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Algorithms: Blind Chess Players of India (First Run Features, NR)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Thursday, 26 February 2015 21:59

algorithms_75If you’re up for something different, that offers a view into a world that you may not have even realized existed, then Algorithms is definitely worth your while.

 

Victori: The Truth Just Can’t Be One Thing (Garden Thieves Pictures, NR)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Thursday, 26 February 2015 21:55

victori_75I’m sure there’s a fascinating story to be found in Victori’s life, but director Michael Melamedoff doesn’t find it in this film.

   

Focus (Warner Bros., R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Thursday, 26 February 2015 21:15

focus_75It seems a shame that Focus isn’t better than it is—it’s like they manufactured it to be forgettable.

 

The Lazarus Effect (Lionsgate, PG-13)

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Written by Samantha LaBat Thursday, 26 February 2015 21:08

lazarus_75The Lazarus Effect starts strong and ends strong, but dramatically loses momentum in the middle.

   

Ballet 422 (Magnolia Pictures, NR)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Thursday, 26 February 2015 18:23

ballet_422_75Ballet 422 is a fascinating documentary that will appeal not only to ballet fans, but also to anyone who appreciates the hard work required to bring a new artistic creation successfully to life.

 

The DUFF (CBS Films, PG-13)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Thursday, 19 February 2015 23:34

duff_75It’s hard to fault The DUFF for aspiring to be as good as those aforementioned high school classics, but really it only makes The DUFF suffer when held up against them.

   

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (Paramount Pictures, R)

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Written by Lea Vrábelová Thursday, 19 February 2015 23:27

hot_tub_2_75Once again directed by Steve Pink, the time-traveling hot tub is back with a sequel, and it hit my demographic right on the head.

 

Red Army (Sony Pictures Classics, PG)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Thursday, 19 February 2015 23:09

red_army_75The main reason why Red Army works so well is that it focuses primarily on one notable of the Red Army team, Slava Fetisov, and he’s quite a character.

   

Fifty Shades of Grey (Focus Features/Universal Pictures, R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Thursday, 12 February 2015 13:55

fifty_shades_75Fifty Shades of Grey is fine if you want to keep up with what everyone will surely be talking about for the next week, but then surely stop talking about forever after that.

 

Kingsman: The Secret Service (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, R)

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Written by Matthew Newlin Thursday, 12 February 2015 13:46

kingsman_75Vaughn pushes everything to eleven to make the point that the whole concept is just silly so we might as well enjoy it.

   

Two Days, One Night (IFC/Sundance Selects, PG-13)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Thursday, 12 February 2015 13:40

two_days_one_night_75Their new film, Two Days, One Night, certainly ranks among their best, and does a good job of encapsulating what to expect of a film from the Dardennes.

 

 

Sex (Ed): The Movie (First Run Features, NR)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Thursday, 12 February 2015 13:34

sex_ed_75The film clips provide little windows into societal attitudes of not that long ago, and seeing this evidence for yourself is far more useful than hearing someone else talk about it.

   

Jupiter Ascending (Warner Bros., PG-13)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Wednesday, 04 February 2015 16:45

Jupiter_ascending_75Jupiter Ascending is amusingly bad, not infuriatingly bad, so you can look for it to become a staple of Mystery Science Theatre 3000-type events in the years to come. Think of it as a cross between The Matrix and The Princess Diaries, but with a whole lot of Battlefield Earth thrown in.

 

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (Paramount Pictures, PG)

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Written by Samantha LaBat Wednesday, 04 February 2015 16:12

Sponge_Out_Of_Water_75The action/adventure elements of the story are fun for kids, but for adults it just seems to drag on. We know where the story is going and spend the majority of the film waiting for it to get there rather than enjoying the ride.

   

Through a Lens Darkly (First Run Features, NR)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Wednesday, 04 February 2015 15:42

Through_Lens_Darkly

Harris incorporates a variety of images, along with commentary and interpretation from a variety of voices. Many of the images are family photos, from 19th-century daguerreotypes of Civil War soldiers or carefully posed studio portraits to present-day century snapshots taken in suburban homes. 

 

Black or White (Relativity Media, PG-13)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Thursday, 29 January 2015 20:20

black and_white_75It’s a film of division, not inclusion, and if we hadn’t all seen this film a million times before we might mistake it for trying to show us how we’re all different, not how we’re all the same.

   

Still Alice (Sony Pictures Classics, PG-13)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Thursday, 29 January 2015 20:15

still alice_75Her portrait of Alice is humane and convincing, and Moore is one of the only actresses I can think of who can go from being a commanding presence in a classroom to a feeble, memory-deprived woman inside of the same film without hiding behind heavy aging makeup.

