July 22, 2014

This Week's SFR Picks

Newsletters

Choose your newsletter(s):
* indicates required

SFR Events

Special Issues

 

 

Planet of the Dopes

Hopefully 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' is followed by 'Demise'

Barf First there was Rise. Before that there was Tim Burton’s remake. Before that there were five Planet of the Apes films, the first of which has the distinction of being adapted by Rod Serling, so at least it’s subversive and progressive.

July 15, 2014 by David Riedel

A Contender for the Worst Movie Ever Made

'Third Person' is rotten, rotten and rotten

Barf Director Paul Haggis could have done the audience a big favor by making a short movie, as the endless narratives of Third Person don’t allow for any one story to dominate.

July 09, 2014 by David Riedel

Misogyny Disguised as an Art Film

Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 is stupid, uninspired and cruel

Barf Don’t get caught up in the Nymphomaniac hype. It’s a meticulously produced piece of shit.

April 01, 2014 by David Riedel

300: Rise of my lunch

‘300: Rise of an Empire’ proves too much blood can be boring

Barf 300: Rise of an Empire has no ideology, purpose or ambition beyond being blood-and-guts spectacle on a massive scale. If that’s your idea of a great flick, please enjoy. 

March 03, 2014 by David Riedel

The Barfbag Queen

‘The Callback Queen’ is so bad, it’s hard to believe

Barf Here are some things The Callback Queen thinks are funny: Gay sex; Irish-English hatred as fuel for sex; eastern Europeans in general. And here are some things The Callback Queen thinks it knows about: Hollywood productions.

Feb. 05, 2014 by David Riedel

Laborious

So much can happen on ‘Labor Day’

Barf The story told in Labor Day, about Adele (Kate Winslet), a divorced and depressed mother to young teenager Henry (Gattlin Griffith), and their long holiday weekend with stranger Frank (Josh Brolin) is absurd.

Jan. 29, 2014 by David Riedel

Break out the Barf!

‘Lone Survivor’ is jingoism

Barf Mark Wahlberg is a bad actor. There are movies when he’s passable (Date Night; Ted). But most of the time he’s inexplicably praised (his wretchedly unbelievable performance in The Departed)

Jan. 08, 2014 by David Riedel

More like 'The Secret Life of Walter Shitty'

'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' holds you in contempt, so why not make a lame joke at its expense?

Barf The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is terrible. Just terrible. It’s wrongheaded, silly, and worse, confused. The story—about Walter (Ben Stiller), who works as a negative asset manager at LIFE magazine—is pretty straightforward.

Dec. 26, 2013 by David Riedel

On Bouffe Pas

'Le Chef' is fun until it isn’t

Meh  Le Chef falls under the screwball comedy umbrella, and it’s really, really silly and really, really French about it.

July 01, 2014 by David Riedel

At Least It’s Only 93 Minutes

'The Double' deserves two middle fingers

Meh Richard Ayoade’s The Double is based on Dostoyevsky’s novel, but its only saving grace is that Jesse Eisenberg is likable.

June 17, 2014 by David Riedel

Take a Shit, Call It a Movie

'Blended' blah blah, whatever, fart joke

Meh Blended is not the worst movie in the Sandler catalogue. It has the one thing in a Sandler comedy that can elevate it: Drew Barrymore.

May 20, 2014 by David Riedel

Hoods, Hooligans and Thugs: Oh, My!

‘God’s Pocket’ is quietly derivative

Meh Actor John Slattery makes his feature film-directing debut with God’s Pocket.

May 13, 2014 by David Riedel

Choses Déjà Vues

It’s been there, done that for ‘Bright Days Ahead’

Meh That plot description is glib, but Bright Days Ahead doesn’t warrant anything deeper.

May 13, 2014 by David Riedel

Spoil-the-Party Monster

‘Godzilla’ is big but snoozeworthy

Meh Godzilla is ninety minutes of prep work followed by 30 minutes of Godzilla facing off with two MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms).

May 13, 2014 by David Riedel

Why Can’t Spider-Man Get a Screenplay as Good as the New ‘Captain America’?

‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ amazes in its disposability

Meh The Amazing Spider-Man 2 suffers from the same affliction that plagued Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3.

April 30, 2014 by David Riedel

Hey Joe: Where You Going with That Gun in Your Hand?

Brace yourself for 'Nymphomaniac: Vol. II'

Meh Nymphomaniac: Vol. II is, mercifully, not as bad as Vol. I, but it has its share of problems.

April 15, 2014 by David Riedel

Don’t Go in the Water!

