Top ten films of the first half of 2015

1. “Mad Max: Fury Road” 2. “Ex Machina” 3. “Inside Out” 4. “Dope” 5. “Love and Mercy” 6. “I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story“ 7. “Moonwalkers” 8. “The Look of Silence” 9. “’71” 10. “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck.” That’s all for now, folks.

DVD Review: Asylum

So today we have what is a bittersweet occasion; more specifically, it’s the last of the latest round of After Dark horror titles for a while, at least. Even a great series needs a break every so often, and with the chances that we’ve already found the dog in the series high, we can settle more »

Blu-ray Review: Extraterrestrial

For those who remember either of the two “Grave Encounters” movies, you’re already familiar with the works of the Vicious Brothers. And though “Grave Encounters 2″ noted that there’s no such thing as the Vicious Brothers in the first place, as I recall, apparently they’re still making movies. So if you ignore the continuity lapse, more »

Movie Review: “Escobar: Paradise Lost”

(Note: This review of “Escobar: Paradise Lost” first ran last October during the Philadelphia Film Festival. It’s reproduced now on occasion of the film’s release:)  Well, at least it’s better than “Medellín.” That was, of course, the ill-fated biopic of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar that Vincent Chase starred in about halfway through the run more »

Movie Review: “Ted 2″

Seriously, what can I possibly say about “Ted 2” that can sway someone’s opinion? When it comes to this kind of film — the gross-out comedy — either you find them utterly hilarious or about as funny as a funeral and, like I said, this silly farce about a grown man and his talking bear more »

Blu-ray Review: Get Hard

What happens when Will Ferrell ends up in a Rob Schneider movie? I don’t know, or at least I didn’t know until our friends at Warner Bros sent out a copy of “Get Hard” for us to review, a movie that looks shockingly familiar. But even as the movie imitates, it also improves to a more »

Blu-ray Review: Danny Collins

Take most any artist you care to name from the biggest musical hit to the lowliest workaday writer of Internet material and you’ll find someone who has occasionally–maybe even more than occasionally–faced down the notion that they’re just a fraud. “Danny Collins”–a copy of which our friends at Universal sent out for review–made that point more »

Blu-ray Review: Cut Bank

Small town life, and small town living, can be one strange day after another. Those in “Cut Bank”–a copy of which our friends out at Lionsgate sent out for review–are quite aware of this fact, and we’ll get an eyeful of just how odd it can be. But it won’t just be strange that “Cut more »

Movie Review: “The Wolfpack”

What do you get when you cross “Be Kind Rewind” with “Capturing the Friedmans,” with an air of playfulness reminiscent of the latter, but an undercurrent of tragedy at least partially in the tradition of the latter? You get “The Wolfpack,” a wonderfully intriguing documentary that debuted at Sundance earlier this year and is headed more »

Movie Review: “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”

Twee, repugnant Sundance crap doesn’t get much more twee, repugnant or Sundance-r than “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.” The winner of Sundance’s Grand Jury prize, it’s an inexplicably praised exercise that’s undone by a wildly inconsistent tone, narrative devices that rotate between incongruous cuteness and bald-faced lying, and a protagonist who’s just a more »

Movie Review: “Manglehorn”

What a strange arc is traced by “Manglehorn,” the new film from director David Gordon Green. It’s virtually unbearably boring for its first hour, but suddenly turns into an emotional tour de force by the end. In the film, which played at various festivals in the early part of the year, Green does for Pacino more »

Movie Review: “Dope”

“Dope” has so much going on, and accomplishes so many things, that it’s practically a miracle. It’s a film with a lot to say about race and identity in 21st century America. It’s a depiction of a very specific world and a character study of very specific people. And it’s also a bonafide crowd pleaser. more »