American Teen: Perfectly Real

by DeAnn Welker July 24, 2008 9:43 am
<i>American Teen</i>: Perfectly Real

I know it's a bold prediction, but I believe American Teen is the movie that's singlehandedly going to make documentaries cool again. Oh, right, they never were cool in the first place. Maybe in a certain geeky/political Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock crowd, they were considered cool, but not in general. Well, if people give it a chance, American Teen really could change that.

Step Brothers: Meh.

by Lauren Gitlin July 22, 2008 5:40 pm
<i>Step Brothers</i>: Meh. Time and experience has led me to extrapolate that the filmic offerings of Will Ferrell tend to go one of three ways: Funny But Forgettable (as in Talladega Nights), Surprisingly Hilarious (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy), or Pointlessly Heinous (Blades of Glory). It is a rare confluence of factors that produces a genuine comedic achievement like Anchorman and elevates it above the run-of-the-mill masturbatory poo he so frequently churns out.

Sadly, Step Brothers most assuredly does not fall into this last category of insta-classic comedy. The jury is still out on which of the remaining two it ultimately belongs in, but after seeing a screening of it last night and feeling particularly generous after my twelfth caffeinated beverage of the day, I'm gonna vote on Funny But Forgettable.

Mamma Mia!: Psychic Candy With A Disco Soundtrack

by Lauren Gitlin July 17, 2008 1:35 pm
<i>Mamma Mia!</i>: Psychic Candy With A Disco Soundtrack

I need to start by saying that I am not an inordinately rabid fan of ABBA, nor am I a musical theater acolyte -- in fact I hate musicals for their campy, over-the-top cheesiness. Needless to say, I did not see Mamma Mia! on Broadway. I went to see an early screening of the film adaptation of said Broadway musical with a fair amount of trepidation. And I was pleasantly surprised by my lack of homicidal feeling once the closing credits rolled.

The Dark Knight: Believe The Hype

by DeAnn Welker July 16, 2008 11:14 am
<i>The Dark Knight</i>: Believe The Hype Let's get the hype out of the way: Yes, The Dark Knight was hyped, hyped, hyped. Yes, it's opening on about seven gazillion screens (more than 4,300, to be precise). Yes, the hype got even more deafening after Heath Ledger's tragic death. The hype factory for this movie was working at such volume, in fact, that the rest of the movie sort of got lost in all the white noise. (For example, Aaron Eckhart? Fantastic in his own right, but there's nary a mention of his performance in the media coverage up to this point.)

Okay then, hype acknowledged -- about the movie, and about Ledger's performance in it. And to think I foolishly worried the movie couldn't live up to it all.

Hellboy II: All Plot, No Action

by DeAnn Welker July 10, 2008 12:55 pm
<i>Hellboy II</i>: All Plot, No Action You know how sometimes something is so unexpectedly magical that it completely catches you off-guard and leaves you wanting more?

Well, that's how many people reacted to the first Hellboy movie: It was a wonderful addition to the genres of comic book and superhero movies, because it was those things and more. Hellboy wasn't really a superhero so much as a demon, after all, so it had that element. And it was funny, because Hellboy had a thing for cats, and loved watching TV and eating Baby Ruth bars.

Iron Man Review

by DeAnn Welker May 1, 2008 2:55 pm
<i>Iron Man</i> Review

I have always liked Robert Downey Jr., but Iron Man turned my like into a full-on fangirl crush. He plays the movie's title character, arms dealer Tony Stark, with the perfect blend of badass, hero, goof, and cad. The best part is that even when he starts to become heroic, he never stops being a bit of a cad. Even when he's kicking ass, he's still kind of a goof.

TAGS: iron man

Oscar Shorts 2012: Get Your Shorts On

by Ethan Alter February 10, 2012 6:00 am
Oscar Shorts 2012: Get Your Shorts On

It used to be next to impossible to see the various films nominated every year in the Oscar's three short film categories (animated, live action and documentary) a.k.a. that point in the telecast when you go to the bathroom/grab another beer/channel surf to check out what else is on. In recent years though, the distribution companies Magnolia and ShortsHD have banded together to ensure that these movies get a wider release, both in theaters and through new avenues like video on demand. Screenings of the 2012 nominees start in select cities Friday and will continue to open around the country (and overseas) over the next month. And beginning February 21st -- five days before Oscar night -- the films will also be available for purchase on iTunes. (Visit the official website to find more information on when and where the shorts may be playing near you.) Here's our take on all of the nominated short films, as well as the ones we think should and will win.

Role Models: The New Model

by Lauren Gitlin November 7, 2008 9:49 am
Role Models: The New Model You could say that Judd Apatow and his cadre of actor/writer/producer/director friends have raised the bar for testosterone-fueled juvenilia. To some degree, we've come a long way from the Farrelly brothers and even the Kevin Smiths of the world, inasmuch as you can elevate dick jokes and nerd references to a slightly higher level. Perhaps because of his ubiquity, Apatow's particular breed of humor has been the Status quo for that specific genre for the last several years, and therefore most of us have learned to expect that much, but no more.

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