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Wednesday, 23 May 2012 15:03

Exactly what I expected

Written by Allen Adams
What to Expect When You're Expecting' cliched and contrived

I've learned to be leery of films that trumpet their all-star casts. These ensemble rom-coms (they're always rom-coms unless Stallone is involved, anyway) feature more name talents than you can count on both hands, but they also run the danger of having too much of a good thing. The tendency with big-name casts is to try desperately to get everyone as much screen time as possible. This leads to multiple storylines with forced connections between them featuring a whole mess of characters that we as an audience simply don't have time to care about.

This leads to 'What to Expect When You're Expecting.'

Ostensibly based on the 1984 pregnancy advice book of the same name, the movie follows a number of couples as they feel their respective ways through the minefield that is pregnancy. There's Wendy (Elizabeth Banks, 'The Hunger Games') and Gary (Ben Falcone, 'Bridesmaids'), a couple that finally gets pregnant after years of trying. Celebrity trainer Jules (Cameron Diaz, 'Bad Teacher') met Evan (Matthew Morrison, TV's 'Glee') on a reality dance competition and wound up pregnant. Holly (Jennifer Lopez, 'The Back-Up Plan') and Alex (Rodrigo Santoro, 'Rio') can't conceive, so they're going through the adoption process.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012 13:40

Dark Shadows' an uninspiring effort

Written by Allen Adams
Latest Burton/Depp team-up falls short

It's always sad when a long-standing cinematic collaboration begins to run out of steam. It happens to the best of them, whether it springs from creative differences, personal issues or just overstaying their welcomes.

I hate to say it, but I think the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp pairing may have reached its sell-by date. The duo's latest collaboration is 'Dark Shadows,' based on the gothic soap opera that originally aired in the late 1960s.

Unfortunately, it doesn't quite work.

Wednesday, 09 May 2012 13:12

Believe the hype The Avengers'

Written by Allen Adams
Comic book culmination even better than advertised 

'The Avengers' is the culmination of a years-long buildup spread across multiple films. It is an incredibly ambitious attempt at world-building the likes of which the summer blockbuster genre has never seen before. It is an effort at creating not just a comic book movie, but a comic book universe. The hype has been enormous and the anticipation even greater. So it's here.

And it's outstanding.

A mad Asgardian demigod named Loki (Tom Hiddleston, 'War Horse') the brother of Thor has stolen an alien artifact known as the Tesseract in order to build an army to conquer the Earth. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, 'Meeting Evil') is the head of a superspy organization known as SHIELD and is the point man on dealing with this (or any other) alien attack against the Earth.

Wednesday, 02 May 2012 17:53

The Five Year Engagement' almost great

Written by Allen Adams
Romantic comedy suffers from excess length

Ongoing Hollywood relationships are relatively rare, so it's interesting when a creative team reunites for another project. It's of particular interest when the previous undertaking was a strong one.

Judd Apatow, Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel came together in a big way with 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall,' a huge success both critically and commercially. So when 'The Five Year Engagement' came along getting the band back together, so to speak the level of anticipation was high. But sometimes these collaborations aren't meant to be recreated, and when they're forced, they usually wind up falling flat.

This one works. Well mostly works.

Wednesday, 02 May 2012 17:49

Quoth The Raven' total bore

Written by Allen Adams
Film is uninspired, unoriginal and uninteresting

Sometimes, you just know. Maybe you're watching a trailer or reading a preview; you're learning about an upcoming movie for the first time. Just like that, an epiphany about this movie strikes.

It is going to be terrible.

More often than not, that visceral first instinct is usually right when it comes to cinematic stinkers. And if you're like me, you got that feeling instantly upon your first view of the trailer for 'The Raven,' starring John Cusack ('Hot Tub Time Machine') as Edgar Allan Poe in some sort of action-adventure/mystery genre mishmash that at first glance doesn't seem to know what it wants to be.

Upon viewing the film, I can safely say this - that impression is wholly accurate.

Thursday, 26 April 2012 09:44

Getting together with American Reunion'

Written by Allen Adams
The movies we see and love as young adults often go on defining our cinematic tastes long after we have supposedly 'grown up.' However, the opportunity to see the cast of one of those movies after they too have grown up is pretty rare.
'American Reunion' is that opportunity.
3 out of 5 - Read full review
Thursday, 26 April 2012 09:22

The Unlucky One

Written by Allen Adams
Sparks adaptation overwrought, underdeveloped

There are few writers out there who have mastered the art of emotional manipulation quite like Nicholas Sparks. And Hollywood has taken notice, adapting seven of his books to the big screen. He's responsible for such tearjerkers as 'A Walk To Remember,' 'Dear John,' 'Message in a Bottle' and of course, the Sparksiest of them all, 'The Notebook.' Number seven just hit the big screen with the opening of 'The Lucky One.'