You’ll get caught in The Face of Love’s undertow, and it will kill you

Meh Now that there are two movies playing simultaneously that rely on doppelgangers to fuel the plot, you have a choice: The masterfully eerie Enemy or The Face of Love.

March 25, 2014 by David Riedel

Hit the Brakes

‘Non-Stop’ proves it’s time for Neeson to get a better action gig

Meh It’s winter, and that means one thing: Liam Neeson will kill the hell out of people. Taken is the first in Neeson’s old-dude-slaughtering series of films. The Grey, Taken 2, and Unknown follow it.

March 03, 2014 by David Riedel

It’s a Wrap!

2013 was a year filled with glory, slurps and triple barfs

Movie Reviews So this year was a pretty good one for movies. It’s just that movies that were bad were so bad. Just inexcusable. Sweet Jesus. But we’ll get to those after my five favorite movies of 2013.

Dec. 31, 2013 by David Riedel

Fall Flicks

It’s the attack of the award-worthy films!

Movie Reviews Welcome to autumn. As we all know—and if you don’t, WHAT THE FUCK, ARE YOU LIVING UNDER A ROCK?—it’s the time of year when the studios, big and small, start pushing their awards fodder picture

Oct. 25, 2013 by David Riedel

Blood and guts… gotta problem with that?

'Machete Kills' is long, dumb, and a lot of fun

Movie Reviews The early reviews for Machete Kills have largely been unkind. The big gripe appears to be that Machete Kills is too long, too repetitive and too superviolent. How many of these critics have seen a Robert Rodriguez movie before?

Oct. 11, 2013 by David Riedel

Tom Hanks… and pirates

'Captain Phillips' has its moments

Movie Reviews Sometimes when watching a movie that’s particularly emotionally distressing, one has to ask, “Just how much harrowing adversity can we watch these characters go through? What’s the endgame here?

Oct. 09, 2013 by David Riedel

Nothing to see here

'Love, Marilyn' is truly lame

Movie Reviews Hey, here's something to savor. A bunch of actors reading—on camera no less!—words by lots and lots of people who have written things about Marilyn Monroe. And words by Monroe herself.

Oct. 09, 2013 by David Riedel

I Seem to Be Floating, And Downward

It’s ‘Gravity’!

Movie Reviews Calling a movie Newton’s Laws of Motion would probably have the potential audience running for the hills.

Oct. 01, 2013 by David Riedel

Not Enough

‘Enough Said’ is delightful

Movie Reviews It’s a shame there aren’t more movies like Enough Said. It’s a touching (and truly hilarious) comedy with moments of drama about people who are actual adults—people with children and responsibilities and jobs—and not just assholes who work in graphic design.

Oct. 01, 2013 by David Riedel

Come for the Crashes, Stay for the Story

Rush is better than it should be

Movie Reviews It’s that time of year between the end of summer and the beginning of the Oscar races when, traditionally, the genuine crap starts hitting the multiplexes. (You’ll also find crap from January to March, and, depending on your point of view, all year.)

Sept. 24, 2013 by David Riedel

Characters and Audience Abused

It comes together quite easily in Short Term 12

Movie Reviews I recently had a conversation with another critic about the jarring transition that some actors make from playing high school students to playing adults. For my money, the biggest jump is Jon Cryer playing Duckie in Pretty in Pink (1986) to playing 27-year-old stockbroker Andrew in Hiding Out (1987).

Sept. 24, 2013 by David Riedel

Set ‘Em Up!

Oh, to be more than ‘Drinking Buddies’

Movie Reviews One could be forgiven for considering Olivia Wilde the Gretchen Mol of her generation. You know, an actor with enormous promise who made early and frequent missteps.

Sept. 17, 2013 by David Riedel

Witches and Dum-Dums

'Witching & Bitching' is outrageous

Ok You know, the time is just about right for an insane Spanish-language horror comedy. And what do you know? Here comes Witching & Bitching, which is about as insane as horror comedies come.

July 15, 2014 by David Riedel

A Life Less Ordinary

'Violette' is difficult but rewarding

Ok  If you can get through the first 30 minutes of Violette, you’ll be rewarded with another 105 minutes of much of the same self-hatred and sexual obsession, but it somehow becomes more palatable.

June 24, 2014 by David Riedel

The 1-percent Solution

Citizen Koch is angry agitprop

Ok Citizen Koch takes aim at Citizens United, Americans for Prosperity, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, and billionaires Charles and David Koch.

June 17, 2014 by David Riedel

Let Him Die in Peace

'Lullaby' has problems but still jerks some tears

Ok Lullaby has lots of problems. For one thing, it can’t get a handle on the comedy in it, though it’s most certainly a drama.

