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Lauren Keene

‘Hail, Caesar!’ — A worse than senseless thing

‘Hail, Caesar!’ Two stars Starring: John Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johansson, Ralph Fiennes, Channing Tatum, Frances McDormand, Jonah Hill Rating: PG-13, and rather harshly, for mild suggestive content Overwrought parody of 1950s Hollywood never catches fire By Derrick Bang Enterprise film critic A new Coen brothers film usually is cause for […]

The 2015 Oscar Shorts: Grim tidings

The 2015 Oscar Shorts Four stars Starring: Nobody you’ve ever seen before Rating: unrated, but akin to a PG-13 for strong war themes and violence Strong dramatic content in many of this year’s nominees By Derrick Bang Enterprise film critic While the rest of the country kvetches about racial disparity in the recently released Academy […]

‘Anomalisa': A conundrum wrapped in an enigma

‘Anomalisa’ Two stars Starring: David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tom Noonan Rating: R, for profanity, graphic nudity and strong sexual content Gorgeous puppet animation is wasted on this idiotic script By Derrick Bang Enterprise film critic This may not be the most pointlessly weird movie ever made, but it’ll do until that one comes along. […]

‘Carol': Love’s labors lost

‘Carol’ Three stars Starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler, Sarah Paulson, Jake Lacy, John Magaro and Cory Michael Smith Rating: R, for nudity and intimate sexuality Period melodrama never sells its essential relationship By Derrick Bang Enterprise film critic Intimate dramas work best when we understand and empathize with the primary characters: when we […]

Superhero science explored in new engineering course

Ever wonder whether Captain America’s “vibranium alloy” shield actually could absorb kinetic energy, or whether Iron Man’s weaponized “repulsor beam” could deliver such concussive force?

Thanks to Ricardo Castro, an associate professor in the UC Davis department of chemical engineering and materials science, the scientific credibility of such fanciful superhero physics can be analyzed in his new winter-quarter freshman materials science course: EMS 2, “Materials Marvels: The Science of Superheroes.”

As originally conceived, many superheroes — such as Superman and the Hulk …

‘The Revenant': Man vs. Nature

‘The Revenant’ 3.5 stars Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Forrest Goodluck, Arthur Redcloud, Duane Howard Rating: R for strong gory violence, sexual assault and profanity Bleak survival saga is both too long and too slow By Derrick Bang Enterprise film critic Rarely has the rugged American West been portrayed with such grim, […]

January 08, 2016 | Posted in Movies | Tagged ,

‘The Hateful Eight': Insufficiently hateful

‘The Hateful Eight” 3 stars Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Bruce Dern, Michael Madsen, Demian Birchir, James Parks, Channing Tatum and Zoë Bell Rating: R, for strong bloody violence, gore, profanity and graphic nudity Old-style Western runs too long and delivers too little By Derrick Bang Enterprise film […]

December 31, 2015 | Posted in Movies | Tagged ,

‘Joy': Not quite enough of it

‘Joy’ 3.5 stars Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Diane Ladd, Isabella Rossellini, Virginia Madsen, Édgar Ramírez, Elisabeth Röhm and Dascha Polanco Rating: PG-13, for fleeting profanity Jennifer Lawrence powers this somewhat uneven underdog tale By Derrick Bang Enterprise film critic Few stories are more engaging than rags-to-riches empowerment sagas. Particularly when they’re […]

December 31, 2015 | Posted in Arts | Tagged ,

‘Concussion': Grim reality check

‘Concussion’ 3.5 stars Starring: Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Morse, Arliss Howard, Luke Wilson and Bitsie Tulloch Rating: PG-13, dramatic intensity and occasional profanity One doctor’s quest for truth becomes an absorbing underdog saga By Derrick Bang Enterprise movie critic Great movie entrances are pure magic. Consider George C. Scott’s eyebrow-raising pep […]

December 24, 2015 | Posted in Movies | Tagged ,

‘The Big Short': A grand romp

A talented cast highlights this eye-opening dissection of corporate greed “The Big Short” 4.5 stars Starring: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Jeremy Strong, Hamish Linklater, Rafe Spall, Marisa Tomei Rating: R, for profanity and nudity This is the mostly audaciously entertaining economics course you’ll ever take. “The Big Short” isn’t merely a ferociously […]

December 23, 2015 | Posted in Movies | Tagged ,

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ — a rip-roaring adventure

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Four stars Starring: Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis and a few welcome surprises Rating: PG-13 for intense sci-fi action and violence The venerable sci-fi franchise is in very good hands By Derrick Bang Enterprise film critic No question about […]

December 18, 2015 | Posted in Movies | Tagged ,

‘In the Heart of the Sea’: Waterlogged

‘In the Heart of the Sea’ Three stars Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw, Tom Holland, Frank Dillane Rating: PG-13, for dramatic intensity, startling violence and considerable peril Ocean-faring saga fails to chart a steady course By Derrick Bang Enterprise film critic The ingredients are sure-fire: a fascinating, fact-based narrative; a […]

December 11, 2015 | Posted in Movies | Tagged ,

Holiday film season begins: You’d better watch out!

Cinema season once again features many of Hollywood’s prestige projects So here we are, having reached the month of serious Oscar bait, and the only movie opening wide during December’s first weekend is “Krampus,” a low-rent horror comedy about a Christmas demon that terrorizes a family during the holidays. Seriously? On top of which, Universal apparently […]

December 06, 2015 | Posted in Movies | Tagged ,

‘Trumbo': The wizard of words

‘Trumbo’ Four stars Starring: Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren, Diane Lane, Michael Stuhlbarg, Louis C.K., Alan Tudyk, Elle Fanning, Dean O’Gorman and Christian Berkel Rating: R, for profanity and coarse language Bryan Cranston shines as the (in)famous Hollywood writer who helped break the blacklist By Derrick Bang Enterprise film critic You have to love ironic serendipity. […]

December 04, 2015 | Posted in Movies | Tagged ,
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