March 14, 2013 The thoughtful, simple From Up on Poppy Hill is an ode to a quieter past in the midst of a rapidly developing Tokyo. Though it doesn't necessarily appeal to a youthful audience, the warm and quiet beauty of this animated import saves it from its overtly explicit thematic concerns.
March 7, 2013 Earnest to a fault, this feel-good documentary can't quite mask the commercial cynicism behind the story of the rock band Journey and its up-from-obscurity frontman.
February 28, 2013 South Korean director Park Chan-wook makes his English-language debut with this taut horror thriller. Though at times the narrative wears thin, tense imagery and a haunting narrative keep the action moving along to a terrifying finale. (Recommended)
February 21, 2013 There are two very different movies going on in Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's new drama, Snitch: One stars Johnson as a concerned father, the other stars The Rock as an undercover drug dealer. The warring conflicts make for a film that works against itself.
February 7, 2013 In the swinging suburbs, a husband and wife nurse their drinks and neglect their kids as their marriage implodes. Critic Scott Tobias says Julia Dyer's film is solidly performed but stultifyingly obvious with its metaphors.
January 31, 2013 An awkward, uneven addition to the "old guys doing stuff" subgenre, Stand Up Guys wastes a veteran cast and a passable premise in one night of ill-calibrated comic hell-raising.
January 24, 2013 Werner Herzog might root for the wild side in any given man-vs.-nature narrative, but his latest film allows for a gentle kind of harmony. Graceful and pure, Happy People: A Year In The Taiga shows what happens when man works with, not against, nature. (Recommended)
January 24, 2013 Based on a web serial, Don Coscarelli's loopy, disorienting horror fantasy film seems like an overeager bid for cult-hit status, piling flashbacks on top of flashbacks on top of parallel universes, portals, space bugs, ESP, and a talking dog.
January 10, 2013 Ruben Fleischer's pulpy, violent noir homage is big on extralegal anti-mob action and paced like a dime-store novel — but it's noticeably short on nuance.
December 20, 2012 In This Is 40, Judd Apatow returns to Pete and Debbie, two supporting characters from his 2007 hit, Knocked Up. Critic Scott Tobias says that while the film bears Apatow's comic signature, the characters' general lack of purpose causes it to lose steam.
December 6, 2012 Stephen Frears' Lay the Favorite explores the world of Las Vegas gambling operations through the eyes of a wide-eyed newcomer. Critic Scott Tobias says leading lady Rebecca Hall is a live wire unable to spark her dull surroundings and a wan supporting cast.
November 15, 2012 Parker Posey stars as a relentless go-getter in the world of grocery management in Price Check. Posey's scene-stealing performance reminds critic Scott Tobias why she was crowned the "queen of the indies" in the '90s, commanding the attention of her audience and the characters around her.
November 8, 2012 Sean Baker's Starlet is a kind of Harold and Maude for a new generation. Critic Scott Tobias says the film's central relationship — a friendship between a young porn star and an octogenarian — is charming, perplexing and thoroughly true to life. (Recommended)
November 1, 2012 Wreck-It Ralph, from the creative forces at Disney-Pixar, constructs a multidimensional behind-the-scenes world of arcade games. Critic Scott Tobias says the misfit characters are the perfect vehicles for the message that even the biggest of "wrecks" can find a place to fit in. (Recommended)
November 1, 2012 Director Robert Zameckis returns to live action with Flight, about an alcoholic pilot who faces disaster of every kind. Critic Scott Tobias says the film situates its audience in a gray area, making it hard to point the finger of blame at any character. (Recommended)