June 10, 2014 by David Riedel

Fear and Loathing in a Documentary

‘For No Good Reason’ goes skin-deep on Ralph Steadman

Ok Ralph Steadman seems like a nice, ordinary guy—at least as he’s presented in For No Good Reason—who, through satire, happens to get to the guts of his subjects in a way that is real, complete and uncompromising.

June 03, 2014 by David Riedel

Bored. Disaffected. Whatevs.

'Palo Alto' is a solid debut for Gia Coppola

Ok Based on James Franco’s story collection, Palo Alto follows high schoolers as they are alternately bored, neglected, overwhelmed and drugged out.

May 27, 2014 by David Riedel

A Brief Encounter With a Stranger on a Train

'Just a Sigh' breathes heavily, but quietly

Ok Alix and Doug make their way from Calais back to Paris via train. Each is going through existential crises. They part ways. Except they don’t, because we know what happens with strangers on trains, right?

May 27, 2014 by David Riedel

Twists, Turns and Killin’

'Cold in July' is good, gritty stuff

Ok Cold in July is a stark, gritty production and a powerful example of what happens when the screenplay is one step ahead of the audience.

May 27, 2014 by David Riedel

Searching For a Labrador (Duck) and The Self

‘A Birder’s Guide to Everything’ is quietly charming

Ok A Birder’s Guide to Everything is a quiet, charming and hopeful comedy (with dramatic underpinnings).

April 30, 2014 by David Riedel

Moving Pictures

‘Finding Vivian Maier’ tries to tell the story of an unknown talent

Ok So how is it that one of the greatest street photographers ever goes completely unnoticed in her lifetime? After watching Finding Vivian Maier, the answer seems simple: She was a little nuts.

April 22, 2014 by David Riedel

Killing Hollywood-Style for Real

‘The Act of Killing’ is a bizarre must-see

See The Act of Killing is such a surreal movie it’s almost hard to believe that all the killings in it took place. 

Feb. 25, 2014 by David Riedel

Thumbs Up

'Life Itself' is a wonderful chronicle of Roger Ebert

Yay What comes through most in Life Itself is Ebert’s love of movies, the depth of his film knowledge and the relationships he had with the people who loved him.

July 08, 2014 by David Riedel

Got Songs?

'Begin Again' is featherweight and cute

Yay Begin Again is wholly implausible, has characters that couldn’t exist in real life and has an ending that’s just so syrupy sweet, but also has a decent soundtrack and winning performances. I’m in.

July 01, 2014 by David Riedel

Of Course the Future Is Dystopian!

'Snowpiercer' is tons o’ dark fun

Yay Snowpiercer takes place roughly 18 years after the world has been thrust into a new ice age. All the survivors boarded a train called Snowpiercer, and the train circles the globe once a year.

July 01, 2014 by David Riedel

Give the Punters What They Want

'Lucky Them' is funny, sad and surprisingly poignant

Yay Lucky Them’s Ellie is told by her editor to find her ex-boyfriend, a beloved disappeared Seattle musician, and write a story about what he’s been doing for a decade.

June 24, 2014 by David Riedel

Decisions, Decisions

Obvious Child is the best comedy of 2014 (so far)

Yay Obvious Child is funny as shit. It’s possibly the most laugh-out-loud comedy of 2014.

June 24, 2014 by David Riedel

Where’s the Dog?

Violence and despair abound in 'The Rover's dystopian future

Yay The human landscape depicted in The Rover is as bleak as the desert in which it takes place.

June 17, 2014 by David Riedel

Woke Last Night to the Sound of a Bomb Exploding

'Night Moves' is the latest quality film from Kelly Reichardt

Yay Night Moves follows a trio of people plotting to blow up a hydroelectric damn using a boat carrying approximately 1 ton of nitrogen-enriched fertilizer.

June 10, 2014 by David Riedel

Over the Hills and Far Away

Climb aboard the cable cars to ‘Manakamana’

Yay The idea of something being interesting-mundane captures the feeling one may have when being presented with Manakamana.

June 03, 2014 by David Riedel

Surprise! You’re Dead!

‘Edge of Tomorrow’ is a smart summer action flick

Yay Edge of Tomorrow has all the signs of a creative team and studio wanting to make a good, borderline-great action spectacular, and the film delivers.

June 03, 2014 by David Riedel

Never trust the Spanish-speaking doctor with the German accent

'The German Doctor' is moody and creepy

Yay If you know your postwar history, you know The German Doctor is based on a true story.

May 20, 2014 by David Riedel
 
Close
Close
Close