 

Black Sea (Focus Features, R)

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Written by Lea Vrábelová Thursday, 29 January 2015 20:10

black sea_75There is a very smothering feel—the men are so dirty and so sweaty that you can almost smell them on the screen. If you like that kind of panicky feeling, I suggest you watch this film.

   

Mommy (Roadside Attractions, R)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Thursday, 29 January 2015 20:05

mommy 75It’s better to accept Dolan’s film on its own terms and allow him to take you where he wants to go without trying to pigeonhole the experience he is delivering in the process.

 

A Most Violent Year (A24, R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Thursday, 29 January 2015 19:54

most violent_75It’s being marketed as something of a Goodfellas type of throwback, which isn’t far off the mark, but for the most part all of the violence has been stripped away, and the 80s aesthetic and decadence is what remains.

   

Project Almanac (Paramount Pictures, PG-13)

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Written by Samantha LaBat Thursday, 29 January 2015 19:06

project almanac_75I want to note for sci-fi fans that this film focuses less on the time travel and more on the things that the characters want and what drives them toward their actions.

 

Oscar-Nominated Animated Short Films 2015 (shorts.tv, NR)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Thursday, 29 January 2015 11:50

boslaugh oscars_shortfilms_2015_75If you’re weary of the endless discussion about which nomination actually deserved it, it can be great fun to step away from the features and dip into the Oscar-nominated short films.

   

Oscar-Nominated Live-Action Short Films 2015 (shorts.tv, NR)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Thursday, 29 January 2015 11:43

boslaugh oscars_shortfilms_2015_75One thing AMPAS has gotten right is preserving the Oscars for short films…they still offer a chance to see a variety of work from directors who aren’t exactly household names yet, but may be some day.

 

Art and Craft (Oscilloscope Pictures, NR)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Thursday, 29 January 2015 11:27

art and_craft_75To again pretend this was a fiction film, I’d criticize it for having poor characters, but since it’s nonfiction that particular objection doesn’t stick.

   

Everly (Radius-TWC, R)

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Written by Samantha LaBat Thursday, 22 January 2015 22:48

everly 75The best thing about this film is you have absolutely no idea what will happen from one moment to the next. 

 

Mentor (Garden Thieves Pictures, NR)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Wednesday, 21 January 2015 21:30

dvd mentorSupposedly, tolerance and respect for others, including those who are different from you, are core values both of the United States in general and of our school system in particular.

   

Adua and Her Friends (Raro Video/Kino Lorber, NR)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Wednesday, 21 January 2015 21:22

dvd aduaThe dark turn also delivers a strong critique of several of the less pleasant aspects of Italian society.

 

Hi-8 (Wild Eye Releasing, NR)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Wednesday, 21 January 2015 21:20

dvd Hi-8The DVD includes eight short horror films shot on Hi8 or similar video formats.

   

20,000 Days on Earth (Drafthouse Films, NR)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Wednesday, 21 January 2015 21:18

film 20000-days-on-earth_smIt’s a stubbornly avant-garde film that doesn’t really offer much exposition, music, or show footage.

 

The Boy Next Door (Universal Pictures, R)

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Written by Samantha LaBat Wednesday, 21 January 2015 21:15

film boys-next-door_smWhat I did not expect was for the film to be worse than I originally imagined.

   

The Wedding Ringer (Screen Gems, R)

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Written by Matthew Newlin Thursday, 15 January 2015 21:12

weddingringer 75Garelick flirts with gross out humor in the vein of The Hangover, but never fully commits so the blend of comedic styles feels uneven. 

 

American Sniper (Warner Bros., R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Wednesday, 14 January 2015 23:26

sniper 75This could have been a good film, if not for poor storytelling, bad characterization, bad effects…bad everything.

   

Blackhat (Universal Pictures, R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Wednesday, 14 January 2015 23:18

blackhat 75These fighting and chasing and shooting and blowing up sequences are necessary because, you know, computer hacking isn’t visually interesting enough for a mainstream audience.

 

Mr. Turner (Sony Pictures Classics, R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Wednesday, 14 January 2015 23:08

mrturner sqMr. Turner is an obstinately artful film, which wholly fits its subject.

   

Paddington (The Weinstein Company/Dimension, PG)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Wednesday, 14 January 2015 22:53

paddington sqWe come to learn that all bears’ names sound like something between a burp and a roar, which makes sense, I suppose.

 

Selma (Paramount Pictures, PG-13)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Friday, 09 January 2015 11:15

film selma_smSince David Oyelowo is too much of a professional to let the seams show, he may not get the recognition her deserves.

   

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