Wednesday, 22 February 2012 17:25

Little is fair in 'This Means War'

Written by Allen Adams
Well-intentioned action-comedy falls short
One of the unfortunate aspects of today's Hollywood is the obsessive need to produce work that appeals to the broadest possible audience. When you try to appeal to everyone, however, you wind up diluting the product. You wind up with a film that still has the stink of excessive focus grouping all over it. It's just too bad when it happens to a movie that should have been better - a movie like 'This Means War.'

It's the latest offering from director McG ('Terminator Salvation') and on paper, it looks like it could strike the ideal balance between rom-com and shoot-em-up.

On paper.

Thursday, 16 February 2012 15:40

Safe House' worth a stay

Written by Allen Adams
Action film elevated by strong lead performances
I imagine that we all have certain actors whose work we particularly enjoy. All movie stars are not created equal - everyone has a favorite, someone who consistently hits home runs in his or her eyes. On the flip side, I (and I'm sure most of you) also have actors - not many, but a few - whose work I simply cannot stand. For whatever reason, their continued popularity not only confuses me, but actively offends me as well. But what happens when a favorite and a not-favorite wind up on screen together?

'Safe House.' That's what happens.

Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds, 'The Change-Up') is a CIA 'housekeeper,' in charge of maintaining a safe house in Cape Town, South Africa. He's been at it for a year and is desperate for a promotion to field work. The job is monotonous and utterly boring. Right up until a CIA retrieval team shows up with legendary rogue agent Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington, 'The Book of Eli') in custody.

Thursday, 16 February 2012 15:36

Say I don't' to The Vow'

Written by Allen Adams
Unlikely love story inoffensive, uninteresting
I have no problem with being emotionally manipulated by a movie. I think those artificial feelings are a huge part of why we go to the movies in the first place. However, when that manipulation becomes too forced and overt, it loses its impact and becomes hollow and false.

It becomes a movie like 'The Vow.'

Wednesday, 18 January 2012 11:00

Tower Heist (PG-13)

Written by Allen Adams
The staff of a luxury apartment building loses their entire pension fund to the big-deal financial adviser who lives in the penthouse. So they decide to steal it back.
5 out of 5
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 10:45

Hugo (PG)

Written by Allen Adams
That's right Martin Scorcese made a movie for kids. But his haunting Paris landscape combined with a complex, fact-based story and exceptional performances make this a movie that anyone can enjoy.
5 out of 5
Wednesday, 09 November 2011 12:02

High-rise hilarity with Tower Heist'

Written by Allen Adams
Action comedy pairs heists and hijinks

Sometimes, there's nothing quite like a good heist movie. The intrigue, the elaborate plans, the witty repartee - it all adds up to an enjoyable moviegoing experience. Honestly, even when a heist movie is kind of bad, it's still pretty good.

Thus bringing us to 'Tower Heist,' the latest from director Brett Ratner.

Wednesday, 09 November 2011 11:46

Happy holidays from Harold and Kumar

Written by Allen Adams
Christmas comedy crude and clever

Living as we do in the era of sequels, prequels and gritty reboots, I suppose I should have been less surprised to hear that there was yet another Harold and Kumar movie in the works. Still, I was hesitant to say the least. Sure, I enjoyed the first two movies, but time passes and tastes change. Would this movie still have the same appeal?

Yes and no, as it turns out.

Wednesday, 02 November 2011 20:36

Puss in Boots' almost purr-fect

Written by Allen Adams
Dreamworks film for kids, adults alike

I am unapologetic in my love for animated movies. Sure, they're aimed at children. So what? I'm just a kid at heart. Besides, companies like Pixar and Dreamworks have long been crafting multilayered animated extravaganzas that work on one level for the kiddies and a much different, more sophisticated level for us grown-ups.

If there was any doubt that 'Puss in Boots,' the latest offering from Dreamworks, would have that same dual sensibility, it was put to rest right from the opening moments, as we watch the title character dress himself and tiptoe away from a snoozing kitty and her pillow bed. We adults certainly register the naughty implications, but stuff like that barely registers with the youngsters.
Wednesday, 02 November 2011 20:28

The Rum Diary' worth a shot

Written by Allen Adams
Film more character study than story

As a longtime fan of the work of Hunter S. Thompson, I was thrilled to hear about the film adaptation of his early novel 'The Rum Diary.' However, when I then heard about how much difficulty the film had in finding a distributor, my excitement was tempered.

Overall, it could have been worse.

'The Rum Diary' has at its center journalist Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp, 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides'), a mildly fictionalized version of Mr. Thompson. He goes to work for the San Juan Star in Puerto Rico in 1960, a tumultuous time for both the island and the people who live there. Kemp meets a motley crew of journalistic cast-offs and characters. Guys like Sala (Michael Rispoli, 'Kick-Ass') and Moberg (Giovanni Ribisi, 'Avatar'), a photographer and reporter respectively who have addled their brains with booze and drugs and largely settled into a life of low-rent hedonism. You've also got Lotterman (Richard Jenkins, 'Hall Pass'), the Star's editor/publisher and a guy who is clearly barely in control.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011 14:26

All for none

Written by Allen Adams
The Three Musketeers' uninspired and uninteresting

There's nothing inherently wrong in adapting a classic story to the screen, even if it has been done numerous times before. There's a reason certain stories are classics - they're good stories. If someone has a new take to bring to a classic, why not take a shot?

However, too often these sorts of remakes are simple rehashes of what has gone before. Sure, there are some cosmetic differences and a few changes in style, but at their core, they're essentially the same movie. They simply cash in on the name recognition connected with the story, leaving audiences with nothing more than yet another steaming heap of mediocrity.

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