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All of CrAiGeR's full-length reviews of contemporary films since Jan 2004

 

 

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Listing of every FOUR STAR review that CrAiGeR has ever written (excludes retro-reviews)

 

 

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CrAiGeR revisits classic films from

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CrAiGeR dishes out his TEN BEST and TEN WORST films for every year since 2000

 

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN MOST OVER-RATED FILMS OF ALL-TIME

CrAiGeR unleashes his list of ten films that he felt did not deserve universal fan accolades and critical praise.

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN MOST INFLUENTIAL FILMS OF THE LAST 25 YEARS 

CrAiGeR ruminates on ten films he feels most directly influenced the business and making of movies since 1986.

 

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN BEST FILMS of the 2000's

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN BEST FILMS of the 1990's

 

 

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CrAiGeR's TEN BEST FILMS of the 1960's

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN BEST FILMS of the 1950's

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN BEST FILMS of the 1940's

 

 

 

 

 

 

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE (PG-13jjj   

Never bully The Rock...like ever

The new action buddy comedy CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE is proof positive that if you headline these genre efforts with just the right “buddies” that it can easily overcome most of their inherent faults.  Like a perplexing three-way cocktail of TWINS, MIDNIGHT RUN, and SPY, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE gets a remarkably amount of mileage out of lead actors Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, the latter displaying some atypical performance shrewdness in essentially playing the straight man to all of his co-star’s man-child tomfoolery...

Posted June 24, 2016

NO YOU SEE ME 2 (PG-13j1/2   

A sequel with nothing up its sleeve

It could be aptly argued that most movie sequels are redundant and unnecessary, outside of padding already deeply padded studio coffers with potentially big box office receipts.  That much is clear.  However, in the pursuit of financial dominance many sequels can do a good job of expanding upon the core ideas, storylines, and character dynamics of their predecessor.  They make a solid claim for their very existence.  NOW YOU SEE ME 2 is simply not one of those kind of sequels...

Posted June 24, 2016

MIDNIGHT SPECIAL (PG-13jjjj   

Jeff Nichols harnessing his inner CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND

Jeff Nichols' MIDNIGHT SPECIAL is a small scale, low key, and understated supernatural/sci- fi thriller that’s nevertheless hypnotizing and enthralling despite its modest look and feel.  Unlike so many other modern genre examples, this film places less emphasis of garishly distracting visual effects and numbing action spectacle and instead hones in on the human drama that is cemented in its own fantastical storyline...

Posted June 24, 2016

WARCRAFT   (PG-13jjj   

When cinematic fantasy, video games and Duncan Jones collide

The very best scene in TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS occurs during its end credits.  A very familiar theme song blares on the soundtrack, signaling a whirlwind of wonderfully reflective emotions about the ionic 1980’s animated series.  Hearing that song filled me with nostalgia and made the adult viewer in me feel like a child again...

Posted June 17, 2016

POPSTAR: 

NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING

(Rjjj1/2   

This mockumentary is totally 4 real

To take a page out of the vernacular of the main character of this film, POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING is a pretty dope mockumentary about a not-so-dope popstar that thinks he’s dope, later realizes that he’s not so dope, and then proudly reclaims his dopeness...

Posted June 17, 2016

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: 

OUT OF THE SHADOWS

 (PG-13j   

A sequel that should crawl back into the sewers

The very best scene in TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS occurs during its end credits.  A very familiar theme song blares on the soundtrack, signaling a whirlwind of wonderfully reflective emotions about the ionic 1980’s animated series.  Hearing that song filled me with nostalgia and made the adult viewer in me feel like a child again...

Posted June 12, 2016

JANE GOT A GUN (Rjjj    

Female frontier justice

Sometimes, it’s very difficult for a film critic – or filmgoers, for that matter – to segregate themselves apart from a film’s rather tortuous production history while screening it and especially later while reviewing it.  The new western JANE GOT A GUN is proof positive of this, and calling the film “new” is almost a misnomer...

Posted June 12, 2016

ME BEFORE YOU (PG-13jj1/2     

AKA - How not to live boldly

Romance dramas don’t need to do a whole hell of a lot to win me over.  Classic “Three Hankie Tearjerkers” are relentlessly predictable to their cores and methodically engage in wanton emotional manipulation to ensure that geysers of tears are shed from our collective eyeballs.  Yet, what helps override this genre’s staunch allegiance to overused formulas and conventional beats is the inherent strength of its two lead stars...

