• +3
  • Rick Romancito
  • Updated
  • 1

Disney’s new film, “The Finest Hours,” could easily have been a cookie-cutter disaster epic featuring a cast of attractive-looking Hollywood stars trying their best to look earnest amid splashes of cold water from off-screen production assistants.

  • Rick Romancito
  • 0

You can’t blame Greta Evans (Lauren Cohan of TV’s “The Walking Dead”) for letting out a nervous giggle when she is first introduced to Brahms, the young charge for whom she has been hired to care. Her new employers are an elderly couple, the Heelshires (James Russell and Diana Hardcastle), w…

  • Rick Romancito
  • 0

There’s a lot that boils beneath the surface in the drug war drama, “Sicario,” directed with a sure hand at suspense by Denis Villaneuve (who incidentally is attached to a “Blade Runner” sequel now in pre-production). Largely shot in Albuquerque and Southern New Mexico by the great cinematog…

  • Rick Romancito
  • 0

Manifest Destiny was not only about fulfilling an ideal; it was about conquest — of a land, the indigenous people and nature itself. It was a mindset, a kind of blood-born virus that infected every immigrant who felt the need to take whatever they wanted because it was their divine right. Th…

  • Rick Romancito
  • 0

The life and times of the real Joy Mangano will remain an enigma, at least for now. The new film by David O. Russell, although patterned loosely on Mangano’s real-life rags-to-riches rise in the home shopping TV business, veers wildly into its own territory, becoming another of Russell’s exp…

  • Rick Romancito
  • 0

If George Lucas had started his landmark sci-fi trilogy by leaving off the words, “Episode IV” from the first “Star Wars” movie in 1977, we would have been spared Jar-Jar Binks, flying ninja Yoda and Hayden Christiansen’s mopey-whiney-psycho Anakin Skywalker — not to mention all the digital …

  • Rick Romancito
  • 0

Imagine a version of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” in which the lovable Griswolds are attacked by a bloodthirsty band of evil elves led by a vicious anti-Santa Claus who has no qualms about literally … well, I can’t go on. If you’re really curious about the lengths this horrific ch…

  • Andy Jones
  • 0

This week, The Tonal Ranger reviews its final two albums of 2015. The next two columns will be dedicated to our year’s best. And we go out on a high note, with new music from relatively obscure artists who are each really good at what they do. Whether you need some reflective folk music or s…

  • Rick Romancito
  • 0

The promise of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) finally taking charge of her destiny is realized in “Mockingjay, Part 2,” the long-awaited conclusion to Suzanne Collins’ “Hunger Games” trilogy of dystopian young adult sci-fi novels.

  • Andy Jones
  • 0

This week, The Tonal Ranger has the rare opportunity to examine the recent releases of two women who grew up in the same small town. Joanna Newsom (1982) and Alela Diane (1983) were both born in the Northern California Sierra foothills community of Nevada City (a town half the size of Taos),…

  • Rick Romancito
  • 0

Movies about famous rich people tend to exist primarily as a way for audiences to confirm already formed opinions about them.

  • Rick Romancito
  • 1

If you happened to have caught “Man on Wire” (2008) — the Oscar-winning documentary by James Marsh featuring the real high wire-walker Philippe Petit and his cohorts (available now on Amazon Prime) — find a way to clear your head of all memories before seeing this new feature by Robert Zemeckis.

  • Andy Jones
  • 0

Often times, music critics and fans find themselves in a pigeon hole when it comes to their expectations of certain genres. But when it comes down to it, some of the most exciting music of this, or any, era has come from artists who bend the perceptions of genre.

  • Rick Romancito
  • 0

At one point Matt Damon as astronaut Mark Watney is seen walking across the sandy Martian landscape, which looks somewhat like Monument Valley. I couldn’t help but remember a scene from “National Lampoon’s Vacation” where Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) heads off into the desert to find help fo…

  • Rick Romancito
  • 1

There’s a harsh undercurrent of disdain for adventure tourists in director Baltasar Kormákur’s feature, “Everest,” an edge-of-your-seat thriller starring Jason Clarke, Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Sam Worthington, Robin Wright and Keira Knightley.

  • Rick Romancito
  • 0

Having recently seen “Maze Runner” and now its sequel, subtitled “The Scorch Trials,” it’s easy to see how many people have been calling this series “Hunger Games – Lite.”

  • Andy Jones
  • 0

This week, The Tonal Ranger explores two new albums from two of the most unique artists working in indie rock today. Whether it’s the slow, hauntingly sparse music of Low, or the more intricate and worldly sounds of Beirut, these are two band’s that are hard to confuse with anyone else.

  • Rick Romancito
  • 0

There is no doubt that all the men who survived the Bataan Death March during World War II and their subsequent incarceration in various Japanese military work camps and prisons from the South Pacific to Mongolia were heroes. What these men endured is nothing to take lightly and should stand…

  • Rick Romancito
  • 0

This Sherlock Holmes isn’t the whiz-bang seven-percent-solution-charged hipster of Robert Downey Jr. nor is it the meticulously dour Basil Rathbone of yesteryear, but, oddly, Ian McKellan’s modern take embodies them all as the elder detective takes stock of his life — and finds it somewhat wanting.

  • Rick Romancito
  • 0

A lot of things have been shaking up the comfort zones of complacent America of late. If it isn’t major hacking scandals it’s offensive sound-bytes from politicos desperate for attention. But topping all of this are the still-prevalent headlines about police brutality and the killing of citi…

  • Rick Romancito
  • 0

I blame Marvel. In their effort to suck up all the oxygen in the comic-book-to-megabudget-film universe, they have allowed reboot after reboot of their movie franchises to start each time with yet another origin story. So it is with the latest “Fantastic Four,” a picture that was a lot like …

  • Rick Romancito
  • 0

It’s not surprising that a group of high school thespians would want to revive a play called “The Gallows,” which took a frightening turn for the horrible when it was performed back in 1993.

  • Rick Romancito
  • 0

Imagine a firefighter entering a burning building full of people, but rescuing only one woman because he’s related to her. Then, he leaves everyone else to fend for themselves because another relative needs his help — in another city.

  • Review by Rick Romancito
  • 0

The sad thing about modern movies targeted to kids is the sense of trust that has been lost.

  • Review by Rick Romancito
  • 0

It was an image that burned into the consciousness of the American people ...

  • Review by Rick Romancito
  • 0

If you happened to see Jennifer Lopez in the stalker-thriller “Enough” (2002), you probably saw half of what this movie is all about. Unfortunately, it’s the worst half.

  • Review by Rick Romancito
  • 0

It’s hard to imagine what Ridley Scott was thinking when he set out to retell the story of Moses. One thing is clear, he certainly wanted “Exodus: Gods and Kings” to be unlike any biblical epic before it.

  • Review by Rick Romancito
  • 0

There’s a reason people who have Netflix love to binge-watch certain series like “House of Cards” or “Orange is the New Black.” Because both have long and complicated storylines with episode endings that leave you hanging, you can’t help but forget about things like laundry or going to work …