Gimme the Loot 3.5 stars Directed by Adam Leon Starring Ty Hickson, Tashiana Washington Not Rated
The New York City slice-of-life is an endangered mode of filmmaking, a victim of the rising costs and increasing challenges in telling local stories that aren't big-studio Manhattan fantasies.
A film like "Gimme the Loot" is a welcome aberration, a tiny flick about Bronx graffiti... » more
The Sapphires 3 stars Directed by Wayne Blair Starring Chris O'Dowd, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy Rated PG-13
"The Sapphires" tells the story of a musical quartet that achieves some success performing soul covers in the '60s. But the film, from director Wayne Blair and screenwriters Tony Briggs and Keith Thompson, finds its way around the usual clichés.
The flick is based... » more
Admission 3 stars Directed by Paul Weitz Starring Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Lily Tomlin Rated PG-13
"Admission" doesn't have the freshest story, the most compelling direction or the sharpest script. But it does have Tina Fey and Paul Rudd as a romantic pair, and sometimes a casting coup like that is all you need.
Paul Weitz's film stars Fey as uptight Princeton admissions counselor... » more
Olympus Has Fallen 2.5 stars Directed by Antoine Fuqua Starring Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman Rated R
You don't need me to tell you whether to see "Olympus Has Fallen." That's a strange thing for a critic to write, of course, but in this case it's the truth.
If your fancy is tickled by the thought of Gerard Butler blowing away reams of terrorists inside the White... » more
If you had to pick one current actor to save the day after North Korean mercenaries took over the White House, taking the president and several top cabinet members hostage, Gerard Butler would be the guy. What's the fate of the free world to the man who took on the Persian god Xerxes with a miniscule Spartan army in "300"?
That's the operating principle behind Antoine Fuqua's "Olympus Has... » more
These days, movies are marketed to death, promoted, hyped and previewed to the point where you pretty much know exactly what you're getting into when you visit the multiplex. The opportunities to truly take a film-going chance, to discover new cinematic talent or an unexpected gem, are sparse at best.
New Directors/New Films, the Film Society of Lincoln Center and MoMA's annual festival spotlighting... » more
Hollywood has been turning everyday actors into overnight sensations since the earliest days of movie stardom. It's a time-honored tradition, the grand showbiz dream realized.
So it's no surprise that Chris O'Dowd says one weekend in May 2011 changed his life forever. The actor began it as the guy from the moderately well-known British sitcom "The IT Crowd" and ended it as a man... » more
Ginger and Rosa 3 Stars Directed by Sally Potter Starring Elle Fanning, Alice Englert, Christina Hendricks Rated PG-13
Elle Fanning is just 14 years old, but if her performance in the coming-of-age story "Ginger and Rosa" is any indication, Dakota's younger sister might just be our next great actress.
Writer-director Sally Potter keeps her camera trained close to Fanning's... » more
Spring Breakers 2.5 stars Written and directed by Harmony Korine Starring James Franco, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens Rated R
Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers" begins with slow-motion images of shirtless men and gyrating women, spraying booze and bopping up and down to the dubstep "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" by Skrillex. It's familiar spring break... » more
Upside Down 3 Stars Directed by Juan Solanas Starring Jim Sturgess, Kirsten Dunst Rated PG-13
Writer-director Juan Solanas tells an ancient tale in "Upside Down," but he cloaks it in a completely original universe. That's more than you can say for most movies, and it's enough to overcome the weaker parts in this cross-planetary "Romeo and Juliet" about a man and a woman... » more