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Wednesday, 24 July 2013 16:22

The Conjuring' offers old-school frights

Horror film filled with terror and tension

Hearing the words 'Based on a true story' connected to a film is always a mixed bag at best. You're always curious as to just how much is true and how much is trumped up to make for a better movie. It's probably worst with horror films not only did we have classics such the original 'Amityville Horror' and 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' with their supposed toeholds in reality, but you've got stuff like 'The Blair Witch Project' that goes out of its way in an attempt to convince us of the truth inherent to its (very) fictional premise.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 16:25

Bigger is indeed better Pacific Rim'

Sci-fi film delivers in a big way

Sometimes, you want to watch a film that is packed full of nuance. You want to see a film that challenges you, a film that defies simple explanation the sort of film that prompts a minutes-long diatribe in response to the question 'What's it about?'

Other times, you want relative simplicity. You want spectacle. You want good guys and bad guys and clear conflicts between them. You want a film that can be summarized in one sentence.

Published in Movies
Thursday, 11 July 2013 10:03

A not-so-despicable sequel

Despicable Me 2' offers plenty of fun

Movies for kids are pretty hit or miss in general. It seems like every time you buy a ticket, you've got about a 50/50 chance of getting a good one. And even if you do get a good one, that just means that there's going to be a sequel and that's when the law of diminishing returns raises its ugly, money-grubbing little head.

So it's a nice surprise when an animated follow-up manages to maintain some of the spirit of the original. 'Despicable Me 2' is definitely one such surprise.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 10:45

The Heat' is on

Female buddy cop movie delivers laughs

There's no denying that Hollywood likes its formulas. After all, they're in the business of making money if a certain type of film does well at the box office, obviously they're going to try to find ways to continue making that film. All you need is a little bit of a tweak and you've got yourself another smash.

Of course, when it comes to comedy, the summer isn't necessarily a slam-dunk. Big shoot-em-up action spectaculars sell big in the dog days; comedy is something else entirely. But if you can take one of those preexisting formulas and build a comedy around itwell, then you might have something.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 10:43

National insecurity White House Down'

Tatum, Foxx a dynamic duo

Hollywood loves offering up ideas in pairs. Whether you're talking about asteroids ('Deep Impact' and Armageddon'), volcanoes ('Volcano' and 'Dante's Peak') or even animated insects ('Antz' and 'Bug's Life'), we often see films with similar concepts appear at roughly the same time.

In 2013, one of those paired ideas is 'terrorists take over the White House.' We've already seen 'Olympus Has Fallen' this year, where Gerard Butler has to fight his way through the White House. Now, it's Channing Tatum's turn in 'White House Down.'

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 13:43

Judgment Day jollity This Is the End'

Apocalyptic ensemble comedy proves surprisingly entertaining

I'm a firm believer in the humor potential inherent to actors playing themselves. There's something wonderfully anarchic about performers playing hyperstylized versions of themselves; it can really make for a phenomenal guest-starring turn.

But the idea of making an entire movie that way? Where every one of the main players is playing him or herself or at least, a version thereof? Could you really build a quality film on that sort of foundation? It seems unlikely, no?

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 13:39

Whatever happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

Man of Steel' a sadly unsatisfying misfire

We live in an entertainment age where everything old is new again. Iconic worlds and characters are constantly being revisited. Current trends often lead to reboots that attempt grittiness or edginess. Of course, those attempts have become ubiquitous, hence losing the very edge that they're searching for. And worst of all, sometimes you get edginess for the sake of edginess.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 14:19

Google mirth The Internship'

Vaughn-Wilson reunion never quite hits stride

When it comes to summer movies, most of the focus tends to be on the big-budget blockbusters. It's all about action sequences and special effects. Studios are looking to build and maintain franchises that's a lot of what the summer season has come to be about. The comedic offerings, on the other hand, tend to be hit-or-miss. 

'The Internship' aims to be a hit. It has two stars with comedic chops and a record of past success and one of the biggest companies in the world as its setting. There's a fair amount of potential here.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 29 May 2013 13:57

Even faster and furiouser

Fast and Furious' offers surprisingly good sixth installment

You can usually tell when an open-ended franchise is hitting the end of its run. The films decline gradually, then steeply. Before long, they disappear into the pop culture memory.

But then you have the 'Fast and Furious' franchise, which might be at its popularity apex with the sixth installment in the series.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 29 May 2013 13:51

Third time not the charm Hangover III'

Comedy series limps to the finish line

As an actor, it has to be frustrating to be forced into a project that you aren't that interested in. Giving the kind of full commitment that a movie sometimes requires is probably difficult if you're not invested in the project.

Or even worse, if you used to be invested but aren't anymore.

Published in Movies
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