Mike at the Movies

Mike at the Movies

The Grand Budapest Hotel (R) **** This is one weird, funny, audacious and wonderful piece of filmmaking. It is not to be watched while fatigued or in an inattentive manner: You’ll lose track. Briefly, the story is the history of…

Mike at the Movies

Pompeii (PG-13) ** This is a movie, not a documentary. It is a movie we’ve all seen before. It involves a slave who is a gladiator, small but effective, a black slave who is the noblest character in the cast,…

Mike at the Movies

The Monuments Men (PG-13) **** George Clooney gambled on his audience and their patience in this odd war film. Many critics find it too episodic and slight for true praise, and episodic it is. Perhaps Clooney, who wrote and directed…

Mike at the Movies

August: Osage County (R) ***** This film will take over your mind and start gnawing at your soul before you know what happened. It is the story of a family brought together by what nobody will admit was the suicide…

Mike at the Movies

“Saving Mr. Banks” (PG-13) ***** In an outstanding holiday season of new films, this is certainly one of the top choices. It relates how Walt Disney worked for 20 years to get the rights to make the movie “Mary Poppins”…

Mike at the Movies

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (PG-13) **** This has to be one of the most spectacular and spectacularly effective films of recent years. As we have learned, a spectacle isn’t always effective. This one is. The entire picture, except…

Mike at the Movies

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (PG-13) **** So the franchise is launched again with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) being chased by birds, lightning, poison gas, monkeys and, most deadly of all, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) of the Fascistic paradise of…

Mike at the Movies

The Counselor (R) **** When you see the cast of this film and its credits, you know you’re in for an interesting time: Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Bruno Ganz and Rosie Perez, just to…

Mike at the Movies

“Prisoners” (R)**** Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal play opposite types in this excellent thriller whose only real problems are the musical score and its length of 153 minutes. The score is often unnecessary and even irritating as it underlines the…

Mike at the Movies

“The Spectacular Now” (R) ***** As a critic, I have been hard on low-talent, high-glamour young actors who mistake posing for acting and care little for depth or development of character. What a joy, then, to find not one but…