Screened Out – Dr. Strange

By : Stephen Miller
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Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen

Movies area visual medium, and few movies take full, beautiful advantage of that like Dr. Strange. It’s a spacy, hallucinogenic head-trip worthy of repeated viewing just to take it all in. This new Marvel comic movie also boasts some great actors truly committing to their characters.

However, what it lacks – and it seems a shame to complain about this in a comic book movie – is real emotional punch. When an arrogant man loses his career and, quite possibly, the love of his life, we should feel more. We should feel his devastation. Though this man searches for redemption in the spiritual arts, Dr. Strange doesn’t really have a lot of spirit.

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Screened Out – Secret in Their Eyes

By : Stephen Miller
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Julia Roberts, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman

Good psychological thrillers are extremely difficult and rare.

They need great acting, sure, and this one has that. They also have to exist in that thin area between thrilling and plausible, between surprising and unbelievable.

There are some illuminating moments in Secret in Their Eyes – most of them are provided by Roberts. Then there are many scenes that veer into drippy melodrama and even farfetched camp. The film ends up feeling like a Dennis Lehane novel (Gone, Baby, Gone and Mystic River) kidnapped by over-the-top director Pedro Almodóvar (The Skin I Live In and Bad Education). Your love of Secret will depend on how you feel about mashing these disparate styles together.

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Screened Out – The Martian

By : Stephen Miller
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Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Sean Bean, Aksel Hennie, Sebastian Stan, Daniel Glover

Visually stunning, intellectually intriguing, and emotionally charged, The Martian is a fiercely appealing story of survival. It’s also director Ridley Scott return to form – jettisoning gravitas for entertainment, injecting heart into his pictures again.

It’s all based on Andy Weir’s wonderful best-selling novel. This is the type of adaptation authors probably pray for – smart, tight, and full of life, energy, tension, and humor.

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