June 21, 2012 Pixar tries to solve its female-heroine problem with a movie about Merida, a rebellious princess who, to her mother's dismay, craves freedom from all men. Critic Scott Tobias says the film's powerful character and message are unfortunately surrounded by uninspired plotting and comic relief.
June 14, 2012 Adam Sandler stars as the beer-swilling Donny, who reunites with his son (Andy Samberg) before the latter's wedding. Critic Scott Tobias says this movie about the virtues of juvenile crassness showcases an extreme, R-rated version of the Sandler we met 20 years ago in Billy Madison.
June 7, 2012 Paul Williams Still Alive tracks the '70s songwriter and celebrity who wrote hits for Barbra Streisand, The Carpenters and Kermit the Frog. Critic Scott Tobias says Williams is a remarkable subject but overshadowed by the film's obtrusive director.
May 31, 2012 Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, this hourlong trifle follows the adventures of a feline playing family pet by day and cat burglar by night. Critic Scott Tobias says the handcrafted film is a pleasant diversion, if a bit overplotted.
May 24, 2012 Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones return in the second Men In Black sequel as J and K, two of the sable-clad agents monitoring the Earth's secret alien population. Critic Scott Tobias says a time-travel plot and a strong performance from Josh Brolin as a young Agent K give the franchise a lift.
May 17, 2012 Milk writer Dustin Lance Black directs a swampy Southern melodrama about a single mother's affair with the married sheriff of a small Virginia town. Critic Scott Tobias says the film suffers from inconsistent direction that treats its characters with contempt and its place as caricature.
April 19, 2012 French writer-director Mia Hansen-Love (The Father of My Children) follows a young woman through the passion and heartbreak of first love. Critic Scott Tobias says the subtle and perceptive film is about emotions that linger and assert themselves, even against our better judgment. (Recommended)
April 13, 2012 A new film profiles Patty Schemel, the drummer for the '90s alternative rock band Hole and witness to the early grunge scene and its dramatic demise. Critic Scott Tobias says the misshapen documentary provides some compelling stories but struggles with its own subject's proximity to fame.
April 5, 2012 Documentarian Morgan Spurlock profiles the San Diego Comic-Con through the eyes of a comics illustrator, designer, dealer and fan. Critic Scott Tobias says the usually snarky Spurlock delivers a brisk and cheery overview — sweet but superfluous.
March 29, 2012 A small-town bouncer is recruited as a minor league hockey enforcer in a sweet and bloody comedy throwback to sports movies of the 1970s. Critic Scott Tobias says star Sean William Scott (Role Models) has found his Hamlet with a masterful comic performance as the affable, dimwitted goon.
March 23, 2012 Writer-director Abel Ferrara rejects the trend of grand apocalyptic visions by showing the end of the world from the vantage of a Manhattan loft. Critic Scott Tobias says focusing on the personal drama of a couple awaiting the end is a smart choice — but one wasted on this film's dysfunctional characters.
March 15, 2012 A high school English teacher (Nicholas Cage) makes a shady deal with a vigilante organization to assassinate his wife's rapist. Critic Scott Tobias says the ludicrous and wildly implausible plot that follows is barely rescued by action set pieces evocative of '70s paranoia thrillers.
March 13, 2012 Based on a best-selling novel, and starring Francois Damiens and Amelie's Audrey Tautou, this French romance blends whimsy and heartache in the story of a bereaved woman finding her way toward love again.
February 16, 2012 Belgium's Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film is a noir thriller exploring the brutal underbelly of the cattle industry — and an intense character study of an aggressive, troubled farmer who is shooting up for his own reasons.
February 2, 2012 A hotheaded ex-soldier with a troubled family life gets embroiled in a series of mysterious events when he accepts contracts to assassinate three strangers. Critic Scott Tobias says the unnerving film shows considerable brilliance — before it goes roaring off the rails.