Champion of the Movie

Champion of the Movie

Life Itself remembers the impact of Roger Ebert
Softcore-porn filmmaking king Russ Meyer, who really admired Roger Ebert, used to tell me stories about wining and dining him, as well as setting Ebert up with some of his zaftig friends ("zaftig," not surprisingly, was one of Meyer's favorite words). Meyer lived in an A-frame, where he would be upstairs cooking while Ebert was downstairs working on the screenplay for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

Damn Dirty Future

The next installment of Planet of the Apes makes for an entertaining dystopia
Ten years after the ape-ocalypse witnessed in 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes — in which lab chimps imbued with heightened intelligence (as a result of their time spent as simian guinea pigs) freed themselves from their cages and headed across the San Francisco Bridge toward the California redwoods — we revisit these apes in the process of laying the groundwork for their new society. The apes are now fully bipedal (no knuckle-dragging for this colony), and live in Anasazi-like dwellings, where English-language skills and philosophical teachings ("Ape not kill ape") are scratched onto the rock walls.

Once, Twice

A filmmaker fails to re-create his past triumph in Begin Again
Once upon a time — in that long-ago year of 2007 — there was a magical musical called Once.

A Cold Future

Snowpiercer's speeding train makes for one of the best sci-fi flicks of the year
An object of blunt force and breath-catching beauty, Snowpiercer plays what-if with a familiar doomsday scenario: What if Noah's ark never found dry land again?

Earth to Echo

So many complaints, so much comparison to other films...and that's just from people seeing preview trailers.

Sad Clown

Melissa McCarthy provides laughs, albeit shallow ones, in Tammy
I'm happy to live in a world where Melissa McCarthy can be a movie star.

Revenge in the Outback

Guy Pearce goes all Mad Max in The Rover
A guy walks into a bar.

Tough Humor

Jenny Slate breaks out by making comedy out of controversy in Obvious Child
At the start of the film, a struggling Brooklyn stand-up comic named Donna (Jenny Slate) takes the stage to deliver a mighty riff on vaginal discharge.

The Boys’ Band

Clint Eastwood takes the Four Seasons to the big screen without missing a beat
Musicals like My Fair Lady and West Side Story, in which people suddenly stop talking and start singing, have always jarred me. But Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, is not a typical musical.

Rock of Love

Lucky Them is a perfectly Seattle rock ’n’ roll movie
It’s been too long since the last good rock movie came along.

More Franco

The short stories of Hollywood's everywhere-man make for impressive performances
Impressively and exhaustingly everywhere in show business, James Franco is multitalented in a way that makes the rest of us feel inferior in the way we use our time.

Where's the Fire?

How to Train Your Dragon 2 lacks the spark of its predecessor
Forget Game of Thrones' Khaleesi.

Groundhog War

Tom Cruise lives the same day again and again in the stunning Edge of Tomorrow
Tom Cruise sure likes his science fiction.

Time Travel

Napoleon Dynamite hasn't aged; it's just stayed weird
There's this weird thing about Napoleon Dynamite.

Queen of the Damned

Angelina Jolie is fabulous, but Maleficent is a sloppy fantasy mess
Beware, children, when attempting to rehabilitate a cartoon villain.

Order Up

After a decade making blockbusters, Jon Favreau returns to his indie roots with Chef
Chef is filled to the brim with the kind of heart and vivacity that makes up for the film's familiar story line, in which a man returns to basics in order to rediscover his passion, reclaim his soul, and reconnect with his 10-year-old son.

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Kevin Woods Quartet CD Release Party

Kevin Woods Quartet CD Release Party @ The Big Dipper

Thu., July 24, 7:30-10 p.m.

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