The First-Time Club

In “The To Do List,” out Friday, Type A Brandy (Aubrey Plaza) is also Type V, as in virgin. She spends the summer before college methodically working up a to-do list that culminates in Doing It, thereby joining the ranks of movie characters who’ve cashed in their v-card. Andy The thrust of the story in […]

I See Dead People

It’s no spoiler to say that Ryan Reynolds’ character gets killed in “R.I.P.D.,” out Friday. After all, how else can he join a police unit made up of the dearly departed? Good thing that in the movies, dying can often be the start of the story. 1. Sam Wheat In the 1990 romantic pottery-instruction film “Ghost,” […]

Film Riffs: Machine Heads

In “Pacific Rim,” opening Friday, humanity decides that the best strategy for fighting subterranean aliens is GIANT ROBOTS. Because there’s no situation, really, that robots (GIANT or not) can’t make better. David In 2001’s “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” Haley Joel Osment plays a synthetic Pinocchio who longs to be real so he can regain the love […]

Stable Heroes

‘The Lone Ranger’ gallops into theaters today atop Silver, his trusty steed. Heroes get all the credit, but Silver and his four-footed buddies defy the neigh-sayers (GET IT?) with tricks of their own. Black Beauty In the 1971 film of the same name, the stallion’s idyllic life turns tough when his first handler dies. Black […]


In “The Heat,” out Friday, Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy are a law enforcement team, and it’s wacky because they’re different from each other! Because what do you want in a duo of cops? Wackiness. ‘Turner & Hooch’ Tom Hanks adopts Hooch after the dog’s master is killed, because dogs can catch criminals, or so […]

School Ties

Since the ending of “Monsters, Inc.” was nearly perfect, the Pixar powers decided to sell more toys through a prequel. ‘Monsters University’ follows Mike and Sulley through their undergrad years, meaning they join an ancient and honorable company of scholars. ‘Real Genius’ Super-bright teens (including a girl!) find out their professor is using their smarts […]

Bear Xxing Ahead

In May 2011, a tweet from Brooklyn indie-rockers Grizzly Bear read, “I particularly like Jamie xx’s remix of ‘Rolling in the Deep’ — almost obsessively.” That referred to The xx member Jamie Smith’s addictive, chopped and screwed, funky version of Adele’s smash single. Two years later, Grizzly Bear’s admiration has manifested as a co-headlining jaunt […]

The Greatest Capes

“Man of Steel,” out Friday, looks pretty good, thanks to Henry Cavill, who’s pretty and looks good in Spandex. Know what else looks good? Capes. Here are some characters who share Superman’s sartorial style. Zorro Antonio Banderas put on the black mask and cloak of the slicing, dicing graffiti artist in 1998’s “The Mask of […]

Wedding Clashers

In the Israeli film “Fill the Void,” out Friday, an Orthodox Jewish girl is pressured to marry her sister’s widower. That’s a little odd, but moviegoers have attended many strange weddings. “The Philadelphia Story” In this 1940 classic, Katharine Hepburn plays a woman who’s all set to be remarried — until her ex (Cary Grant) […]

Endless Love

“Before Midnight,” out Friday, checks in on the lovers who met in 1995’s “Before Sunrise” and re-met in 2004’s “Before Sunset.” They’re not the first movie couple to stick it out for the long haul. Carl and Ellie Condensed to a wordless, four-minute montage, the till-death-do-us-part love story of this couple in 2009’s “Up” makes […]