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NEW THIS WEEK
Hobbit, The: The Battle of the Five Armies 2
Annie (2014) 1.5
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb 1
Sagrada: The Mystery of Creation rate me!
Goodbye to All That rate me!
If You Don't, I Will rate me!
Gambler, The (2014) rate me!
Winter Sleep rate me!
Song of the Sea rate me!
Mr. Turner rate me!
Medeas rate me!
ALSO IN THEATERS

COMING NEXT WEEK
24-Dec Beloved Sisters
24-Dec Two Days, One Night
25-Dec American Sniper
25-Dec Big Eyes
25-Dec Into the Woods
25-Dec Leviathan (2014)
25-Dec Selma
25-Dec Unbroken

DVD RELEASES
16-Dec Coyote  
16-Dec Maze Runner, The  
16-Dec This is Where I Leave You  
23-Dec Good Lie, The  
23-Dec Pride (2014)  

TOP 5
MOVIES IN RELEASE
TITLE RATING
Jackpot 5
Housebound 5
Inherent Vice 5
Uzumasa Limelight 5
Foxcatcher 5

BOTTOM 5
MOVIES IN RELEASE
TITLE RATING
Annie (2014) 1.5
Hobbit, The: The Battle of the Five Armies 2
Exodus: Gods and Kings 2
Back in Time (Fleet of Time) 2
Dumb and Dumber To 2.18

2012 Tribeca Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Trishna 3.71
Five-Year Engagement, The 3.4
Burn 4
Side by Side 3.86
Whole Lotta Sole 4
MORE MOVIES

2013 Fantasia International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
I'll Follow You Down 3
Library Wars 3
Saving General Yang 4
Grand Heist, The 4.14
Night That Panicked America, The 4
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2013 Toronto International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Major, The 5
Parkland 3
Philomena 4.1
Oculus 2.68
Third Person 1.14
MORE MOVIES

2013 New York Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Square, The (2013) 4.89
Jimmy P. 3.91
Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The 3.82
Omar 4.5
Tim's Vermeer 5
MORE MOVIES

2013 Chicago International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Lasting 3
Hide Your Smiling Faces 3.69
Immigrant, The 4.11
Book Thief, The 3
Fifth Estate, The 2
MORE MOVIES

2015 Sundance Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
'71 4
Tribe, The (2014) 5
Wild Tales 2
It Follows 4.57
Girlhood (Bande de filles) 2
MORE MOVIES

2014 Toronto International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Girlhood (Bande de filles) 2
Theory of Everything, The (2014) 3.78
They Have Escaped 3
Madame Bovary (2014) 4
Rosewater 3
MORE MOVIES

2014 Chicago International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Babadook, The 3.73
Birdman 4.5
St. Vincent 3.86
Piano Room, The 4
Wild 4
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2014 Telluride Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Homesman, The 3.44
Wild Tales 2
Foxcatcher 5
Rosewater 3
Birdman 4.5
MORE MOVIES

2014 Denver Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
'71 4
Wild 4
Alleluia 5
Foxcatcher 5
Killers (2015) 3.75
MORE MOVIES

2014 AFI Fest MOVIES
TITLE RATING
'71 4
Sea Fog (Haemoo) 4.38
Faults 4
Duke of Burgundy, The 4.71
Thou Wast Mild and Lovely 3
MORE MOVIES

2014 Polish Film Festival in America MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Ida 4.71
Immigrant, The 4.11
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2015 Palm Springs Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Ida 4.71
Tribe, The (2014) 5
In Order of Disappearance 5
'71 4
Citizenfour 3
MORE MOVIES

