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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
Wednesday, 28 November 2012 22:31

Always darkest before Red Dawn'

Remake fails to match spirit of original

The 1980s were a simpler time. America was America and we knew exactly who the bad guys were. That's what made a film like 1984's 'Red Dawn' such a success; it was rah-rah jingoism built around showing those Russkies who was boss.

In the 21st century, however, those lines of demarcation aren't so clear. This leads to the 'Red Dawn' remake. Since the circumstances aren't nearly so clear cut these days the movie's main enemy even had to be changed before the film was released you get a film that falls short of the plucky 'America! Fk yeah!' spirit of the original.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 16:33

Portrait of a president - Lincoln'

Spielberg, Day-Lewis bring history to life

Every once in a while, moviegoers are treated to a perfect cinematic storm, a confluence of talent that all but assures excellence. It is a rare and wonderful thing to see unfailingly exceptional actors, writers, director and subject matter come together in the same place at the same time. When they do, the result is true movie magic.

If you're lucky, the result is a movie like 'Lincoln.'

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 16:29

The end of the Twilight' saga

'Breaking Dawn: Part Two' is the fifth and final movie in the 'Twilight' series. 'Twilight' fans were thrown through hoops and were on an emotional roller coaster while watching this film. Thinking that I knew what to expect from having read the novels, I was surprised by quite a few scenes, one in particular which even caused me to shed a couple tears. Anyone who has been a fan of 'Twilight' since the novels, or just fans of the movies, will not be disappointed by the way the saga finalizes. The ending is certainly an unexpected twist.

Published in Movies
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