John Hanlon

Posted January 29, 2016

In 2014, director Craig Gillespie turned an inspiring story about a sports agent coaching young athletes from India into great entertainment with his film Million Dollar Arm. The drama was innocuous and traditional but was built strongly enough that the films effectiveness was seldom in doubt.

Posted January 12, 2016

With the Golden Globe awards airing last Sunday and the Oscar nominations coming out later this week, I recently took a look at the films of the past year and come up with my annual list of the ten best movies of the year.

Posted January 08, 2016

The financial crisis of 2008 is still a confounding mess to many of us. There are so many different ways to analyze the troubled economic decisions that led to that recession that its hard to know what the underlying truth really is. Thats what makes The Big Short an accessible dramedy about the collapse so gratifying.

Posted January 07, 2016

When I recently entered a theater for a midday showing of the new drama Joy, I knew that the film was the story of a young female pioneer who helped invent the Magic Mop. What I didnt realize is that the story is about much, much more than one success story. This is a film about the American dream and about what it takes to succeed in an industry that would rather look down on inventive young people who want a seat at the table.

Posted December 18, 2015

Its been nearly four decades since the original Star Wars arrived in theaters and showed viewers everywhere the power of the force and the undeniable talents of George Lucas.

Posted November 29, 2015

From the 2012 original to its latest entry, the onscreen adaptations of the Suzanne Collins Hunger Games literary trilogy have stood out.

Posted November 13, 2015

In the last few years, there have been dozens of films that speak to the dangers of living in a surveillance state. From Captain America: The Winter Soldier to Good Kill (which addressed the ethics of drone strikes), the topic of spying and whether or not there should be limits to governments use of mass surveillance has been a hot political topic on the big screen.

Posted November 06, 2015

Its hard not to be apprehensive when a film about controversial true events based on the book by one of the key figures in those events is named Truth. The title makes it seem like it offers a final and objective view of the events in question. Unfortunately, this new movie about the Rathergate scandal offers neither.

Posted September 30, 2015

One small film that qualifies as one of the years biggest winners though is War Room, a Christian film about the power of prayer.

Posted September 29, 2015

I just know theres a hole in my life and I need to fill it soon, states Ben (Robert De Niro), one of the main characters in the new comedy The Intern.

Posted September 24, 2015

Like his earlier works (Crazy Heart and Out of the Furnace), director Scott Coopers latest film Black Mass is a character-driven story.

Posted September 18, 2015

Less than a year after captivating audiences as Martin Luther King Jr. in the powerful drama Selma, actor David Oyelowo appears as a monstrous killer in the new film Captive.

Posted August 28, 2015

There is something painfully realistic about the new Owen Wilson thriller No Escape. Despite the films fictional story, the harrowing talewhich features an attack of an American embassy overseas seems all too familiar to those who watched coverage of the 2012 embassy attack in Benghazi and the embassy attacks before then.

Posted August 07, 2015

In an ironic twist of fate, Best of Enemies is arriving in theaters at a time when Jon Stewart (a longtime critic of punditry) is going off the air as the host of The Daily Show.

Posted July 31, 2015

McQuarrie and Cruise have crafted here a smart and exciting summer blockbuster that keeps this series running at full throttle.

Posted July 17, 2015

Its an undeniable fact that todays superhero movies are often dark and explosion-driven affairs that lack the fun and adventure that were once staples of the genre.

Posted July 10, 2015

Making a feature-length film about a group of funny supporting characters is always a tricky proposition. Making a feature-length film about a group of funny supporting characters who barely speak in words let alone sentences mustve have been even trickier.

Posted June 27, 2015

At the beginning and end of the new family drama Max, the filmmakers tell us about the importance of military dogs.

Posted June 19, 2015

In his speech to the 2011 graduating class of the University of Pennsylvania, two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington discussed the importance of failure. He noted, Thomas Edison conducted 1000 failed experiments. Did you know that? I didnt know that because the 1001st was the light bulb? I was reminded of that compelling speech during a recent screening of the new Pixar comedy Inside Out.

Posted June 12, 2015

Jurassic World is the movie that Jurassic Park fans have been waiting over two decades for. Over the past week, Ive been reviewing the original trilogy of films and although the first two sequels (The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III) were strong enough to merit recommendations, neither of them came close to matching the excitement of the original.