Movie Reviews

Read the best movie reviews for the latest films showing in N Hollywood movie theatres including: Regency Theatre North Hollywood, Century 8, and Laemmle NoHo 7.

Wednesday, 05 January 2011 10:15

True Grit: The Coens Do It Lean and Mean

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When it was announced that the Coen Brothers were doing a retake on True Grit, this reviewer was intrigued, since he held the earlier version in very high esteem-and still does. That being said, The Coen Brothers’ adaptation of Charles Portis’ classic western novel turns out to be a beautifully photographed (by Roger Deakins) if slow-moving tale of a determined girl named Mattie Ross who hires the resolutely drunk yet fearless U.S. marshal Rooster Cogburn to bring her father’s killer to swift-and deadly justice. They are joined in this quest through a wintry landscape by Texas ranger LaBoeuf, and the three quarrel and spar, all the while developing some mutual respect enroute to their date with destiny. 
Wednesday, 22 December 2010 10:18

How Do You Know is not ‘As Good As It gets’

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James L. Brooks’ latest, How Do You Know has its moments, but overall it’s a meandering, lazy (cue some jaunty music to accentuate those nonexistent laughs) romantic comedy with a sprinkling of social commentary.  The plot in a nutshell: fading athlete Reese Witherspoon (cut from the US team in softball) is caught in a romantic triangle between very rich baseball player Owen Wilson and naïve, innocent corporate exec Paul Rudd who’s been set up to take the fall for falsifying financial documents.  An overacting Jack Nicholson plays his father (no points for guessing who set Rudd up to take the fall).
Friday, 10 December 2010 09:09

DVD: Toy Story 3 and Remember the Night

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toy story 3 logo toys Toy Story 3 Review (3D)
On DVD:  if you haven’t seen Toy Story 3, do yourself a favor and see it.  Beautifully animated as only Pixar can do it, it’s a heartwarming tale of friendship and loyalty as the discarded toys (Andy is going to college after all) try to find a place for themselves—and fall prey to terrible tykes and wily stuffed animals.  The voicework by all concerned is exceptional: the movie is at once funny, exciting and moving.  What are you waiting for?

Also on DVD (but I bet you didn’t know it—and maybe never even heard of it).  There’s a wonderful, relatively unsung holiday film with Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck called Remember the Night.  In a nutshell, district attorney MacMurray spends the holidays with accused shoplifter Stanwyck in MacMurray’s hometown. Mitchell Leisen directed from a Preston Sturges script and you would be hardpressed to find better work from either of these men.  Rent it or look for it on TCM.

Friday, 10 December 2010 09:01

Black Swan: Are There No Happy Ballerinas

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Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan is a riveting, florid walk on the wild side of dancing, desire and self-destruction, wrapped inside a scenario that incorporates elements of “The Red Shoes,” “All About Eve” and even a little “Single White Female.”  The exquisite Natalie Portman is Nina, a New York ballerina who pushes her body and punishes herself in an everlasting desire for perfection.  
Tuesday, 30 November 2010 10:49

The King's Speech

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Prince Albert of England certainly does have his share of problems.  Plagued since youth with a perpetual stammer, his position in the realm requires him to speak publicly at a growing number of ceremonial occasions.  A particularly painful address at Wembley Stadium is dramatized by screenwriter David Seidler in excruciating detail at the beginning of Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech.  

Wednesday, 27 October 2010 10:47


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I looked forward to John Curran’s Stone and really wanted to like it, but I felt something lacking.  I’m going to chalk it up to Angus MacLachian’s script which, though it provides one of Robert DeNiro’s best parts of recent years, still lacks a satisfying third act.  

Wednesday, 20 October 2010 10:46

The American

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Movie poster for The American starring George Clooney

 The American starring George Clooney is attractive to look at…and that’s about it. The plot deals with an assassin/weapon maker who wants to get out of the game (following a taut opening sequence that leads us to expect more from the movie). 

Thursday, 28 October 2010 10:44

Red and The Social Network Well Worth Your Time

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Two of the most enjoyable movies out right now probably don’t need my recommendation for you to see them-but I’m going to supply it anyway. Red
and The Social Network are both vastly entertaining films with assured direction, witty scripts, and enough twists and turns to satisfy the moviegoer looking for a modicum of intelligence with his entertainment.
Robert Schwentke’s Red (based on the comic book series) is probably the bigger and most welcome surprise.  A retired agent (a loose, funny, believable Bruce Willis) who passes the time chatting on the phone with a customer service rep (an engaging Mary-Louise Parker) finds himself a most wanted man for reasons unknown—at least at first...  
Thursday, 30 September 2010 10:42

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

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Michael Douglas and Oliver Stone revisit Gordon Gekko in the long-awaited sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. While it’s not the cultural touchstone its predecessor was, Money Never Sleeps is an enjoyable tale which brings Gekko into the 21st Century, replete with reptilian financiers who make him look like small change in comparison– and consequently, a more sympathetic character. It would be nice to say the recently released market master Gekko is the main player, but alas, this Wall Street has more players on its mind besides Gekko. 

Wednesday, 29 September 2010 10:41

Get Low

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Aaron Schneider’s Get Low is only now getting a wider release, and it’s about time. Beautifully filmed by David Boyd to evoke the Depression era, the film is a gentle, charming, funny, moving tale starring Robert Duvall is a hermit (on a fairly large tract of land) in self-imposed exile from his small town (and life, in general) who decides he wants to throw himself a funeral while he’s still around to see it. 

Thursday, 26 August 2010 10:40


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Finally caught up with Christopher Nolan’s Inception and I’m glad I did. While I don’t think it’s as profound as it thinks it is, or wants to be, it’s perfectly enjoyable as a thrill-packed action ride. Yes, there is the “dream team” and corporate espionage, as well as a dead wife who keeps causing problems. 

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 09:32

The Other Guys

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The Other Guys

The Other Guys, courtesy of director Adam McKay, is a funny buddy movie with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as mismatched desk jockeys living in the shadow of supercops Samuel Jackson and The Rock, until something happens…

Tuesday, 24 August 2010 09:30

The Expendables

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There are some other films worth checking out if you haven’t already… The Expendables, a muscular old-fashioned action yarn from writer/director/actor Sylvester Stallone, pits a singular group of mercenaries led by Stallone and action stalwarts such as Jet Li and Jason Statham, against a regime consisting of a corrupted ruler and an evil rogue operative, played with relish by Eric Roberts.   

Friday, 30 July 2010 09:29

Despicable Me

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I’ve managed to catch up with a few of the many summer films that the major studios have pinned their hopes on.  Let me start with two films that might be worth your time. The animated, 3-D Despicable Me is a joy from beginning to end, including the closing credits (stay for them).

Steve Carell voices Gru, a supervillain (with financial support from the Bank of Evil) whose grandiose schemes have resulted in diminishing financial returns. 

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