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Thursday, 11 July 2013 10:01

The Lone Ranger' a woeful misfire

Big-budget adaptation a cynical mess

The summer season is a time of cinematic spectacle. Nine-figure budgets and global stars are brought together in an attempt to build and/or maintain billion-dollar franchises. Sometimes, these plans go as intended and you get a real blockbuster. Other times, a variety of factors go awry cost overruns, reshoots, misreading of audiences and you get films that fall flat. These are movies that, while not necessarily utter disasters, nevertheless fail to deliver on expectations.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 14:20

Texas Chainsaw Massacre' gets a requel'

Film tries and fails to reinvigorate classic franchise

Few genres inspire multiple franchise offerings quite like horror. There are the big ones, of course series such as 'Friday the 13th,' 'Halloween' and 'Nightmare on Elm Street' but almost every horror film that has experienced even a modicum of success has produced a number of increasingly terrible sequels/prequels/reboots.

For instances, we have the new 'Texas Chainsaw 3D' film; did you know that this is the seventh (!) installment of everybody's favorite chainsaw-wielding maniac Leatherface?

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 16:09

Father knows worst That's My Boy'

Sandler's first foray into R-rated comedy falls flat

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.

But hey millions of people go out and shell out their hard-earned dollars to see this junk, so what do the critics know?

Sandler's latest offering is 'That's My Boy,' yet another example of Sandler taking a promising comedic concept and hammering into the ground under wave after wave of repetitive idiocy and poorly-acted cameos from Sandler's buddies.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 16:05

Rock of Ages' less than solid

Movie musical combines the worst of Broadway, 80s rock

While they were once a vital part of the cinematic landscape, movie musicals have become much more of a hit or miss proposition. A musical with both good music and good execution can still be a bona fide hit, but the sad truth is that one or the other of those two primary factors is often found lacking.

'Rock of Ages,' based on the hit Broadway musical of the same name, is Hollywood's latest effort.

It's 1987 the golden age of the LA rock scene. Young Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough, 'Footloose') is a starry-eyed girl who has moved to the big city from Tulsa, Oklahoma to be a famous singer. Upon her arrival, she meets Drew (Diego Boneta, TV's '90210'), an aspiring young rocker who just happens to work at the legendary Bourbon Room, a music club owned and operated by aging rocker Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin, TV's '30 Rock') and his assistant Lonny (Russell Brand, 'Arthur').

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 15:06

Who's the lamest of them all?

Latest Snow White' adaptation both overwrought and dull

We live in an age of recycled creativity. The number of original stories that are being told in our popular media seems to shrink with each year that passes.

This shrinkage is what leads us to the release of 'Snow White and the Huntsman,' the second reboot of the classic fairy tale to debut in less than three months ('Mirror Mirror' hit screens at the end of March). So not only is it a story that has been told countless times before, it's a story that was just told a few weeks ago.

They're different movies, to be sure 'Snow White and the Huntsman' adopts a darker, more adult tone than its predecessor. However, that darkness and thematic maturity doesn't change the fact that this movie simply isn't very good.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 17:49

Quoth The Raven' total bore

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.

Published in Movies
Thursday, 26 April 2012 09:22

The Unlucky One

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.

Published in Movies

'Xenoblade Chronicles' is the kind of thing that can make you wonder what the hell you're doing with your life. 'Am I really literally systematically checking fetch quests off of this list right now?' you might ask yourself. 'Xenoblade Chronicles,' played at a state of near-unemployment at age 24 with an electric bass guitar plugged into a switched-off amp in the corner of the room, is the kind of game that maybe gets you to realize that you don't have to do this anymore, which is about as much praise as I can give anything that doesn't taste like gourmet root beer.

Not being a jerk: Man, these skies really are blue. That's nice. And man, these characters really do sound crazy and British. That's alright, too! Entering one of these overworld areas is maybe an actual fantastic feeling. It's crazy how far you can see and how you can just walk through all of it. I don't want to just write the same sentence over and over, but, man, the scope of this game is really something.

Being a jerk: Unfortunately, there's this arrow, which literally grins straight at you through the screen, and literally drools, and literally yells at you through your Wii Remote to go kill three more goblins and get three more goblin hearts to get one more pair of shoes that increases your defense by one but lowers your speed by one so that you'll have a pair for every member of your party, and it literally gets bigger, pixel by pixel, if you stray from the path that whatever sidequest you select is leading you along, until eventually it gets big enough to cover up your avatar, and then big enough to fill up your whole screen, and then you have to turn your Wii off if you want to see around it. Luckily, once you reach this point, the whole thing might not even be a metaphor anymore, and you can play 'Dark Souls' instead.

Published in Tekk
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 14:25

A Thousand Words' and zero laughs

Clumsy comedy has little to offer

Remember when Eddie Murphy used to be funny?

The past few months have heard rumblings that maybe Eddie was on his way back he'd shown us a little of the old razzle dazzle in 'Tower Heist;' he was set to host the Oscars but then the movie went nowhere and Brett Ratner's homophobic slurring took care of the hosting gig and the talk of Eddie's return sort of disappeared.

'A Thousand Words,' Murphy's latest, is indicative of the kind of dreck to which he has exposed audiences over the past couple of decades.

Published in Movies
Thursday, 08 March 2012 11:40

Project X' deserves an F'

Party movie not much fun

Sometimes, a movie comes along that looks just terrible. You see the trailers and read the advance coverage and you think to yourself 'Man, what a steaming pile that movie is going to be.' Of course, you're still kind of titillated by the idea of going to see this awful, awful movie. Sometimes it's fun to see something you know is going to be bad.

But sometimes you get a movie that's beyond bad, a movie that is exponentially worse than even the terrible trailers ever indicated.

Sometimes you get 'Project X.'

Published in Movies
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