Past Stories
les-miserables

Best of Times

The 10 Most Outstanding Films of 2012 The past year offered the best crop of movies I’ve seen in more than a decade. As usual, I’m offering my personal 10 favorites of the year out of the more than 150…


39filmJACK-REACHER1

Over-Reach

Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher hits too close to reality As the old saying goes, timing is everything. That could apply to good luck or bad, but in the case of Jack Reacher, Tom Cruise’s new attempt at an action film…


38filmDJANGO-1

Wild Wild Western

Quentin Tarantino and Jamie Foxx reinvent the Western in Django Unchained In the 20 years since his stunning debut as the writer/director of the crime film Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino has brought a wildly inventive spin t...



37filmGUILT-1

No Guilt Required

There’s plenty to enjoy in the new road film starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen There are two movies coming out this week that involve an epic journey, undertaken by gnomish creatures on a quest for enlightenment. One i...


35filmHYDE-2

The Raw Deal

Bill Murray abandons everything that made him special as FDR in Hyde Park on Hudson It’s always sad when beloved movie stars die, even when fans hear of their passing long after their acting career ended. But a far stranger&h...


35filmHITCHCOCK-1

Good Evening, Indeed

Hitchcock offers a funny and informative night at the movies with the Master of Suspense Virtually every famous public figure has two lives: the one the public thinks it knows, and the real one carried out behind closed doors. ...



34filmSILVER-1

Cinematic Treasure

David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook finds comic beauty in life’s darkest moments Love in the movies is rarely shown in the way most of us deal with it in life, with all the messy complications and daily struggles tha...


33filmLINCOLN-1-(FC)

Overrated Epic, Underrated Gem

Lincoln is a bloated misfire, while A Late Quartet is a quiet masterpiece Epic movies may get the biggest hype, but that doesn’t always make them the best films. At the same time, sometimes the films with the least hype…


32filmSKAYFALL-3

Dark Journey

Daniel Craig takes James Bond to new depths with the riveting Skyfall For the past 50 years, James Bond has been jet-setting around the globe, bedding exotic women while saving England and the rest of the planet from nefarious ...



31filmFLIGHT1

Flying High

Denzel takes on his most daring role as a drug-fueled pilot in Flight Whip Whitaker is the kind of guy who lives life in a perpetual swagger. He sleeps with incredibly beautiful women, drinks people under the table and snorts&h...


30filmCLOUD-ATLAS2

The Sky’s the Limit

With Cloud Atlas, a team of struggling A-listers break free of career ruts via a transcendent tale In a time when many movies can’t even make one story compelling for 90 minutes, the new film Cloud Atlas achieves the seemingl...


29filmHOUSE-I-LIVE-IN4

The War at Home

Eugene Jarecki’s The House I Live In paints the War on Drugs as a costly failure I was reminded of Eugene Jarecki’s The House I Live In while driving home to Pasadena recently. The latest film by the New York-based…



28filmARGO-3

The Role Of A Lifetime

With Argo, Ben Affleck solidifies his status as Hollywood’s hottest young director while giving us a thriller for our times Some movies luck into being released at just the right time. Ben Affleck’s superb new historical th...


27filmCROSSROAD-1

The Christian Crash

SoCal filmmakers take on the world Sunday with the surprisingly gritty Crossroad David Dginguerian had a lot of things going well in his life: a successful marriage to a model and actress and a string of successful business end...


26filmLOOPER-2

Do Overs

The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Looper take a look back at the past and the future The Perks of Being a Wallflower depicts the lives of three social outcast high schoolers—a depressed guy, the reformed promiscuous girl he...



25filmTHE-MASTER-2

From Top To Bottom

The Master and Dredd 3D—the year’s best and worst films—hit theaters It’s rare when a critic sees both the best and worst film of the year in the same day. But that’s how things played out last week, when I…


24filmSLEEPWALK-WITH-ME-3

Talent Awakened

Comedian Mike Birbiglia proves he has plenty of other talents in Sleepwalk with Me Some people really can “make lemonade out of lemons,” as the saying goes, by turning life’s setbacks into successes. Mike Birbiglia is suc...


23filmTHE-CAMPAIGN-3

Good Medicine

The Campaign provides the laughs America needs with stinging satire and sharp performances With the two most divisive and partisan weeks of the year—the Republican and Democratic national conventions—behind us, we could all...



22film2016-(FC)

Analyzing the President

The controversial 2016: Obama’s America explores how Obama’s youth led to his current policies In June 2004, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore released Fahrenheit 9/11, a devastating and comedic attack on incumbent Presid...


21filmPREMIUM-RUSH-3

Breaking Away

Joseph Gordon-Levitt speeds toward stardom with Premium Rush There’s a sense of excitement that comes from watching a young actor on the verge of superstardom. These days, that particular level of attention seems to be focuse...


20filmEXPENDABLES-1

Old Guys Rule!

Stallone’s The Expendables 2 is a dream come true for die-hard fans of ’80s action films Anyone who enjoyed action films in the 1980s—perhaps the last great era of truly macho American heroes—often fantasized about what...



19filmBOURNE-1

The Bourne Redundancy

Jeremy Renner stars in a franchise reboot, but Searching for Sugar Man offers audiences a truly tasty time We live in an age where Hollywood loves to reboot its movies, especially when they’re blockbusters. Already this summe...


18filmRUBY-SPARKS-1

Sparking Interest

Indie rom-com Ruby Sparks has plenty to say between lots of laughs Calvin Weir-Fields is a novelist who wrote an instant classic bestseller on his first attempt at a book at the age of 19. But for the past 10…


16filmBATMAN-4

Battling the Dark

 The Aurora theater massacre should not force us to give up our rights “Where was Batman when we really needed him?” That was the comment posted on Facebook by one of the victims of the last week’s massacre inside an&hel...



16filmBATMAN-3(FC)

Originality Guaranteed

Two Alternative Films Offer Audiences a Break from Batman This weekend, you could join the millions of people crowding into overpriced multiplexes to see the latest soulless superhero movie when The Dark Knight Rises hits the n...


15filmSAVAGES4

Savage Ineptitude

Oliver Stone’s Savages drags viewers through the mud of America’s pot wars Have you ever gone to a movie and felt like you needed a shower afterwards? I’m not talking about sitting in run-down, flea-bitten theater where 2...


14filmSPIDERMAN-3

Weak Webbing

The Amazing Spider-Man is really just average There are few people more annoying than drunken storytellers who feel they have to top the story of the guy who talked before them. You know, the ones who say: “But wait! When&hel...



13filmTED-2

Proven Theory

Ted and two other films show that an auteur’s point of view is sometimes best   Far too many modern American films feel like they’re made by committee, bringing together a bunch of pre-tested story elements and viewer-appr...