Scene Stealers

Why the Blu-ray format is essential to film literacy, and a local 'Triumph'

Eric Melin

At no other time in the last hundred years have there been more movies available to the general public as there are right now. Thanks to streaming video, hundreds of thousands of movies from the dawn of film to today can be accessed and played back on all kinds of ...

Boy to man: 'Boyhood' captures 12 years in 2 and a half hours

Eric Melin

Now playing at Liberty Hall, **“Boyhood”** is the challenging new movie from writer/director **Richard Linklater**, and it follows 12 years of the life of a boy named Mason, who is first seen at age 6. **Ellar Coltrane**, who plays Mason, is the centerpiece of this ensemble movie, but the real ...

A predictable 'I Origins,' and a look back at the greatest movie of all time

Eric Melin

Nothing kills a movie that’s coveted a slow, methodical buildup more than a heavy dose of convenient plotting and characters that over-explain the film’s central idea. Thanks very much, **Michael Pitt**, but I already knew that your new sci-fi inflected drama **“I Origins”** was about the eternal science vs. spirituality ...

A 'Galaxy' worth exploring, and airing it out in K.C.

Eric Melin

**“Guardians of the Galaxy”** may have its connections — however slight — to the Marvel cinematic superhero universe that has been building for years, but it’s not a superhero movie at all. It has way more in common with George Lucas’ original 1977 space opera “Star Wars.” It isn’t quite ...

An interesting 'Ida,' and I loathe 'Lucy'

Eric Melin

There is a stigma associated with foreign films, especially ones that are shot in black and white and set in a historical period that most Americans are unfamiliar with: That they are long and boring and nothing ever happens. I’ll be the first to admit it: It’s hard to get ...

Ebert documentary examines 'Life Itself,' and the library ain't afraid of no ghosts

Eric Melin

The new documentary **“Life Itself”** opens with a quote from beloved late film critic **Roger Ebert:** “The movies are like a machine that generates empathy. It lets you understand a little bit more about different hopes, aspirations, dreams and fears. It helps us to identify with the people who are ...

Great 'Apes' and Guestploitation at Liberty Hall

Eric Melin

When a new technological breakthrough happens in the realm of motion-picture visual effects, it’s often the best thing about the movie. Sometimes it’s the only thing worth remembering. How many times have you walked away from a mediocre film and said, “Well, the special effects were good”? So it is ...

All aboard for 'Snowpiercer,' and series spotlights classic WWII films

Eric Melin

The really great action movies are all about urgency — that life-and-death situation where the stakes couldn’t be any higher and the main character doesn’t have any other choice but to forge ahead. The new multinational co-production **“Snowpiercer”** has urgency in spades, but it also accomplishes something that’s even more ...

'Transformers' exports corn-fed Americana to China

Eric Melin

**“Transformers: Age of Extinction”** isn’t so much a movie as it is a 165-minute propaganda film made to appeal to the widest demographic possible (it's full of gorgeous people running from gorgeous explosions set to the new single by Imagine Dragons) — but mainly for China. And when Michael Bay ...

The undercover bromance of '22 Jump Street' and more outdoor film screenings

Eric Melin

If the 2007 action comedy “Hot Fuzz,” starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, poked light fun at the homoerotic subtext of “Point Break,” starring Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves, then the new action comedy **“22 Jump Street”** is its doltish, punch-drunk cousin. With ludicrously funny action scenes that rely on ...

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