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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
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 14:20

The many mistakes of Movie 43'

Compilation of shorts short on laughs

When I first saw the trailer for 'Movie 43,' my attention was grabbed. A series of loosely-connected comedic short films created by a team of name writers and directors and packed with recognizable stars? The potential was sky high.

Unfortunately, however, the end result is far, far less than the sum of its parts.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 14:54

Crying home to Mama'

Film offers creepy children, old-school scares

The recent trend in horror movies has been toward extremism. So many supposedly scary films have floated their frights on wave after unrelenting wave of over-the-top gore. And those that aren't devoted to mindless gore are gimmicky 'found footage' films that rely on 'gotcha' moments and not much else.

I had high hopes that 'Mama' might be that present-day rarity a genuinely scary movie. And while it isn't a home run by any stretch of the imagination, it succeeds more than it fails.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 13:34

Gangster Squad' looks better than it is

Film puts style over substance

There's a lot of fun to be had with period pieces especially when you've got an enthusiastic cast. It's interesting to see that even the most well-regarded movie star can get a little giddy when you tell him to put on a fedora, brandish a tommy gun and talk tough.

That's the new movie 'Gangster Squad' at its core. It's an undeniably stylish film visually striking with a cast that can't help but delight in the movie that they're making. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of substance here; the characterizations are weak and the story is thin. It's all sizzle and no steak.

Published in Music
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 14:21

Promised Land' less than promising

Film offers heavy-handed message, not much else

It's always intriguing when a number of Hollywood's heavy hitters get together to work on something especially a pet project. Sometimes, it's a story that they have always wanted to tell. Sometimes, it's just an excuse to go on a working vacation with their buddies. And sometimes, they just want to remind you that they care about stuff.

The first one usually bears positive fruit; if nothing else, the superstar got to prove his or her mettle. The second one is hit ('Ocean's 11') or miss ('Couples Retreat'). And the third one? The third is almost never a good idea. That's when they're looking to impart a 'message.'

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
Thursday, 27 December 2012 18:44

The realities of marriage This Is 40'

Apatow's latest light on story

We've all got to grow up sometime.

That's the primary message behind writer/director Judd Apatow's latest offering, both in terms of the story itself and Apatow's own changes as a filmmaker. Growing up is the foundation of 'This Is 40,' billed as a 'sort-of sequel' to 2007's 'Knocked Up.'

Pete (Paul Rudd; 'Wanderlust') and Debbie (Leslie Mann; 'The Change-Up') are a married couple attempting to muddle through the realities of their life together as both approach 40. Pete runs a struggling independent record label that desperately needs a hit, while Debbie's boutique clothing store is losing money under mysterious circumstances.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 05 December 2012 14:48

Killing Them Softly' with a big stick

Gangster movie suffers from overly aggressive message

There's nothing inherently wrong with using a film to send a 'message.' In fact, with the right combination of circumstances, a movie can manage to be effective both as an entertainment and as a conveyance of some larger truth.

However, when a movie allows itself to be overwhelmed by the message it is intended to convey, both the movie and the message wind up significantly diminished.

Published in Movies
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