In The Brilliant New Hunger Games Film, Katniss Can't Escape The Arena

The third movie in the Hunger Games series is supposed to be the one where the frame pulls back and reveals a bigger world than the teen arena of the first two. Instead, Mockingjay Part 1 does something more daring: it shows how all of the dystopian land of Panem is just the Arena writ large. Minor spoilers ahead... » 11/21/14 9:00am Friday 9:00am

Stephen Hawking Biopic Might Steal Your Heart, But Won't Blow Your Mind

The Theory Of Everything is a remarkable, moving portrait of Stephen Hawking, who overcame unthinkable obstacles to revolutionize science. It's a beautiful romance that spans the 1960s through the 1980s. Too bad the movie mostly glosses over the actual science that Hawking became famous for. Minor spoilers below... » 11/07/14 12:00pm 11/07/14 12:00pm

Big Hero 6 Is One Of The Year's Best Science Fiction Films, Period

Disney's new film, Big Hero 6, is a celebration of science and the joy of innovation. In the guise of a superhero origin story, it tells a smart, inventive tale about young science geeks who grapple with issues around the responsible use of technology. It's one of the best science-fiction films in ages. Minor spoilers… » 11/07/14 9:00am 11/07/14 9:00am

For A Movie About People's Dark Sides, Horns Is Curiously Lightweight

In Horns, Ig Perrish grows a pair of horns, and gains a superpower that's also a terrible curse. In Joe Hill's novel, this turns into an exploration of the darkness in human nature, including misogyny and jealousy. But the new movie version, while fun, never brings enough depth to support its misanthropic premise. » 10/31/14 9:00am 10/31/14 9:00am

Why Superhero Movie Fans Need To See Birdman

Even in a year with some pretty notable superhero films, Birdman is a pretty significant movie about superheroes. This darkly surreal satire about an aging actor struggling with his superhero past is full of magical-realist touches and tugs at our national obsession with big heroic narratives. And here's why superhero… » 10/22/14 12:21pm 10/22/14 12:21pm

Don't Deprive Yourself Of Seeing The Beauty Of Princess Kaguya

Animation has seldom felt so alive and expressive as it does in Princess Kaguya, the latest movie from Studio Ghibli. Fans of Hayao Miyazaki will find this movie delightful, but it's unlike any other Ghibli movie I've seen. This is something truly, heartbreakingly special. See it in theaters. You'll be glad you did. » 10/20/14 12:54pm 10/20/14 12:54pm

Young Ones Is A Bleak, Lovely Movie About A Terribly Plausible Future

We're used to seeing dark, depressing visions of the world after the collapse of civilization. But few recent post-apocalyptic visions have been as disturbing, and as beautifully filmed, as the new movie Young Ones, in select theaters and on demand today. Very minor spoilers ahead… » 10/17/14 12:44pm 10/17/14 12:44pm

Book Of Life Teaches Us The True Meaning Of The Day Of The Dead

Amidst all of horror movies coming out in honor of Halloween, The Book of Life celebrates a rather different holiday: the Mexican Day of the Dead. And while, as a movie, it has its flaws, Book of Life is like a great party—filled with wondrous decorations, interesting people, lots of fun, and a valuable message about… » 10/17/14 9:17am 10/17/14 9:17am

Automata Is Brilliantly Original Science Fiction, Ruined By Cliches

We all cry out for original genre movies that aren't just cashing in on existing franchises. But it's sad when an original film comes out, and it just rehashes the classics, even more slavishly. It's even more heartbreaking when you get a movie like Automata, which has a clever, original idea. And smothers it in… » 10/10/14 12:26pm 10/10/14 12:26pm

Dracula Gets a Makeover for the ISIS Age in Dracula Untold

Almost every modern Dracula retelling includes some kind of flashback to the vampire's origin, which is more or less tragic depending on whether he's the hero of the story. Now, with Dracula Untold, we've finally got an entire movie devoted to the undeath of Transylvanian prince Vlad Tepes — and it's cheesy as hell. » 10/10/14 10:20am 10/10/14 10:20am

The Dragonball Z: Battle Of Gods Movie Needs A Divine Intervention

The first new Dragonball Z animation in 17 years, the Battle of Gods movie seems to have so much going for it: it's the first in-canon DBZ movie, creator Akira Toriyama worked deeply on it for the first time, and the nostalgia factor. But fans looking for the classic DBZ experience in BoG will likely be disappointed. » 10/09/14 9:30am 10/09/14 9:30am

That Prequel About The Scary Doll From The Conjuring Is Lifeless

The Conjuring was a breath of fresh air, because it was a super-scary movie that really made you care about its characters. Now there's a new prequel, about that creepy doll that barely appeared in The Conjuring. But Annabelle is a major step backwards, a movie about the horror of domesticity that pulls its punches. » 10/03/14 1:11pm 10/03/14 1:11pm

You Wouldn't Want To Be Left Behind With These Idiots

The genius of the Left Behind series is the way it combines Roland Emmerich-style disasters with its Biblical lectures. And the new movie version even stars Nicolas Cage. So it's too bad this new movie fails on the "disaster epic" front, because it's too busy torturing its incredibly clueless characters. » 10/03/14 9:00am 10/03/14 9:00am

A Movie About Sex, Computers and Growing Up, Inspired by Carl Sagan

The plot arc of Jason Reitman's new film Men, Women, and Children was inspired by Carl Sagan's famous "Pale Blue Dot" speech from Cosmos. Like that speech, the movie is about how we are all just a bunch of self-important monkeys on an insignificant rock floating in space. And that's why we need each other so much. » 10/01/14 4:45pm 10/01/14 4:45pm

Boxtrolls Is A Movie For Uncivilized People Of All Kinds

All of the best comedies are subversive. And by that token, the new animated movie The Boxtrolls is a tremendous success — it takes the fabric of society and gleefully shreds it, showing how silly and easily manipulated most "decent" people are. Along the way, though, the film gets kind of heavy-handed, and a little… » 9/26/14 9:20am 9/26/14 9:20am