Wednesday, 13 March 2013 15:34

Dead Man Down' is D.O.A.

Strong performances can't salvage weak plot

Those people who enjoyed director Niels Oplev's work with the first film version of Stieg Larsson's 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' have likely been looking forward to the director's American theatrical debut. 

'Dead Man Down' would appear to have all the requisite pieces. There's a strong cast, including Noomi Rapace, who so embodied Lisbeth Salandar in 'Dragon Tattoo.' There's a dark undercurrent of deception and vengeance fueled by anger. The story has that noir-ish feel that Oplev grasps so firmly.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 15:14

21 and Over' underwhelms

Coming of age comedy unfocused, unfunny

Films that show us a group of young friends (usually male) making a big transition in life particularly the end of high school or college have always been popular in Hollywood. And with good reason; their primary target audience sits squarely in that age range. 

'21 and Over' is the latest offering in this particular coming of age subgenre. However, recent years have seen an increased tendency to turn these kids into oversexed, foul-mouthed punks with little to no redeeming value. There's no one to root for because everyone is terrible.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 13:29

Dark Skies' aren't gonna clear up

Sci-fi/horror film offers bland rehash of old ideas

There's something special about a spooky movie.

Sometimes, you just want to be scared. You want to watch people forced to deal with phenomena that they can't explain. You want to see them confronted by someone or something that represents 'the other.' 

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 13:27

Snitch' not quite Rock-solid

Action thriller first of four 2013 vehicles for wrestler

Like it or not, we're going to have to come to terms with a simple truth: the Rock is a movie star.

See, 'Snitch' is Dwayne Johnson's first film of 2013 the first of four hitting screens in the next six months. You've got the latest incarnation of 'GI Joe' at the end of March, the sixth 'Fast and Furious' offering come Memorial Day and the Michael Bay bodybuilder action movie 'Pain and Gain' early this summer.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:10

Nothing good about A Good Day to Die Hard'

Action franchise's latest offering weak and uninspired

Every film fan has certain movies that he or she can't resist, despite knowing that disappointment is inevitable. Some are the product of too-good-to-be-true trailers, others the result of overextending a once-beloved franchise. We go to the theater, understanding full well that we are most likely not going to enjoy the experience.

Which brings us to 'A Good Day to Die Hard,' the fifth installment in the ongoing 'John McClane cracks wise, gets shot and eventually murders all the foreigners' series of films.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:07

Beautiful Creatures' not a pretty sight

Newest young adult adaptation feels dull, derivative

There's no doubt that with the recent conclusion of the wildly successful 'Twilight' saga, the powers-that-be in Hollywood are all desperately searching for the next young adult literary property to be turned into box office gold.

The folks at Warner Brothers seem to think they may have found it. They have produced 'Beautiful Creatures,' based on the novel of the same name by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. It is the first in a four-book (so far) series known collectively as the Caster Chronicles.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 14:29

Identity Thief' an identity crisis

McCarthy vehicle struggles to find fun

Since Melissa McCarthy broke out with her supporting role in 'Bridesmaids,' it seems like Hollywood has been trying to figure out what to do with her. Her television bona fides are set she's an Emmy winner for 'Mike and Molly' but movie stardom is a different animal. Pairing her with a talented foil to her brand of broad physicality someone like Jason Bateman and letting her loose probably seemed like a good idea. And maybe it was.

Unfortunately, the end result this time was 'Identity Thief,' a film struggling to understand its own identity.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 14:19

Side Effects' may include drowsiness, confusion

Thriller tries to do too much

Steven Soderbergh has spent the past twenty years as one of the premier directors Hollywood has to offer. He has directed over 30 films, including award season darlings like 'Traffic' and 'Erin Brockovich' and popcorn fare such as the 'Ocean's' trilogy. He made an action movie with an MMA fighter in the lead, a two-part biopic about Che Guevara and a movie about strippers.

His latest is 'Side Effects,' and according to him, it's also going to be his last.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 13:18

Star-crossed lovers (and zombies)

Warm Bodies' strikes balance between humor and horror

Anyone who has gone to the movies over the past few years has seen the explosion in zombie movies. Hollywood's recent fascination with the genre has led to a glut of entertainment featuring the walking dead. Some of these movies have treated the subject with humor, others with deadly seriousness. But until now, none have used the genre as a foundation for romantic comedy.

If you're a zombie fan, chances are that 'Warm Bodies' piqued your interest. It's a new take on a genre that has been rapidly descending into the realm of the clich. It's a new take and quite a good one at that.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 13:16

Bullet to the Head' misfires

Newest Stallone offering clich-ridden, dull

Apparently, Hollywood executives got together and declared the early part of 2013 'Geriatric Action Star Month.' We just had a brand-new Arnold Schwarzenegger outing ('The Last Stand') and we're a couple of weeks away from Bruce Willis in the latest installment of the 'John McLane gets the crap kicked out of him, but eventually murders everyone' saga that is the 'Die Hard' franchise.

And in the here and now, we have Sylvester Stallone getting back to the roots that he's made millions mocking in the two 'Expendables' films.

Published in Movies
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