Posted June 12, 2016

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

 (PG-13jj1/2    

Days of Present Future

 

For as much pleasure as I’ve derived from watching the X-MEN films over the last 16 years, even I have to concede at this point that their narrative continuity has become about as simple and straightforward as quantum mechanics.  Director Bryan Singer has revealed that the newest installment APOCALYPSE (the ninth in the series, if you consider all of the films set within the 20th Century Fox mutant universe, including the recent DEADPOOL)...

 

Posted June 4, 2016

RISEN (PG-13jjj    

A tale of the crucifixion with a rather enlightened approach 

I’m usually not very responsive to faith based films, mostly because of their beyond obvious efforts to pander towards their audiences while alienating everyone else in the process.  RISEN is a decidedly and refreshingly different type of faith based film altogether, which is ultimately what makes it so uniquely engaging to sit through...

Posted June 4, 2016

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

 (PG-13jjj    

A return journey down the rabbit hole with improved results

 

I wasn't overly enthusiastic upon leaving my screening of Tim Burton’s 2010 adaptation of ALICE IN WONDERLAND, mostly because it failed to stay with me in any significant and lasting manner after I saw it.  The film was a gargantuan global box office success for the director and Disney, making over a billion (that’s a billion) dollars worldwide, which made the chances of a sequel a foregone conclusion...

 

Posted June 4, 2016

THE NICE GUYS (Rjjj1/2   

These guys don't play nice

Shane Black has this impeccable knack for mixing acerbic and rapid-fire dialogue with macabre violence and spirited tomfoolery as good as any filmmaker.  The smart-assed macho banter that permeates his films is endearingly infectious and often helps override some of the lesser qualities of his sometimes convoluted and murky narratives.  Black also completely reenergized – although often mistaken for having invented it – the buddy action comedy genre of the 1980’s...

Posted May 29, 2016

NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING

(Rjj1/2    

Girls just wanna have fun

NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING is a sequel that strains credulity through and through and begs the question as to the necessity of its own existence.  With the success of the first rowdy college frat house comedy from 2014, a sequel seemed positively inevitable.  As far as direct follow-ups go, NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING is pretty routine and strains very little away from the established premise of its antecedent...

Posted May 29, 2016

SING STREET (PG-13jjjj 

The power of music as a soul cleansing agent of change

If SING STREET were a person then I would wholeheartedly hug it.  It’s an infectiously enjoyable coming-of-age musical comedy of boundless feel-good optimism, made all the more toe-tappingly enjoyable considering that it’s a love ballad to music, music creation, and youthful artistic creativity.  The film tells the tale of a young Irish boy that uses music as a form of soulful therapy to help him escape from the depressing doldrums of his daily life...

Posted May 29, 2016

MONEY MONSTER (Rjj1/2   

This screenplay needs a bailout

MONEY MONSTER is an incredibly frustrating film to sit through.  It’s all the more frustrating considering that it stars multiple Academy Award nominated and winning actors and is directed by Jodie Foster, no stranger to Oscar glory herself.  The talent in this thriller is enough to get any viewer on board, not to mention that the film deals with some highly relevant themes that tap into our collective fears regarding corporate and socioeconomic evil...

Posted May 21, 2016

GREEN ROOM (Rjjjj   

A backwoods horror-thriller of chilling effectiveness

 

I’ve developed an awfully thick skin over my last 12 years as a film critic, so much so that most subject matter and/or content rarely unnerves me to the point where I have to nervously watch a film through my fingers.  Jeremy Saulnier’s GREEN ROOM is a different beast altogether.  I watched a majority of it through my fingertips, and it takes a special unflinchingly raw and unnervingly violent film to elicit such a response from me...

 

Posted May 21, 2016

DIRTY GRANDPA (R zero stars 

This old man needs to be committed

 

If your idea of a good time at the movies is to see the legendary Oscar winning actor of such films as RAGING BULL and TAXI DRIVER aggressively masturbate, drop n-bombs multiple times, insult homosexuals, make jokes about child and prison rape, and drape his penis and testicles right next to his grandson’s head at his pillow while in bed then DIRTY GRANDPA is most assuredly for you.  For everyone else with some semblance of taste and decency…flee for your very lives away from this film like the plague that it is...

