This Week at the Movies, Part 2 (Dec. 5-7, 2014)

Because of embargoes (those happy little restrictions on when critics can post reviews, good or bad), a lot of our critics aren’t able to share links with you until release day. Here are some last-minute reviews for this weekend’s upcoming films. We’ve kept in all the reviews posted yesterday as well so you can have more help in deciding what to see (if you haven’t already).

Our critics have been hard at work reviewing the latest films. Here is a look at what’s coming out this weekend (in select cities, check your local listings) and what else may be in theaters right now.

Opening: Dec. 5-7, 2014

Limited (United States)

Life Partners

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema
[New Today] James Jay Edwards @ FilmFracture

  • Excerpt: Life Partners’ Keeps It Light And Familiar, But Still Stays Fun

Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic

  • Excerpt: While writer-director Fogel and co-writer Joni Lefkowitz don’t say anything too fresh here, besides incorporating both sides of sexual orientation, the film is often perceptive and even sharply funny about co-dependent relationships and how they are tested when one romantic door opens for one party and not the other.

Pioneer

David Bax @ Battleship Pretension

  • Excerpt: Skjoldbjærg’s style pastiche coheres to create something larger than the sum of its parts. Petter’s harrowing descent wraps us up viscerally in real-world deceptions and their devastating collateral damage.

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema
Carson Lund @ Slant Magazine

  • Excerpt: Pioneer’s greatest asset, and another trait it shares with Mann and Fincher’s work, is a careful attention toward the particulars of its milieu in a way that doesn’t call attention to those period touches. The film matches the quotient of moustaches, thick-rimmed glasses, and earth-toned blazers from Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy without ever getting Argo-level ostentatious about it.

The Pyramid

[New Today] Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry

Donald Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Wild

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Zero Motivation

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: Lavie’s made a film from an unique perspective, one which illustrates how discrimination works against the system, undermining it by breeding contempt. But while the film certainly has comedic aspects, it’s never as uproariously funny as it could (or should) be

2014 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

Algorithms

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

American Sniper

Bill Clark @ From The Balcony

  • Excerpt: American Sniper is at its freshest and most insightful when examining the physical and mental effects warfare takes on a soldier.

[New Today] Mark Hobin @ Fast Film Reviews

  • Excerpt: American Sniper is a solid well constructed effort. The ongoing effect that war has on an individual’s psyche as well as his family are thoughtfully addressed, but there’s never anything particularly revelatory added to the conversation.

Annabelle

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Antarctica: A Year on Ice

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Babadook

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Big Eyes

[New Today] William Bibbiani @ CraveOnline

  • Excerpt: An incredible return to form for Tim Burton, who once again has found an outsider hero worth filming, and who here does some of his finest work in bringing her to life.

Birdman

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Black or White

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema

Black Sea

[New Today] MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com

  • Excerpt: An underwater heist of Nazi loot? Awesome. Submarine movies don’t get much better than this intensely suspenseful popcorn adventure.

[New Today] Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

The Boxtrolls

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Boyhood

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

By the Gun

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: Cliched, confused and thoroughly unnecessary, “By the Gun” features a meaty role for Boston rapper Slaine (“The Town”) as Nick’s best friend George, but writer Emilio Mauro deep sixes the character’s early promise in a laughable “Mean Streets” ripoff.

Citizenfour

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Crossing

James Marsh @ Screen Daily

  • Excerpt: John Woo’s first directorial offering in four years is a grand scale war-time romance chronicling the plight of three unrelated couples whose lives become entwined during the Chinese Civil War. As was the case with Woo’s 2008 two-parter, Red Cliff, the eponymous event – in this case the tragic 1949 sinking of Chinese steamer the Taiping – is still yet to come, as this first installment delivers two hours of detailed set-up, with its feet firmly on terra firma.

Dumb and Dumber To

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Enemy

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Exodus: Gods and Kings

José Arce @ LaButaca.net [Spanish]

  • Excerpt: Ridley Scott propone una de sus peores películas desde un planteamiento erróneo y apelotonado, además de fallar en la elección de buena parte de su reparto. Bastante mal todo, en general.

James Marsh @ Twitch

  • Excerpt: Meeting, but rarely exceeding, expectations, Ridley Scott’s grand retelling of Moses and the Hebrews’ flight from Egypt is strong on visuals and A-list presence, but slight on narrative and characterisation. Christian Bale and Joel Egerton both put in fine performances as Moses and Rameses, while the rest of the big-name cast gets lost amidst a CG-heavy blizzard of battles, plagues, revolts and muddled imagery.

Filth

Dustin Freeley @ Movies About Gladiators

  • Excerpt: Irvine Welsh’s further examination of Scottish self hatred.

