“The Purge”

June 9th, 2013 at 9:15 am by under A Look at the Movies

2 Stars








Rated R
1 hour 25 minutes

Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey

Now we know how to make crime obsolete, and make lawlessness go away completely in the near future.
Devote one night a year to an anything goes bloodbath, targeting anyone you choose with the police looking the other way.

That’s “The Purge”, an ugly, obnoxious thriller Impersonating a message movie. Our hero, Ethan Hawke bolts all the doors to his suburban fortress as he rationalizes the coming bloodshed.

The murderous, marauding mob wouldn’t dream of Ignoring the smug upper middle class Hawke and family. Remember, the less fortunate are obligated to vent their smoldering resentment.

How can this overblown thriller running a scant 85 minutes feeling like a much longer waste of time?

By the time Hawke and family conclude “The Purge” Isn’t such a good idea after all, the audience is busy texting their friends urging them to stay home.

The artificial social message doesn’t fool anyone. “The Purge” was made strictly for the blood and guts crowd. And for such a limited outlook, Let’s Purge “The Purge” with a measly two stars.

And one more complaint. Ethan Hawke is much too good an  actor to go slumming in such a trashy neighborhood.

“Now You See Me”

June 2nd, 2013 at 10:20 am by under A Look at the Movies

3 Stars


Rated PG-13
1 hour 55 minutes

Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman

The flashy sleight of hand thriller “Now You See Me” has words of wisdom to live by from master Magician Jesse Eisenberg. “The the first rule of magic, always be the smartest guy in the room”

You’ll need to be the smartest moviegoer in the theater If you’re going to crack the code and keep up with the plot’s twists and turns.

Eisenberg and his crew make the kind of magic that befuddles federal agents with a tricky con game, involving a long distance bank heist. Federal agent Mark Ruffalo is not one of his fans.

The writer’s imagination is sometimes quicker than we can absorb, but this keeps you guessing, which for a stylish thriller like this, is half the fun of watching.

Michael Caine teams up with Morgan Freeman for a master class in old school charisma. They work beautifully together as the storyline keeps you off-balance, which just deeps the mystery.

Keep your wits about you, and you’re even liable to get one step ahead of the characters.

Along with the proverbial Rabbit in the hat, “Now You See Me” materializes with 3 stars.

The film truly has a few tricks up its sleeve, and that’s no Illusion.

“The Hangover 3″

May 25th, 2013 at 10:26 am by under A Look at the Movies

2 Stars








Rated R
1 hour 40 minutes

Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms

Let’s be honest with each other. The original “Hangover” was a low brow hell raiser but it was amusing. “Hangover 2″ was an unfunny carbon copy, and now “Hanger 3″ falls somewhere in between the first two films.

Zach Galifianakis is now the center of attention, not merely a comic intrusion. His handlers can’t decide If he needs another road trip or just needs to be locked away.

Director Todd Phillips’ biggest problem is doing something new without aggravating diehard “Hangover” fans who have certain expectations.

Chang’s back, twice as obnoxious and playing a much bigger role unfortunately, while Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper became less and less Important to the plot.

By this time even a welcome cameo by Melissa McCarthy feels like an act of desperation. The fun went out of “Hangover” within minutes after the first sequel began, and “Hangover 3″ does little to regain it’s old form.

“Hangover 3″ won’t fly at the box office after the first two weekends, simply because the picture just isn’t very funny.

With due respect to crazy man Zach Galifianakis, I’m giving “Hangover 3″ all of two stars.

Anyone whose not a diehard “Hangover” fan should instead consider just sleeping it off and saving your money.

“Star Trek Into Darkness”

May 19th, 2013 at 10:33 am by under A Look at the Movies

3 Stars

Rated PG-13
2 hours 15 minutes

Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana

Aging Trekkers will be happy to know a young Captain Kirk and his cool crew aboard the Star ship
Enterprise invigorate “Star Trek Into Darkness”.

