes on Amazon Prime.  That being said, this doesn't mean that I can't appreciate Brian Wilson's tale.  After all, there's a rich story to be told here.  A musical heavyweight whose career...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: For the Klimt Painting “Woman in Gold” & the Memory of Her Aunt Adele, Austrian Maria Altmann Gives Us A Lesson in Art Restitution

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, April 19, 2015, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Woman in Gold

Directed By: Simon Curtis

Starring: Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Brühl, Katie Holmes, Tatiana Maslany, Max Irons, Charles Dance, Elizabeth McGovern, and Jonathan Pryce

A couple of years ago, I fumed in a series of reviews about having had enough of WWII-themed movies.  As much as I hate to admit it, I might have been wrong.  There are many facets to the Second Great War, and there might just be a few of them left untold on the big screen.  In the last couple of years, filmm...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: In True Story, Shortstop Christian Longo Gives Mike Finkel of The New York Times a Double Negative Wink

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, April 19, 2015, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
True Story

Directed By: Rupert Goold

Starring: Jonah Hill, James Franco, Felicity Jones, Gretchen Mol, Betty Gilpin, and John Sharian

Both James Franco and Jonah Hill are extremely versatile actors.  Having appeared in superhero movies, comedies, dramas, animated films, and everything in between over the years, these two are now perhaps a bit overexposed.  I'm a fan of both of them.  However, they're always in something at the box office.  It's time for them to take a little break.  With fourtee...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: With the IRA on the Hunt in Belfast in '71, British Soldier Gary Hook Finds Himself in a Confused Situation & Has One Bloody, Brutal Night

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, March 22, 2015, In : 0.00% Water 

Directed By: Yann Demange

Starring: Jack O'Connell, Richard Dormer, Sean Harris, Sam Reid, Charlie Murphy, Paul Anderson, and Paul Popplewell

I must admit that I've been a bit of a pessimist when it comes to the cinematic landscape as of late.  In the interest of full disclosure, there's nothing that's quite motivating me to make my way to my local theater.  The next movie on my radar is Avengers: Age of Ultron, which will not arrive until May.  While many would argue that this predisposes m...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Uno, Dos, Tres. The McFarland Cougars Fly Like Blackbirds With Blanco Cross-Country Coach Jim White Guiding Them

Posted by James Brown on Monday, February 23, 2015, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
McFarland, USA

Directed By: Niki Caro

Starring: Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, and Morgan Saylor

After his turn as Jonathan Kent in Man of Steel a year and half ago, I was intrigued by the prospect of Kevin Costner getting active on the big screen again.  While he delivered a heartfelt performance as the DC Universe began to get its act together, every performance Costner has given since has been a play on his manly on-screen persona.  He gave us the blunt spy Kevin Costner in Jack Ryan: Shadow Rec...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Unbroken – Zamperini Triumphs Over The Bird In This Inspiring True Story

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Tuesday, December 30, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

Directed by:  Angelina Jolie

Starring: Jack O’Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund, Takamasa Ishihara, Finn Witrock, and Jai Courtney

Written by Joel and Ethan Coen, Unbroken chronicles the amazing life of Olympian Louis Zamperini.  I approached Unbroken with extreme reluctance.  The film interrupted my traditional A Christmas Story, Elf and Home Alone Christmas marathon.  Moreover, a film about survival, resilience and redemption did not fit in with my festive hol...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Despite All His Grunts, Marine Painter Mr. Turner Is a Bit Too Still

Posted by James Brown on Tuesday, December 30, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Mr. Turner

Directed By: Mike Leigh

Starring: Timothy Spall, Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Bailey, Paul Jesson, Lesley Manville, and Martin Savage

Mr. Turner is my last stop on the Christmas box office train, and I am actually thankful that I'm at the end of this long ride.  This holiday season, art and painting have been a noticeable theme at the forefront of the independent marketplace.  In addition to Mr. Turner, we also have Tim Burton's Big Eyes on painter Margaret Keane.  While I'm sure there ar...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: In Big Eyes, S. Cenic & MDH Keane Suffer the Same Fate, Walter Keane

