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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
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 14:28

Heart of Darkness'

Star Trek Into Darkness' raises the bar

There's always a level of risk when a beloved work of popular culture is reworked. Striking the proper balance between loyalty to the source material and creating something fresh is difficult. With the possible exception of Christopher Nolan's work with Batman, no filmmaker has managed to walk that tightrope as deftly as J.J. Abrams has with the world of 'Star Trek.'

The 2009 reboot of the series was handled brilliantly, keeping true to the spirit of the original Trek mythos while still allowing this new crew to follow its own unique path. So there were high hopes for 'Star Trek Into Darkness,' the second installment of this new Trek voyage.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 14:16

Black Rock' a hard place

Taut thriller a story of survival

In a summer season dominated by big-budget sequels and CGI-laden action extravaganzas, it can be a nice change of pace to find films that are a bit more of a challenge. These films can be both simpler and far more complex than the popcorn fare being churned out by the major studios.

One such film is 'Black Rock,' directed by Maine native Katie Aselton (TV's 'The League') and written by her husband Mark Duplass ('Zero Dark Thirty') from a story by Aselton.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 14:40

An end to the Iron age? Iron Man 3'

Super sequel doesn't quite measure up to previous installments

The start of the summer blockbuster season has been continually getting pushed earlier and earlier. Once upon a time, that season reliably started with Memorial Day weekend; you could set your watch by it. But things have changed; now, with this first weekend in May, the summer blockbusters are in full swing.

First out of the gate? 'Iron Man 3.'

Published in Movies
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