 

Posted May 21, 2016

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR

 (PG-13jjj1/2   

Just a kid from Brooklyn versus a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist

 

At the risk of offending Marvel and DC fundamentalists alike, there are a striking – dare I say almost distracting – number of similarities between the thirteenth Marvel Cinematic Universe entry CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR and the recently released DC effort BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE...

 

Posted May 13, 2016

KEANU  (Rjjj

Key and Peele are the cat's meow 

I’m a self-obsessed cat lover.  Anything feline related seems to instantly melt my heart.  It’s my emotional kryptonite.  The new action comedy KEANU (not to be directly confused with the famous actor whose first name means “cool breeze” in Hawaiian) features one of the most cripplingly adorable kittens in movie history that just happens to be the main focal point of the feature film starring debut of Jordan Peele and Keegan Michael Key...

Posted May 13, 2016

RIDE ALONG 2  (PG-13j

Thanks, but I'd rather hitchhike 

RIDE ALONG 2 is barely a movie.  It's a sequel so unnecessary, so devoid of anything approximating substance, and so frustratingly derivative and bland that – beyond collecting massive paychecks – you have to question the motives behind all those involved in front of and behind the camera...

Posted May 13, 2016

RATCHET AND CLANK

 (PGjj   

A clanking and lumbering 90-minute video game commercial 

RATCHET AND CLANK has all of the necessary core ingredients to make for a splashy and enjoyable animated film.  It’s based a series of science fiction, action oriented platform video games designed by Insomniac Games for the PlayStation consoles and features a cat-like alien mechanic and his trusted pintsized sidekick robot that zip throughout the universe and save it from nefarious foes of all shapes and colors...

Posted May 7, 2016

KNIGHT OF CUPS  (Rjj      

Malickian overkill

Terrence Malick is one of our greatest living film directors.  There’s simply no questioning that.  He made, for my money, the most brilliant film of the current decade in THE TREE OF LIFE and his previous track record of masterful efforts largely speak for themselves.  He’s an auteur of the highest and most esteemed order and one whose very own enigmatic stature in the industry is part of his films’ timelessly hypnotic allure...

Posted May 7, 2016

A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING

(Rjjj      

Proof positive why Tom Hanks remains acting royalty

 

If Tom Hanks were in a film involving him reading names and numbers out of a phone book for 90 minutes then I’m quite convinced that he would somehow make it endearingly watchable.  Like Jimmy Stewart before him, Hanks has always been one of the more dependable everyman actors of his generation, and is able to infuse affable vitality into characters and scripts that don’t completely rise up to the occasion...

 

Posted May 7, 2016

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENTS

(No MPAA Rating) jj1/2       

A media satire lacking in gutsy edge

The new Netflix Original Film SPECIAL CORRESPONDENTS is an extremely ambitious satire involving a couple of hapless and in-over-their-heads journalists that fake their own kidnapping as a cover story…when they lose their passports to travel to a foreign country to cover their civil unrest and are too cowardly to admit their mistake to their media bosses...

Posted May 7, 2016

EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! 

(Rjjj1/2      

That 80's Movie!!

When Richard Linklater’s DAZED AND CONFUSED was released back in 1993 it was heralded as a love ballad to 1970’s nostalgia and the universal social pastime of “hanging out.” The latter sentiment obviously has broad appeal.  I was barely a child during the mid-1970s (the time when the film was set), but I nevertheless intimately related to the film's comings and goings of its high school characters...

Posted April 29, 2016

THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER'S WAR

(PG-13jj    

Two medieval twisted sisters for the price of one

Question: Was the movie world ravenously clamoring for a Snow White-less sequel to 2012’s SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN?  Answer: Not…really.  To quote its full title, THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR commits the greatest cinematic sin possible for big screen fantasies: it’s resoundingly dull and inspires frequent watch checking...

Posted April 29, 2016

ONE MORE TIME (Rjjj        

A melody of family dysfunction

Robert Edwards’ ONE MORE TIME is superficially about a dysfunctional family unit and an aging, washed up pop star, so thoughts of it spiraling out of control and into multiple overused and stale genre conventions were pretty overwhelming for me going in.  Surprisingly, the film is quite a bit more perceptive and smartly defined with its characters than I was frankly expecting...

Posted April 29, 2016

THE JUNGLE BOOK 

(PGjjj1/2     

This boy's life

Jon Favreau’s THE JUNGLE BOOK is arguably one of the greatest examples of a live action film fabricated from literal nothingness that I’ve ever seen.  Calling this Disney adaptation of the company’s own beloved 1967 animated film (in turn, based on Rudyard Kipling’s collective literary works) a “live action film” is almost inaccurate...

