Movie Reviews

'Leviathan' delves into the stark realities of life in a Russian fishing town

By Barry Paris / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Everybody and everything is vodka-saturated in “Leviathan,” Russia’s Oscar-nominated foreign film entry for 2015.

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'Focus' entertaining, but good pieces don't make satisfying whole

By Barry Paris / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Nicky Spurgeon runs a kind of Academy of Con Arts and Sciences. The arts involve sleight-of-hand and misdirection. The science is getting people to trust you.

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'Mr. Turner' delivers superb acting, filmmaking

By Barry Paris / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Revolutionary artists rarely have an easy time of it, and rarely give those around them an easy time, while typically reveling in the turmoil they cause. I’ve thought about Beethoven and Picasso in that regard. But I’m now thinking about J.M.W. Turner, and so will you if you treat yourself to Mike Leigh’s stunningly beautiful biopic, “Mr. Turner.”

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Slick 'Kingsman' well-suited to juveniles

By Barry Paris / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Welcome to the pseudo-o-o-7 universe — 007.2, if you prefer — in which the classic James Bond film is deconstructed (and “celebrated”) by combining it with today’s dominant comic-book movie genre. For better or worse.

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Oscar-nominated short documentaries outstanding and heavy

By Barry Paris / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Heavy, heavier, heaviest — plus mega-heavy — would characterize this year’s Oscar-nominated short documentary films, whose subjects include dying mothers, gravely ill babies, suicide and animal slaughter. The quality is exceptionally high, although watching them all together is an emotional challenge.

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Live action beats animated in 2015 Oscar-nominated shorts

By Barry Paris / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In Oscar categories as well as men’s underwear, there are shorts — and then there are briefs. Some of the live-action and animated mini movies nominated for this year’s Academy Awards are REALLY brief: One of the best runs a grand total of 2 minutes.

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'Blackhat' fails to compute as a great thriller

By Barry Paris / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

I used to think algorithms had something to do with Caribbean music, blissfully unaware they were crucial to computers, let alone terrorism. Now, alas, with Kim Jong Un and Sony ’n’ at, we must all get with the online program of 21st-century warfare, which threatens to destroy society as we know and love-hate it.

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'Inherent Vice' a ball of confusion

By Barry Paris / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Raymond Chandler meets Elmore Leonard, Cheech and Chong and Thomas Pynchon’s literary pretensions in the drug haze of the semi-comic detective story “Inherent Vice.”

Time: a quarter past the late ’60s.

Place: Southern California.

'Inherent Vice' movie trailer

In 1970, drug-fueled Los Angeles detective Larry "Doc" Sportello investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend.

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'My Old Lady' charming at times but slips into melodrama

By Barry Paris / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“I was born with a silver knife in my back,” says Mathias Gold, with an abundance of self-pity. But there’s an absence of gold and silver alike in his bank account, which is why he’s in Paris: He just inherited a valuable apartment there (in the 10 million euro range) from his estranged father and has come to claim and cash it in.

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'Only Lovers Left Alive': an incisively original take on vampires from Jim Jarmusch

Pity a depressed vampire: His existential despair is maximized by the fact that his existence is eternal. Pity -- even more -- a suicidal vampire: He can't very well drive a stake through his own heart. But he can order a custom-made .38-caliber wooden bullet.

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