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  • Stellar cast drives spy thriller

    You can sense a John le Carré spy novel adaptation, often before his name turns up in the credits. The hero’s cynicism at war with his skepticism, the professionalism at …


  • It’s like ‘Scrubs,’ but longer

    Zach Braff’s “Wish I Was Here” is a sweet and jokey feature film that is so at home in the punch line rhythms of TV sitcoms that you may wonder …


  • Focus on family helps keep ‘Heaven’ grounded

    A wide selection of new DVDs hit stores this week. • “Heaven Is for Real,” B-minus: A 4-year-old boy says he has visited heaven. Greg Kinnear stars.


  • Arnold’s back in brutal cop drama ‘Sabotage’

    This week’s new offerings On Demand and streaming: Pay-Per-View


  • Sci-fi new releases top paid options

    There’s little doubt that Netflix has changed the way we watch movies and television. Of course, finding something good to watch on the various streaming services isn’t always easy. Beginning …


  • Best-selling books lend story to ‘Cedar Cove’

    Two TV offerings top this week’s releases: • “Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove: Season One,” B: Andie MacDowell stars in this sweet cable series based on the best-selling book series by …


  • Vague threats confuse bland thriller

    The unholy bond between religion and politics is the background for “Persecuted,” a confused and confusing thriller about a TV preacher ruined by a sinister government plot. Written and directed …


  • ‘Planes’ lifts above precursor – barely

    “Planes: Fire & Rescue” is roughly twice as good as its predecessor, “Planes,” which was so story- and laugh-starved it would have given “direct-to-video” a bad name. Yes, there was …


  • Sequel lacks polish, edge

    The clever conceit behind James DeMonaco’s 2013 sleeper hit “The Purge” was not that American society had resolved its crime/inequality/population problems with an annual free-pass-for-murder “purge.” It was that this …


  • ‘Sex Tape’ fails where it tries to be funny

    The cinematic equivalent of herpes, “Sex Tape” is an uncomfortable embarrassment to raunchy comedies everywhere. Fortunately no medication is required after being exposed to it: The effects are not permanent, …


  • A new ‘Dawn’ for action fans

    Advertising for “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” suggests it is another summer film in which abundant action scenes obliterate any serious story or character development. First impressions can …


  • Making music, avoiding cliche

    In recording-industry terms the Keira Knightley/Mark Ruffalo musical romance “Begin Again” is a difficult second album. Irish writer/director John Carney scored a massive hit with his debut film, the sweetly …


  • ‘Person’ stretches too far

    The Paul Haggis drama “Third Person,” like his Oscar-winning “Crash,” is a series of interlocking stories. Each is fascinating, or at least interesting its own right. Each is cast with …


  • Making music, avoiding cliche

    In recording-industry terms the Keira Knightley/Mark Ruffalo musical romance “Begin Again” is a difficult second album. Irish writer/director John Carney scored a massive hit with his debut film, the sweetly …


  • ‘Transformers’ tops ‘Tammy’ on weak July 4 weekend

    NEW YORK (AP) — The Fourth of July went off like a dud at the box office, as the Michael Bay sequel “Transformers: Age of Extinction” and the Melisa McCarthy …


  • Over-the-top ‘Tammy’ has surprising soft side

    Say this for Melissa McCarthy: A couple of years into her stardom, and not all that far past the dust-up over critics’ deriding her comic reliance on the sight gag …


  • ‘Evil’ is more sleepy than creepy

    “Deliver Us from Evil” takes a very long time to deliver us from dullness. This demonic possession police procedural only gets good and wound up for its third-act exorcism. That’s …


  • It’s no ‘E.T.,’ but it’s a kid-pleaser

    “Earth to Echo” is an engagingly unassuming “E.T.” knockoff, a kids’ movie that serves up a similar alien-with-kids story in “Blair Witch”/“Paranormal” shaky cam package. It’s been more than 30 …


  • Easy to see through revisionist history

    It takes 90 minutes for Dinesh D’Souza’s rambling, mistitled “America: Imagine the World without Her” to get to its real point. There’s D’Souza, arch-conservative Ivy League immigrant, creator of the …


  • Chilling thriller’s future both beautiful, disturbing

    In different hands, “Snowpiercer” might have been just another generic action movie. Yet with South Korean director Bong Joon-ho at the helm, it’s instead something more off-kilter and more disturbingly …


  • New on DVD: Arctic expedition drives solid series

    This week’s list of new DVD releases is thin, but there are some good options to consider. It looks like studios didn’t want to compete with Fourth of July activities. …


  • Documentary pays fitting tribute to artist Steadman

    The documentary “For No Good Reason” tells the story of Ralph Steadman, famed artist and collaborator with Hunter S. Thompson, in an appropriate style for a master of gonzo journalism. …


  • Messy life makes for quirky comedy

    By day, Donna Stern works in Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books in Brooklyn. By night, the cute 28-year-old has a few drinks – and a few more – and gets up …


  • Soundtrack’s the star of ‘Jersey’

    Like the ageless tunes littering its soundtrack, “Jersey Boys” is familiar and satisfying, if somewhat slight. The Tony Award-winning “jukebox musical,” tracing the turbulent rise of seminal pop group the …


  • ‘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.


  • Bleak, bloody thriller shows less is more

    They should’ve killed him when they had the chance. ’Twas ever thus in revenge thrillers. The “hero” is wronged, injured, left for dead.


  • Sci-fi thriller does eerie just right

    Science fiction cinema doesn’t get much more beautifully strange than “The Signal.” An alien-interaction thriller that borrows from generations of such films that preceded it, it has the visual tone, …


  • 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 …


  • 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 …

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