The not so friendly skies of the future host a not very Imaginative adventure story. But It’s got a rich helping of nostalgia. The chemistry between Chris Pine’s Kirk and Zachary Quinto’s Spock is “Star Trek’s” ageless ingredient.

Director J.J. Abrams just couldn’t resist spicing up the Enterprise crew to keep Kirk and Spock honest. The villain’s a familiar nemesis, Khan. Benedict Cumberbatch injects enough venom into his character to really annoy the usually unflappable Captain Kirk.

Scenes of imminent danger and mass destruction justify the cost of producing this epic adventure. Character recognition will carry a long running franchise only so far.

But at the end of the day, the mutual concern between Kirk and Spock is what carries “Star Trek Into Darkness” toward the light at the end of the tunnel.

We’re talking about an ageless “Star Trek” adventure series that still has enough fuel in it’s tank to keep going at warp speed.

Certainly enough for Becker to beam up a glittering three stars. “Star Trek Into Darkness” will have fans turning back the clock.


“The Sapphires”

May 18th, 2013 at 10:23 am by under A Look at the Movies

4 Stars









Rated PG-13
1 hour 45 minutes

Chris O ‘ Dowd

I must tell you, every once in a while we’re treated to a lovable, sweet-natured celebration of life,
that just happens to be based on a true story. “The Sapphires” is that movie.

The wonderful Chris O’Dowd mentors the singing careers of four Australian sisters during the 1960s.

O’Dowd lovingly guides the Aboriginal quartet during the amusing and heartfelt transformation  into Motown Soul Sisters. What’s amazing is how well O’Dowd understands and instills in them the essence of soul music.

Their ambitions take on a harder edge when they get to live their dream of entertaining the troops during the Vietnam war.

“The Sapphires” is never anything less than inspiring and deeply touching. It’s as crowd pleasing an independent drama as you’ll find along the art house circuit with a cast of mostly unknowns giving memorable performances.

“The Sapphires” is an absolute gem of a tug at your heartstrings drama. You will be captivated by its warmth and charm. You’ll understand right away “The Sapphires” is one of the few films this year that deserves to be rewarded with four stars.

Just ask anyone whose had the pleasure of seeing “The Sapphires”.


May 11th, 2013 at 10:25 am by under A Look at the Movies

3 Stars

Rated R
1 hour 55 minutes

In a season usually made up exclusively of bubble headed blockbusters, comes a sobering chiller about the evils of the internet. “Disconnect” is designed to make your furious about what’s happening to us in Cyberspace.

This lean and mean commentary tells how supplicated technology, such as Cyber Bullying and Identity Theft can easily victimize the innocent and uninformed.

Art Imitates the terrible life experience of losing everything you own to the ruthless among us, who know how to manipulate a computer better than we do. This happens every day, but It’s no less powerful watching the suffering unfold on the big screen.

Then there are the vulnerable victims of Cyber Bullying and what they do to themselves when the pain becomes unbearable. When Technology is misplaced into the hands of the cruel and Immature.

If “Disconnect” tells us everything that we already know about, then how come the experience of seeing “Disconnect” is so unnerving?

You’ve got to give the writers credit for having the guts to depict anonymous texting as a weapon against the weak. “Disconnect” is the kind of provocative, controversial drama that I’m inclined to reward with three stars.

Considering how much this film has to say, “Disconnect” is well worth seeing more than once.


Iron Man 3

May 5th, 2013 at 11:44 am by under A Look at the Movies

3 Stars

Rated PG-13
2 hours 10 minutes

Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle

“Iron Man” fans will be happy to know that Robert Downey Junior makes it through the second sequel without a trace of rust.

The shiny new adventure captures the combination of Tony Stark’s snappy repartee along with lots of imaginative high playing excitement. “Iron Man’s” got a new nemesis and of course Downey challenges him in style.

“Iron Man’s” resourceful derring do knows no bounds in what easily could have been the original, instead of the third in the series when the franchise usually starts going downhill.

