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Inherent Vice

Inherent Vice, from ace film-maker Paul Thomas Anderson stars Joaquin Phoenix as a stoner P.I. in late 1960's Los Angeles. Thomas Pynchon may have written a great novel but the film is terrible.


One of the best films of the year, Selma recreates one of the key events of the 1960s Civil Rights 'uprising'. The events surrounding the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King's (David Oyelowo) march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. This is no America we recognize and the film is better than anything you may have read in a history textbook.

Watch the trailer


Foxcatcher is a film that will re-define the word "creepy" for a new generation Formerly comic actor Steve Carrell stars as an exceedingly wealthy middle aged man determined to restore the U.S. Men's Olympic Wrestling team to its former glory. His focus is on two brothers (Channing Tatum & Mark Ruffalo), one who figures it out and one who, maybe, doesn't want to figure it out. A true story, begging for Awards considerations.

American Sniper

American Sniper stars Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, from the creative mind of director Clint Eastwood. After four terms in Iraq, a vet brings his problems home in a terribly average film. Wait and rent.

Of course, America wants what looks like a revenge on terrorism movie so American Sniper went on to become one of the biggest films of the year. That's the problem with seeing films in the December crush of awards wannabees. Sometimes we just don't get it.


The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is more rightly Part Two of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Six months from now you will be able to sit and watch the whole megillah from its intolerable start to its action packed finish. There is no need for a review -- everyone is going to go see it, even if just to finish out the story -- so we've built a couple of dozen wallpaper sized images for y'all to download. Click an image or Start here

the mule

The Mule is an Australian film with accents so thick even a knife couldn't cut through 'em. In it, a naive man attempts to smuggle 20 condoms packed with heroin, from a supplier in Bangkok to a dealer back home. Said dealer isn't the smuggler's usual connection -- which pisses off said connection. In the middle is Australian Customs, which quarantines the mule, suspecting what is essentially the truth. The film doesn't deliver the suspense you would infer from our description.

Horrible Bosses 2

Horrible Bosses 2 is really Horrible. If you haven't seen the first one, rent it. Without that background, only half the film is understandable. Three inept dudes (Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day) who got their boss (Kevin Spacey) thrown in jail last time out, decide to start their own biz. How that turns into kidnapping will be left for you fans to discover. Jennifer Aniston has very little to do other than to look good in lingerie, which she does very well.


A number of events, badly revealed in flashback form, spur a young woman (Reese Witherspoon) with booze and sex addiction problems to walk the thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Said travels begin at the southern edge of the Mohave Desert and end at the Canadian border. There are not enough revelations in the aforementioned flashbacks to make Wild into an interesting film. Unless you've read the book, avoid the film



The Gambler stars Mark Wahlberg as a college professor with a wee blackjack problem, and John Goodman as the loan shark more than willing to make that wee problem into a deadly one. A good sit.

Exodus Gods and Kings

Exodus Gods and Kings stars Christian Bale as Moses . . . if we need to tell you the story, shame on you . . . with Joel Edgerton as Pharoah and Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley in supporting roles. There's also an interesting choice for the One who isn't called God. We're glad director Ridley Scott has kept relatively close to the original story.(or maybe we should thank writer Steve Zallian) for an OK sit.

still alice

Still Alice stars Julianne Moore as a Columbia University professor diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimers Disease. With Alec Baldwin as her husband and Kristen Stewart as a daughter on the west coast the film gently documents the character's decline. Moore's performance will break your heart. As serious films go, this one is magnificent . . . Now trolling for nominations.

Song of the Sea

Based on an Irish legend of a race called the Selkies, Song of the Sea tells of a brother and sister who must journey across land to get back to their home in the sea. The animation was far too cartoon-y for us and the story failed to hold our attention. Even a 'toonhead can be let down.

The Theory of Everything

Every once in a while we close the books early: if The Theory of Everything, tells the story of Dr. Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and his love turned wife Jane (Felicity Jones), as they face (his) last two years of life with working legs. She starts a family. He solves the Physics of Time. One of the best of the year.

The Theory of Everything trailer here


The music world according to Whiplash: Rock drumming isn't music. Jazz drumming is and, if you're not as willing to take the kind of abuse you are willing to inflict on your instrument, you'll never make it as a pro. J.K. Simmons gives. Miles Teller takes. TV's Paul Reiser co-stars as the failure of the kid's dad. Kid doesn't want to be a failure so . . . prepare yourselves -- the abuse is verbal and hard core. Nominations will follow.

Big Hero Six

A boy and his older brother's robot take on the mysterious killer of latter human in Big Hero Six. It's an adequate animated film, though two deaths early on make us warn readers not to bring six year old kidlets to the film. . The cute moments outweigh the creepy but, ultimately, the film is a rental offering.


Interstellar stars Matthew McConaughey as an astronaut searching out a new planet on which to seed a new Earth. Or serve as sanctuary for refugees from the old, dying earth. The film offers both possibilities and then dives head first into explaining time shifts and Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Until the final two minutes the film is a slow, steady and good sit. What we thought was supposed to be happening in those two minutes was not what we saw on screen.

  Victor Frankenstein

James McAvoy stars as Victor Frankenstein with Daniel Radcliffe as his Igor. It's a 50/50 pairing in a new adaptation of Mary Shelley's classic that tosses in a couple of surprises for those who grew up on the Boris Karloff as monster movie versions. We enjoyed and recommend this version.

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The Cranky Critic® is a Registered Trademark of, and his website is Copyright © 1995-2015 Chuck Schwartz. All Rights Reserved. Articles and interviews by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All Rights Reserved. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of and ©, ®, ™ their respective studios. Used by permission. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award™(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. All Rights Reserved.