The Interview (2014)

The Interview (2014)
The Tiger’s New Stripes — I have no idea whether all of the fuss about The Interview, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen’s new idiot comedy, was a true international incident or a brilliant publicity stunt, but I do know that the ride I took to Missouri, the next state over from my home town in ...

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
Why Does It Always Take Winter So Long To Come? — In a hole in my life lived thirteen hours I desperately want back. I can’t tell you how much I loathe writing about Peter Jackson’s Tolkien movies. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies might be the worst of the lot. It begins ...

Top Five (2014)

Top Five (2014)
Smile Though Your Heart Is Aching — In Top Five, Chris Rock reconstructs Woody Allen’s Annie Hall (1977), continuing the woeful story of a male stand-up comedian trying to find meaningful human contact with his female love interest. Rock’s film is an ever more grandiose achievement; it moves beyond Allen, progressing to understand Manhattan as ...

Night at the Museum 3 (2014)

Night at the Museum 3 (2014)
Melancholic Laughter — Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, the third film in the series is, by any sane critical standards, a bad movie. The lead, Larry, played by Ben Stiller, is lifeless, and his character without motivation. Meanwhile, the CGI effects are bland and familiar. And yet, as I sat in an ...

Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)

Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)
A Christian Moses, Baleful — In his book Containment Culture, American Studies scholar Alan Nadel discusses the extent to which 1950s American cinema was inflected by Cold War discourse. Indeed, 1956’s The Ten Commandments, an adaptation of sorts of the Book of Exodus from the Bible, begins with an absurd lecture by director Cecil B. ...