Indie Snapshot: The Raid 2

by Ethan Alter March 26, 2014 3:13 pm
Indie Snapshot: <i>The Raid 2</i>

It brings me no great pleasure to report that the The Raid 2 is to The Raid as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was to the first Transformers: it's longer, flashier and bloated well past the point of tedium.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 25, 2014

by Ethan Alter March 25, 2014 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Because Oscar voters failed to do so, Leonardo DiCaprio toasts himself on a killer performance in The Wolf of Wall Street.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 11, 2014

by Ethan Alter March 11, 2014 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Come gather 'round people wherever you roam and watch Inside Llewyn Davis, the best film of 2013.

Non-Stop: The Air Up There

by Ethan Alter February 28, 2014 6:00 am
<i>Non-Stop</i>: The Air Up There

During the course of his unlikely late-career stint as an action hero, Liam Neeson has logged plenty of flight time traveling to exotic locations like France, Turkey, Alaska and Germany to kick ass. So it's understandable that the nearly retirement-age actor is cashing in some of those frequent flier miles by saying yes to Non-Stop, a thriller that keeps him in a confined space (specifically a transatlantic airline) instead of traipsing through the urban and/or natural wilderness. The other benefit of keeping the action confined to a single set is that the filmmakers have more money to recruit a higher-caliber cast, which is how this glorified B-movie is able to recruit such noted thespians as Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, Corey Stoll, Michelle Dockery and current Oscar nominee Lupita Nyong'o. It doesn't give these folks anything challenging to do, mind you, but if you're going to be stuck on a six-hour New York-to-London flight, it helps to enjoy the company of the passengers and crew.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 25, 2014

by Ethan Alter February 25, 2014 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 25, 2014

So when are we getting the Loki franchise, Marvel?

Pompeii: Snow Versus the Volcano

by Aly Semigran February 21, 2014 6:00 am
<i>Pompeii</i>: Snow Versus the Volcano

I'm not entirely sure what the hell the makers of Pompeii were thinking when they decided to turn a bona fide natural disaster picture (not to mention the first real big screen treatment of famous ancient Roman tragedy-turned-tourist attraction) into a regurgitated, by-the-numbers, and ultimately very boring gladiator tale, but it certainly seems like something of a wasted opportunity.

I Want My VOD: February 2014

by Ethan Alter February 10, 2014 6:00 am
I Want My VOD: February 2014

Fran Kranz and Dichen Lachman venture beyond the valley of the Dollhouse in the VOD feature, Lust for Love.

Indie Snapshot: Someone Marry Barry

by Aly Semigran February 7, 2014 5:55 am
Indie Snapshot: <i>Someone Marry Barry</i>

The new comedy (and I'm using the word "comedy" very loosely here) Someone Marry Barry is one of those movies destined to be buried in the depths of Netflix Instant -- one of those movies that you ponder out loud, "What the hell is this?", notice its dismal one-star rating, and if you're feeling especially bored (or desperate) actually dare to watch. And then you'll know, within the first two minutes, why this is a bottom-of-the-barrel, grotesque and unfathomably stupid movie no one paid any attention to.

Five Unexpectedly Great Philip Seymour Hoffman Performances

by Ethan Alter February 3, 2014 2:45 pm
Five Unexpectedly Great Philip Seymour Hoffman Performances

In recent years, it's been taken for granted that Philip Seymour Hoffman could do just about anything. That's the kind of trust a performer builds with both filmmakers and moviegoers when he or she is able to cultivate the kind of long and varied career that Hoffman enjoyed right up until his tragic passing on February 2.

Labor Day: Trapped In Utero

by Ethan Alter January 31, 2014 6:00 am
<i>Labor Day</i>: Trapped In Utero

I'm all for directors attempting to break out of their comfort zone, even when those initial steps end in a stumble. After all, had Woody Allen not taken a hard left turn into Bergman territory with the dry, dour Interiors, we might never have gotten superior dramatic efforts like Crimes and Misdemeanors and Husbands and Wives. Similarly, Steven Spielberg's first brush with comedy, 1941, was an abject disaster that almost ended his career, but the lessons he took away from that film paid off with Catch Me If You Can, one of the fleetest, funniest pictures in his filmography. (On the other hand, The Terminal is still a chore to sit through.) So in the potentially not-to-distant future, when he makes a wrenching, beautiful film that wins every Oscar in sight, I hope to look back on Jason Reitman's Labor Day as the bad drama he had to make before he could produce a good one.

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