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, December 28, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Big Eyes

Directed By: Tim Burton

Starring: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston, Jon Polito, Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwartzman, and Terence Stamp

I've said it a couple of times already, but I feel compelled to say it again.  This Christmas at the box office has sucked.  Where have all the good movies gone?  Normally, there are a couple of movies that alter my choices on the year's best films at the last minute.  Normally, there are potential awards season powerhouses arriving right about now...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: For the Dignity of the Vote in Selma, Dr. King, the SCLC, & SNCC Negotiate, Demonstrate, and Resist to Outstanding Effect

Posted by James Brown on Friday, December 26, 2014, In : 0.00% Water 

Directed By: Ava DuVernay

Starring: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth, Lorraine Toussaint, Common, Giovanni Ribisi, Omar Dorsey, Andre Holland, Niecy Nash, Colman Domingo, Wendell Pierce, Tessa Thompson, Keith Stanfield, Stephan James, Alessandro Nivola, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Martin Sheen, Tom Wilkinson, and Oprah Winfrey

"A state trooper pointed the gun, but he did not act alone.
He was murdered by the brutality of every sheriff who practices lawlessness in the name of law.

He was murdered...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: In The Imitation Game of Christopher Vs. Enigma at Bletchley, Alan Turing Solves the Biggest Crossword Puzzle of Them All

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, December 14, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Imitation Game

Directed By: Morten Tyldum

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Charles Dance, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard, and Rory Kinnear

"Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine."
-Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley)

Some of the best movies are the ones  in which moviegoers learn something new about how someone did something amazing that changed the world.  I know that sounds like a cliché, but that's...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: In The Homesman, George Briggs & Mary Bee Cuddy Take Three Crazy Women East to Iowa

Posted by James Brown on Wednesday, November 26, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Homesman

Directed By: Tommy Lee Jones

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, William Fichtner, Grace Gummer, John Lithgow, Tim Blake Nelson, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter, James Spader, Hailee Steinfeld, and Meryl Streep

On paper, Tommy Lee Jones and westerns go together like peas and carrots.  He's exactly the kind of rugged, no nonsense actor who would thrive in the Wild West.  With an elite cast featuring beloved thespians Hilary Swank, James Spader, and the great Meryl Streep, Jones's we...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Despite Motor Neuron Disease, Intelligent Atheist Stephen Hawking Masters Time to Give Us The Physicist's Theory of Everything

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, November 15, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Theory of Everything

Directed By: James Marsh

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Emily Watson, Simon McBurney, and David Thewlis

Performances marked by darkness and conflict are the ones typically rewarded during awards season.  Just look at last year's Oscar winners for Best Actor and Best Actress in leading roles.  On one hand, we have a self-destructive homophobic AIDS patient with Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club.  On the other, we have a crazy widow who has ...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Fury – Ideals Are Peaceful, History Is Violent

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Monday, October 20, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

Directed by: David Ayer

Starring:  Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal, Scott Eastwood

World War II has been depicted in countless films, most famously in Saving Private Ryan. With the war on ISIL raging, the conflict in the Ukraine, and the never ending turmoil in the Middle East, a World War II film feels oddly timely.  David Ayer’s Fury is a compelling drama that depicts the savagery and the emotional and physical trauma that war inflicts on ...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Watching the Media Kill the Messenger Gary Webb Over the CIA's Dark Alliance With Nicaraguan Druglords Is One Good History Lesson

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, October 12, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Kill the Messenger

Directed By: Michael Cuesta

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen, Andy Garcia, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosemarie DeWitt, Paz Vega, Oliver Platt, Richard Schiff, Robert Patrick, and Michael K. Williams

History is often the best way to validate an opinion.  We could all debate our friends and loved ones in perpetuity based on opinions alone, but facts are facts.  Regardless of who’s writing history, there are always certain irrefutable facts.  When...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Prince Vlad Dracula, Son of the Devil, Goes to the Untold Broken Tooth Mountain to Protect His People From the Turks

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, October 12, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Dracula Untold

Directed By: Gary Shore

Starring: Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper, Art Parkinson, and Charles Dance

