Eric D. Snider

Eric's Blog December 29, 2014

Wide releases of 2014: a handy list

All the 2014 movies that played in wide release (at least 600 screens). Movies that opened small but eventually expanded to 600+ are included. There were 144 of them! How many did you see?? Write down your answer on a piece of paper, chew it up, and swallow it.

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Eric's Blog December 29, 2014

What Is My Deal? An Exhaustive Report

I have dwelt upon this Earth for four decades now, and if there's anything I can say that applies to the entire span, it's this: it certainly hasn't been boring. There's always something.

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Eric's Blog December 28, 2014

Everything I wrote in 2014

Here's everything I wrote in 2014. Well, everything I published. I wrote some emails and bathroom graffiti, too.

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Movie Review: "The Babadook" A- December 26, 2014

Once you let it in, it's hard to get it out

[In theaters and Video on Demand.]

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Movie Review: "Two Days, One Night (French)" B+ December 24, 2014

Marion Cotillard tries to save her job

Who's your favorite pair of Belgian filmmaking brothers? Mine is probably Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. They arrived on the international scene in the mid-1990s (when they were both in their early 40s), and have since won multiple prizes at Cannes and other fancy places for their naturalistic films about the working class ("Rosetta," "Lorna's Silence," "The Kid with the Bike").

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Movie Review: "Annie (2014)" C- December 19, 2014

Brings back memories of the Depression

It's a tribute to the talents of 11-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis that the "Annie" remake in which she stars conveys the earnest optimism of everybody's second favorite orphan (after Batman) despite its many flaws. The film is modernized, prefabricated, poorly staged, clumsily self-referential, and all the new songs are capital-A Awful -- but Annie makes you think there's still hope.

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Movie Review: "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" C- December 17, 2014

There and back again, again, and again

Peter Jackson's ill-advised and transparently greedy three-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's one-part "The Hobbit" sputters to a conclusion in "The Battle of the Five Armies." This cacophonous and half-hearted sequel bears the distinction of being the shortest of the lot (only 144 minutes!) and containing the least amount of plot by volume. The meat of the story has already been told; all that's left now is the third-act battle and the tying up of threads whose beginnings we may well have forgotten.

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Movie Review: "Exodus: Gods and Kings" C- December 12, 2014

Scott: what Hebrews Israelite on drama

This was the year that Hollywood tried to revive the Biblical epic, hoping to duplicate the success of 1950s smashes like "The Ten Commandments" and "Ben-Hur." It seemed like a long-shot, but Hollywood was willing to try anything (other than originality) to pull in audiences. But after Darren Aronofsky's bizarre "Noah" and now Ridley Scott's turgid "Exodus: Gods and Kings," don't be surprised if the idea quietly falls by the wayside and nobody in Los Angeles County mentions the Bible again until they're called to swear upon it before testifying in court.

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Movie Review: "Wild" B+ December 5, 2014

Reese Witherbackpack takes a long hike

It's been several years since Reese Witherspoon starred in a movie worth recommending, and a decade since she won her Oscar for playing June Carter Cash. Whether by choice or happenstance, she's been flying under the radar, making easy trifles like "How Do You Know," "This Means War," and that one about Robert Pattinson and a circus elephant.

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Movie Review: "Zero Motivation (Hebrew)" B December 3, 2014

Distaff ‘The Office’ in the Israeli army

One of the ways for film festivals to earn prestige within the industry is to host the world premiere of an under-the-radar movie that turns out to be noteworthy, thus forever associating the festival with that film. Such programming coups imply two things: that the festival is good enough to attract top talent, and that its programmers are savvy enough to recognize it.

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