September 2, 2014 at 12:01 am

Tom Long's movie reviews

Detroit News movie critic Tom Long presents his opinions on recent film releases.

  1. Review: 'Frank' strikes some seriously odd chords

    'Frank' is an odd little rock-and-roll fable likely destined to become a cult hit for late night stoners everywhere. That's because the title character wears a large papier mache head with a fixed expression of vague wonder day and night.

  2. Review: 'Life of Crime' can't find pulse behind its kooky characters

    Director-screenwriter Daniel Schechter transforms Elmore Leonard's novel 'The Switch' into the film 'Life of Crime,' a movie that plays out in the goofy caper genre with very little feel of urgency.

  3. Review: Witty and wise 'May in the Summer' ponders love, family

    'May in the Summer' is a lovely meditation on family and love with crossing cultures and second thoughts.

  4. Review: Conspiracies and gunfire drive 'November Man'

    Filled with efficient thrills, 'The November Man' is both more taut and tough than you'd expect from a late August spy action flick. Then again, it's produced by and stars Pierce Brosnan.

  5. Review: In 'The Giver,' human spirit prevails in an oppressive future

    As adapted by Michael Mitnick and Robert B. Weide and directed by Phillip Noyce, the movie is alternately a cautionary tale, a story of redemption and a salute to the human spirit, even as it questions the wisdom of that spirit.

  6. Review: 'What If' is classic romantic woe with pixie dust sprinkles

    What if you went to a romantic comedy, thoroughly enjoyed it and couldn't remember much about the story the next day? That's fine because 'What If' flies by on the instant and lasting chemistry between leads Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan.

  7. Review: 'Calvary's' premise suffers for the sins of its plot

    Brendan Gleeson delivers a typically towering yet warm performance in 'Calvary.' Too bad the movie's something of a mess.

  8. Review: Best wait for 'Into the Storm' to blow over

    As disaster movies go, 'Into the Storm' is fairly disastrous itself. Not the special effects, understand. No, the problem with 'Into the Storm' is the nonstorm stuff.

  9. Review: 'I Origins' finds the balance between science and spirit

    Whether soft connective tissue or screeching dissonance, modern cinema seems set on exploring the relationship between science and spirituality. The trend continued with 'I Origins.'

  10. Review: 'Five Star Life' makes for a two-and-a-half star film

    One of those rambling European films with little plot but lots of atmosphere, 'A Five Star Life' follows Irene as she goes about her business, which is secretly inspecting five-star luxury hotels.

    • 6:16 PM, Aug. 7, 2014
    • Movies

    Review: 'Hundred-Foot Journey' goes to a good place

    Cultures and kitchens collide, ever so gently, in 'The Hundred-Foot Journey,' director Lasse Hallstrom's warmhearted adaptation of author Richard C. Morais' 2010 novel.

  11. Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' revitalizes the space Western

    'Guardians of the Galaxy' is the most successful space western since the first 'Star Wars' trilogy.

  12. Review: Unlike most shoot-'em-ups, 'Lucy' dabbles in the cosmos

    'Lucy' is part modern mayhem exercise, stuffed with shootings, car chases and the like, and part existential evolution-of-the-mind metaphysical navel-gazer.

  13. Review: Hoffman embraces tension in spy thriller 'Most Wanted Man'

    An effective mix of modern-world paranoia, cold-blooded betrayal and political chess, 'A Most Wanted Man' also serves as a fine final note to Philip Seymour Hoffman's acting career.

  14. Review: Joyless 'Sex Tape' feels more like a sitcom

    Seriously, the premise could easily fit into the new FX show 'Married.' Only there it would likely get some oddball spin and foster some interesting ...

    • 6:58 PM, Jul. 17, 2014
    • Movies

    Review: 'Wish I Was Here' just is not all there

    'Wish I Was Here' has a cool title, which like much of 'Wish I Was Here,' feels like it was thought up before anything else having to do with it.

    • 2:53 PM, Jul. 18, 2014
    • Movies

    Review: Post-apocalyptic 'Aftermath' offers nothing but misery

    As masochistic exercises go, 'Aftermath' is fairly effective. It eventually becomes a slaughter-fest in the guise of a cautionary tale.

    • 7:05 PM, Jul. 17, 2014
    • Movies

    Review: 'Purge: Anarchy' rights an inherent wrong

    Again, the concept is ridiculous. But at least 'The Purge: Anarchy' is more in line with what people going to a 'Purge' movie would want out of a 'Purge' movie.