It's another weekend and yet another reminder that every other Hollywood studio wants to be Marvel.  With blockbusters Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy perpetuating the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's easy to see why everyone else is so envious.  While Fox had an excellent outing with X-Men: Days of Future Past in May, the film i...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: In the New Jimi Hendrix Experience, All Is Not By My Side Because André 3000 Doesn't Play the Hits

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, September 27, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Jimi: All Is By My Side

Directed By: John Ridley

Starring: André Benjamin, Hayley Atwell, Burn Gorman, Imogen Poots, Andrew Buckley, and Ruth Negga

Jimi Hendrix is before my time, but I would be a fool not to recognize the profound impact his music has had on generations of musicians to follow him.  With the influence his music and his creativity have had on rock and roll and the music landscape as a whole, it should come as no surprise that filmmakers are trying to bring his tragically short l...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: In The Last of Robin Hood, Alcoholic Errol Flynn Is Too Old For Lover Beverly "Woodsy" Aadland, But She's Just Young Enough For Him

Posted by James Brown on Monday, September 8, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Last of Robin Hood

Directed By: Richard Glatzer

Starring: Kevin Kline, Dakota Fanning, Susan Sarandon, Matthew Kane, Max Casella, and Patrick St. Esprit

Biographical dramas are sometimes tricky beasts.  If the individual is particularly well known, directors must convince moviegoers that their vision is historically accurate.  The key is to have an actor who looks, walks, and talks like the main character.  Some of this is dependent upon the costume and make-up crew members on deck, but the ...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: In Born Dead Biopic Get On Up, James Brown Does Right by Himself & Pays the Cost to Be the Boss

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, August 2, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Get On Up

Directed By: Tate Taylor

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis, Keith Robinson, Octavia Spencer, Brandon Mychal Smith, Jill Scott, Tika Sumpter, and Craig Robinson

As you all know, I share a name with the subject of the recently released musical biopic Get On Up.  Having the name James Brown comes with a certain responsibility — to endure a lifetime of singing, shouting, and dancing at the most unexpected times in the most unexpected places.  For instance...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Hercules – A Twist To The Legend Of Hercules

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Sunday, July 27, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 

Directed by:  Brett Ratner

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Rufus Sewell, Reece Ritchie, Peter Mullan, and Joseph Fiennes

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has had an incredibly interesting acting career.  After going too far astray from his action hero chops with films like The Tooth Fairy, Johnson rebooted his career with a new agent and has become one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood.  Starring in the Fast and Furious franchises, the G.I. Joe series,...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: With Séances, Mental Impressions, & Floating Candles, Magic in the Moonlight Pits Illusionist Wei Ling Soo Against Spiritualist Sophie Baker

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, July 26, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Magic in the Moonlight

Directed By: Woody Allen

Starring: Emma Stone, Colin Firth, Hamish Linklater, Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki Weaver, Erica Leerhsen, Eileen Atkins, and Simon McBurney

I was probably one of the few movie bloggers who was on the West Coast this week but not in San Diego.  As I was departing Seattle on Friday morning, I pondered all the fun movie buffs are having in Hall H right about now.  Alas, I'm back on the East Coast, and I've got movies to review.  Given that I'm slated to c...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: In Jersey Boys, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons Don't Honor the Jersey Contract Put Forth in the Broadway Original

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, June 21, 2014, In : 0.12% Hard Liquor 
Jersey Boys

Directed By: Clint Eastwood

Starring: John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Vincent Piazza, and Christopher Walken

It suffices to say that talking to an empty chair hasn't exactly paid dividends for American cinema icon Clint Eastwood.  I can say with ease that I lost some respect for Harry the day he got his hands dirty in the game of politics.  The five-time Oscar winner has been relegated to baseball movies like Trouble With the Curve.  Now, the Million Dollar Baby and ...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Facing Deportation & Losing Her Sister Magda on Ellis Island to Tuberculosis, The Immigrant Ewa Turns to Bruno & the Bandits' Roost Theater

Posted by James Brown on Monday, May 26, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Immigrant

Directed By: James Gray

Starring: Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, and Jeremy Renner

