Reviews

Review: “The Expendables 3”

As with a number of third installments, the law of diminishing returns kicks in with The Expendables III - big time. The franchise has always centered on the novelty value of having the aging action stars of the '80s...

Review: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”

I don't remember a world when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles didn't exist. I had just turned one year old when the original cartoon debuted in 1987 and it was, to my recollection, the first thing outside of friends...

Review: “Into the Storm”

Too often, a fundamental flaw pervades "natural disaster" movies: the focus tends to be on the destruction and chaos rather than the characters. Recent years have shown the physical and emotional devastation such events can cause to neighborhoods and...

Review: “Guardians of the Galaxy”

One of the most pleasant surprises of a mixed-bag movie summer, Guardians of the Galaxy is something akin to Star Wars on Quaaludes. It's a tongue firmly in cheek throwback to cheesy '80s-era B-grade sci-fi movies that is equal...

Review: “Lucy”

It's almost impossible to sit through Lucy without pondering what could have been. A ham-fisted fusion of high-concept science fiction and lowbrow action from writer-director Luc Besson, it fails in both categories. It does succeed at being a very,...

Review: “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

Say what you want about their production values, particularly the cheesy, rubbery make-up the actors were forced to wear in the older films, but the "Planet of the Apes" series, at least thematically, is one of the best and...

Review: “Deliver Us From Evil”

A poor man's The Exorcist grafted to a by-the-numbers police procedural, Scott Derrickson's Deliver Us from Evil gets more mileage from its hybrid premise than one would expect, by it quickly goes adrift in before coming to rest with...

Review: “Snowpiercer”

Adapted from Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette's obscure 1982 graphic novel Le Transperceneige by South Korean writer-director Joon-ho Bong, the politically charged Snowpiercer is a heady mix of art house and megaplex mainstream, beauty and brutality, that rates as...

Review: “Transformers: Age of Extinction”

As I walked into my screening for the latest Michael Bay explosion-fest, "Transformers: Age of Extinction," a giant standup poster greeted me, touting my upcoming experience as the first film shot with the IMAX 3D Digital Camera, which means...

Review: “Jersey Boys”

Clint Eastwood may not seem like the best person to direct a musical. When you look back at his filmography, even in recent years with films like "Gran Torino," you see mostly gruff, no-nonsense characters who, if asked, would...

Review: “The Rover”

Writer-director David Michod's spare tale of hard-scrabble life, brutal and sudden death, and alienation in a collapsed Australia is as frustrating as it is fascinating. On one hand it's an ugly, evocative, and deliberately paced road movie that plays...

Review: “22 Jump Street”

If someone asked me what the most surprisingly good movie in recent memory has been, I would confidently answer, "21 Jump Street." The film took a largely forgotten show from the late 80s/early 90s and abandoned much of its...

Review: “How to Train Your Dragon 2”

It's a rare sequel - animated or otherwise - that expands the story of its predecessor without rehashing it, and an even rarer family-oriented film that manages to be fun and mature without being condescending to its audience. How...

Review: “The Fault in Our Stars”

It's easy to roll your eyes when a film's central theme is cancer. While such an affliction is inarguably sad, its handling in the movies is typically heavy-handed. The natural drama from the disease never seems to be enough...

Review: “Edge of Tomorrow”

Doug Liman had dropped the radar as a filmmaker for most of the past decade, but with the surprisingly smart and suitably bombastic science fiction thriller Edge of Tomorrow, he pops back up with more of the high-concept action...

Review: “X-Men: Days of Future Past”

Returning as director to the franchise he put on the movie map after an absence of more than a decade, Bryan Singer has turned out what feels like the first true "X-Men" movie since, well, the last one he...

Review: “Godzilla”

It's been ten years since Toho Studios put the Godzilla franchise in mothballs after the release of the sub-par 50th anniversary feature Godzilla: Final Wars. The feeling was that everything that could be done with the world's most famous...

Review: “Neighbors”

Comedies, perhaps more than any other genre, are subjective. While all can agree that a drama about the loss of a child is inherently sad, not everyone will agree on what is funny. Our senses of humor have been...

Review: “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”

Fledgling director Marc Webb displayed promise when the bumpy but enjoyable Amazing Spider-Man hit the big screen in 2012. It was rough around the edges - the tone was all over the place and the plot was always a...

Review: “Oculus”

An atypical horror movie that could have been great but instead settled for mediocrity and recycled tropes, "Oculus" is a frustrating near-miss. By focusing less on gore (though there's still enough on display to meet minimum requirements) and more...

Review: “The Raid 2”

Gareth Evans' follow-up to the Indonesian martial arts action cult hit "The Raid" takes an approach almost diametrically opposed to that of its predecessor whilst still retaining its impactful action and skilled filmmaking. Which one you prefer will...

Review: “Sabotage”

A loud, visceral, and messy assault on the senses - and not in a fun way - actor/California governor/actor again Arnold Schwarzenegger's Sabotage delivers what it promises - to its star's career.It's an ugly piece of work whose innate...

Review: “Muppets Most Wanted”

The Muppets are some of the most endearing pop culture icons in history. They're just so darn lovable that even in their most kid-centric fare, there's usually enough in there to entertain the adults, especially now. Many adults today...

Review: “Need for Speed”

With the popularity of franchises like "The Fast and the Furious," it was only a matter of time before a film adaptation of the popular video game racing series "Need for Speed" blasted its way into theaters. Coming from...

Review: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

For years now the whimsical movie stylings of Wes Anderson have regularly been dismissed as something of an acquired taste, as rambling, self-indulgent musings drenched in artifice and contrivance. Granted, there's a lot of truth to that, but...

Review: “300: Rise of an Empire”

Believe it or not, the pseudo-sequel "300: Rise of an Empire" manages to one-up its predecessor, in the sense that it's even more gratuitous, over-the-top, and fetishistic than Zack Snyder's stylistic adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel about the...

Review: “Non-Stop”

When a film's opening shots consist of its protagonist prepping a hard drink for himself, it's hard to not assume the events that follow will be a little heavy-handed. When it's in slow motion, it's also easy to assume...

Review: “Pompeii”

Granted, no one can (or should) go into "A Film by Paul W. S. Anderson" expecting quality film-making, so in a certain sense his historical melodrama Pompeii meets expectations; the flat acting and paint-by-numbers plot are only exceeded by...

Review: “Robocop”

If you ask me, the original 1987 "RoboCop" is no classic. It's an entertaining movie, to be sure, but the "classic" status given to it by many always seemed a bit hyperbolic, its biggest issues stemming from a satire...

Review: “The LEGO Movie”

When "The LEGO Movie" was announced, the world let out a collective groan. While the beloved brand has branched out in recent years to various media forms, including an ever growing popular series of video games starring Batman, Harry...

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