Indie Snapshot: Someone Marry Barry

by admin February 7, 2014 5:55 am
Indie Snapshot: Someone Marry Barry

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

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 admin January 31, 2014 6:00 am
Labor Day: 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.

Indie Snapshot: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

by admin January 31, 2014 5:55 am
Indie Snapshot: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

There's some good (12 O'Clock Boys), some bad (Love is in the Air) and a lotta ugly (Somewhere Slow and The Wait) invading art houses this weekend.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – The Sum of All Ryans

by admin January 17, 2014 6:00 am
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – The Sum of All Ryans

When we last saw Jack Ryan -- CIA analyst and reluctant action hero -- on the big screen, he was racing against the clock to prevent an all-out nuclear war between American and Russia, the favorite antagonist of his creator, Tom Clancy. He also looked a lot like Ben Affleck, who had inherited the role from Harrison Ford, who in turn had inherited it from Alec Baldwin in a string of regenerations of Doctor Who-vian proportions. The casting switch was intended to give a fresh start to the then-three movie franchise, but following a respectable (though far from stellar) box-office performance, Affleck's Ryan was prematurely retired instead. (Just as well; there are a number of reasons why The Sum of All Fears didn't work and Affleck's callow performance tops the list. Funnily enough, though, he'd probably make a great fortysomething Ryan if he were to attack the part today.) A decade later, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit offers up another Ryan regeneration from which the character emerges with the face and form of Chris Pine. More notably, though, this is the first Ryan adventure that isn't directly based on a Clancy novel and perhaps that explains why it works as well as it does… at least until it doesn't.

Razzie Awards 2014: Picks, Predictions and Oversights

by admin January 15, 2014 2:31 pm
Razzie Awards 2014: Picks, Predictions and Oversights

Tomorrow morning, the nominations for the most prestigious and beloved movies and performances of 2013 (and August: Osage County) will be announced for the 86th Academy Awards. This morning, however, the nominations for the polar opposite Golden Raspberry Awards dropped and since there's little chance of much overlap (though The Lone Ranger could sneak in an Oscar nomination for makeup, but that's about it) it's only fair that we give the year's most horrendous work its due. While this year's list of Razzie nods got a lot right (Grown Ups 2 leads the pack with a worthy eight nominations and Lindsay Lohan wound up in three categories for three different movies) some clunkers managed to slip through the cracks (how the hell did The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Oz the Great and Powerful, R.I.P.D., Man of Steel and Gangster Squad go unscathed?). The "winners" of the Razzies are announced on Saturday, March 1 (that's right, one night before the Oscars) but we're picking the movies and performances that will win, that should win, and which ones were snubbed.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, January 14, 2014

by admin January 14, 2014 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Vin Diesel's Riddick rides to the rescue again.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, January 7, 2014

by admin January 7, 2014 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ben Affleck is a rebel rebel in Runner Runner

Five Reasons Why the Paranormal Activity Franchise Should Rest in Peace

Well… it was fun while it lasted. After five years and five movies, the Paranormal Activity franchise is, at last, dead on arrival. The final nail in the coffin? The anemic debut of the so-called "spin-off" installment, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, which attempted to capitalize on the first-week-of-January release date that's been so horror-friendly in past years (just look at the first-weekend grosses for Texas Chainsaw 3D and The Devil Inside) but wound up getting trounced by Frozen's dynamic duo of Elsa and Anna, who re-claimed the top spot following their film's seventh week in theaters.

Lone Survivor: Duck and Cover

by admin December 25, 2013 6:00 am
Lone Survivor: Duck and Cover

As penance for inflicting Battleship upon the moviegoing public -- and the brave men and women in our nation's military -- Peter Berg tries to atone for his sins by helming Lone Survivor, a based-on-a-true-story combat picture that's as spare and stripped-down as Battleship was outlandish and over-the-top. Specifically, Berg is dramatizing the 2005 SEAL-led mission Operation Red Wings, in which a four-man squad was dropped into a remote area of Afghanistan to capture and/or kill a high-ranking leader in the Taliban. Despite their superior training and weaponry, a series of unforeseen circumstances left the team outmanned and outgunned, desperately trying to stay alive in the face of a larger, well-armed army until… well, the title pretty much sums it up, doesn't it?

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