Eric D. Snider

Movie Review: "Calvary" B August 1, 2014

A priest seeks to atone for others' sins

Let us stipulate that the wide-faced, twinkly-eyed Irish actor Brendan Gleeson is an under-appreciated thespian who improves every movie he appears in, whether you know his name or not. (Fine, he played Mad-Eye Moody in the Harry Potters.) It is no small thing, then, to say that his compassionate and multi-faceted performance in the gut-punching "Calvary" is particularly good, even for him. Onscreen almost every minute of the film, he bears its weight as skillfully as his character, an Irish village priest, carries the troubles of his parishioners.

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Movie Review: "Guardians of the Galaxy" B August 1, 2014

Lotsa laughs in outer space, orb-hunting

If it weren't for the Marvel label and some minor characters teased in previous films, you'd never know "Guardians of the Galaxy" had anything to do with any superheroes. This is a sci-fi comedy about a group of space rogues of assorted alien races, more "Galaxy Quest" than "The Avengers." (That's not a criticism, merely an observation.)

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Movie Review: "Boyhood" A- July 31, 2014

Kids grow up so fast (about 166 minutes)

Near the end of "Boyhood," Richard Linklater's truly remarkable time-lapse portrait of a child growing up, the boy's mother, Olivia (Patricia Arquette), is feeling wistful over his imminent departure for college. "I just thought there would be more," she says -- more to life, more to the experience of motherhood, more to everything. That rueful sentiment could be echoed by viewers of "Boyhood" who find the movie uneventful or dull -- and I hope those viewers, like Olivia, realize they're looking at it the wrong way.

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Movie Review: "Magic in the Moonlight" C+ July 31, 2014

Woody Allen tosses one off without trying

Maybe the reason Woody Allen is so fond of the 1920s and '30s is that in those days, nobody batted an eye when, say, a 53-year-old man like Colin Firth had a relationship with a 25-year-old woman like Emma Stone. Not so anymore! Nowadays, if a man is 28 years older than his love interest, people wonder about ulterior motives or undue influence. Some people might even find it a little creepy, actually, especially in a Woody Allen movie.

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Movie Review: "A Most Wanted Man" B July 31, 2014

Germans try to prevent terror, post-9/11

The venerable English spy-novelist John le Carré has been writing page-turners since the early 1960s, when the Cold War was giving people in le Carré's profession ample material to work with. As the times have changed, le Carré has adapted his skills. The easily identifiable Soviets and East Germans of "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" and "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" are gone now (even their countries are gone); modern espionage focuses on terrorist groups and religious extremists, most of whom aren't affiliated with or backed by a government. Intelligence-gathering is more complicated now. But le Carré's criticism of it -- that the West's tactics often go against our ideals -- is as trenchant as ever, as we see in the film "A Most Wanted Man," adapted from his 2008 novel.

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Eric's Blog July 28, 2014

Garrens Comedy Troupe reunion video!

Remember the Garrens Comedy Troupe? Remember when we did a 20th anniversary show? Remember when we released the video of that show?

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Eric's Blog July 27, 2014

Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider #220: 'Hercules,' 'Lucy,' 'Boyhood,' and more

[Also reviews of "And So It Goes," "They Came Together," and "A Most Wanted Man." It's a busy week at Movie B.S.!]

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Movie Review: "And So It Goes" D July 25, 2014

White people in Connecticut do nothing

A while back, after years of directing good movies in a variety of genres, Rob Reiner decided to focus on tepid, forgettable, upscale comedies aimed at the least discerning, most easily entertained demographic in America: middle-aged white people. So instead of "The Princess Bride," "A Few Good Men," and "When Harry Met Sally...," the once and future Meathead has been shoveling out tripe like "The Bucket List," "Rumor Has It...," "Alex & Emma," and now the latest, "And So It Goes," a movie so lazy it couldn't even be bothered to come up with a real title.

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Movie Review: "Lucy" C July 25, 2014

Taking drugs makes you smart, powerful

The familiar adage about how humans only use 10 percent of their brains is an old wives' tale (old scientists' tale?), but that doesn't mean it can't be the basis for a good story. I mean, it's not true that getting bitten by a radioactive spider gives you the powers of a spider, either, but you go with it. So what sorts of things could we do if we unlocked 100 percent of our mental potential? The possibilities are staggering!

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