Scene Stealers

An interesting 'Ida,' and I loathe 'Lucy'

Eric Melin

There is a stigma associated with foreign films, especially ones that are shot in black and white and set in a historical period that most Americans are unfamiliar with: That they are long and boring and nothing ever happens. I’ll be the first to admit it: It’s hard to get ...

Ebert documentary examines 'Life Itself,' and the library ain't afraid of no ghosts

Eric Melin

The new documentary **“Life Itself”** opens with a quote from beloved late film critic **Roger Ebert:** “The movies are like a machine that generates empathy. It lets you understand a little bit more about different hopes, aspirations, dreams and fears. It helps us to identify with the people who are ...

Great 'Apes' and Guestploitation at Liberty Hall

Eric Melin

When a new technological breakthrough happens in the realm of motion-picture visual effects, it’s often the best thing about the movie. Sometimes it’s the only thing worth remembering. How many times have you walked away from a mediocre film and said, “Well, the special effects were good”? So it is ...

All aboard for 'Snowpiercer,' and series spotlights classic WWII films

Eric Melin

The really great action movies are all about urgency — that life-and-death situation where the stakes couldn’t be any higher and the main character doesn’t have any other choice but to forge ahead. The new multinational co-production **“Snowpiercer”** has urgency in spades, but it also accomplishes something that’s even more ...

'Transformers' exports corn-fed Americana to China

Eric Melin

**“Transformers: Age of Extinction”** isn’t so much a movie as it is a 165-minute propaganda film made to appeal to the widest demographic possible (it's full of gorgeous people running from gorgeous explosions set to the new single by Imagine Dragons) — but mainly for China. And when Michael Bay ...

The undercover bromance of '22 Jump Street' and more outdoor film screenings

Eric Melin

If the 2007 action comedy “Hot Fuzz,” starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, poked light fun at the homoerotic subtext of “Point Break,” starring Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves, then the new action comedy **“22 Jump Street”** is its doltish, punch-drunk cousin. With ludicrously funny action scenes that rely on ...

Déjà viewing: 'Edge of Tomorrow' and Liberty Hall's classic music film series

Eric Melin

**“Edge of Tomorrow”** is a sci-fi actioner with the mechanics of a video game, where the protagonist gets another life and another chance every time he dies, but retains the knowledge and skill of all past lives. What helps the movie rise above a superficial level, however, is that it ...

An evil witch returns and a good cause worth remembering

Eric Melin

There’s a telling scene toward the beginning of **“Maleficent,”** a revisionist retelling of “Sleeping Beauty,” from Disney, the same studio that made the classic fairy tale famous again with its animated version in 1959. For a brief moment, outside the contrived conflict that surrounds this revenge-turned-sweet story, the young faery ...

X-Men, Trash Nite and 'Jayhawkers' on DVD

Eric Melin

Since Bryan Singer's "X-Men" debuted in 2000, Hollywood has given us three different Incredible Hulks, two Spider-Men, two more Supermen, and has started rebooting the Fantastic Four and Daredevil. The filmic legacy of the X-Men before now spanned six uneven movies and covers confusing timelines that date back to the ...

'Godzilla' pays tribute to kaiju, Liberty Hall pays tribute to 'Strange Brew'

Eric Melin

What kind of a movie would waste the talents of Oscar nominees **Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe** and **Juliette Binoche**? A “Godzilla” movie, that’s what kind. Another way to look at it is that **“Godzilla,”** the newest reboot of a franchise that started in Japan in 1954, didn’t waste ...

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