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Tarantino's latest a stylish, violent Western

Considering his seeming ubiquity in the pop culture landscape since bursting onto the scene with the one-two punch of 'Reservoir Dogs' and 'Pulp Fiction' in the early 1990s, it's a little surprising that Quentin Tarantino has only directed eight films.
(Well by his count, anyway. Depending on how you choose to categorize the two-volume 'Kill Bill' or the 'Death Proof' half of 'Grindhouse,' you could argue that this latest is actually his ninth.)

'The Hateful Eight' is Tarantino's newest work; once again, he's paying homage to a beloved genre in this case, the Western. The director (who also wrote the screenplay) provides himself an abundance of opportunities for sweeping shots and extreme violence just the sort of combination that allows Tarantino's vision to shine brightest.

Published in Movies
Tuesday, 24 March 2015 19:01

Shooting blanks The Gunman'

There has never been a better time to be an aging action star. We are in a geriatric golden age; whether you're looking at the reinvigorated over-the-top stardom of guys like Stallone and Schwarzenegger or the reinvention of guys like Liam Neeson, the silver screen has seen plenty of old guys shooting guns and blowing stuff up.

Apparently, Sean Penn decided he wanted to get in on some of that action despite not necessarily having a good understanding of what makes those movies work. 'The Gunman' is the unfortunate result of that ill-informed decision.

Published in Movies
Tuesday, 24 March 2015 18:59

The caste and the furious Insurgent'

Second installment a step backward for series

It goes without saying that these days, franchises foot the bill in Hollywood. Big-budget multi-movie extravaganzas are the current watchword and if they can be based on a preexisting pop cultural phenomenon, so much the better.

Published in Movies
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 16:01

Hot Tub Time Machine 2' barely lukewarm

Comedy sequel offers plenty of jokes, few actual laughs

The current Hollywood climate is such that the slightest modicum of success likely ensures another go-round. No matter how bad a movie might be, if enough people go to see it, a sequel will be made. Unfortunately, this is true even if making a sequel doesn't really make any sense. No one argues that sometimes, sequels are necessary. It's the unnecessary ones that are almost always terrible and generally give the whole process a bad name.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 06 August 2014 10:57

Putting the comic' back in comic book movie'

'Guardians of the Galaxy' hilarious and visually spectacular

There's no arguing the fact that the folks at Marvel are masters of their cinematic domain right now. They are churning out blockbuster after blockbuster their superheroic properties are proving to be some of the biggest box office cash cows in movie history.

Published in Buzz
Tuesday, 20 May 2014 19:21

Million Dollar Arm' a safe bet

Sports movie follows a familiar script

I'm a sucker for an inspirational sports movie - always have been, especially the ones that are based on a true story. There's the drama inherent to the games being played on the field, of course, and when you can insert a compelling narrative about the human element, the result can be a great movie.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 15:33

Not so Bad Grandpa'

Jackass production full of foul fun

We're rapidly approaching awards season, that time of year when all of the major studios begin trotting out their Oscar bait. Before long, we'll be seeing all manner of prestige pictures hitting the big screen at our local cineplexes.

But that's not all we'll see.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 14:16

Anarchy, American-style The Purge'

Near-future thriller doesn't quite deliver

It can be easy to feel like every story has been told before especially in an era when the recycling of ideas is a cottage industry in the entertainment world. So when an interesting twist on an old idea comes along, it can pique your interest. We all want to see something new or at least something old done in a new way.

'The Purge' wants to be that movie. Unfortunately, the film doesn't quite pull it off.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 13:11

The not-so-great Gatsby'

Literary adaptation more sizzle than steak

Turning a literary classic into a cinematic one is no easy task. Many talented filmmakers have tried and failed to bring a great novel to life on the screen.

Baz Luhrmann is taking a swing with his latest, an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic 'The Great Gatsby.' The novel, first published in 1925, is deemed by many to be on the short list of contenders for the best American novel ever written.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 12:26

The Host' with the least

Author Stephanie Meyer has a legion of adoring fans thanks to her best-selling 'Twilight' series of books. And the movies based on those books have grossed over $2 billion (yes, with a 'b') at the worldwide box office. So it stands to reason that Hollywood would leap at the chance to make a film of 'The Host,' Meyer's latest novel.

This time, it's aliens instead of vampires and werewolves. But never fear the empty-headed romances and ludicrous plot developments are still there. And really, what more could you want?

Published in Movies
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