Fraley Film Guide

Not everyone can keep up with new releases at the movie theater. Sometimes, the flick you want to see is already out of the theater by the time you have a free weekend. Have no fear. WTOP Film Critic Jason Fraley keeps a running tally. Click the links below for the full reviews, which are based on a 4-star scale.




“Selma” – Ava DuVernay gracefully recounts Martin Luther King’s march for equal voting rights


3 1/2 STARS

“American Sniper” – Clint Eastwood directs Bradley Cooper as deadliest sniper in U.S. history

“Still Alice” – Julianne Moore’s portrait of Alzheimer’s should finally win her an overdue Oscar

“Red Army” – Documentary explores rise and fall of Soviet hockey team as players jump to NHL



“Cinderella” – Old-fashioned approach feels oddly refreshing in age of revisionist fairytales

“The Last Five Years” – Anna Kendrick musical tells both sides of breakup in opposite directions

“Black Sea” – Jude Law turns ‘Das Boot’ into ‘Das Loot’ searching for sunken treasure on sub


2 1/2 STARS

“Focus” – Will Smith’s most suave, romantic role since “Hitch,” but too many ridiculous twists

“Cake” – Jennifer Aniston tries hand at serious role by playing a grieving, hallucinating addict



“Fifty Shades of Grey” – E.L. James’ erotic S&M novel comes to life on the big screen

“Chappie” – Neill Blomkamp’s latest sci-fi flick is confused in tone: cute robot in a cruel world

“The Boy Next-Door” – Jennifer Lopez has dangerous (over-the-top) affair with young neighbor



“Jupiter Ascending” – Mila Kunis & Channing Tatum star in overblown Wachowskis flop





“Boyhood” – Richard Linklater’s 12-year coming-of-age story is a one-of-a-kind time capsule

“Birdman” – Michael Keaton haunted by superhero past in stunning satire of Hollywood & Broadway

“Life Itself” – Two Thumbs Up for this powerful documentary on the life of movie critic Roger Ebert

“Whiplash” – J.K. Simmons chills as an abusive New York jazz instructor in Sundance champ


3 1/2 STARS

“The Imitation Game” – Cumberbatch breaks Nazi code in bittersweet backstory of first computer

“Nightcrawler” – Jake Gyllenhaal creeps us out in sensationalist world of L.A. crime journalism

“Gone Girl” – Ben Affleck searches for missing wife in another unforgettable thriller by David Fincher

“Citizenfour” – Daring documentary offers amazing access to Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks

“Wild” - Reese Witherspoon takes ‘Wild’ hike of inspiration with ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ director

“Locke” – Tom Hardy delivers a one-man show behind the wheel in riveting one-location thriller

“Force Majeure” – Family ski trip explores survival instincts in Foreign Language Oscar favorite

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” – Sci-fi reboot sequel ponders war & peace w/ Serkis as Caesar

“Foxcatcher” – Steve Carell shows dark side in true crime wrestling tale that’s a touch too cynical

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” – Past and present superheroes collide in time travel installment

“Snowpiercer” – South Korean sci-fi action thriller is the best kept secret of the summer

“The Babadook” – Australian horror flick is freaky with depth to the real mother-son relationship

“Love is Strange” – John Lithgow & Alfred Molina play lovers separated by NYC apartment search

“The Theory of Everything” – Eddie Redmayne & Felicity Jones shine in Stephen Hawking biopic

“Next Goal Wins” – Inspirational documentary follows soccer team from world’s worst to winners

“Ida” – Polish gem follows Christian nun-in-training who discovers the truth of her Jewish roots

“Exodus: Gods & Kings” – Christian Bale plays Moses in Ridley Scott’s spectacular biblical epic

“The One I Love” – Elisabeth Moss & Mark Duplass take couple’s retreat in year’s craziest premise



“Edge of Tomorrow” – Tom Cruise turns “Groundhog Day” premise into surprising sci-fi action fun

“Interstellar” – Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic isn’t stellar, but its heart is in the right place

“Under the Skin” – Scarlett Johansson plays alien seductress in experimental social commentary

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” – The quirky Wes Anderson delivers war-time farce with all-star cast

“Big Eyes” – Amy Adams & Christoph Waltz spar as painters in Tim Burton’s best since “Big Fish”

“The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” – Award-worthy turns from Jessica Chastain & James McAvoy

“Into the Woods” – Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt star in Disney fairytale musical

“Begin Again” – Mark Ruffalo cuts records with Keira Knightley in tale of music’s “lost stars”

“The Judge” – Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall are dynamite in family courtroom drama

“Fort Bliss” – Michelle Monaghan stars as Army medic who has to win back the love of her son

“Rosewater” – Jon Stewart makes directorial debut in true story of detained journalist in Iran

“Unbroken” – Angeline Jolie directs harrowing P.O.W. story of Olympian Louis Zamperini

“Guardians of the Galaxy” – Marvel’s scrappy new group of superheroes offers great banter

“Chef” – Actor/director Jon Favreau uses food truck as analogy for his own creative pursuits

“The Lego Movie” – Snubbed at awards season, this flick has unique visuals and a fun soundtrack.