Posted April 23, 2016

CRIMINAL (Rj1/2     

A criminally wasted ensemble cast of industry veterans

A funny thing happened to me about 20 minutes into watching the new action/espionage thriller CRIMINAL.  It soon dawned on me that the rather impeccably assembled cast in the film have all been in super hero films from Marvel and DC.  Doing some quick witted mental gymnastics, I realized that CRIMINAL stars Commissioner Gordon, Two Face, Deadpool, Jonathan Kent, Wonder Woman, and Faora-UI...

Posted April 23, 2016

HARDCORE HENRY (Rjj1/2    

High octane action from a different perspective

For years critics have frequently bemoaned that many modern Hollywood action films look and feel like simplistically adrenalized video games.  HARDCORE HENRY is a new action thriller that goes well out of its way to ostensibly mimic the aesthetic of video games (more specifically, first person shooters) throughout its 96-minute running time...

Posted April 17, 2016

THE BOSS (Rj    

McCarthyism run amok

I don’t hate Melissa McCarthy.  I really don’t, contrary to what many of you may think.  She’s talented.  That much is clear.  Yet, I’ve grown to despise what’s developing into a laundry list of witless, puerile, and dreadfully unfunny comedies that’s she’s written, starred in, and co-produced.  Cringe inducing, laugh-free endurance tests of will like the grotesquely awfully TAMMY and the equally wretched IDENTITY THIEF wallowed in portraying the same tired and overused version of the obligatory McCarthy comedic character...

Posted April 17, 2016

DEMOLITION (Rjjj

Destruction therapy

Jean-Marc Vallee’s DEMOLITION is a problematic, but pretty fascinating drama that taps into the rather unexpected – and sometimes unhealthy – ways that people sift through grief, personal trauma, and mourning.  Far too frequently, losing the life of a loved one produces a whirlwind of conflicting emotions that are difficult to process and deal with...

Posted April 17, 2016

EYE IN THE SKY (Rjjj1/2   

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind

Much like 2015’s terribly underrated and little seen GOOD KILL, Gavin Hood’s methodically unnerving and thematically absorbing EYE IN THE SKY is a thriller that channels suspense not from cookie cutter action sequences, per se, but rather with its deliberate and agonizingly prolonged pacing...

Posted April 7, 2016

THE WAVE (Rjjj

A disaster epic that mostly washes away Hollywood troupes

I’ve become so jaded and tired of the natural disaster genre that I frankly have to pinch and remind myself that this is one that’s somehow worthy of me caring about it.  At their best, these films are sometimes gloriously engineered spectacles that inspire fear and wonder in the mayhem presented, but at their worst they're intellectually vacant eye candy motivated by cheap, sensationalistic titillation that borders on – and then crosses it – shameful disaster porn...

Posted April 7, 2016

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

 (PG-13) jjj   

When larger than life orphans clash

To quote its full – and somewhat longwinded – title, BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE is a super hero epic (the second entry in the DC Cinematic Universe post-MAN OF STEEL) that has an operatic visual scope and scale that oftentimes – but not all of the time – matches its fairly courageous story and thematic ambitions...

Posted March 29, 2016

THE LAST MAN ON THE MOON

(No MPAA Rating) jjjj   

Confessions of a space cowboy

Only twelve people have ever journeyed through the heavens, into outer space, and stepped foot on the moon.  Let that settle in for a bit.  Some of these brave heroes even managed to make the pilgrimage to our nearest satellite not once, but twice.  Apollo astronaut Eugene Cernan was just one of those men.  He first went to the moon – albeit, without actually touching down on it – as part of the Apollo 10 surveying mission...

Posted March 29, 2016

THE DIVERGENT SERIES: 

ALLEGIANT  (PG-13) j1/2   

I'm an insurgent that refuses to swear allegiance to Divergent series

The stakes have never been more non-existent and disinteresting in THE DIVERGENT SERIES as they are in ALLEGIANT, the second last (sigh) installment in a four film series based... on a trilogy of books (double sigh).  I was, in all fairness, responsive towards the world presented in the 2014 introductory chapter, hoping that its would-be thought provoking ideas and themes would germinate more in its follow-up...

