Betsy Sharkey, Film Critic

  • Don't put off 'Tomorrow' and Tom Cruise

    Don't put off 'Tomorrow' and Tom Cruise

    Watching the very entertaining sci-fi thriller "Edge of Tomorrow," with its "Groundhog Day" rewind-replay conceit applied to a space alien invasion rather than romance, I was reminded of how good Tom Cruise can be in the right role. For an A-list actor with steady work in big-budget projects, Cruise...

  • 'The Purge: Anarchy' ups the ante and the gore

    'The Purge: Anarchy' ups the ante and the gore

    "The Purge: Anarchy" is a good deal bloodier, but also — gulp — a good deal better than its predecessor. Make no mistake, a good "Purge" does not equal a good movie, but the post-apocalyptic thriller is slightly more interesting because it takes itself, and its menace, more seriously. The first...

  • 'I Origins' looks polished, but story is out of focus

    'I Origins' looks polished, but story is out of focus

    In Mike Cahill movies, bad things happen to good people, and other good people are guilt-ridden as a result. But the human connections and the spare sci-fi logic that characterized "Another Earth," Cahill's ethereal romantic dramatic debut, are muddied in his second feature, "I Origins." It is,...

  • 'Think Like a Man Too' is way too much of a good thing

    'Think Like a Man Too' is way too much of a good thing

    In 'Think Like a Man Too,' Kevin Hart is exhaustingly on — day and night — as the 2012 original's friends decamp to Vegas for a wedding, with all the requisite, cliched activities.

  • 'Land Ho!' embarks on two men's adventures in Iceland

    'Land Ho!' embarks on two men's adventures in Iceland

    Calling something a feel-good film always feels like a pejorative, so let's just say that after seeing "Land Ho!" you are very likely to feel a good deal better. This rather unassuming film is a bit like an amiable Iceland travelogue with plentiful shots of the country's stunning landscape and...

  • 'Gabrielle' tale of first love is hard to resist

    'Gabrielle' tale of first love is hard to resist

    There is an infectious reality that is not accidental in "Gabrielle," Canadian filmmaker Louise Archambault's story of first love for an engaging young couple, who happen to have intellectual disabilities. Gabrielle Marion-Rivard, the film's star and arguably its muse, is the reason. A charismatic...

  • 'Sex Tape' lacks appeal, even with Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz

    'Sex Tape' lacks appeal, even with Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz

    Let's start with the bare facts. A big-screen shot of a naked handstand is an overshare any way you look at it of parts and places better left unexposed — even from the back, even in a raunchy sex comedy titled "Sex Tape," even when executed by Jason Segel, like costar Cameron Diaz, a very appealing...

  • Angelina Jolie is wickedly good in the not-quite-classic 'Maleficent'

    Angelina Jolie is wickedly good in the not-quite-classic 'Maleficent'

    In re-imagining the infamous evil queen who curses an innocent girl, "Maleficent" is very much a cautionary tale for modern times. It essentially begs the question — are you sure it was the shrew that needed taming? It stars a wickedly good Angelina Jolie as the legendary Maleficent. In her hands,...

  • 'Boyhood' a startling, intimate portrait of a child growing up

    'Boyhood' a startling, intimate portrait of a child growing up

    There is a telling scene deep inside "Boyhood" that gets at the essential core of the emotional appeal of Richard Linklater's startling new film. It takes place in a rural church with a pastor sermonizing about doubting Thomas and faith and those who believe without seeing. That ability to believe...

  • 'Night Moves' explores line between activism, terrorism

    'Night Moves' explores line between activism, terrorism

    Genre-busting Kelly Reichardt takes on psychological thrillers in her provocative new drama "Night Moves" starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard and the breathtaking beauty of rural Oregon. The story, which the director wrote with longtime collaborator Jon Raymond, is interested...

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