Because I get the pleasure of reviewing both mainstream and independent flicks, some movies are just ill-timed.  Take The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for instance.  Though a fun, wonderful film, it wasn't exactly the movie to see the same day as The AvengersLincoln wasn't exactly the most riveting film to follow up Skyfall either.  On the weekend of X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Immigrant is ...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Evaluating the Racial & Gender Constructs of Colonial England, Belle Does Anything But Take a Diminished Position with the Mansfield Clan

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, May 10, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

Directed By: Amma Asante

Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson, Miranda Richardson, Penelope Wilton, Matthew Goode, Emily Watson, Sarah Gadon, and Tom Felton

2013 was a year full of movies about the plight of the black man.  We saw Solomon Northrup endure hell until freedom was opportunity in 12 Years a Slave.  We saw Cecil Gaines quietly smile as history marched onward for better or worse right in front of him at the White House in Lee Daniels' The Butler.  We even saw Oscar Grant have...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Thanks to a Map, a Radio, & Hellacious Torture, Railway Man Eric Lomax & Japanese Interpreter Takashi Nagase Become Good Friends

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, April 20, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Railway Man

Directed By: Jonathan Teplitzky

Starring: Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Jeremy Irvine, Stellan Skarsgård, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Tanroh Ishida

At the beginning of time the clock struck one
Then dropped the dew and the clock struck two
From the dew grew a tree and the clock struck three
The tree made a door and the clock struck four
Man came alive and the clock struck five
Count not, waste not the years on the clock
Behold I stand at the door and knock.

-Eric Lomax (Colin Firth)

If any...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Despite the Wicked Tubul-cain, Noah & Fallen Angels Known as the Watchers Brace for Some Watery Climate Change from the Creator

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, March 29, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

Directed By: Darren Aronofsky

Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, and Anthony Hopkins

In my reviews of Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac films, I wrote at length about how more socially conservative moviegoers bashed the film without having seen it.  In the case of Darren Aronofsky's Noah, the studio enabled this portion of the moviegoing public to take some shots at the movie long before it arrived in theaters.  Holding test scree...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: With Stout Wooden Ships & A Tidal Wave of Heroes' Blood, Themistocles Unites a Free Greece Against the Rise of Artemisia's Empire & Can Sit at the Table

Posted by James Brown on Friday, March 7, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
300: Rise of an Empire

Directed By: Noam Murro

Starring: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Hans Matheson, and Rodrigo Santoro

"It begins as a whisper... a promise... the lightest of breezes dances above the death cries of 300 men.  That breeze became a wind.  A wind that my brothers have sacrificed.  A wind of freedom... a wind of justice... a wind of vengeance."
-Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey)

With the Oscars now in our rearview mirror, we can fully focus on what lies ahead this year.  More ...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Thérèse and Laurent Don't Make a Sound & Keep Quiet In Their Secret Affair

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, February 23, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
In Secret

Directed By: Charlie Stratton

Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Felton, Oscar Isaac, and Jessica Lange

I've shied away from indie cinema for the last several weeks or so.  Things typically remain quiet on this front during the awards season.  Sure, I've missed a couple of foreign flicks such as Gloria and Like Father, Like Son, but indie theaters have primarily been screening awards darlings like Her, Dallas Buyers Club, and 12 Years a Slave.  Given that the awards season is coming to an ...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: For Those of Us About to Die of Boredom, We Don't Salute Pompeii or the Celt Horseman Milo

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, February 22, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 

Directed By: Paul W. S. Anderson

Starring: Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Carrie-Anne Moss, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jessica Lucas, Jared Harris, and Kiefer Sutherland

Gladiator is one of my all-time favorite movies.  The noble character Russell Crowe gives us as Maximus, the delicious sicko to which Joaquin Phoenix treats us with Commodus, and the rousing yet beautiful filmmaking from director Ridley Scott all make the film an unrivaled modern epic of the highest caliber.  With this ki...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: In the City of Justice, Everything Is Connected by Starlight Except the Winter's Tale of Peter Lake & Beverly Penn

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, February 15, 2014, In : 0.12% Hard Liquor 
Winter's Tale

