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Entries in two stars (6)

Sunday
Apr012012

'The Raid: Redemption' mini review - Exciting moments, but a lot of gore

I love a good kung fu movie, but things get messy when everyone has guns, knives, and swords. The Raid: Redemption (subtitled in English) has some amazing fighting scenes, but in between these sequences, it gets to be a little much. There isn’t much maming or guts flying, but prepare to watch a lot of people get their necks sliced, get stabbed through the eye, or other disgusting things like that. If slicing and dicing doesn’t bother you at all, you should feel quite at home here. Don’t expect a story though.

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Sunday
Jan222012

'Underworld: Awakening' review - Selene, the magnificent invincible vampire

Step right up, folks. On display today is Selene (Kate Beckinsale), the great invincible vampire of the Underworld series. You can throw her off a building, drop an elevator on her, or throw a 20 foot werewolf at her, but nothing can harm her. Like Alice from the Resident Evil movie series (which is going into its fifth installment this year), Selene hardly speaks, is being hunted for no good reason, and is asolutely impossible to kill. Every Underworld film throws more and more vampires, lycans (werewolves), and armed humans at her, but she just keeps shooting and bullet-timing her way from scene to scene. There’s no stopping her.

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Wednesday
Nov162011

'J. Edgar' review - A biopic with very little to say

J. Edgar Hoover is somewhat enigmatic within the grand narrative of modern American history. His name, though well known, doesn’t much carry a face, and an accurate understanding of his accomplishments and personal life is still, even today, elusive. He’s shown up in popular culture from time to time—I’m thinking mainly of references from the likes of Seinfeld or The Simpsons—but only as a name, very rarely as a man. I suspect that to many born after his death in 1972, his identity is considerably murkier than those of the many presidents he served under, or the movie stars and activist leaders he so relentlessly targeted. History has never quite understood how he should be remembered. It’s tempting to call him an evil man, but if he were so, what then should be said about the citizenry that allowed him so much power and influence for so many decades? Pondering his legacy now, I think it’s downright remarkable that an historical figure like Hoover has remained a specter for so long. I smile at the irony, too—surely a man as obsessed with shadows and secrets wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Perhaps the ambivalence surrounding Hoover’s identity was the reason I viewed director Clint Eastwood’s latest bit of Oscar-bait with such regrettable enthusiasm. I must have hoped, on some level, that J. Edgar would provide a definitive account of the man’s life; that Eastwood—himself a noted conservative—would arrange for me the facts of J. Edgar Hoover’s existence into some sort of salient coherence. This did not happen. Rather, Eastwood has crafted a film that takes far too much pleasure in the mystique of its central character, barely attempting (if at all) to illustrate how the cogs in his head turned over the course of a very long and illustrious career.

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Sunday
Nov132011

'Immortals' review - A good trailer bites the dust

Have you seen the two-minute trailer for Immortals? It looks like 300, has greek gods and a ton of cool Matrix slow-mo shots, is full of cryptic, grand language, and the villain is Mikey Rourke wearing a horribly silly hat. It’s pretty cool, but after watching the full 110 minute version of Immortals, I must say: I like the trailer better. The trailer shows every cool action scene in the movie and you can rewatch it over and over, every two and a half minutes. The movie, well, it has a bunch of gore, but makes you wait until the very end to see a fraction of the action hinted at in the glorious preview. Prepare to spend almost two hours aimlessly wandering the deserts and trying to understand what Mickey Rourke is babbling on about as he tortures people and commands an army of soldiers that don’t seem to need food or water. 

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Sunday
Oct232011

'The Three Musketeers' review - airships, explosions, and Matrix slow-mo

I vaguely remember reading The Three Musketeers when I was young and, honestly, I remember The Three Amigos a lot better. Try as I might though, I can't recall flying pirate ships with giant blimps attached to them. I didn't know the musketeers dabbled in science fiction. Paul W.S. Anderson's version of the classic trio is fairly harmless and shouldn't offend anyone, but it doesn't pay much tribute to its brand. Like the Resident Evil flicks, this movie starts out accurate, but ends up veering into the ridiculous fairly quickly. Unfortunately, it's lacking in fun as well. Mix the world of Pirates of the Caribbean with the insanity of the Resident Evil movies and the slow-mo of The Matrix and you've got 90 percent of The Three Musketeers. Add two teenage love stories and you've seen it all. 

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Monday
Dec202010

HOW DO YOU KNOW and why should you care (review)

Rating:  (Embarrassing)

How Do You Know is a bad title for James L. Brooks's newest romantic comedy because you'll 'know' all you need to know in a few seconds: Reese Witherspoon is the girl, Owen Wilson is the inattentive boyfriend, and Paul Rudd is the nice guy. As the nice guy, he will slowly become the love of her life. How do I know? Like a game of Clue, it's how these stories work.

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