Pete Docter proves just the tonic for Pixar with Inside Out

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 

Say what you want about the superhero genre, over the past twenty years Pixar has turned our childhoods into a cottage history.

From the animated playthings of Toy Story to the night terrors of Monsters, Inc., with the occasional sequel and prequel thrown in, no studio has displayed such consistent inventiveness and insight into the processes of growing up.…

Maggie shows the Austrian Oak is still putting down roots

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

As his involvement in Terminator Genisys shows, Arnold Schwarzenegger is not a man who’s afraid to return to the same watering hole.

Over the course of forty years — and almost sixty films — he’s taken on iconic villains like the Predator, the T-1000, and Charles Dance (because screw it, I liked The Last Action Hero), but has so far steered clear of the Universal lineup vis-a-vis Dracula, Mummy, and The Wolfman.…

True Story is a pallid case study that seems likely to fade away before too long

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

The truth is a funny thing. While facts may be unyielding — a child’s body submerged in a suitcase with a teddy bear; a flood of brackish water — our relationship to them is often more elastic.

Case in point: reporter Michael Finkel (Jonah Hill), dismissed from his job at the New York Times for fabrication, and Christian Longo (James Franco), a man accused of murdering his wife and children.…

The needle may swing, but Going Clear mostly plays it down the line

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

Be it from South Park or PTA’s The Master, most of us know a little something about Scientology.

Documentarian Alex Gibney’s most recent expose got to grips with a certain now-infamous cyclist in The Armstrong Lie, now he takes us behind the scenes that L.…

Mommy: a love-hate experience I had mixed feelings about

3 Stars (3 / 5)

 

Right, where to begin. Mommy, the latest work of French-Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan, plays like a hyper-saturated soap opera underscored with Greek tragedy and just a dash of plot-convenient alternate universe social community.

Set in a Canada where its legal to indefinitely commit problem kids at the age of sixteen, Mommy revolves around Diane “Die” Després (Anne Dorval), a gutsy, sometimes glamorous single mum who, first we see her, is stepping out a car wreck; a few minutes later Die’s smacking gum and staring down a teacher who questions her ability to look after her troubled son, Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon).…

Ant-Man is disposable, throwaway fun, but it might make you think twice next time you step on a bug

3 Stars (3 / 5)

 

Marketed as this year’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man isn’t as quirky or out-there as its intergalactic predecessor — no Blue Swede on the soundtrack here.

In the unlikely hero department we have Paul Rudd, unsurprisingly immensely likeable as Scott Lang, a scrappy ex con who favors a wry smile over wisecracking and is trying to get his life back on track.…

Control freak, egotist, critical genius: As Life Itself shows, Roger Ebert was very much the director of his own life.

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

Critics are rarely beloved creatures. There’s always the impression they’re leeching off the back of the real creatives. It might be a symbiotic relationship, but, at best, they’re considered a necessary evil.

But not in the case of Roger Ebert.…

Man From UNCLE is stylish but hardly likely to shake up Bond

3 Stars (3 / 5)

 

The second blockbuster based on a ‘60s spy series to hit this summer, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. provides a stylish jaunt back to the Cold War.

Following a red-tinted title sequence that provides a potted history of recent U.S-Russia relations, we find ourselves in 1963.…

Love & Mercy is a not inconsiderable blessing from the music biopic genre

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

Has there been any sub-genre of drama more reliable in recent years than the music biopic?

They give the chance for charismatic character actors like Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cotillard to take on larger-than-life personalities undergoing the trials and tribulations of fame and fortune.

Slow West, my son: Go see

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

The genre in which John Wayne once set out to kill his niece because she’d had hands laid on her by an “Injun” has become more reflective in recent years; elegiac even.

The Western is now less concerned with drawling former Confederates and more about allegory, about the decline of myth and the uncertain rise of civilization al a Unforgiven or The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.…