Movie review: A leaky “Noah”

Russell Crowe is "Noah."

By Jim Tortolano E Pluribus Unum The new Biblical epic “Noah,” starring Russell Crowe as a sword-swinging, hard-faced patriarch who built the famous ark in Genesis, is difficult to categorize. That’s probably as it should be, because director and writer Darren Aronofsky and co-writer Ari Handel had to tread a difficult path. They took the […]

Movie review: “Mr. Peabody and Sherman”

"Mr. Peabody and Sherman," from Dreamworks.

By Jim Tortolano  E Pluribus Unum Thomas Wolfe said famously, “You can’t home again,” which especially applies to favorite childhood memories. When Dreamworks undertook to make a film version of the antics of Mr. Peabody and Sherman from the celebrated Sixties animated TV series ‘The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show,” the enterprise seemed doomed to disappointment. […]

Did Beatles change the world? Yeah, yeah, yeah

The Beatles arrive in America, February 2012.

By Jim Tortolano  E Pluribus Unum We’re in a frenzy of Beatlenostalgia, which is only fitting considering that so much of the world we live in has been shaped and soundtracked by the four boys from Liverpool. Folks like to make a big deal out of the way that the Beatles affected popular music, and […]

Movie review: A small “Monuments Men”

The all-star cast of "The Monuments Men."

By Jim Tortolano  E Pluribus Unum You want to like “The Monuments Men,” the feel-good war story from George Clooney.  Good vs. evil. Americans vs. Nazis. An all-star cast. But “Men” ends up being a mildly-entertaining, sometimes boring movie despite the crinkly smile of Clooney and the non-inconsiderable talents of Matt Damon, John Goodman, Bill […]

Movie reviews: A wise “Philomena,” a touching “her”

Judi Dench and Steve Coogan star in "Philomena."

By Sarah Cooperman E Pluribus Unum Love not only makes the world go ‘round, it also motivates that part of the film world not focused on blowing things up.  Two films in recent release – “Philomena”  and “her” touch impressively on aspects of that emotion: a mother’s love, and the loneliness for love in today’s […]

Movie review: “Mitty” minimizes the wit

Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig in "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."

By Jim Tortolano, E Pluribus Unum Tom Clancy often complained about the way that Hollywood – in his view – mangled his books when converting them into films, but he cashed the checks anyway. James Thurber, if he were around, would probably have the same complaint about what 20th Century Fox did to his most […]

Movie review: “American Hustle” depresses

Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence in "American Hustle."

By Pete Zarustica, E Pluribus Unum If you don’t believe in heroes, “American Hustle” is the movie for you. In this comedy-drama set in the late Seventies and early Eighties, everyone is on the make from crooks to government agents to elected officials. It’s technically proficient, but downright depressing. David Russell directs this story about […]

Movie review: “The Wolf” runs well, but too long

Leo DiCaprio stars in "The Wolf of Wall Street."

By Sarah Cooperman, E Pluribus Unum Ever go to a really good play, party or concert and at some point think to yourself, “This thing is starting to drag.” That’s the sensation I got when watching Martin Scorsese’s latest epic, “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Based on the book by Jordan Belfort, the original “wolf,” […]

Movie review: A ground-floor view in “Saving Mr. Banks”

Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson in "Saving Mr. Banks."

By Sarah Cooperman, E Pluribus Unum Like most young girls growing up in America (or for that matter, anywhere in the Western World), I thrilled to the adventures of women in the world of Disney.  While the heroines were not always all that heroic, it was difficult to resist the temptation of imagining yourself a […]

Movie review: “Catching Fire”

Stanley Tucci and Jennifer Lawrence in "Hunger Games: Catching Fire."

By Sarah Cooperman E Pluribus Unum For too many years, the narrow portfolio of female action heroes was limited to stars like Angelina Jolie, who had to fight in tight tank tops and short-short-shorts. While Jolie is not a bad actress, she was often cast in roles in which her spectacular, uh, assets were best […]

Movie review: “Delivery Man”

Vince Vaughn and Chris Pratt in "Delivery Man."

By Sarah Cooperman E Pluribus Unum You have to love Vince Vaughn.  He’s everyone’s favorite well-meaning slacker. Smarter than he looks, his characters half-fast it through some of the most pleasing comedies of a generation: “Swingers,” “Dodgeball,” “Wedding Crashers,” “The Internship” and now “Delivery Man.” Of course, he always comes out on top, his genuine […]

Movie review: “The Book Thief”

Geoffrey Rush and Sophie Nelisse in "The Book Thief."

By Sarah Cooperman/E Pluribus Unum Just before the deluge of “holiday blockbusters” composed of dumb sequels and kid’s books, comes a trickle of intelligent, thoughtful movies that will no doubt get squashed at the box office. “The Book Thief” is one such film. Adapted from the novel by Markus Zusak, it tells the story of […]

Movie review: “Ender’s Game”

Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford in "Ender's Game."

By Sarah Cooperman/E Pluribus Unum Like the trajectory of objects in space, the new sci-fi flick “Ender’s Game” is describing the ascent of one actor and the descent of another. Asa Butterfield, who won rave reviews in “Hugo” and “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” puts this space opera flick on his capable 13-year-old back […]

Movie review: “Last Vegas” improves with age

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  By Sarah Cooperman E Pluribus Unum   There’s a scene in “Last Vegas” where a sixty-something Michael Douglas, speaking at a funeral, looks at the dead guy and says “See you in 30 years.” If we’re lucky, that is. It’s hard not to see this movie aimed at aging baby boomers and not think […]

Movie shorts: “Gravity” and “12 Years A Slave”

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By Sarah Cooperman E Pluribus Unum   Hollywood loves its predictable stories. And so, frankly, do film-goers. Do you really want to plunk down $13 and spend two hours if the bad people win and the big stars get toasted? Course not.  But it would help is film-makers came a wee but closer to reality.  […]