“A Most Violent Year” – Chris Isaac and Jessica Chastain shine in J.C. Chandor’s modern crime saga

“Get on Up” – Chadwick Boseman is dynamite as the godfather of soul James Brown

“St. Vincent” – Bill Murray shines once again, here as a crotchety “Gran Torino” style neighbor

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” – Freedom vs. security debate makes this one of Marvel’s best

“Actress” – Doc follows “The Wire” alum Brandy Burre’s return to acting after housewife hiatus

“Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 1″ – Third installment could be best, but we’ll have to wait and see

“Fading Gigolo” – John Turturro directs himself in modern-day “Midnight Cowboy”

“Draft Day” – Kevin Costner wheels and deals as underdog GM of the Cleveland Browns

“Maleficent” – Angelina Jolie is wickedly talented in this alternate take on “Sleeping Beauty”

“Bad Words” – Jason Bateman makes directorial debut as adult who enters a child spelling bee


2 1/2 STARS

“A Million Ways to Die in the West” – Seth MacFarlane’s western spoof is funny, but no Mel Brooks

“Noah” – The daring Darren Aronofsky builds moody Biblical epic, but with one unforgivable flaw

“Godzilla” – Bryan Cranston and the legendary lizard fade to the background in blockbuster spectacle

“Medora” – Small-town decay presented through Indiana high school hoops

“When the Game Stands Tall” – Story is better than storytelling in true high school winning streak

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ – Spidey sequel brings great romance, but too many villains

“Peabody & Sherman” – Time travel cartoon brings history lesson, but convoluted plot for kids

“Annie” – Quvenzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz star in remake of 1982 musical



“Jersey Boys” – Eastwood’s take on the Broadway smash is way too bleak

“Transcendence” – Johnny Depp sci-fi thriller starts strong, but falters down the stretch

“Monuments Men” – Clooney can’t decide between comedy or drama in WWII art rescue flick

“Labor Day” – Kate Winslet falls for Josh Brolin’s fugitive in rare Jason Reitman stumble



“Ouija” – Cheap scares as teens are haunted by a killer Ouija board

“The Other Woman” – Over-the-top Leslie Mann performance ruins a creative revenge premise

“Need for Speed” – Aaron Paul’s ridiculous racing flick quickly “breaks bad”





“American Hustle” – David O. Russell reunites his favorite casts to tell delicious con artist tale

“Her” – Joaquin Phoenix falls for Siri in most unique love story since “Harold & Maude”

“Gravity” – Alfonso Cuaron crafts a modern-day “2001” with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney

“12 Years a Slave” – True story of American slavery is hard to watch, but impossible to forget

“Short Term 12″ – Two lovers run a facility for at-risk youth in South By Southwest winner

“Before Midnight” – Richard Linklater resumes tale of Ethan Hawke & Julie Delpy, now in middle-age

“Fruitvale Station” – Brilliantly directed Sundance winner based on real-life racially charged shooting

“The Act of Killing” – Indonesian death squads re-enact their genocide in Oscar-nominated doc


3 1/2 STARS

“Prisoners” – Star-studded cast shines in a nail-biting crime thriller about child abduction

“Captain Phillips” – Tom Hanks shines as real-life hostage of 2009 Somali hijacking

“The Way, Way Back” – Hilarious coming of age story with a heel turn by Steve Carell

“Dallas Buyers Club” – McConaughey and Leto give award-worthy performances selling HIV drugs

“Philomena” – Judi Dench plays a former nun who goes searching for her long-lost son

“Blue is the Warmest Color” – Cannes Palme d’Or winner tracks the heartache of lesbian lovers

“Nebraska” – Bruce Dern goes on a father-son road trip to claim a sweepstakes prize

“The Butler” – Forest Whitaker & Oprah Winfrey shine in journey through Civil Rights Movement

“The Wolf of Wall Street” – Leo DiCaprio brings it in Scorsese’s excessive epic that’s an hour too long

“The Good Son” – Boxer Ray Mancini meets the fiancee and son of the man he killed in the ring

“Iron Man 3″ – Action-packed threequel with buddy comedy from Shane Black (“Lethal Weapon”)

“Frozen” – Disney’s tale of sibling love teaches us to “Let it Go”

“The Spectacular Now” – Shailene Woodley sparkles with script by “(500) Days of Summer” writers

“Saving Mr. Banks” – Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson star in making-of tale of “Mary Poppins”



“The Great Gatsby” – Leo DiCaprio nails Gatsby in Baz Luhrmann’s lavish spectacle

