Lock it Up

Lock it Up

Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart's buddy comedy Get Hard is too soft
You've got to wonder how Will Ferrell makes career choices. There have been great roles, ones that he's absolutely owned: in Zoolander, Elf, Anchorman, Talladega Nights, The LEGO Movie.

Between the Bread

Deli Man gives us a colorful look at the Jewish delicatessen, but some fat could have been trimmed
The pastrami looks and tastes great in this loving documentary about Jewish delicatessens, but the meal would go down even better if some of the excess fat were trimmed. The anchor for this love song to the Jewish deli is Ziggy Gruber, a third-generation deli man who currently operates Kenny & Ziggy's in Houston, Texas.

Suds and Cinema: The Big Lebowski

Inlander's Suds & Cinema: The Big Lebowksi THE BIG LEBOWSKIR WEDNESDAY APRIL 15 BING CROSBY THEATER $4 MOVIE $4 BEER BEER FLOWS AT 6:30PMMOVIE SHOWS AT 7:30PM

Dance Lessons

Ballet 422 takes you inside a world of dedication and beauty
In the gorgeous, glorious 2010 performance film NY Export: Opus Jazz, co-directed and shot by Jody Lee Lipes, Jerome Robbins' dance choreography was almost overshadowed by Lipes' camera movements ­— be they elegantly gliding, laying low to focus close-up on footwork, or spiriting high for a bird's-eye big picture. With the documentary Ballet 422, Lipes' first return to dance after notable narrative cinematography work (on HBO's Girls and the upcoming Trainwreck, among other projects), he's somewhat boxed himself into a corner with the cinema verité directive to capture the moment and keep out of the way.

Sequel Success

Insurgent is more creative than a lot of sci-fi — and that doesn't say a lot about today's movies
Is it convoluted, perhaps as a result of adhering too closely to the novel it's based on? Maybe.

Not So Golden

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a shadow of its predecessor
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is proof, if any were necessary, that sequelitis is rampant even among those rare films aimed at an elder demographic.

Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Blah

Cinderella finds a version of the Disney classic stripped of its charm
It's time for those of us who write about film to admit it: The war for Hollywood's soul is lost. It was lost a long time ago.

The Bad Kids

Envision a world where timeout is permanent in Mommy
Mommy bursts with so much frenzied, turbulent energy that it really only makes sense when looked at as the fifth feature film by a 25-year-old moviemaker. Québécois Xavier Dolan is one of those enfants terribles of the cinema, making and sometimes acting in films that court attention.

Robot Rock

Tired of aliens, Neill Blomkamp tries his hand with robots in Chappie
There's havoc in the streets near the start of Neill Blomkamp's third science fiction film, the follow-up to District 9 and Elysium. But it's soon brought under control by robotic cops.

Seashell Secrets

Song of the Sea is a beautiful story of siblings struggling to cope and understand each other
Five years ago Irish director Tomm Moore's debut film, The Secret of Kells, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. In a déjà vu-like turn of events, the director's sophomore work, 2014's Song of the Sea, was also up for the same award, though this time arguably amidst a much deeper field that included Big Hero 6 (2015's Oscar winner), The Boxtrolls and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.

Con Err

Focus mistakenly emphasizes romance over sleight of hand
If a real-world con game has to be meticulously constructed in order to work, a movie about con games — like Focus — has to be even more meticulously constructed. As Focus's professional con-man "hero" Nicky Spurgeon (Will Smith) informs his new would-be protégé, Jess (Margot Robbie), a successful con is all about diverting the attention of the "mark," and this is true of a movie con and its audience as well.

The Contenders

A look at this year's Oscar field
Even if the Academy decided not to utilize its maximum number of Best Picture nominees, this year's Oscars features one of the strongest fields in recent memory. There could easily be some upsets come Sunday, but here's how we think things will shape up.

Extreme and Compelling

Timbuktu vividly tackles the complexities of modern Islam
Given many people's tendency to think of all Muslims as the kinds of extremists willing to support religion-fueled attacks on innocents, the brilliant Timbuktu comes along at a perfect moment to elucidate the diversity of Islam, and the cultural battles happening within the religion. Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this year's Oscars, Timbuktu combines stunning images of sub-Saharan Mali with simple but satisfying storytelling.

Hardly Gentlemanly

Kingsman is a spy movie that manages to defy its own mission
This is not a gentlemanly movie. Now, most movies are not very gentlemanly, and this isn't necessarily a problem — except, perhaps, to those of us who lament the passing of true gentlemanliness as a thing a man might aspire to.

Working for a Living

Two Days, One Night puts life on the financial precipice in the spotlight
For the past 18 years and over the course of six feature films, Belgian filmmaking brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have carefully chronicled the lives of the underprivileged, the unemployed and the lost souls who invariably get discarded, as modernity and capitalism move inexorably forward in a society that neither cares for nor wants anything to do with them. These stories of abandoned children, undocumented immigrants, and people pushed to the margins of society have wowed critics (two Palme d'Ors, putting them in rare company) and influenced more than a few directors (paging Darren Aronofsky), but apart from the art-house crowd, their films have not made much of an impact here in the U.S. So does recruiting international movie star Marion Cotillard for their new film mark an attempt to break into the mainstream?

Wrung Out

Creativity dries up in The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
I imagine this is how the idea for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water came about. Studio executive: "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004) came out before the 3-D craze, leaving money on the table.

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