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Wednesday, 15 August 2012 14:32

A franchise re-Bourne'

Written by Allen Adams
Series tries to move forward with new star, story

The 'Bourne' franchise has been incredibly popular over the past decade. All three films have managed to be both commercial and critical hits nine figure box office takes don't combine with rave reviews all that often. Matt Damon's Jason Bourne (loosely based on the novels struck a chord. He was a hero that matched up well with the uncertain, gray-area-laden mood of the first few years of the 21st century.

However, Damon's Jason Bourne days appear to be behind him; he's moving on to other things. But the Bourne brand is still viable; there are a lot of parts to that universe that have yet to be explored.

Wednesday, 08 August 2012 16:08

Memories light the corners of your mind

Written by Allen Adams
Total Recall' remake explores the nature of memory

Current conventional wisdom (or what passes for it in Hollywood, anyway) indicates that there's very little room in the Cineplex for original ideas. It's all about creating and maintaining franchises or else buffing a modern sheen onto repackaged old ideas, so the fact that Hollywood rebooted a movie like 'Total Recall' isn't nearly as surprising as the fact that it took over 20 years for them to get around to it.

The works of author Philip K. Dick have served as the basis for something like a dozen films his stories led to films such as 'Screamers,' 'Minority Report,' 'Paycheck,' 'The Adjustment Bureau' and more but 'Total Recall' was only the second Dick-based work ('Blade Runner' was the first.). It was based on Dick's short story 'We Can Remember It for You Wholesale' and it was far from a sure thing.

Wednesday, 01 August 2012 15:41

Too much to watch in The Watch'

Written by Allen Adams
Comedy overwhelmed by its three leads

We're entering the tail end of blockbuster season. Now that the last of the three monster superhero releases has hit screens, with 'The Dark Knight Rises' flying by the $500 million mark in global box office, we can look forward to the gradual tapering off of the big showy premieres.

That's not to say we won't get some good movies over the next month or so. In fact, the chances are good that we're going to get some high-quality stuff.

Unfortunately, 'The Watch' doesn't really fall into that category.

Wednesday, 01 August 2012 15:28

Step Up Revolution' stumbles

Written by Allen Adams

Film offers elaborate dance numbers and not much else

As a film critic, I have the opportunity to see a lot of films that I wouldn't necessarily choose to see. I'm a pretty easy audience I have a fairly wide range of interest but even then, I occasionally wind up seeing a film that is completely outside of my typical area of enjoyment.

Which brings us to 'Step Up Revolution.'

Wednesday, 25 July 2012 14:40

'The Dark Knight Rises' to the occasion

Written by Allen Adams
Nolan's brilliant Batman trilogy concludes

Some filmmakers know how to do a trilogy. Some don't. Peter Jackson does. The Wachowskis do not. Steven Spielberg does (crystal skulls be damned). George Lucas did, but then he didn't.

Christopher Nolan definitely does.

After four long years, 'The Dark Knight Rises' has arrived. If you're like me, you've been anxiously awaiting this film since you walked out of the theater following a screening of 2008's 'The Dark Knight.' Nolan along with brother Jonathan and screenwriter David S. Goyer had slowly, steadily constructed a fully-realized comic book world. But this is not the brightly-colored bang-bang of Marvel's 'Avengers' assembly.

Thursday, 19 July 2012 09:46

Revisiting historywith an ax

Written by Allen Adams
By any measure, Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest presidents this country has ever had. They don't put you on Mount Rushmore for being a slouch. But according to 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,' there's a whole lot more to the legend of Honest Abe than America could have ever dreamed.
4 out of 5 - Read full review
Thursday, 19 July 2012 09:42

Father knows worst That's My Boy'

Written by Allen Adams
It has become common in critical circles to look down on the works of Adam Sandler. Sandler's man-child antics have lost their luster for film critics around the world; those who watch movies for a living have grown tired of Sandler's never-changing shtick. And with good reason with very rare exception, the films that Sandler and his Happy Madison production company have produced have been getting steadily worse over the past decade-plus.
1 out of 5 - Read full review
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 14:37

You won't catch their 'Drift'

Written by Allen Adams
New 'Ice Age' movie a formulaic rehash

One of the most welcome developments in cinema over the past 15 or 20 years is the marked increase in quality from films aimed at children. It used to be that your choices were Disney or a bunch of condescending, derivative crap (the occasional Don Bluth offering notwithstanding). But now that heavy hitters such as Dreamworks and Fox are doing their own kid-oriented movies, the bar for once-easily dismissed 'kid stuff' has never been higher.

Which is why a movie like 'Ice Age: Continental Drift' is so disappointing.

The gang from the previous three installments is all here again. Manny the mammoth (Ray Romano, TV's 'Men of a Certain Age') and his wife Ellie (Queen Latifah, 'Joyful Noise') are raising their willful daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer, 'Joyful Noise') in yet another generic prehistoric setting. The gang from the previous movies is here too: Diego the saber-toothed tiger (Denis Leary, TV's 'Rescue Me') and Syd the sloth (John Leguizamo, 'One for the Money') are both still part of the picture.

I love movies with drama, action and suspense. Throw in some big name actors like John Travolta ('From Paris with Love'), Salma Hayek ('Puss in Boots'), Blake Lively ('The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants'), and Benicio Del Toro ('The Wolfman') and it's bound to a be a hit, right? Wrong!

'Savages' is, well, how do I put this...Purely savage! The bloody film focuses on two California friends Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and Ben (Aaron Johnson) who start their own marijuana-growing operation after Chon, a former Navy seal returns from Afghanistan with the 'best of the best' marijuana seeds. The two make a good living off the illegal drug and so does their partner in crime, Dennis (Travolta), a crooked DEA agent. However, everything starts to spiral out of control when the Mexican Baja Cartel (run by Hayek and her underling, Del Toro) want to partner with the boys. The guys refuse at first, which is not an option as far as the Cartel is concerned. So the duo offer to sell their entire business to the Cartel, which again isn't a viable choice since the Mexicans need to know how the friends' growing techniques produce some of the purest drugs on the market. In order to drive their point home, the Cartel steals the boys' shared girlfriend, Ophelia (Blake Lively) and hold her for ransom. The rest of the movie, viewers see how quickly Chon and Ben turn from peaceful drug users and producers to murders, thieves and blackmailers in an attempt to recover the girl they both love.

Tuesday, 03 July 2012 15:11

Rebooting Spider-Man' in a flash

Written by Jake Coyle (AP)

NEW YORK (AP) On a weekend in January of 2010, Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios pivoted faster than even Spider-Man would dare. 

A fourth installment of the hugely popular Spider-man franchise was planned, with director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire returning to their trilogy of films that had earned more than $2.5 billion at the global box office and generally been hailed as a standard-bearer in big-screen comic book adaptations. 

But by that Monday, Raimi's dissatisfaction with the script and the producers' eagerness for a new movie had come to a head. In a flash, the sequel was kaput, and a reboot was ordered up. Next Tuesday, 'The Amazing Spider-Man' will be released, charting a new start for the web-slinger just five years after 'Spider-Man 3.'

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