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Movies Listed: 27531
Total Ratings: 244714
Total Reviews: 26497
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SPOTLIGHTED FEATURES REGULAR COLUMNS
Films I Neglected To Review: Stick With "The Relic"
The Oscar Eye (2014 Awards Tally) (UPDATED 12/21)
Whistler Film Festival 2014 Interview: SNOWMAN director Mike Douglas
Whistler Film Festival 2014 Interview: BACKCOUNTRY director Adam MacDonald
Whistler Film Festival 2014 Interview: THE COCKSURE LADS MOVIE director Murray Foster
Whistler Film Festival 2014 Interview: STAY AWHILE director Jessica Edwards
Whistler Film Festival 2014 Interview: PRETEND WE'RE KISSING creators Matt Sadowski & Pete Harvey
Whistler Film Festival 2014 Interview: WE WERE WOLVES director Jordan Canning
Whistler Film Festival 2014 Interview: AFTER FILM SCHOOL director Joel Ashton McCarthy
Whistler Film Festival 2014 Interview: WHAT AN IDIOT creators Peter and Julia Benson.
Whistler Film Festival 2014 Interview: ALLY WAS SCREAMING director Jeremy Thomas
Whistler Film Festival 2014 Interview: MOUNTAIN MEN director Cam Labine
Whistler Film Festival 2014 Interview: The Backward Class director Madeleine Grant
The 2014 Whistler Film Festival and an Imitating Snowman
The Curious Case of "The Gambler" - The Woes of Hollywood's International Release Strategy
Criticwatch - Shawn Edwards: The 2013 Quote Whore of the Year, Decade And Ever
Criticwatch - The 2013 Quote Whores of the Year
Criticwatch Presents: Peter Travers (The 2013 Retrospective)
Criticwatch Presents: Pete Hammond (The 2013 Retrospective)
Celebrity Exclusive Interviews
Film Festivals of the World
Criticwatch
Rants and Raves
Court of Public Opinion
DVD Reviews
Movies & Money with Erik Childress (WCIU-TV)
The HBS/EFC Hall of Fame
The Oscar Eye
Films I Neglected To Review with Peter Sobczynski
Short Stuff
WGN Radio's Midnight Movie Reviews Podcast (w/ Nick Digilio, Erik Childress & Collin Souter)
DVD/Blu-ray Schedules
MORE FEATURES
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LATEST REVIEWS
INTO THE WOODS
"Are We Out Of The Woods Yet? D'oh!"
2 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "Practically from the moment that it made its debut on stage in 1986, musical theater fans have been salivating over the prospect of a big screen version of James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods." After years of rumors and failed attempts, the show has finally made the leap from the stage to the screen but unfortunately, the old adage that is thematically at the heart of the show--"Be careful what you wish for. . . "--proves itself to be unfailingly and unsparingly accurate in the case of this film. Having never seen the show in its stage incarnation, I cannot specifically comment on how it may have changed along the way, for good or for ill, but based solely on watching the film, I can instantly recognize that something must have been lost in the translation because this is a depressing, lugubrious and wildly overproduced bore that, with maybe one or two exceptions,never manages to connect with viewers on any level." (more)
ANNIE (2014)
"Some interesting notions are left orphaned in this safe update."
2 stars
Brett Gallman says... "The opening gag of “Annie” is a clever if not obvious wink at itself, as it presents the familiar image of an overly sprightly red-headed girl named Annie who is quickly shoved aside in favor of a new, less syrupy and precious (but no less precocious) Annie Bennett (Quvenzhane Wallis). Upon assuming the mantle, she announces this update’s newfound sense of sass—this is a thoroughly millennial “Annie,” self-assured and somewhat full of itself. Then again, reviving a Depression-era tale for a modern, even more jaded milieu probably requires some measure of confidence." (more)
BACK IN TIME (FLEET OF TIME)
"Right characters, wrong story."
2 stars
Jay Seaver says... "It can be kind of interesting to watch a movie like "Back in Time" ("Cong Cong Na Nian" in the original Mandarin, translated onscreen as "Fleet of Time") which comes from another culture, though often kind of puzzling: It's at least partly someone else's nostalgia, and if you don't know the late-1990s mandopop song accompanying a scene, you may be missing the punchline. Then again, it's not like the movies that make an appeal to one's own youth generally wind up being very good beyond that knee-jerk reaction, even without this movie's specific problems." (more)
ANNIE (2014)
"Annie Hell"
1 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... ""Annie," the stage musical adaptation of the long-running comic strip, has, of course, gone on to become one of the biggest hits in Broadway history but when it came time to transfer it from the stage to the screen in 1982, the end result was a critical and commercial disaster, largely due to the bizarre decision to turn the directorial reins over to John Huston, a legendary filmmaker who, as it turned out, had absolutely no affinity for the genre and its trappings--essentially it was the "Jersey Boys" of its day. Because of the show's enduring popularity, though, it was almost inevitable that someone would try to film another version of it at some point and now, after years of false starts, "Annie" is back and, astonishingly enough, it is worse than ever. Despite the incredibly low bar set by the previous film, this incarnation is such a grim and joyless slog in almost every imaginable way that not only did Huston make a better "Annie" back in the day, he made a better "Annie" when he did "Victory"--at least that one had something vaguely resembling choreography going for it." (more)
INHERENT VICE
"Cuts right through the haze."
5 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Thomas Pynchon kicked my butt in both classes where I had to read one of his books twenty years ago, and the film adaptation of "Inherent Vice" seemed like it was going to be the same sort of experience - I felt like I had lost the plot about two minutes into a 148-minute movie, which shouldn't even be possible. Of course, sometimes the plot matters much less than the telling, and the telling of this story is exceptional." (more)
BABADOOK, THE
"Kids Conjure Up The Damnedest Things"
4 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "Even the most forgiving genre apologist would have to admit that 2014 has not exactly been a banner year for horror films with most of the year being dedicated to the usual array of lame sequels, spinoffs, knockoffs and standard-issue craptaculars whose most notable characteristic have been their utter forgettability--it has only been a few weeks since I saw them but if I had to take a test on the differences between "Annabelle" and "Jessabelle," I am not entirely confident that I could pass it. However, if the last few weeks are to be believed, all of that is about to turn around with the arrival of the Australian import "The Babadook." Having made a splash earlier this year at Sundance, the film has been slowly building a wellspring of support amongst fanboys and critics alike, sometimes in the most unlikely of places (when you see a low-budget horror film being discussed in earnest on "CBS Sunday Morning," you know something is up), and the hype was further stoked recently by no less a figure than William Friedkin, the director of a little thing called "The Exorcist," who recently dubbed it the scariest movie that he had ever seen. Now that it is hitting theaters at last, audiences will finally be able to determine for themselves whether the film is a genuinely classic on the level of "Halloween" or "Let the Right One In" or if it just another snoozefest like "All The Boys Love Mandy Lane" that unaccountably found itself on the receiving end of praise from people desperately trying to anoint a film as being the next big thing without quite deserving it." (more)
HOBBIT, THE: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES
"Are We Out Of The Shire Yet?"
2 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "As long-time readers have no doubt heard me pontificate about before at excruciating length, I have a general aversion to most medieval fantasies involving elves, pixies, sprites, broadswords, dragons (especially those of the talking variety) and other such accoutrements of the genre. Even when an example comes along that I am able to embrace on some level, as was the case with the "Lord of the Rings" films and "Game of Thrones," there is still something about the genre in general that keeps me at a distance and prevents me from embracing them as fully as their most rabid fans do. And yet, I felt a certain degree of elation while heading into the theatre for the screening of "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," the concluding chapter of Peter Jackson's ridiculously elongated adaptation of JRR Tolkien's relatively slim predecessor to his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. This sense of anticipation was not due to any sense of love for the film's predecessors--I found both "The Unexpected Journey" and "The Desolation of Smaug" to be bloated nightmares that found him stretching a thin narrative to unconscionable lengths for no obvious reason other than to milk the property for every possible cent. No, this anticipatory delight was due almost entirely to the realization that not only would the story finally have to find some focus in order to get to its conclusion but once the end credits finished rolling, it meant that I would almost certainly no longer be professionally required to give a damn about orcs, white wizards, walking trees and those goddamn talking dragons ever again. (Any smart-ass out there who even thinks of mentioning the title "The Silmarillion" is going to get SUCH a pinch.)" (more)
TOP FIVE
"Chris Rock & Rosario Dawson are a great top two."
5 stars
Jay Seaver says... "It took roughly a minute of "Top Five" for me to realize that I really hadn't been anticipating this film enough - it is, after all, built around Chris Rock and Rosario Dawson hanging around and verbally jousting with each other, and I like both of them a lot. It's not much longer than that before it's clear that we're getting both of them at their best, and that makes for a formidably funny movie." (more)
MORE REVIEWS