Directed By: Akiva Goldsman

Starring: Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, Eva Marie Saint, Will Smith, and William Hurt

We've got no originality at the box office this Valentine's Day weekend.  Three of the movies arriving in theaters are remakes of films from the 80s.  While I certainly don't mind the new RoboCop, three remakes in the same weekend is a bit much.  However, that's not enough for Hollywood.  There's another film arriving in theater...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: To Protect the Bruges Madonna and Child & Prevent the Führer Museum, The Monuments Men Undertake One Boring Assignment

Posted by James Brown on Friday, February 7, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
The Monuments Men

Directed By: George Clooney

Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and Cate Blanchett

Unless you're Martin Scorsese and getting geared up to release the next The Wolf of Wall Street, getting your movie's release date pushed back within just months of its arrival in theaters is an ominous sign.  Not that it ever really had a chance at greatness, but I'm sure you all remember last year's G.I. Joe: Retaliation....

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Over Labor Day Weekend, Henry and Adele Wheeler Learn About Peach Pie & Baseball Thanks to Escaped Convict Frank Chambers

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, February 2, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Labor Day

Directed By: Jason Reitman

Starring: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire, and Clark Gregg

Jason Reitman's Labor Day certainly has some odd timing.  Coming out just after the Christmas season and MLK Day, a movie themed around the holiday that closes the summer just doesn't feel right.  I know that Valentine's Day is right around the corner and that romances are a dime a dozen around this time of the year.  Regardless, the timing of the movie just doesn't feel rig...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: In the Shadows of the Frozen Deep, Charles Dickens Dryly Oscillates Between His Public Love & Secret Invisible Woman Nelly "Lawless" Ternan

Posted by James Brown on Monday, January 20, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
The Invisible Woman

Directed By: Ralph Fiennes

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Felicity Jones, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Tom Hollander

"A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other."
-Charles Dickens

Ralph Fiennes is one of the few big screen talents who can seamlessly navigate between the worlds of big budget blockbusters and indie cinema.  He's a very versatile talent and has proven it time and time again.  After all, h...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: From Prisoner to President, Mandela Wears Some Long Trousers on His Long Walk to Freedom

Posted by James Brown on Thursday, December 26, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Directed By: Justin Chadwick

Starring: Idris Elba and Naomie Harris

We lost a global icon this year.  With the passing of Nelson Mandela several weeks ago, we should celebrate this legendary leader's accomplishments and honor his legacy.  As it turns out, Hollywood is doing just that in their own way this awards season.  Though not the means to combat poverty or eradicate social injustice, the biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is the means by which another genera...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Saying No to Pears, Animation, & Everything Else, Mary Poppins' Family P.L. Travers is Perfectly Capable of Saving Mr. Banks

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, December 21, 2013, In : 0.00% Water 
Saving Mr. Banks

Directed By: John Lee Hancock

Starring: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, Rachel Griffiths, Ruth Wilson, and Colin Farrell

"Winds in the east, mist coming in.
Like somethin' is brewin' and bout to begin.
Can't put me finger on what lies in store.
But I fear what's to happen all happened before.
-Travers Goff (Colin Farrell)

It would be an understatement to say that our generation of moviegoers is a jaded, cynical one.  Anything that is che...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: If We Had Wings, The Coens & Their Cat Ulysses Would Take Us Soaring From the Gaslight Cafe With Some Soulful Folk Songs in Inside Llewyn Davis

Posted by James Brown on Friday, December 20, 2013, In : 0.00% Water 
Inside Llewyn Davis

Directed By: Joel & Ethan Coen

Starring: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, and Justin Timberlake

As I conclude another year of running STMR, I've begun reflecting on all the movies I've seen and the hundreds of reviews I've written during the 2+ years since the site was founded.  After doing so, I can say one thing with the utmost confidence.  I have absolutely no idea what movies I'll end up loving.  With the holiday mass of films starting to crowd ...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: In the Rotten & Delicious American Hustle, Irving Rosenfeld Survives Ice Fishing in Atlantic City With the FBI Thanks to Sydney's London Banking Connections