Finding Vivian Maier

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Force Majeure

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Foxcatcher

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Foxy Merkins

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema

Get Santa

[New Today] Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Grand Budapest Hotel

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Great Invisible

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

Hangar 10

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

The Heart Machine

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

[New Today] William Bibbiani @ CraveOnline

  • Excerpt: [It is] egregiously besides the point for a story about the folly of war and greed to luxuriate this long on rampant destruction, especially as a byproduct of stretching The Hobbit into three films for monetary gain.

The Homesman

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Horrible Bosses 2

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Ida

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Imitation Game

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Inherent Vice

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Interstellar

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Into the Storm

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Ivory Tower

Dustin Freeley @ Movies About Gladiators

  • Excerpt: A documentary about education and its discontents.

Jessabelle

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Jimmy P.

[New Today] Jason Pirodsky @ Expats.cz

  • Excerpt: If you can forgive the film it’s slow, methodical nature – which is reflective of its central protagonist – this is a meditative, quietly effective story that might get to you.

Kill the Messenger

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Late Phases

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema
[New Today] James Jay Edwards @ FilmFracture

  • Excerpt: Late Phases’ Brings Back The Classic Werewolf Fighting Movie

The Lego Movie

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Liberator

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Listen Up, Philip

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Magic in the Moonlight

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Meet the Mormons

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

Men, Women & Children

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

A Most Vioent Year

[New Today] Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: An immersive drama about a businessman who stays calm in the midst of a dreadful series of setbacks.

A Most Wanted Man

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Mule

Simon Miraudo @ Quickflix

Nas: Time Is Illmatic

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Omar

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Penguins of Madagascar

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Rosewater

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Rude Dude

Jamie S. Rich @ DVDTalk

The Sacrament

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Selma

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A stirring and enlightening movie about civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his crusade for equality.

The Skeleton Twins

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Song of the Sea

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: An Irish folktale about facing our fears, embracing death and human frailty, walking in wonder and returning home as transformed lovers.

St. Vincent

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Still Alice

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A caring and compassionate portrait of a linguistics professor stricken with early onset Alzheimer’s. carried home into our hearts by Julianne Moore’s mesmerizing performance.

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: An impressive hallowing of play and laughter as the sources of a lightness of being.

Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies

  • Excerpt: The magic is in the technique.

The Theory of Everything

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

True Son

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

Unbroken

[New Today] William Bibbiani @ CraveOnline

  • Excerpt: The script relies so much on Zamperini’s determination that it never capitalizes on the many dramatic uncertainties that might have turned his story into a timeless nail-biting classic, as opposed to a solemn, respectful salute that lasts more than two hours.

Whiplash

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Why Don’t You Play In Hell

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

Winter Sleep

Alan Mattli @ Facing the Bitter Truth [German]

  • Excerpt: An intense, complex, subtly poetic character drama inspired by Chekhov and evoking Bergman – a majestic, intimate monument.

Women Who Flirt

James Marsh @ Twitch

  • Excerpt: After dipping his toe into China with his 2012 sequel Love In The Buff, Hong Kong auteur Pang Ho Cheung embraces the inevitable and presents his first full-blown mainland production, Women Who Flirt. Zhou Xun and Huang Xiaoming play the longtime friends and colleagues whose til-now platonic relationship is jeopardised by Taiwanese dolly bird Sui Tang, forcing Zhou to step up and show she’s got what it takes to win the guy she’s always loved.

You’re Not You

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

2013 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

The Grandmaster

[New Today] Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

2014 & 2015 Films (Coming Soon)

Action Jackson

[New Today] Kathy Gibson @ Access Bollywood

Bonobo

[New Today] Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

Coming Home

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

Death Metal Angola

Brent McKnight @ The Last Thing I See

  • Excerpt: Death Metal Angola’ is a quiet movie about a culture roaring back to life.

Déjà Vu

Pat Mullen @ Cinemablographer

  • Excerpt: Romanian film has long takes galore.

Eastern Boys

[New Today] MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com

  • Excerpt: Repugnant drama about the tender relationship between a man who pays for sex and the boy he hires. At least Pretty Woman pretended to be a fairy tale.

[New Today] Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

Guidelines

Mathieu Li-Goyette @ Panorama-cinéma [French]

Heaven Adores You

Simon Miraudo @ Quickflix

Mea Culpa

David Upton @ So So Gay

  • Excerpt: Shoot out set pieces have no real rhythm to them; the tension rises and falls with unusual sharpness, dying off as the men cease in confusion. No one can see anything and the bullets don’t land; this is not a world of seamless choreography but a recognisably messy one where the camera lives among humans carefully searching for their unknown enemy.

[New Today] Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

The Nose

Mathieu Li-Goyette @ Panorama-cinéma [French]

Once Upon a Time, Veronica

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema

Ungli

Kathy Gibson @ Access Bollywood

The Salt of the Earth

[New Today] Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A monumental documentary by Wim Wenders on the remarkable photography of Sebastiao Salgado whose work reveals a deep reverence for life.

Watchers of the Sky

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.