LATEST FEATURES
CRITICWATCH PRESENTS: PETER TRAVERS (THE 2014 RETROSPECTIVE)
by Erik Childress
"Another year of movies and another year where no studio can seem to avoid the name of Peter Travers. The Rolling Stone "critic" who turned his capsule reviews into an easy game of "find the quote" threw in the towel a long time ago when it came to being part of the marketing rather than the conversation. For a guy that only gave three 4-star reviews in 2014 (Boyhood, Birdman & Foxcatcher), the verbiage often found in the newspapers and the commercials make it sound like he is giving away 5 stars left and right. On the slightly plus side, barring any late-year hyperbolic fits on some limited releases, Travers' 60 quotes in 2014 is the lowest since his 56 in 2003. Small consolation seeing as how as still had 60 quotes which is more than double of any critic (whore or legit) we tracked this year, but its a far cry from the 81 he got out there in 2010. Keeping him under 70 since then seems like a small consolation, but it is time to offer the yearly retrospective on how each quote is more meaningless than the last." (more)
FILMS I NEGLECTED TO REVIEW: STICK WITH "THE RELIC"
by Peter Sobczynski
"Please enjoy short reviews of "A Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" and "Muffin Top: A Love Story"" (more)
THE OSCAR EYE (2014 AWARDS TALLY) (UPDATED 12/21)
by Erik Childress
"The Oscar Eye is brings you the latest award tallies for each of the film. Who is winning? Who is being nominated? Who isnt getting any love? Will it all lead to Oscar gold or will some great films be the perpetual bridesmaid to the soft-lovin Academy? (NOTE: "Other Awards" are those signified by organizations that limit their awards to a very specific subsection of the year's qualifiers - or - awards that are not presented at the Oscars. Or the Gothams who miss about two months worth of movies. Or the Golden Satellites who voted for The Wolf of Wall Street despite not seeing the movie.)" (more)
MORE FEATURES

'PEOPLE WILL LOOK AT THE ASHES OF WESTERBURG AND SAY, "NOW THERE'S A SCHOOL THAT SELF DESTRUCTED, NOT BECAUSE SOCIETY DIDN'T CARE, BUT BECAUSE THE SCHOOL WAS SOCIETY!"'
- Jason Dean, Heathers
 
 

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