Posted by James Brown on Thursday, December 12, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
American Hustle

Directed By: David O. Russell

Starring: Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Louis C.K., Michael Peña, and Robert De Niro

Director David O. Russell has a way of making authentically American films that's undeniable.  Just look at his two most recent films, The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook.  What could be more American than boxing or the Philadelphia Eagles?  Russell's answer to that was apparently getting over on people.  In his lat...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: In Great Expectations, the Spider and a Mysterious Benefactor Are at Play with Pip

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, November 10, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Great Expectations

Directed By: Mike Newell

Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Helena Bonham Carter, Holliday Grainger, Ralph Fiennes, and Robbie Coltrane

We all know there's been a growing trend in which movie stars are headlining cable TV shows.  While it's been a great way for us to get a weekly dose of actors with immense talents, it's also been a way for lesser known talents to make a splash into the industry and gain recognition.  For every Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan) or Laura Linney (The Big C), t...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: 12 Years a Slave, Solomon Northrup Brilliantly Plays the Fiddle as Georgia Runaway Platt to Survive Until Freedom is Opportunity

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, October 19, 2013, In : 0.00% Water 
12 Years a Slave

Directed By: Steve McQueen

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong'o, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Alfre Woodard, Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, and Adepero Oduye

In a review two months ago, I wrote about how filmmakers are taking us to school this year.  With films like Fruitvale Station, Lee Daniels' The Butler, and even 42, we've gotten a healthy dose of black history from Hollywood.  We've arrived at our fi...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Thérèse Has the Wrong Ideas About Smoking Cigarettes, Arsenic Drops, and Especially the Pines

Posted by James Brown on Monday, September 2, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Thérèse (Thérèse Desqueyroux)

Directed By: Claude Miller

Starring: Audrey Tautou and Gilles Lellouche

The French had a really good run for a few years with cinema.  Think of films like The Artist, The Intouchables, and Amour.  With the notably consistent quality films that had been coming from across the Atlantic over the last several years, I've come to expect more of them.  Sadly, however, the French have been letting me down this year.  Augustine was a really dry period piece earlier this...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: The Butler Is the Tale of Two Faces Needed to Survive — the Subversive Black Domestic Cecil Gaines and Freedom Rider Louis Gaines

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, August 17, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Lee Daniels' The Butler

Directed By: Lee Daniels

Starring: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrence Howard, David Oyelowo, Vanessa Redgrave, Mariah Carey, Robin Williams, Melissa Leo, James Marsden, Minka Kelly, Liev Schreiber, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Alex Pettyfer, Yaya DaCosta, Colman Domingo, Aml Ameen, Orlando Eric Street, Nelsan Ellis, Alex Manette, Lenny Kravitz, and Jesse Williams

Filmmakers are taking us to school, and black history is front and center t...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: With Ovarian Hysteria & Sexually Stimulating Attacks, the Desensitized Augustine is the Most Sensual Patient of All

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, June 23, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 

Directed By: Alice Winocour

Starring: Vincent Lindon, Soko, and Chiara Mastroianni

There haven't been quite as many weird movies at indie theaters this year thankfully.  I'm happy to say we haven't gotten another Holy Motors or The Paperboy.  This week, however, I think we're getting our first dose of weirdness with the French drama Augustine, a film that explores the relationship between neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot and his most interesting patient.

Augustine (Soko) is a housemaid a...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: From a Porn Lab to the Mob, The Iceman is One Cold-Blooded Contract Killer

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, May 19, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Iceman

Directed By: Ariel Vromen

Starring: Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, Ray Liotta, James Franco, David Schwimmer, Stephen Dorff, and Erin Cummings

Michael Shannon might just be the most underrated actor of his generation.  Despite a very impressive filmography and a long list of memorable characters on screen, Shannon has never attained mainstream popularity and is still relatively unknown to the movie-going public at large.  It's unfortunate because he's a really prolific ac...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Even With Bootlegging, Boozing, & Partying, Old Sport Jay Gatsby Lacks Valor Extraordinaire and Any Hope Whatsoever

