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Features

  • By Brad McHargue, Film Critic

    Following its premiere at the Toronto International Film Fest and its subsequent screening at SXSW this past March, Mike Flanagan’s “Oculus” has received almost universal critical acclaim.

    As a result, I went in expecting something great, and as loath as I am to say it, I would have walked out if I wasn’t tasked with writing this review. Did we all see the same movie?

  • What do you do with all the power and prestige that money can buy?

    While that’s the central question underpinning the story of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” it’s also a valid query for the Marvel movie universe.

  • Sometimes a humble and earnest attempt at chronicling the life of a historical figure will seem helplessly lacking up against the totality of that person’s legacy.

  • For the faithful who sit through “Noah” and regret their ticket purchase after bearing witness to a story that plays out more like fantasy fiction than gospel, I do not blame your reactions.

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    Aaron Cole

    Auto Columnist

     

    First, a confession: I’m a bit of a Europhile. Not everything is better across the pond, but many things are. 

    Food is better in Germany. Wine is better in France. Italy does wine and food better than both. At least the Brits have soccer.

     

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    Brad McHargue

    Film Critic

     

  • Time and again, the transition from best-selling young adult book title to Hollywood feature film ensures a decent amount of trimming, re-writing and various other revisions to make it palatable to a wider audience than the kids — and assorted adults — who make the tome a hit in the first place.

  • If director Wes Anderson’s previous film “Moonrise Kingdom” was the dummies’ guide to his unique cinematic aesthetics and peculiarities, his latest film — “The Grand Budapest Hotel” — is a greatest hits album.

  • To deride “Need for Speed” as “just another video game movie” would be unfair.

    Most video games these days have better writing, characters and action than “Need for Speed.” While I’ve not had the pleasure of trying my controller-gripping hand at the NFS game series, I refuse to believe they’d be less enjoyable than the film that bears its name opening this week.

     

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    Aaron Cole

    Auto Columnist

     

    If, in five years, the polar vortex proves us all wrong and Kissimmee, Fla. becomes the new Aspen, consider the Toyota 4Runner a contender for “Car of the New Ice Age.” Oh, and pass the whale-oil lamp. It’s cold in here.

  •  If director Wes Anderson's previous film “Moonrise Kingdom” was the dummies' guide to his unique cinematic aesthetics and peculiarities, his latest film – “The Grand Budapest Hotel” – is a greatest hits album.

    It's almost as though he's expected a chorus of critics to push him to explore new territory and ditch the sometimes stuffy, other times pastel but always intriguing ways he crafts his films — and "Grand Budapest" is as strong a counterpunch to those opinions as I can imagine from Anderson.

  •  Don’t let the title fool you. Director Chiemi Karasawa’s “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me” is not just another star-focused documentary.

    Sure, in its opening minutes we get a sense of the usual celeb-obsessed feature: Ms. Stritch walks around New York City, being approached by fans and fellow actors alike. Her appearance — fur coat and standard Aging Star attire — is completely in line with her personality, taking no effort to avoid standing out.

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    Brad McHargue

    Film Critic

     

    “300: Rise of an Empire” is the sort of film you would expect to go directly to DVD or VOD, forgotten by most until it’s discovered in a Redbox, prompting the realization that, “Hey, the first one wasn’t that bad, let’s see how this fares.”

     

  • Citing a Hollywood remake’s lack of originality is usually one of the main critiques a review will offer up.

    In the case of “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” it’s perhaps the best way to frame what’s right about a solidly made animated feature that moves quickly enough to keep kids entertained and features just enough adult humor for those who grew up watching the characters on TV.

     

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    Aaron Cole

    Auto Columnist

     

    BMW is the type of automaker that doesn’t like to be outdone. 

     

  • I enjoyed watching more than my fair share of “MacGyver” when I was younger.

    Watching Richard Dean Anderson have his character thrown into any number of impossible situations and always crafting a way out of it with the unlikeliest of supplies and skills was exceptionally entertaining for me at an age when I was still happy-go-lucky enough to just ignore the preposterousness of it all, suspending all disbelief.

     

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    Brad McHargue

    Film Critic

     

     

     

  • I hate giving legitimately bad films credit simply for being weird.

         While I often have the chance to wax poetically about brilliant films that end up winning lots of awards on Oscar night, the other end of the critical spectrum is to make sure people aren’t wasting their money on something downright awful when they head to the multiplex.

     

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    Brad McHargue

    Film Critic

     

    Sweeping and portentous shots of Mount Vesuvius towering over the quaint city of Pompeii serve as a suitable metaphor for Paul W.S. Anderson’s sword-and-sandals epic disaster love story, “Pompeii.”

  • It’s easy to quickly dismiss a big-budget remake of a beloved film — it’s almost how a lot of moviegoers and critics are programmed.

    But as with the case of “RoboCop,” never underestimate the human element. While the new version in theaters directed by José Padilha (of “Elite Squad” fame) definitely doesn’t come close to matching the brilliance of Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 sci-fi classic, it’s not an outright bad film.