  15. Review: 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' hits new genre heights

    'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' is the sequel to a prequel to a long line of films that date back to 1968. But it's doubtful any of those films could come ...

  16. Review: 'Third Person' offers strong stories of shattered families

    There's a sense of despair, of something broken beyond repair, in the intricate 'Third Person,' written and directed by Paul Haggis, writer-director of the ...

  17. Review: Touching 'Hellion' follows a shattered family on the verge

    Director Kat Chandler never lets 'Hellion' become a fable of cheap redemption. In fact, the pain that drives the film seems to be contagious, leading to a ...

  18. Review: Cage's 'Rage' is rotten from beginning to end

    'Rage' is a relentless mess of a film, moving from stilted dialogue to countless scenes of senseless violence with plenty of irrelevant side stories along the ...

  19. Review: Sloppy 'Tammy' veers McCarthy in the wrong direction

    It makes sharp turns toward weepiness, flaunts ridiculous situations and unlikely relationships and depends almost completely on the loveability of its title ...

  20. Review: In upbeat 'Begin Again,' music soothes two wounded souls

    Written and directed by John Carney ('Once'), who has an obvious knack for this kind of thing, the movie is a love story about two people who never fall in ...

  21. Review: 'Snowpiercer' barrels through an icy apocalyptic nightmare

    'Snowpiercer' rocks in a foreign film post-apocalyptic nutso way that's darkly comic, thrilling, violent and repeatedly mind-boggling. Which is to be expected, ...

    • 7:18 PM, Jul. 1, 2014
    • Movies

    Review: 'Earth to Echo' doesn't take off

    'Earth to Echo' is a coming-of-age story with a supernatural twist. The coming-of-age part works. The supernatural twist, not so much.

    • 7:17 PM, Jul. 1, 2014
    • Movies

    Review: 'Deliver Us From Evil' not haunting enough

    'Deliver Us From Evil' has scares but isn't truly scary, even though it cycles through nearly every horror movie trick in the book.

  22. Review: Damaged souls on the road to violence in 'The Rover'

    The setting may be familiar, but it's Robert Pattinson's reading of Rey that brings this movie to life and elevates 'The Rover' above 'Mad Max' territory.

  23. Review: Melancholy 'Jersey Boys' still reaches high notes

    For all its ebullient music, nostalgic wisecracks and rising star upbeat tempos, director Clint Eastwood's adaptation of the musical 'Jersey Boys' is often a ...

  24. Review: An innocent stunned by past, confused about future in 'Ida'

    Some are haunted by the past, some by the present, others by the future. 'Ida' is haunted by all three at once.

  25. Review: 'Legend of Shep Gordon' tribute to a man who made many rich

    'Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon' is essentially a grandiose version of the sort of video tribute a very popular person might receive on a special ...

  26. Review: No reason '22 Jump Street' should work — but it does

    '22 Jump Street' certainly falls under the 'not as funny as the first one but still pretty darn funny' umbrella. But the pretty darn funny stuff is indeed ...

  27. Review: Activism goes wrong in 'Night Moves'

    Director and co-writer Kelly Reichardt finds the right balance of real-time tension and restrained personality in a quiet, engrossing story of eco-terrorism.

  28. Review: 'Citizen Koch' restates the obvious about money and politics

    One might reasonably expect that a film with that name would offer an investigation into and insights about the billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch. ...

  29. Review: Sweet 'Grand Seduction' stretches story too far

    This is a film that cries out for faith. It's a long stretch, but if you buy that stretch, you've got a pleasant little film about lovable, simple folk in a ...

  30. Review: Disjointed 'Lucky Them' wastes talent

    The script dodges every which way, leaving appealing stars Toni Collette and Thomas Haden Church to carry the movie with characters that don't make a whole lot ...

  31. Review: Cheesy 'All Cheerleaders Die' contributes to teen body count

    'All Cheerleaders Die' isn't new. It isn't particularly coherent, visually inventive or emotionally affecting either, but there's a certain sense of ...

  32. Review: 'Edge of Tomorrow' surprisingly fun alien invasion flick with a twist

    Director Doug Liman has made sure to make the movie quite a bit of fun. Tom Cruise's action exploits are always most successful when they're cheeky, and ...

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