The Armstrong Lie is stunning (and not just for cycling fans)
"I didn't live a lot of lies, but I did live one big one." That's how the new documentary from director Alex Gibney opens, with a half-confession from disgraced cycling superstar Lance Armstrong.
Statham and Franco light up a quasi-parodic action flick
Watch the trailer for Homefront, and you won't quite be able to tell if it's parody or not. You've got Jason Statham starring, of course, as a tough guy with a history.
GO! A Snowboard Road Trip is a rowdy good time
The latest Patagonia-sponsored movie GO! A Snowboard Road Trip is gorgeous and jam-packed with big air and backcountry shred sequences shot in the American West; all set to a thoughtful, down-home, not-what-you'd-expect soundtrack (honky-tonk and hard-driving blues are a welcome relief from the endless glitch-hop and electronica so prevalent in modern snow films; seriously, if one more producer pairs Awolnation's "Sail" to anything, I'm going to shit a Red Bull).
Holy smokes, you guys! The Hobbit is incredible!
Short Term 12: Damaged Kids Helped by Damaged Heroes
Besides being a good band name, Chekhov's Gun is the principle protecting cumulative narrative coherence: A gun introduced in the first act must go off by the end of the third. In the first act of Short Term 12, the studiously humane drama written and directed by Destin Cretton, we're instantly introduced to a number of figurative guns, all of them human, most of them pre-adult, all packed with explosive secrets.
Santa Conquers the Martians gets "Mystery Science Theater 3000" treatment
Santa is famous for doing some pretty unbelievable things. Delivering toys to all of the world's children in one night, flying a sleigh led by magical reindeer with light-up body parts, and living comfortably with an army of tiny toy builders in the world's northern-most and harshest climate.
Delivery man's schlocky identity crisis
The quality control folks in the Hollywood schlock factory are a meticulous bunch: They know their craft, they execute it with pragmatism, and for all they lack in ambition, they make up in consistency. Every now and again, though, the schlock factory's well-oiled mechanisms pump out the occasional defect—a film that, though decked out in the same sentimental blister pack as the rest of the celluloid bathos, is actually an ill-conceived, morally rudderless wolf in sheep's clothing.
Muscle Shoals botches its amazing story
As we gaze upon lovingly shot close-ups of the Tennessee River, we hear a familiar voice intoning empty platitudes. "'Magic," the voice says, "is the word that comes to mind when I think of Muscle Shoals.
Good Ol' Freda tells yet another story about the fab four
Perhaps some of the most iconic images of rock music aren't even about the music, but about the fans—grainy black and white footage from the early years of the '60s; teenage girls shrieking for the Beatles as if possessed. And, in a time before Facebook "likes," when managing a fan club meant much more than updating a website, demanding the hands-on work of grabbing autographs and hand writing letters was a very calm, entirely ordinary teenager named Freda Kelly.
Breakthrough film Wadjda gives voice to Saudi women
There's something uniquely liberating about riding a bicycle, a fact that is not lost on Wadjda, despite the fact that she has never ridden one. But that doesn't stop the free-spirited Saudi 10-year-old and namesake of the 2012 feature film Wadjda from devising schemes to raise money for the forbidden item.
Katniss has got fun 'n' games!
Disappointingly competent, 2012's The Hunger Games...well, at least it got the basics right. It was a fine adaptation—totally, forgettably, blandly fine.