Posted by James Brown on Friday, May 10, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
The Great Gatsby

Directed By: Baz Luhrmann

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke, Amitabh Bachchan, and Elizabeth Debicki

Baz Luhrmann's "modern" take on the classic American novel The Great Gatsby was originally set to be released on Christmas day last year.  This would have landed the film in direct competition with the likes of Les Miserables and Django Unchained, which were also released on the same day.  To make matters worse, L...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Kon-Tiki is a Slow Ride Through an Interesting Theory

Posted by Zach Davis on Monday, May 6, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Zach Davis

Directed By: Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg

Starring: Pål Sverre Valheim Hagan, Anders Bassmo Christiansen, Tobias Santelmann, Gustaf Skarsgård, Odd-Magnus Williamson, Jacob Oftebro, and Agnes Kittelsen

Kon-Tiki is a harrowing tale of survival propelled by an interesting theory from Thor Heyerdahl.  According to Heyerdahl, the Peruvians were the first to colonize Polynesia from the east contrary to the traditional notion that Asians migrating from the west settled on th...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Mr. Rickey Helps Number 42 Jackie Robinson Control His Temper and Go Home Sweet Home on the Baseball Field

Posted by James Brown on Friday, April 12, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 

Directed By: Brian Helgeland

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Christopher Meloni, Jud Tylor, Alan Tudyk, Lucas Black, Jon Bernthal, and Nicole Beharie

Jackie Robinson is one of the most iconic athletes of the 20th century.  It's 2013.  It's been 66 years since Robinson began his historic rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and we're just getting our first feature film in my lifetime about his incredible journey.  Well, it's about damn time.  Sure, we had the film The Jackie Rob...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: On the Road, Dean and Sal Have More Sex, Drugs, and Liquor Than I Thought Humanly Possible

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, March 24, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
On the Road

Directed By: Walter Salles

Starring: Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, Tom Sturridge, Danny Morgan, Alice Braga, Elisabeth Moss, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Terrence Howard, and Steve Buscemi

Despite its impressive cast, I was never really looking forward to On the Road.  This adaptation of Jack Kerouac's 1957 novel may have Mary Jane, Lois Lane, and Aragorn, but it also has Bella.  I always have my doubts with a Kristen Stewart movie, or any film starring a...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Anna Karenina's Impure Love Doesn't Get the Job Done. What a Sin!

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, November 17, 2012, In : 0.09% Cocktails 

Anna Karenina

Directed By: Joe Wright

Starring: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Kelly Macdonald, Matthew Macfayden, Emily Watson, Domhnall Gleeson, and Alicia Vikander

"Romantic love will be the last delusion of the old order."
-Nikolai Levin (David Wilmot)

With the possible exception of Moonrise Kingdom, Anna Karenina has been the most heavily marketed indie flick this year.  Over the course of 2012, I have seen more advertisements for this tale of love than I care to remem...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Argo is No Longer a Fake Movie or a Fake Hit

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, October 13, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 


Directed By: Ben Affleck

Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, and John Goodman

Argo couldn't have come to theaters in a more timely fashion.  Just several weeks after the attack in Benghazi that left the US ambassador J. Christopher Stevens to Libya and three other Americans dead, we revisit a similar situation, the Iran Hostage Crisis during which the lives of 52 embassy employees were put in grave danger for a total of 444 days.  While the film was put into production lo...

Continue reading ...

REVIEW: The Moonshine Bootlegging Bondurant Brothers May Think They're Invincible, But Lawless Shows All Their Flaws

Posted by James Brown on Thursday, August 30, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 

Directed By: John Hillcoat

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Guy Pearce, and Dane DeHaan

On paper, Lawless may be the perfect movie for me.  I've been in need of a good crime movie as of late.  They're so rare these days.  On top of that, it's about moonshine bootlegging during Prohibition.  That's just about as good as it gets for the SoberFilmCritic.  That being said, Lawless doesn't fully realize its potential as director J...
Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Farewell, My Queen is the Wrong Title for This Movie. 'Goodbye' is Not in Sidonie's Vocabulary

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, July 29, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Farewell, My Queen

Directed By: Benoít Jacquot

Starring: Diane Kruger, Léa Seydoux, and Virginie Ledoyen

I can't lie.  When I first heard of Farewell, My Queen, I thought it would be a rather steamy film that highlighted an alleged lesbian romance between Marie-Antoinette and the Duchess of Polignac with the French Revolution as the backdrop for the film.  As it turns out, it's just the opposite.  This lesbian romance is emphasized in the film but takes a backseat to the French Revolution and ...
Continue reading ...