The always gracious billionaire playboy would never allow planning to save the world, interfere with giving adoring young fans his autograph.

But dazzling the crowd with super spectacular visual effects take top priority. This is what being a top flight summer season popcorn adventure is really all about. All with a sly sense of humor.

And It doesn’t hurt having Robert Downey Junior playing the most charming, charismatic and animated of all the Marvel comics super heroes in or out of costume.

No, “Iron Man 3″ isn’t quite ready for the scrapheap yet with 3 stars.

I’ll let you in on a secret. “Iron Man” is my kind of super hero.


May 4th, 2013 at 10:51 am by under A Look at the Movies

3 Stars

Rated PG-132 hours 5 minutes

Mattew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Sam Shepard

What do you say to a dark, brooding coming of age thriller, set along the Mississippi river?

“Mud” may strike you as a moody, modern day version of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” with the way the lives of two boys intersect with a mysterious fugitive by the name of “Mud”.

The roving camera deepens the atmosphere of this strange tale of father and son bonding.

Matthew McConoughey heads the strong cast of colorful characters that deliver powerful performances.

McConoughey may be a father figure to the impressionable children, but to his own Father, Sam Shepard, he’s a dismal disappointment.

The children serve as the go-between, linking “Mud” with his soul-mate, Reese Witherspoon.

Witherspoon probably jumped at the chance to play this small but effecting role. It’s one of the best parts she has had in years.

“Mud” is an edgy thriller that will play exceptionally well with serious moviegoers.

Any film this well made is bound to stir up enough accolades for a crowd pleasing three stars.

The big difference between the Independently made “Mud” and some predictable studio production, “Mud” will constantly keep you off-balance.

“The Company You Keep”

April 28th, 2013 at 10:19 am by under A Look at the Movies

4 Stars

Rated R
2 hours 5 minutes

Robert Redford, Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon

Robert Redford never makes a movie unless he’s got something important to say. Redford directed and stars in “The Company You Keep”.

It’s a sentimental political thriller about aging anti-war radicals still on the FBI’s most wanted list. Redford’s avoided the law for so long why should he worry about crusading reporter Shia LaBeouf? Who according to Redford is such a smart young man, he probably would have been involved with the movement thirty years ago.

When fellow radical Susan Sarandon surrenders to the FBI, Redford goes on a journey of self-discovery. What motivated him to distance himself from his fellow political extremists of long ago?

The hot shot reporter is also trying to uncover the truth about these unrepentant radicals from a bygone era.

Since “The Company You Keep” is more thoughtful than fast moving, this deeply involving film falls into the category sure to alienate the action crowd.

But how can you go wrong with a memorable cast that includes the legendary Julie Christie as the long ago love of Redford’s life?

You owe it to yourself to see “The Company You Keep” just to be in Robert Redford’s company. This masterful film  is worth nothing short of four stars.

And trust me, you won’t find a better movie out there right now.


April 20th, 2013 at 10:32 am by under A Look at the Movies

Three-StarRated R
1 hour 40 minutes

James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel

Imagine stealing a priceless painting and then under hypnosis, forgetting where you put it, It’s all in the mind-bending thriller “Trance”.
A stylishly gruesome thriller that might be too confusing for its own good. But then baffling plots have always gotten the best of me.
What is James McAvoy’s state of mind when he steals that priceless work of art right out from under the auctioneer’s nose? And then for the life of him, he can’t muster enough total recall to remember what he did with it.
Which puts him at a serious disadvantage with art thief mastermind Vincent Cassel.
Master manipulator Rosario Dawson, who If she doesn’t have McAvoy hypnotized in the palm of her hand, has him at the foot of her bed.
I promise you quite a run for your powers of deduction. That brilliant British Director, Danny Boyle, intensely orchestrates this twisty plot to perfection.
My advice before entering the theater, put your brain in overdrive. This film keeps you guessing right up until the devilishly clever conclusion. It’s enough to earn “Trance” 3 stars.
I guarantee, that you’ll give this thriller a lot of thought.