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Hobbit, The: The Battle of the Five Armies 1.89
Annie (2014) 1
Winter Sleep rate me!
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Goodbye to All That rate me!
If You Don't, I Will rate me!
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb rate me!
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Mr. Turner 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 Interview, The
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
Housebound 5
Jackpot 5
Inherent Vice 5
Uzumasa Limelight 5
Foxcatcher 5

BOTTOM 5
MOVIES IN RELEASE
TITLE RATING
Annie (2014) 1
Exodus: Gods and Kings 1.83
Hobbit, The: The Battle of the Five Armies 1.89
Lookalike, The 2
Dumb and Dumber To 2.18

2012 Tribeca Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Five-Year Engagement, The 3.4
Fairhaven 3.5
Revenge for Jolly! 1
Jackpot 5
Graceland 4
MORE MOVIES

2013 Fantasia International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Big Bad Wolves 4.38
Animals (2013) 3.86
Bad Film 4
Helter Skelter (2013) 5
Ritual: A Psychomagic Story 3
MORE MOVIES

2013 Toronto International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Fifth Estate, The 2
Parkland 3
Blue Is the Warmest Color 4.08
Fake, The 3.71
Of Good Report 5
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2013 New York Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Like Father, Like Son (2014) 4.75
Inside Llewyn Davis 4.29
Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The 3.82
Alan Partridge 4.14
Nebraska 3.64
MORE MOVIES

2013 Chicago International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Big Bad Wolves 4.38
Alan Partridge 4.14
Stray Dogs (2013) 2
Fifth Estate, The 2
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom 3.56
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2015 Sundance Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Wild Tales 2
It Follows 5
Tribe, The (2014) 5
Girlhood (Bande de filles) 2
'71 4
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2014 Toronto International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Girlhood (Bande de filles) 2
This is Where I Leave You 2.63
Mary Kom 2.88
St. Vincent 3.86
Tale of the Princess Kaguya, The 4.86
MORE MOVIES

2014 Chicago International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Babadook, The 3.73
Force Majeure 5
Creep (2014) 4.56
Goal of the Dead 4
Supernova (2014) 4
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2014 Telluride Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Wild Tales 2
'71 4
Foxcatcher 5
Birdman 4.5
Madame Bovary (2014) 4
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2014 Denver Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Midnight Swim, The 3
'71 4
Wild 4
Thou Wast Mild and Lovely 3
Killers (2014) 3.75
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2014 AFI Fest MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Homesman, The 3.44
Girlhood (Bande de filles) 2
Faults 4
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem 5
Midnight Swim, The 3
MORE MOVIES

2014 Hawaii International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Tribe, The (2014) 5
Sea Fog (Haemoo) 4.38
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter 5
Uzumasa Limelight 5
Thermae Romae II 2.86
MORE MOVIES

2014 Polish Film Festival in America MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Immigrant, The 4.11
Ida 4.71
MORE MOVIES

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SPOTLIGHTED FEATURES REGULAR COLUMNS
The Oscar Eye (2014 Awards Tally) (UPDATED 12/19 w/Vegas)
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
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LATEST REVIEWS
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)
ZERO MOTIVATION
"Daffi and company are, in fact, kind of daffy."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Having a crappy job or two is often a rite of passage for folks in their late teens and early twenties, and if you live in a country like Israel with mandatory military service, having that turn out to be your crappy job means that you've probably gotten pretty lucky, compared to how things could have turned out. The joke, of course, is that those for whom that is the case are too young and fortunate to realize it at the time, and that adds a nice little sting to the already quite funny "Zero Motivation"." (more)
EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS
"Well, There Is One Good Part. . ."
1 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "Ridley Scott is one of the few directors out there who more often than not works better when he has enormous technical hurdles to conquer. If you have a film that needs vast worlds, either recreations of past eras or detailed conceptualization of future ones, filled up with casts of thousands (even if many of them are now digitally created these days) and elaborate action set-pieces, he is your man, as he has shown in such epics as "Alien," "Blade Runner," "Black Hawk Down," the extended edition of "Kingdom of Heaven" and "Prometheus" (yeah, "Prometheus"). When it comes to dealing with two or three people in a room simply communicating with each other, on the other hand, is when things get dicey and the end result is something like his last effort, "The Counsellor," a film that may reveal itself as some kind of bleak masterpiece of nihilism at some point down the road but which now still plays like a turgid disaster. The problem with his latest effort, the Biblical epic "Exodus: Gods and Kings," is that it tells a story that requires someone with a facility for handling both the epic and the intimate and while he pulls off the big-scale stuff in a reasonable manner, he badly fumbles the quieter, character-driven stuff that is equally important. The end result is a lumbering saga that offers a few moments of real spectacle but which is, ironic for a religious-based narrative, almost utterly devoid of anything resembling a soul." (more)
IMITATION GAME, THE
"On The Turing Away"
4 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "In an inversion of the most famous joke in "Tropic Thunder," it seems that the best way to go about scoring a Best Actor nomination in this year's Oscar derby is to find a role that allows one to go full genius. Last month, for example, saw the release of "The Theory of Everything," in which Eddie Redmayne gingerly stepped into the shoes (and later wheelchair) of the noted astrophysicist Stephen Hawking in a film that depicted how his intellect managed to overcome the massive physical horrors and impositions of ALS in ways that literally changed the ways in which we see the world. Now we have "The Imitation Game," in which British cult favorite Benedict Cumberbatch portrays Alan Turing, an equally brilliant mathematician whose efforts also helped to change the course of history but whose professional triumphs went largely unheralded for decades and whose personal life ended in a manner both tragic and unfair. I didn't much care for "The Theory of Everything" because I didn't much care for the way that it soft-pedaled both Hawking's genius and some of the messier aspects of his life in an effort to transform it into a more crowd-pleasing drama. There is some of that in "The Imitation Game" as well but of the two, I prefer that one because, much like its central figure, it is a slightly more prickly and off-beat work and is all the more interesting because of it." (more)
MORE REVIEWS

LATEST FEATURES
THE OSCAR EYE (2014 AWARDS TALLY) (UPDATED 12/19 W/VEGAS)
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 isnít getting any love? Will it all lead to Oscar gold or will some great films be the perpetual bridesmaid to the soft-loviní 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)
WHISTLER FILM FESTIVAL 2014 INTERVIEW: SNOWMAN DIRECTOR MIKE DOUGLAS
by Jason Whyte
"'SNOWMAN is a familiar story about dreams, risk, and friendship. Kevin Fogolin thought he had life figured out until the helicopter he was travelling in slammed into the side of a mountain.' Director Mike Douglas on his film SNOWMAN which is the closing night film of the 2014 Whistler Film Festival." (more)
WHISTLER FILM FESTIVAL 2014 INTERVIEW: BACKCOUNTRY DIRECTOR ADAM MACDONALD
by Jason Whyte
"'If you like survival thrillers like OPEN WATER, 127 HOURS, THE GREY & JAWS, then you have to see BACKCOUNTRY! It's based on a true story of a young couple who go camping deep in the backcountry. After facing natures darkest side they are forced to survive under extraordinary circumstances. There is a scene in the movie I guarantee will keep you up at night.' Director Adam MacDonald on his film BACKCOUNTRY which screens at the 2014 Whistler Film Festival." (more)
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- Hartman, Full Metal Jacket
 
 

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