Logan Thibeault (Zac Efron, 'The Lorax') is a Marine sergeant serving in Iraq. One day while standing guard, he catches a glimpse of something half buried in the sand. He goes to retrieve it; it turns out to be a laminated picture of a woman. As he looks at it, a rocket attack hits precisely where he had just been standing. From then on, Logan views it as a sort of lucky charm.

When he gets out of the service, Logan is determined to track down the woman from the photo. His journey takes him from Colorado to Louisiana, where he finally finds Beth Green (Taylor Schilling, 'Atlas Shrugged: Part I'). She runs a pet boarding kennel along with her grandmother Ellie (Blythe Danner, 'What's Your Number?'). When Logan arrives, he intends to tell Beth about the picture but instead gets swept into the idyllic small-town life of the Greens.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012 13:03

A new take on terror

Written by Allen Adams
The Cabin in the Woods' an atypical horror story

Making a horror movie is a tricky thing. Finding ways to scare people is difficult in and of itself. Considering that there's almost a century of celluloid fear-mongering behind us, coming up with a new way to scare someone at the movies seems almost impossible - right up until some director or another finds one.

This time, it's Joss Whedon. His latest project is 'The Cabin in the Woods.' While the film was directed by first-timer Drew Goddard, Whedon wrote the script and produced the film, in addition to serving as second unit director. His fingerprints are all over this movie in the best way.

Dana (Kristen Connelly, 'Certainty') is a college student getting ready to get out of town for a weekend with some of her friends. There's the smart and athletic Curt (Chris Hemsworth, 'Thor') and his sweet girlfriend Jules (Anna Hutchison, TV's 'Wild Boys'). Curt and Jules have invited Curt's new buddy Holden (Jesse Williams, TV's 'Grey's Anatomy') in order to maybe set her up with Dana. Rounding out the crew is the chatty, likable stoner Marty (Fran Kranz, TV's 'Dollhouse'). The quintet piles into an RV and heads off to Curt's cousin's new cabin.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012 12:58

The Three Stooges' surprisingly fun

Written by Allen Adams
Farrelly brothers' effort full of slapstick and sweetness

Watching people get hurt is sad. Watching them get hurt without injury or consequence is hilarious. That's why the Three Stooges were able to become some of the biggest stars of Hollywood's younger days. In real life, poking eyes and thumping heads with hammers ends up with bloodshed and hospital visits, but in the world of the Stooges, no permanent harm is ever done.

Bobby and Peter Farrelly have taken it upon themselves to update that world with 'The Three Stooges.' However, this isn't your typical Farrelly gross-out jam. It's their first-ever foray into the more family-friendly realm of a PG rating.

The story begins at an orphanage where a duffel bag is unceremoniously dumped on the doorstep in a drive-by. The three babies in the bag immediately make a negative impression on the dour Sister Mary-Mengele (Larry David, TV's 'Curb Your Enthusiasm') before initially charming the rest of the nuns. However, when we flash forward 10 years, we quickly learn that these boys are far more of a handful than anyone could have guessed.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012 14:48

Getting together with American Reunion'

Written by Allen Adams
The gang from American Pie' grows up

The movies we see and love as young adults often go on defining our cinematic tastes long after we have supposedly 'grown up.' However, the opportunity to see the cast of one of those movies after they too have grown up is pretty rare.

'American Reunion' is that opportunity.

The film, officially fourth in the 'American Pie' canon (though there are a slew of straight-to-video offerings that co-opted the 'American Pie' name), sees the original crew returning to East Great Falls for their high school reunion. Jim (Jason Biggs, TV's 'Mad Love') and Michelle (Alyson Hanigan, TV's 'How I Met Your Mother') are married with a child. They still love each other, but the passion seems to have left their marriage. Oz (Chris Klein, 'Caught in the Crossfire') is a sportscaster and minor celebrity with a model girlfriend. Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas, 'InSight') is a work-at-home husband, while Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas, TV's 'How to Make It in America') simply reappears after vanishing for years, telling wild globetrotting stories. Former flames such as Vicky (Tara Reid, 'Last Call') and Heather (Mena Suvari, 'Restitution') are also back.

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