“August: Osage County” – Dark family secrets revealed by Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts

“Blue Jasmine” – Cate Blanchett shines as Woody Allen continues to carve his prolific place in history

“Rush” – Ron Howard chronicles real-life racing rivalry between James Hunt and Nika Lauda

“42” – The Jackie Robinson story comes to life with Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey

“All is Lost” – Robert Redford gives one-man, silent performance lost at sea

“Side Effects” – Smart, pill- popping psycho-thriller by Steven Soderbergh

“Enough Said” – James Gandolfini gives final performance romancing Julia Louis Dreyfus

“World War Z” – Popcorn thrills abound in adaptation of Max Brooks zombie novel

“Inside Llewyn Davis” – Oscar Isaac shines in Coen Brothers’ bleak tale of ’60s folk music

“The Book Thief” – A young girl teaches a Jewish refugee to read during WWII

“This is the End” – Hollywood jokers play themselves in very funny apocalyptic comedy

“The Kings of Summer” – Indie fav about a group of boys who build a house in the woods

“Mud” – Matthew McConaughey plays an almost mythical drifter in coming-of-age tale

“The Great Beauty” – Italian art-house flick won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language flick

“Star Trek: Into Darkness” – J.J. Abrams helms a solid follow-up to his 2009 “Star Trek” reboot

“In a World” – Lake Bell is a triple threat in spoof of movie trailer world

“The Conjuring” – Stylish, well-acted horror, but not as memorable as the other flicks it homages

“Lone Survivor” – Peter Berg directs intense real-life account of botched Navy SEAL mission

“Hunger Games: Catching Fire” – Jennifer Lawrence returns for Round 2 of “The Hunger Games”

“Anchorman 2″ – Burgundy’s return = “60 percent of the time it works every time”

“The Lone Ranger” – Johnny Depp’s Tonto tale isn’t for kids, but works as a dark action comedy


2 1/2 STARS

“Blue Caprice” – D.C. Sniper script plays loose with facts, but masterfully directed like “In Cold Blood”

“Now You See Me” – Magician heist caper starts strong, finishes weak

“Man of Steel” – Superman reboot offers great action, but not enough Lois & Clark

“Oz: The Great and Powerful” – James Franco snarky in an otherwise clever origin story

“Fast & Furious 6″ – Funny banter and fast cars, but not as good as “Fast Five”

“Thor: The Dark World” – Thor sequel falls short of the Marvel Phase 2 bar set by “Iron Man 3″

“Olympus Has Fallen” – Gerard Butler kicks terrorist butt in over-the-top White House attack

“Jobs” – Steve Jobs biopic follows career highlights but fails to explore personal life

“Carrie” – Remake pales in comparison to 1976 classic, but poignant take on cyber bullying



“The Purge” – Clever horror premise wasted as murder is legal for one day a year

“Gangster Squad” – Star-studded cast in ill-timed shoot-em-up flick

“White House Down” – Tatum & Foxx mine laughs, but film pales to “Olympus ”

“The Big Wedding” – French farce remake borrows from too many past wedding flicks


1 1/2 STARS

“The Hangover: Part III” – Funny franchise suffers from too much Mr. Chow

“A Good Day to Die Hard” – Franchise moves to Russia but gives us little reason to care



“The Wizard of Oz 3D” – The 3D upgrade of the 1939 classic is a horse of a different color

“Jurassic Park 3D” – Steven Spielberg’s prehistoric blockbuster revived from fossilized amber








“Zero Dark Thirty”

“Beasts of the Southern Wild”



3 1/2 STARS

“Django: Unchained”

“The Master”

“Life of Pi”

“Silver Linings Playbook”

“Moonrise Kingdom”

“The Dark Knight Rises”

“The Impossible”

“Rust & Bone”

“The Sessions”




“The Avengers”



“Robot & Frank”

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

“Dark Shadows”

“Men in Black 3″

“The Dictator”

“The Bourne Legacy”

“To Rome with Love”

“The Hunger Games”

“Cabin in the Woods”

“The Amazing Spider-Man”

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”


2 1/2 STARS

“21 Jump Street”

“Cloud Atlas”

“The Three Stooges”

“Trouble with the Curve”

“Act of Valor”



“Les Miserables”

“Snow White and the Huntsman”

“Mirror Mirror”

“The Possession”

“Total Recall”



“Titanic 3D”






“The Artist”

“The Descendants”



3 1/2 STARS

“Midnight in Paris”

“The Tree of Life”



“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”



“The Help”

“War Horse”


2 1/2 STARS

“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”


The above rating is based on a 4-star scale. Follow WTOP Film Critic Jason Fraley on Twitter @AboveTheJFray, read his blog at The Film Spectrum or listen every Friday morning on WTOP Radio 103.5 FM.

Advertiser Content