Posted March 25, 2016

WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT (R) jjj

A much needed feminist prerogative of life covering the war torn trenches

 

The new fact-based Afghanistan wartime dramedy WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT (military slang for WTF?) does something that most other examples of this genre have seemingly failed to do: It paints a fairly compelling and refreshing portrait of strong-willed and career focused women on a journey of self-discovery in combat-ravaged countries and tells the ground zero story of the conflict from their perspectives...

 

Posted March 25, 2016

PEE-WEE'S BIG HOLIDAY 

(No MPAA Rating) jjj1/2  

Prep your mind, body, soul and root bear barrels for a grand adventure

There’s a moment in PEE WEE’S BIG HOLIDAY that solidifies why the character is such an endearing original.  It also put a smile on my face that was impossible to wipe off for over 90 minutes.  Pee Wee (still played by the shockingly ageless Paul Reubens) is in his car and making his very first pilgrimage outside of the quaint and comfy confines of his hometown, the appropriately named Fairville...

Posted March 25, 2016

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE  

(PG-13) jjj1/2  

A refreshingly different kind of monster film...and sequel

 

CLOVERFIELD – which was then shrouded in more enigmatic secrecy than a typical STAR WARS franchise installment – kind of came out of relative nowhere back in 2008 and did a reasonably solid job of revitalizing the giant rampaging monsters genre.  Thanks largely to a brilliantly opaque marketing campaign and compelling usage of a found footage aesthetic, the J.J. Abrams produced and Matt Reeves directed affair...

 

Posted March 19, 2016

THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY (Rjj

A grimly and oftentimes tastelessly unfunny spy comedy

I have absolutely no idea how I’m supposed to review this film, nor do I truly know whether I should recommend it on any tangible level.  Granted, that’s precisely what a film critic is supposed to do with every review, but THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY throws real qualitative curveballs at its audience throughout its mercifully brief 82 minute running time...

Posted March 19, 2016

LONDON HAS FALLEN (Rjj1/2  

DIE HARDERER

2013’s OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN was one of the most blatantly obvious – but also one of the best – DIE HARD clones that I’ve ever seen.  It also was the finer of the two White House Invasion movies that were also released that year (sorry, WHITE HOUSE DOWN).  Watching a one-man army engage in a deadly and clandestine mission to rid the president’s home of nasty Korean terrorists had a distinctive John McClane-ian vibe to it all, and gloriously so...

Posted March 13, 2016

EDDIE THE EAGLE (PG-13) jj1/2  

This eagle has not quite landed

EDDIE THE EAGLE is an awfully warm hearted and sweetly sentimental reality based inspirational sports drama that’s awfully hard to hate.  Regrettably, it’s also a film that milks every single obligatory cliché and convention from its genre and never fully feels inclined to go creatively beyond its manipulative schmaltz...

Posted March 13, 2016

GODS OF EGYPT

(PG-13) j

These all-powerful deities deserve a more powerful movie

The new fantasy film GODS OF EGYPT feels like it was written by a five-year-old boy that likes to play with action figures in his sandbox, making up his own outrageously nonsensical narrative as he goes along...

Posted March 8, 2016

 

 

OTHER

2016/

LATE 2015

REVIEWS

 

TRIPLE 9

(Rjjj

 

THE WITCH 

(Rjjjj

 

RACE

(PG-13jjj

 

DEADPOOL

(Rjjj1/2

 

ZOOLANDER 2

(PG-13jj1/2

 

CAROL

(Rjjj

 

HAIL, CAESAR!

(PG-13jjj1/2

 

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES

(PG-13jjj

 

KUNG FU PANDA 3

 (PG)

jjj

 

THE FINEST HOURS

(PG-13jjj1/2

 

13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI

(Rjj   

 

THE 5TH WAVE

(PG-13j1/2

 

THE REVENANT

(Rjjjj  

 

THE BIG SHORT

(Rjjj   

 

CONCUSSION

(PG-13jjj  

 

BROOKLYN

(PG-13jjj1/2  

 

LEGEND

(Rjjj  

 

LABYRINTH

30th Anniversary Tribute Review

(PG) jjj1/2 

 

THE HATEFUL EIGHT

(Rjjjj  

 

JOY  

(Rjj1/2 

 

DADDY'S HOME

(PG-13 jj

 

MACBETH

(Rjjj1/2

 

IN THE HEART OF THE SEA

(PG-13

jj1/2