Film Reviews
Echoes of War

Riled Up

Echoes of War tells a modest tale of revenge in rural Texas.
Kristian Lin
Let’s be real here. The main reason the low-budget Western Echoes of War is opening in theaters here is because of the presence of Maika Monroe, the lead actress of this spring’s indie horror hit It Follows who now seems on...


With a faithful border collie, Carey Mulligan surveys her holdings in Far From the Madding Crowd.

The Hardy Girl

Carey Mulligan is phenomenal in this film of Far From the Madding Crowd.
Kristian Lin
Back in 1967, there was a film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel Far From the Madding Crowd. (Note to younger movie fans: Do not confuse the writer with the guy starring in the Mad Max sequel this week. That’s a different ...



Chris Evans and Michelle Monaghan bond over some product-placed water in "Playing It Cool."

Cliché Written

A lot of stuff happens for no reason in the forced romance Playing It Cool.
Kristian Lin
Back when Chris Evans was starring in inconsequential fare like the Fantastic Four films and The Nanny Diaries, I dismissed him as some lightweight pretty boy. In fact, for longer than I care to admit, I regularly confused him ...


James Marsden and Jack Black make a triumphant entrance at their 20th high school reunion in The D Train.

L.A. Lawless

The D Train is a dull comedy until it gets turned.
Kristian Lin
The uneven career of Jack Black has had some delirious highs (The School of Rock) and gruesome lows (Gulliver’s Travels), but this comic actor has proved his chops often enough to merit serious consideration. (Why no one tout...



Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, and Chris Hemsworth go airborne in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Rebuilding the Shield

The Avengers evolve by necessity in this bigger, shakier sequel.
Kristian Lin
Three years ago this week, The Avengers opened. Ultimately, it would become the third-biggest box office hit in movie history. Part of its success came from the novelty value of having so many superheroes who had carried their ...


Bill McAdams Jr. stares down the barrel of a gun in "Gallows Road."

Getting the Hang

North Texas filmmaker Bill McAdams Jr. keeps the faith.
Kristian Lin
I catch Bill McAdams Jr. during a whirlwind week. He was in Dallas on April 22 for the premiere of Gallows Road, the drama that he directed and co-stars in, which played on opening night of the USA Film Festival. However, when ...



A mysterious Skype user harasses Shelley Henig (left), Moses Storm (second from left), and others in Unfriended.

End-of-Spring Roundup

Before the summer blockbusters arrive, here’s a look at some smaller movies.
Kristian Lin
Only two movies are opening in wide release this week, and neither of them screened in time for our deadlines. Ex Machina is expanding to theaters in Tarrant County this Friday, and it’s your best bet for entertainment. Since...


Alicia Vikander ponders the faces of the prototypes before her in Ex Machina.

A Doll’s House

A directing debut descends into the uncanny valley in Ex Machina.
Kristian Lin
Alex Garland’s first movie as a director is Ex Machina, but he has been around the film business a long time. After his novel The Beach was adapted to the screen by Danny Boyle in 2000, the British writer collaborated more cl...



Jonah Hill and James Franco have a heart-to-heart in county jail in True Story.

Lie to Me

Comedy stars go serious to good effect in the crime thriller True Story.
Kristian Lin
You may be surprised to learn that True Story is only the second serious collaboration between James Franco and Jonah Hill, two actors who have spent much of their time making raunchy comedies for Judd Apatow and his stable of ...


Naomi Watts is the only grown-up at baby class without a baby in While We’re Young.

Hipster Replacement

Tonight let’s get some and see While We’re Young.
Kristian Lin
I’m so glad Noah Baumbach has lightened up. He spent the back half of the 2000s making a trio of dramedies — The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding, and Greenberg — whose closely observed character studies of loat...