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  • ‘Lego Movie’ entertaining for kids and adults alike

    New DVD releases are built for pure entertainment. • “The Lego Movie” A-minus: An average Lego construction worker has the power to save the world.


  • Actors, city shine in charming film

    Megan Griffiths’ made-in-Seattle story of love and friendship, “Lucky Them,” has that rare gift: It leaves its audiences warm and happy, as the best romantic comedies do. Local filmmaker Griffiths’ …


  • ‘Think’ falls short on original thought

    Sequels, as “22 Jump Street” joked, are always “the same, only worse.” So any pretense of insight into the battle of the sexes and any real connection to stand-up comic …


  • ‘Ida’ a journey of tragedy, discovery

    Young and naive, middle-aged and cynical. An orphan raised in a convent and a chain-smoking, hard-drinking judge. These are the two women who meet in Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Ida,” embarking on …


  • Another Coppola debuts with ‘Palo Alto’

    The Coppola family has given us Francis Ford Coppola, Nicolas Cage, Sofia Coppola, Jason Schwartzman, Talia Shire and some very good wine. Gia Coppola, 27, the granddaughter of Francis and …


  • ‘Words and Pictures’ becomes syrupy and long, even with stars

    “Words and Pictures” is the cloying title of a cloying little comedy made by talented people who, not that long ago, deserved better than this, and knew it. It’s a …


  • Fantasy, Franco share spotlight

    (Posted Tuesday) Sequels are the story for the week’s openings, though romance, family-friendly fare and a couple of art films may liven things a bit for moviegoers. The main Friday …


  • DVD Reviews: True Detective, Nonstop

    New DVD releases feature law enforcement agents being pushed to extremes. • “True Detective” A: Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey turn in flawless performances as a pair of detectives looking …


  • More comedy could give ‘Dragon’ a lift

    The charms of “How to Train Your Dragon” are thinned a bit for its sequel, a cartoon with better animation and livelier action, if fewer jokes. And if there’s one …


  • ‘Stars’ provides emotional foil to summer blockbusters

    Last summer, “The Spectacular Now” was the teen-trauma film of note, being based on a well-regarded bestseller and starring an up-and-coming Shailene Woodley. This year, it’s “The Fault in Our …


  • Repeated death works for Cruise

    In this year’s annual Tom Cruise sci-fi epic, he plays a future soldier condemned to repeat the same botched D-Day invasion until he triumphs against the alien beasties who keep …


  • ‘Survivor’ story gains power by blending action, emotion

    Tough guys lead the way among new DVD releases. • “Lone Survivor,” B: Director and writer Peter Berg takes on the same elements of the American spirit that made his …


  • DVDs: ‘Covert Affairs’ works on multiple levels

    This week’s new DVD releases include spies, lies and dragons that fly. • “Covert Affairs: Season 4,” B: This season of the cable channel spy series deals with the battle …


  • Jolie the only magnificent part of ‘Maleficent’

    It takes talent to walk around in a black leather-horned cap and not look silly. Angelina Jolie turns in a magnificent performance in “Maleficent” as the (we’re now told) misunderstood …


  • Laughter not among ‘Million Ways to Die’

    If there were a high-noon shootout in the Hollywood comedic corral between Mel Brooks’ 40-year-old Western spoof, “Blazing Saddles,” and the new kid in town, Seth MacFarlane’s “A Million Ways …


  • Favreau makes ‘Chef’ a delicious success

    Jon Favreau makes “Iron Man” movies and crummy blockbuster comedies. What’s he doing getting his cooking chops down and stepping in front of the camera, and behind it, for “Chef,” …


  • Tale of grit, beauty, stark determination

    Floating in past a misty Statue of Liberty, James Gray’s “The Immigrant” somberly gathers its majesty as a metaphor-rich story of passage and survival. It’s an old tale told with …


  • Jarmusch crafts haunting love story

    Although Jim Jarmusch’s sly and seductive vampire movie “Only Lovers Left Alive” begins with gothic crimson-on-black titles in the vein (sorry) of vintage Hammer horror, this story of two very …


  • Period piece balances drama, romance, history

    “Belle” is a movie that instantly joins the ranks of the screen’s great period-piece romances. Imagine a Jane Austen adaptation, with all its Empire waistlines and romantic longing, but a …


  • Barrymore makes it barely bearable

    These days, Adam Sandler is a bottle of beer that’s lost all its bubbles – cheap, mass produced domestic beer. So let’s focus on what works in his latest, “Blended,” …


  • Tension, dialogue drive drama

    If the longest journey begins with a single footstep, then for Ivan Locke – on a tense nighttime drive from the north of England into London – it starts with …


  • Doc uncovers what’s beneath food labels

    Before “Fed Up,” no movie had ever sent me hurrying to my refrigerator to read food labels – but there’s always a first time. Stephanie Soechtig’s documentary, about the role …


  • ‘Mars’ rewards fans, offers entertainment for newbies

    It’s a few blasts from the past with this week’s new DVD releases. • “Veronica Mars,” B: The film picks up nine years after Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) left Neptune. …


  • Movie review: ‘Neighbors’ brings full supply of raunchy laughs

    “Neighbors” is an “Animal House” for “The Hangover” era, a frat-boy comedy that pushes the rude and raunchy envelope into daring and dirty new territory. Hilariously coarse, reasonably shrewd and …


  • Movie review: ‘Legends of Oz’ touts impressive voice cast, not much else

    “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return” is a harmless but almost charmless adaptation of a book by L. Frank Baum’s grandson. It’s a derivative hash of grandpa’s story, set in the …


  • Documentary pays tribute to a ‘Dune’ that never was

    If I ever go through a wormhole, let me land on a planet where repertory cinema is alive and well and showcasing all the lost, cruelly abridged and, especially, unmade …


  • This ‘Night Out’ not worth a sitter

    Faith-based films have become downright commonplace this year. But faith-based comedies? Comedies that work? That’s still a very short historical list – the George Burns blockbuster “Oh God” and Andy …


  • Documentary profiles photographer Vivian Maier

    In an unsmiling self-portrait (long before the selfie), she gazes into a mirror, hands on hips, as if daring it to blink. The photographer is Vivian Maier, and her expression …


  • DVD Reviews: Brolin, Winslet waste talents in belabored ‘Labor Day’

    This week’s new DVD releases are as American as apple pie, Disneyland and street crime. • “Labor Day,” C-minus: An escaped convict comes into the life of a 13-year-old boy …


  • ‘Railway Man’ falls flat in scattered drama

    Post-traumatic stress is better recognized now than in earlier decades, but it has been an aftereffect of every war. It’s not until “The Railway Man” reveals the WWII survival story …

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