Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Popcorn movie reviews’ Category

popcornBy Michael S. Goldberger, film critic

Just as you didn’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s Jewish Rye, you don’t have to be Catholic to appreciate “Angels & Demons.” But, like the little old lady said in defense of her chicken soup Rx to treat a cold, “It couldn’t hurt.” Defrocked of its church affiliation, Ron Howard’s filmic adaptation of Dan Brown’s novel is just one more mystery/thriller.

But there’s nothing like a couple millennia of history, lore and liturgy to make a frenzied scavenger hunt more consequential. Add the architecture of Rome and the Vatican—some real, some just movie magic—and all you need to spice things up is to have the four highest-ranking cardinals, The Preferiti, abducted.

Just to make the hyperkinetic puzzle a bit more confounding, it might also be a good idea to have us wonder if the good guys are really the bad guys. Thank goodness then that Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is called to the Vatican to read between the shadows and myths and perhaps save some lives. Maybe even a soul or two.

(more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

popcornBy Michael S. Goldberger, film critic

While the old calendar on the wall proclaims June 21 the first day of summer this year, fans of that cultural phenomenon known as the Summer Blockbuster will contend “Star Trek’s” recent arrival in movie theaters more aptly heralds the season. Either way, this prequel’s chronological hocus pocus will have you scratching your time continuum.

Indeed some techies, who doubtless include beaucoup Trekkies, will be able to explain just why the time travel plot at the heart of director J. J. Abrams’s interpolative freefall makes complete sense. Good for them. They probably also passed organic chemistry. I figure no great harm in taking their word for it and just looking at the pretty pictures.

There’s certainly an eyeful. Enhanced more than ever by the newest special effects, the noble idealism that creator Gene Roddenberry originally breathed into his TV series lives and prospers. Centuries from now, but only a flash of an eye before we first knew them, this tells how Kirk and Co. joined their stars in the resolve for a better and safer world.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

popcornBy Michael S. Goldberger, film critic
Lovers of love stories who, like true fans of baseball, enjoy the pastime whether minor or major league, will at least appreciate the attempt made by Mark Waters’s “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.” Appropriating Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” and replacing Scrooge’s miser with Matthew McConaughey’s womanizer, it has its albeit predictable moments.

An enamoring cast does a nice job of making the hopeless romantic in us want to believe. Especially Mr. McConaughey. While this isn’t the watershed performance that will set him on the road to one Oscar after the next, it is when he locates the sort of swaggering likeability that can very well make a movie star out of an average actor.

Equally fit for the fantasy at hand, Jennifer Garner is alluring as both the tale’s moral center and the objet d’amour McConaughey’s Connor Read stubbornly denies. But then the man doesn’t know a whole lot, except when it comes to philandering. There, the tragically orphaned, poor little rich kid turned famous fashion photographer is an expert.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

 popcornBy Michael S. Goldberger, film critic

It is among the most confounding facts of our existence. Humankind is capable of terrible things and wonderful things. Documenting in “No. 4 Street of Our Lady” how Francisca Halamajowa saved the lives of fifteen Jews during the Holocaust, filmmakers Barbara Bird, Judy Maltz and Richie Sherman lyrically and hauntingly make that point.

 The divulgences in this tale of heroism, largely based on the diary kept by survivor Moshe Maltz and later published as “Years of Horror, Glimpse of Hope,” won’t soon leave you. Not because it is unique or amazing, though it is on both counts. But because it reaffirms how mind-bogglingly pervasive was this madness that gripped the world.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

 popcornBy Michael S. Goldberger, film critic  

Save for one twist, one turn and one cliché too many, “State of Play” makes for fairly engrossing entertainment of the nail biting kind. But while perching at seat’s edge as reporter Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe) tries to find out if the killer is a military contractor, a congressman or Jeff Daniels’s majority whip, you really aren’t buying. 

It’s more like, “OK, so it isn’t ‘The Usual Suspects’ (1995), but I’m in the mood for a whodunit-intriguer…so I might as well go along for the ride.” Your equivocating fealty is paid back in kind. Via scenes a mite too dark and cloistered, there are thrills and spills. But alas, dear reader, you’ll find no genuine, mind-blowing, conspiratorial chills.  

(more…)

Read Full Post »

 popcornBy Michael S. Goldberger, film critic  

It’s hard to take Seth Rogen seriously. Which is probably why “Observe and Report,” a darkly comic tale about a bipolar mall security guard’s delusions of grandeur, rather works. You know the deal. The sad sack is so desirous of a status outside his disparaged lot in life that not only do we empathize, but soon we, too, believe in his inner champion. 

Temporarily abandoning his cachet as one of Hollywood’s top movie slackers, Mr. Rogen is Ronnie Barnhardt, a self-styled peace officer without portfolio or pistol. Heartening his similarly disadvantaged, ragtag crew of losers after an elusive flasher puts the mall in an uproar, he consoles, “Well, at least we have Mace and Tasers.”  

(more…)

Read Full Post »

 popcornby Michael S. Goldberger, film critic  

As celebrated in “Monsters vs. Aliens,” one great thing about cartoons is that instead of dying a gruesome death when hit by a meteor you turn into a fifty-foot superhero. It’s in the DNA of animated characters. Susan, who becomes the heroine Ginormica, surely owes her very being to the eons of dropped anvils the Road Runner and his ilk survived.  

Tyler and Brittney, who doubtless couldn’t care less about the Darwinian implications of this PG-rated space invasion, should find it amusing, if they’re between six and nine and not terribly jaded. Parents, on the other hand, might find solace in analyzing what the filmmakers who profit by tomorrow’s citizens feel is their educational obligation.  

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »