THOR: RAGNAROK

The God of Thunder returns and he’s bringing the pyrotechnics to Marvel’s latest installment of sound and fury. Thor: Ragnorak, the 17th installment in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, continues the latest trend of Marvel movies: irreverent humor, ironic heroes, and plenty of neon razzle-dazzle. And while these tricks entertain — and Thor is generally a good time — none of the frosting helps Marvel’s ongoing issues with bloated storylines, uncompelling villains, and bland third act battles. Picking up sometime after the events in Doctor Strange and opening in a Norse underworld, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) battles a hoard of demons led by Sutur, … Continue reading THOR: RAGNAROK

2014: A Year of Moviegoing

2014, like any year prior to it, was a magnificent year for moviegoing. Granted, there were the duds, the sequels, the franchises and once again, a Michael Bay Transformers movie took the number one spot at the box office, but they pale in comparison to the slew of inventive, creative and original movies that found their way on to screens big and small. Depending on who you read, there were somewhere between 600 and 900 movies released in 2014. Certainly no shortage of options for adventurous moviegoers. Of those 600 to 900 new releases, I clocked in with 200 (an arbitrary goal I set for myself last January, … Continue reading 2014: A Year of Moviegoing

Movie Beat – 06.27.14

Archipelago – Another week, another movie from writer/director Joanna Hogg. This time out Hogg takes us to a remote English location to explore the quiet desperation in the lives of others. An archipelago is a collection of small islands in a vast sea, a perfect descriptor for this family who is waiting for Father to arrive. Smacks of Beckett and Antonioni, but in the best possible way. Starring Tom Hiddleston, Amy Lloyd, Christopher Baker, Kate Fahy and Lydia Leonard. In limited release from Kino Lorber.   Begin Again – Dan (Mark Ruffalo) is an ex-record executive who is drowning his … Continue reading Movie Beat – 06.27.14

Movie Beat – 06.20.14

Code Black – If the outside of LA County Hospital looks familiar, it’s because the exterior was used for the popular daytime soap, General Hospital. Inside, it’s far more dramatic than your average soap opera as LA ER is one of the most intense and chaotic ones in the nation. Follow the doctors and surgeons who joined this cause in pursuit of helping people and saving lives and have now found their lives complicated by bureaucracy and paperwork. Documentary scripted by Joshua Altman and Ryan McGarry with McGarry directing as well. Out in limited release from Long Shot Factory. Coherence … Continue reading Movie Beat – 06.20.14

Movie Beat – 04.11.14

Cuban Fury – Once a rising star in the world-renowned and lucrative profession of salsa dancer, Bruce (Nick Frost) tossed in the towel and opted for a lifetime of take-out, pastries and self-pity. That was, until the beautiful Julia (Rashida Jones) walked into his life and lit a fire in his loins that would return Bruce to form. Of course, he has a whole lot of obstacles to hurdle, none of which is more damaging than his own lack of confidence. Co-starring Chris O’Dowd, Olivia Colman, Alexandra Roach and the always-incredible Ian McShane. Directed by James Griffiths and in limited … Continue reading Movie Beat – 04.11.14

Movie Beat – 11.08.13

The Armstrong Lie – “Sure I cheated. BUT, I didn’t cheat that one time, and I want credit for it.” Seems like a silly argument to take, but Lance Armstrong was a cheater, what else would you expect? In 2009, director Alex Gibney and producer Frank Marshall set out to make a documentary about Lance Armstrong, the man who overcame testicular cancer and became the poster boy of cycling. Over the course of the lionization of Armstrong, the truth came out, and boy did the subject change course. Documentary out in limited release from Sony Pictures Classics.   At Berkeley … Continue reading Movie Beat – 11.08.13