REVIEW: History Remembers the Battle But Forgets the Blood. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Remembers the Blood But Forgets How to Make a Good Movie

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, June 23, 2012, In : 0.12% Hard Liquor 
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Directed By: Timur Bekmambetov

Starring: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, and Marton Csokas

"History prefers legends to men, nobility to brutality, soaring speeches to quiet deeds.  History remembers the battles, but forgets the blood.  If history remembers me at all, it will only be a fraction of the truth."
-Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  Based on the title alone, this film...
Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Bel Ami May Not Be a King, But Being a Manwhore Pays Well Enough

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, June 9, 2012, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Bel Ami

Directed By: Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Christina Ricci, and Colm Meaney

I'm not going to sugarcoat it.  Robert Pattinson is not my favorite actor.  His Twilight flicks are everything movies shouldn't be — utter crap.  Team Edward has corrupted a generation of female moviegoers.  If his career in the acting world must continue, a film like Bel Ami is a good fit for him.  After all, playing a manwhore is a step up fro...
Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Whether With a Feather Duster or the Jolly Molly, Hysteria Always Satisfies With Some Old School Sex Toys

Posted by James Brown on Friday, June 8, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 

Directed By: Tanya Wexler

Starring: Felicity Jones, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Jonathan Pryce, and Rupert Everett

Before we arrived at the medical and scientific knowledge we have today, many doctors were educated fools.  You wouldn't believe what some of them thought back in the day.  Many completely disregarded science and ignored life-changing discoveries from the research of a few.  They didn't believe germs existed and fostered situations in which they hurt their patients far m...
Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Sam, Suzy, & the Orchestra Bring the Thunder During the Black Beacon Storm in Moonrise Kingdom

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, June 2, 2012, In : 0.00% Water 
Moonrise Kingdom

Directed By: Wes Anderson

Starring: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban, Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, and Harvey Keitel

It's been a few years since we've seen Wes Anderson at the box office, and we've definitely missed his signature filmmaking style.  His eccentric visuals, his dry humor, and his caricatured characters are the things that make his films so special.  They're why we love his movies so much.  We ...
Continue reading ...

REVIEW: Quoth The Raven, "Nevermore Shall I Torture Myself with This Crap!"

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, April 28, 2012, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
The Raven

Directed By: James McTeigue

Starring: John Cusack, Alice Eve, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Luke Evans, Kevin McNally, Pam Ferris, Sergej Trifunovic, Ian Virgo, and Sam Hazeldine

2012 supposedly marks the end of the world.  Since I'm writing this review, I'm inclined to think otherwise.  Hell, I'd argue that 2012 marks the year history will be rewritten.  We've got Abraham Lincoln becoming a vampire hunter.  We've got Snow White becoming an action hero.  We've even got Edgar Allan Poe becoming...
Continue reading ...

REVIEW: In Wrath of the Titans, Randomness Is the Name of the Game

Posted by James Brown on Friday, March 30, 2012, In : 0.12% Hard Liquor 
Wrath of the Titans

Directed By: Jonathan Liebesman

Starring: Sam Worthington, Rosamund Pike, Bill Nighy, Édgar Ramirez, Toby Kebbell, Danny Huston, Ralph Fiennes, and Liam Neeson

Wrath of the Titans has finally hit theaters.  This means we get to watch studios take a big crap all over Greek mythology for the millionth time.  I'm not a fan of the 2010 flick Clash of the Titans.  I'm also not a fan of Sam Worthington.  That being said, I went into Wrath of the Titans with pretty low expectations...
Continue reading ...








Large Association of Movie  Blogs

Follow soberfilmcritic on Twitter