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Monday, Aug 25, 2014
This YA tearjerker could have worked, and it should have worked, but it had it's own demise already written into its DNA.

When the returns came in for The Fault in Our Stars, two studios must have been beyond happy. 20th Century Fox financed the film version of John Green’s popular YA novel, and were glad to see their old fashioned disease of the week tearjerker bring in over $48 million at the box office opening weekend. By the time the end of Summer rolls around, it will easily have banked more than $271 million worldwide.


This should have been good news for Warner Bros. as well, seeing as how it bet on another YA weeper, If I Stay, to further commercialize, and therefore capitalize on the trend. Prior to the 22 August release date, industry pundits had it easily winning the box office war, what with the nine years in the making Sin City sequel and a faith-based football title, When the Game Stands Tall, it’s only real competition. Surely it could mimic The Fault in Our Stars‘s success while beating back any lingering love for a bunch of mutant ninja turtles and a dancing tree creature and his pals.


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Friday, Aug 22, 2014
Is two-thirds of a decent Sin City sequel enough? After nine years of waiting, almost.

They say you can’t capture lightning in a bottle, that a once novel paired with a fresh concept can’t be reused to the same stunning effect a second time around. This is the main critique of sequels, in fact. Whatever made the original hit movie a cultural phenomenon cannot be rediscovered and maintained over a follow-up (or franchise).


So when Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller decided to wait nine long years to revisit their visionary Sin City, many wondered if the near-decade away from their pioneering digital neo-noir would result in something dull and derivative. The answer, luckily, is “No!” Is it as good as the first groundbreaking film? Well…


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Friday, Aug 22, 2014
This is a horribly unfunny comedy by someone celebrated for reinventing the TV drama.

Success in one medium doesn’t guarantee success in another. Great actors often struggle when they try to be musicians, while gifted artists aren’t quiet as aesthetically pleasing when attempting to perform. There’s even inner-format faults as well. An award winning TV scribe usually can translate their talent to the big screen.


They are the rarities, however. Typically, greatness in one place doesn’t translate across. Such is the case with Mad Men‘s Matthew Weiner’s so-called “comedy” Are You Here. Instead of showing the same sharp sensibility that made said AMC hit, we get a decidedly lifeless laugher.


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Thursday, Aug 21, 2014
Good Sam juxtaposes the reality its characters live in with a sort of Shirley Temple optimism.

One shot of Good Sam features Gary Cooper standing in the middle of two women. One cries in misery while the other laughs her head off, and they seem about equally at the edge of delirium. This moment defines the whole movie, which balances comedy, pathos, and irony so freely within each scene that you don’t know how the movie expects you to react. This ambiguity of affect marks the cinema of Leo McCarey. He’s so fascinated by observing the nuances of human reactions, and how the emotions of different characters feed and counterpoint each other, that he lets scenes run on quite long; you get the feeling he’d just as soon they never end. Were he active but few decades later, he might have been John Cassavetes.


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Thursday, Aug 21, 2014
Frank is an enjoyable, offbeat comedy about the least approachable band ever, the Soronprfbs, and how their newest member aspires to make them more likeable.

You don’t need to be aware of the fact that Frank is loosely based on a real life musician, Frank Sidebottom, and author Jon Ronson’s (who co-wrote the film) brief stint as the keyboard player with his band (the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band) to enjoy the quirky film. In fact, it isn’t even really relevant except for perhaps some insight into the screenplay, where you can find hints of film dialogue in this article by Ronson over on The Guardian.


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