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Entries in three stars (8)

Sunday
Apr012012

'Wrath of the Titans' mini review - Far better than 'Clash of the Titans'

I was not a fan of the 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans. It lacked character and failed to deliver on its epic action premise. Wrath of the Titans is still not a smart film — it mostly revolves around Ares, Hades, and Zues having family fights — but this time it delivers on its epic fantasy adventure promise. Perseus (Sam Worthington), the half-son of Zeus, has to go on a big quest to stop Hades and Ares from unleashing the massive Kronos, the father of Zues and Hades who just so happens to be about 3 or 4 times the size of Godzilla. Perseus has some awesome encounters with Titans, cyclops giants, Minotaurs, and two-headed dragon beasts.

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Sunday
Jan222012

'Red Tails' review - The dogfights are amazing, but the script never takes off

During World War II, the United States military was racially segregated much like the rest of the country. The “Tuskagee Airmen,” or 332nd Fighter Group, were the only African Americans allowed to pilot during the war. They were awesome and earned much acclaim from their missions in Italy and their work protecting fleets of bombers across Europe. Red Tails (IMDB page), produced by George Lucas, is an attempt to tell their story. If you’re looking for an honest retelling though, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Red Tails spends most of its screen time concentrating on aerial battles and grand speeches about racism, but fails to show the actual struggles these men all went through under the rule of Jim Crow.

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Sunday
Jan152012

'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows' review - A homoerotic, bullet-time cash grab

The first Sherlock Holmes film, released in 2009 (read our review), set a standard as one of the most patronizingly obvious examples of contemporary Hollywood money-grubbing. As one of Anglophila’s most transmutable literary figures, Holmes has taken many forms over many decades, so it isn’t fair for me to judge Director Guy Ritchie’s interpretation as somehow impure or blasphemous. Even so, there’s something strikingly silly about Robert Downey, Jr. in the role, especially when he spouts unnecessarily convoluted dialogue through an insufferable, pseudo-English accent. As sidekick Watson, Jude Law may not have to fake the accent, but, like Downey, he suffers from a celebrity cultivated primarily in tabloids: both men are movie-stars first, and actors second. It’s not that they can’t act, they’re simply ill-equipped to tastefully portray robust literary figures in a film that prioritizes “bullet-time” over compelling human drama.

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Saturday
Nov192011

'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1' review - Vampires, vixens, and why you should never, ever have sex with the undead

“I’m a professional, damnit,” I thought to myself as the screening began to fill with fans eager in a way that I could never hope to be, passionate beyond logic or reason. The Twilight fans are protestors without a cause, ready to defend their right to love these movies despite everything the films throws at the audience.

The previous movies in the Twilight series are deeply flawed films, but I would never say that to the faces of a ravenous crowd of the series’ fans, at least not while I was unarmed. The source material, of which I have endured through, is a technical mess, with numerous narrative problems. And yet here we are, four movies deep and well over a billion dollars in profits later.

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Sunday
Oct302011

‘The Rum Diary’ Review - A safe film based on dangerous material

Hunter S. Thompson is my greatest influence as a writer. He took the concept of satire and reinvented it for the modern society. He was a genius and a unique individual, despite perhaps being a bit insane. Yes, I am a fanboy.

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Saturday
Oct292011

'In Time' review - More time, more problems

What if time and money were the same thing? This is the idea behind In Time, a new film by Gattaca writer and director Andrew Niccol. It's a fantastic question and opens up a great metaphor to the way we've already structured our society. I only wish the rest of the film was as inspired as its core idea. Woefully, the characters, setting, plot, and visuals of In Time lack much imagination at all. A great cast and wonderful musical score hold this film together, but the dichotomy of Niccol's fascinating ideas and predictable execution means In Time probably won't stand the test of time.

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Sunday
Sep112011

Warrior review - An underdog story with two underdogs

Everyone likes a good underdog story, especially when it ends in a big battle. Sylvester Stallone has made a career out of being an underdog. But while Rocky worked in the 1970s, these days you can't get away with a simple David vs Goliath fight. That's why most recent fighting movies have a lot of family drama too. Cinderella Man, Million Dollar Baby, and last year's The Fighter got their Oscar nominations by layering on the hardship. Warrior kicks it up a notch. You've seen the standard underdog story a thousand times before (learn about why we like underdogs here), but have you seen two underdogs in one movie?

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Saturday
Mar272010

HOT TUB TIME MACHINE...so the 80s weren't so great after all? (Review)

Rating:  (Passable)

It's interesting how each generation chooses to immortalize the decade of their youth. None are more colorful and blow-dried than the 1980s. Hot Tub Time Machine celebrates the 80s by mimicking films like Back to the Future and sending its cast to a ski resort in 1986. It's supposed to be a hilarious, nostalgic romp through time, but I never got the feeling I traveled anywhere. There were some laughs, but everything about Hot Tub Time Machine feels like an 80s party in 2010. Its featured guests: Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, John Cusack, and Clark Duke

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