It’s easy to feel like Hollywood has run out of ideas. The constant churn of remakes and reboots, the recycling and repurposing … everything old is old again. It’s not always a bad thing – sometimes these projects breathe new life into a worthwhile concept.

But sometimes you get “Death Wish.”

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 16:24

Red 2' a second-rate sequel

Film fails to capture spirit, humor of the original

It's no secret that a Hollywood studio's primary objective is to make money. Art and entertainment come in far down the list of movie-making goals it's all about those box office receipts. And one of the easiest ways to make that money is to build a franchise property; launch a film that is successful, then bring back the characters, plots, formulas and what have you to make a sequel. And another. And another. On and on until every dollar has been squeezed out of the premise.

Unfortunately, what happens more often than not is that these premises aren't necessarily designed to be sturdy franchise foundations. Sometimes, one movie is enough to tell the story. But if that movie turns out to be a success, there will be a sequel. Rarely a good sequel, but a sequel nonetheless.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 12:31

G.I. Joe: Retaliation' blows (up)

Action sequel unfocused and uninteresting

It's never a good sign when a movie misses its initial release date. Sure, there's always some excuse, but no matter what they wind up 'fixing,' you can rest assured that you're almost certainly not going to get a classic piece of cinema out of the deal.

'G.I. Joe: Retaliation,' the not-so-eagerly-anticipated sequel to 2009's 'G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,' was supposed to hit theaters last year, but it got pulled and (one assumes) frantically reworked before finally being released.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:10

Nothing good about A Good Day to Die Hard'

Action franchise's latest offering weak and uninspired

Every film fan has certain movies that he or she can't resist, despite knowing that disappointment is inevitable. Some are the product of too-good-to-be-true trailers, others the result of overextending a once-beloved franchise. We go to the theater, understanding full well that we are most likely not going to enjoy the experience.

Which brings us to 'A Good Day to Die Hard,' the fifth installment in the ongoing 'John McClane cracks wise, gets shot and eventually murders all the foreigners' series of films.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 14:51

Staying in the loop

Looper' a fresh, fascinating take on time travel

Every once in a while, a film comes along that takes a tired cinematic trope and breathes new life into it. These new and interesting takes on old ideas are relatively rare why have a new take when old takes make plenty of money?

Take the new film 'Looper' for instance. The latest offering from writer/director Rian Johnson takes one of the classic science fiction foundations (time travel) and takes it in a direction that we've never seen onscreen. The result is a smart and challenging film that transcends its speculative origins.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 13:28

The Expendables 2' explodes

Action homage/parody full of exciting excess

How many action stars can comfortably fit in a film?

Sylvester Stallone seems bound and determined to find out with 'The Expendables 2,' the second installment in Stallone's ongoing deconstruction of the 1980s action film. The first movie felt like a bit of a novelty, but for this second one to succeed, Stallone was going to have to take things to the next level.

So he did.

Published in Movies


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