Kurt Loder

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'Now You See Me' Review: Film Can't Conjure True Sense of Illusion

'Now You See Me' Review: Film Can't Conjure True Sense of Illusion

Louis Leterrier’s Now You See Me has an appealing comic spirit, and it’s a considerable amount of fun, in parts. It concerns four talented but low-level illusionist-hustlers: one card master (Jesse Eisenberg), one mentalist (Woody Harrelson), one daring escape artist (Isla Fisher),

'Oz the Great and Powerful' Review: Old-School Wonder Powers Prequel

'Oz the Great and Powerful' Review: Old-School Wonder Powers Prequel

Sam Raimi’s grand and magical new picture recalls the sense of wonder that movies could once awaken in us. Unlike such recent 3D fantasy riffs as Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and Jack the Giant Slayer (which tanked last weekend), Raimi’s Oz the Great

'Warm Bodies' Review: Zombie Rom-Com Brainier Than 'Twilight' Franchise

'Warm Bodies' Review: Zombie Rom-Com Brainier Than 'Twilight' Franchise

Warm Bodies suggests what the Twilight films might have been if the Twilight films didn’t, you know, suck. This movie is also a tale of forbidden young interspecies love, but it’s self-aware and funny and really charming. Basically, it’s a reworking of Romeo and Juliet (there’s even

'Gangster Squad' Review: Soulless Mobster Mash Misses the Mark

'Gangster Squad' Review: Soulless Mobster Mash Misses the Mark

January slouches on with the release of “Gangster Squad,” a bloody revision of the old Warner Bros. crime films of the 1930s. The story begins in 1949 in Los Angeles, a city thick with vice and corruption, where snarling mob

'Amour' Review: Engrossing Tale of Love, Aging and Commitment

'Amour' Review: Engrossing Tale of Love, Aging and Commitment

“Amour” has already won the top prize at Cannes, and is now Austria’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars. Here, director Michael Haneke, a master of icy appraisal and the unflinching lockdown shot, closely contemplates an

'The Hobbit' Review: Fantasy Prequel Lacks Fellowship, Focus

'The Hobbit' Review: Fantasy Prequel Lacks Fellowship, Focus

Well, Peter Jackson is no George Lucas, I’m happy to report, and his new Middle-earth prequel is no “Phantom Menace.” But the movie is a disappointment, and not only because it fails to equal the grand achievement of Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy

'Deadfall' Review: Snowy Film Noir Fizzles Out Midway In

'Deadfall' Review: Snowy Film Noir Fizzles Out Midway In

“Deadfall” has most of the elements of a good tricky noir: sex, love, doom, death. But the movie is dogged by intermittent listlessness, and it never quite comes together. About halfway in you can tell that the film itself is doomed.

'Life of Pi' Review: Gorgeous Saga Stricken by Narrative Excess

'Life of Pi' Review: Gorgeous Saga Stricken by Narrative Excess

Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi” is more than just a rip-roaring boy’s adventure. Much more, unfortunately. The movie is an adaptation of an award-winning 2001 novel by Canadian writer Yann Martel. The core of the story concerns a 17-year-old Indian

'Skyfall' Review: Sensitized Bond Betrays Franchise's Core Values

'Skyfall' Review: Sensitized Bond Betrays Franchise's Core Values

With “Skyfall,” the transformation of James Bond from the steely womanizer of the old Ian Fleming spy novels and the early Sean Connery movies is complete. Reinvigorated six years ago in the wake of the first two “Bourne” films, with

'Cloud Atlas' Review: Baffling, Banal Misfire from Makers of 'The Matrix'

'Cloud Atlas' Review: Baffling, Banal Misfire from Makers of 'The Matrix'

For a movie so jammed full of stuff–nearly three hours’ worth of it–“Cloud Atlas” feels oddly empty. Written and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski and German filmmaker Tom Tykwer (“Run Lola Run,” “The International”), the picture is both madly ambitious

'Seven Psychopaths' Review: Black Comedy Almost Too Smart for Its Own Good

'Seven Psychopaths' Review: Black Comedy Almost Too Smart for Its Own Good

“Seven Psychopaths” is a movie so devilishly well-crafted that it’s nearly consumed by its own brilliance. The writer-director, Irish playwright Martin McDonagh (“In Bruges”), is a master of nasty laughs, and he keeps them coming … and coming. There’s barely

'Sinister' Review: Horror Hodgepodge as Creepy as Intended

'Sinister' Review: Horror Hodgepodge as Creepy as Intended

This movie really did creep me out, bless its scabby little head. “Sinister” is a deft assemblage of genre ready mades–haunted house, slasher, found-footage–bound together in an atmosphere of bleak portents that sometimes recalls “The Shining,” among other, admittedly better,

'Looper' Review: Refreshing Twists on Time Travel Action Genre

'Looper' Review: Refreshing Twists on Time Travel Action Genre

Time-travel movies almost always make your head hurt. Has there ever been a screenwriter who succeeded in battening down all of the genre’s rampant temporal improbabilities? By now, the most efficient way to finesse this in-built problem is simply to

'Side by Side' Review: Breaking Down Digital Revolution Byte by Byte

'Side by Side' Review: Breaking Down Digital Revolution Byte by Byte

“Dark Knight” director Christopher Nolan is a digital refusenik. “I am constantly being asked to justify why I shoot film,” he says in the new documentary “Side by Side.” “But no one is asked to justify shooting digital.” Nolan may

'Compliance' Review: Overhyped Sundance Fave Unsettling All the Same

'Compliance' Review: Overhyped Sundance Fave Unsettling All the Same

The yowls of indignation that erupted around a screening of “Compliance” at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year–the agitated complaints of rank voyeurism–now seem a little overheated. The picture is unsettling, and sitting through it is sometimes uncomfortable. But