"Million Dollar Arm" is a baseball movie that pulls off a smooth triple play. It's a character-based comedy drama that's also a smart film about the business of sports. As if it weren't difficult enough to work that double angle, there's also an exotic international focus. The story focuses on immigrant players struggling with social disorientation and homesickness, an underreported aspect of the game that has caused many a gifted recruit to fail. And by the way, it's all based on a true story.
The "Godzilla" reboot perfectly illustrates the problem that has long haunted mediocre monster movies. When the big, scaly guys are on screen, it's a fun thrill ride. But when the humans are at the center of the action, things get scary — and not in a good way.
“Neighbors” is an “Animal House” for “The Hangover” era, a frat-boy comedy that pushes the rude and raunchy envelope into daring and dirty new territory. Hilariously coarse, reasonably shrewd and clumsily sentimental, there’s no reason it won’t earn a billion and inspire a whole new generation of party-hearty “bros” to go Greek when they go to college.
The superhuman efforts director Joe Johnston made to persuade Chris Evans to re-enlist in the comic book movie universe as “Captain America” pay more dividends in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”
All those years of packing his resume with "long-suffering" reasonable guys forced to do the slow burn when confronted by irrational family, bosses or identity thieves must have gotten to Jason Bateman.
“Divergent,” the latest outcast-teen-battles-The System thriller, is similar enough to “The Hunger Games” that hardcore Katniss fans may dismiss it. But it’s a more streamlined film, with a love story with genuine heat and deaths with genuine pathos.
We should all be so lucky as to live in a world designed, peopled and manipulated by Wes Anderson. His latest film, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” is a dark, daft and deft triumph of design details. From the purple velvet with red piping hotel uniforms to the drinks, colognes and artwork of Europe between the World Wars, Anderson ensconces his eccentric characters and us in a time of baroque, imaginary 4-star hotels run on what used to pass for 4-star service.
It was too much to hope that someone with Gerard Butler’s charismatic, bellowing swagger would be around for the sequel, “300: Rise of an Empire.” His Leonidas and his oiled-down eight-pack are sorely missed, as are the quotable quatrains of that famous fight, the Spartan trash talk that sings through the ages. So many Persian arrows will rain on them that they will “blot out the sun”? “Then we shall fight in the shade.” There’s nothing that moving in “Rise of an Empire,” a more visually stunning but less thrilling ...
LOS ANGELES — Perhaps atoning for past sins, Hollywood named the brutal, unshrinking historical drama “12 Years a Slave” best picture at the 86th annual Academy Awards. Steve McQueen’s slavery odyssey, based on Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir, has been hailed as a landmark corrective to the movie industry’s virtual blindness to slavery, instead creating whiter tales like 1940 best-picture winner “Gone With the Wind.” “12 Years a Slave” is the first best-picture winner directed by a black filmmaker.
On Sunday night screenwriter Bob Nelson will be seated in the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles for the Academy Awards. His movie “Nebraska” is up not only for his screenplay but for five other Oscars, including Best Picture. Heady stuff for a self-described “boy from Kent.”
“Pompeii” is half sword-and-sandal epic, half disaster movie and all guilty pleasure. Director Paul W.S. Anderson, taking a break from cranking out “Resident Evil” movies, has a strong command of CGI technology and 3-D effects, and the movie is so grand in scale that you can’t help surrender to the spectacle, even if the stuff that’s going on with the people in the film is often close to risible.