‘Only God Forgives’ makes a powerful impression

Nicolas Winding Refn's impactful new film polarizes audiences

Nicolas Winding Refn, the Danish director of “Drive” and “Valhalla Rising,” has produced his most complex and fascinating work yet in his new release “Only God Forgives,” in theaters Aug. 2. Starring Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas and Thai newcomers Vithaya Pansringarm and Yayaying Rhatha Phongam, the drama is a
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‘Fruitvale Station’ strikes a chord

Ryan Coogler's film offers a raw depiction of real life events

“Fruitvale Station” is particularly close to home for East Bay residents, evoking familiarity with the eponymous BART stop or the tragic incident that took place on New Year’s Day of 2009. In his first feature-length film, East Bay native Ryan Coogler presents a haunting, tense and striking dramatization of the
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Guillermo del Toro triumphs with ‘Pacific Rim’

Terrific special effects and cinematography stun viewers in big-budget sci-fi blockbuster

Somewhere in the world tonight, Michael Bay is crying himself to sleep. “Pacific Rim” is Guillermo del Toro’s monsters-versus-mechas spectacular. It is not a perfect movie, but it is an awe-inducing, jaw-dropping achievement in the visual qualities of the summer blockbuster. The film does not suffer from a slow start.
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Jane Lynch talks ‘Hollywood Game Night’

'Glee' star brings her hosting skills to new star-studded NBC game show

Given the scope of reality TV subject matter, it was only a matter of time before celebrities stunned us with their recreational activities. No, not Keeping up with Kim and Kanye’s Konception. I’m talking about the new game show series “Hollywood Game Night.” The show is based on the real-life
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‘Despicable Me 2’ fails to live up to its predecessor

Animated sequel proves lovable yet predictable

There are so many characteristics of “Despicable Me 2” that parallel its prequel that one almost expects the movie to be good at least for its familiarity. Once again, Gru must decide between good and evil when new characters arrive on the scene to steal his heart. This time, instead
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‘The Lone Ranger’ misses on many marks

'White-washing' still a serious issue in Hollywood films

Following the enormous box-office success of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski attempt to bring the same style of action and comedy to the Western genre with “The Lone Ranger.” While the over-the-top action sequences with the typical shootouts and train robberies provide some thrills,
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‘The Heat’ challenges hypermasculinity in buddy-cop films

Paul Feig aims to redefine comedy and shed gender divisions

The buddy-cop film is a long-established genre, with a pretty rigid and uninspiring formula: Two cops with extremely different personalities take an immediate dislike to each other but are forced to work together to solve a particularly difficult case — something they can only achieve by first bonding and becoming
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Documentary ‘The Secret Disco Revolution’ examines untold story of disco era

Director Jamie Kastner reflects on whether disco is dead

If disco is dead, then writer-director-producer Jamie Kastner has delivered its praising eulogy with his glittering, tongue-in-cheek documentary, “The Secret Disco Revolution.” Kastner does more than examine the history of the 1970s music craze — he offers a reflection upon the revisionist theory that, beneath its “carefully vapid veneer,” disco
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‘I’m So Excited’ does not live up to its title

Few directors have attained the kind of monolithic status that surrounds Pedro Almodovar. Since his feature debut in 1980, the Spanish auteur has come to be associated with an exaggerated style, kitsch melodrama, social satire and female heroism all his own. In truth, it’s almost formulaic. You see loud colors
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