22 Jump Street (2014)

22 Jump Street (2014)

22 Jump Street is the kind of sequel you get from people who hate sequels. That’s not an entirely bad thing. This is the first sequel Hollywood wunderkinds Chris Lord and Phil Miller have helmed, though not the first they’ve inspired: they fobbed off Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 to Cody Cameron and…

How to Train Your Dragon 2

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

The first How to Train Your Dragon was a special kind of miracle. A simple tale of a father and his son, of a boy and his dragon, it soared beyond its modest ambitions. HTTYD succeeded thanks to gorgeously composed and edited animation and a spectacular Oscar-nominated score, yes, but mostly because of the simplicity…

The Lego Movie

The Lego Movie (2014)

In an era where blockbuster movies direct their immense budgets towards overcoming the restrictions of cinema, The Lego Movie succeeds by embracing its limitations. Those limitations are found in its animation; computer-generated, sure, but constructed from Lego blocks in their millions. Directors/screenwriters Phil Lord and Christopher Miller get a lot of mileage out of their…

Brad Pitt in Moneyball (2011)

Moneyball (2011)

I admire Moneyball for telling a story of baseball and statistics without embellishing with a romantic subplot – unless you include the professional chemistry between Oakland A’s general manager, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and his number-crunching number two, Peter Brand (Jonah Hill). I also admire its ability to make that story engaging, with its confident…

This is the End (2013)

This is the End isn’t the greatest comedy I’ve ever seen. There are funnier comedies, smarter comedies, comedies that will reward rewatching – something this comedic take on the apocalypse is less likely to do, reliant as it is on surprises. But, dammit, it’s been a long, long time since I’ve walked out of a…