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Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014
They're the reason to cheer or the inspiration for a jeer—and nobody does them better than Disney.

As long as there have been animated films, there have been heroes (and heroines) and villains. It’s the basis for the artform. Usually built on the backs of fairytales, themselves harbingers of the whole good vs. evil ideal, cartoons can often make human version of their good guys and bad guys look tame by comparison.


Nowhere is this more true than in the cannon of those famed managers of intense marketing, The Walt Disney Company. From the moment it set the standard for feature length pen and ink epics, it offered up both the sublime (Snow White) and the sinister (the Wicked Queen). Throughout their history, they have continued to use said formula, sometimes switching up the standards so that both men and women wear equally nice/naughty regalia. As a matter of fact, some of our most famous film faces come from these movies, be they memorable (Monstro the Whale, Ursula the Sea Witch) or minor (Governor Ratcliffe, Prince John).


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Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014
Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are reinvesting the so-called buddy comedy with the concept that, sometimes, friendship is not enough.

It seems like the best of all worlds: getting to travel, professionally, staying at some of the most scenic and inviting destinations along the Italian Riviera. Better still, you get to sample gourmet cuisine every step of the way, from entrees rich in Mediterranean tradition to piles of freshly caught and prepared seafood. The weather is magnificent, the populace beyond friendly, and the views awe-inspiring.


The only problem? You’re saddled with someone as a traveling companion whose a rival at best, a friend in frustrating terms only, and since you’re pushing 50, that so-called “midlife crisis” has turned into nothing more than mere angry aging.


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Monday, Aug 18, 2014
Was online "availability" and a anti-hard "R" stance the real reasons this third film in the action franchise failed?

As the final tallies were coming in and the titles were being ranked, tongues all over Tinseltown were in full blown wagging mode over the news that the latest installment in Sylvester Stallone’s post-millennial career reboot, The Expendables, had wound up in a very disappointing fourth place.


Not first. That still belongs to those horrid Michael Bay produced Ninja Turtles. Not second, as the great Guardians of the Galaxy holds that spot. Not even third, with the poorly timed Let’s Be Cops defying the situation in Ferguson, Missouri to rustle up enough ticket sales to take said position.


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Monday, Aug 18, 2014
If Cook and Burgess are setting us up for a continuing series of mutant monster superhero takedowns, this movie is a decent start.

Splatter is often the sad step-child of horror. When done correctly, or within context, it’s beloved if bloody. Very bloody. It can even be used to bring a bit of humor into your otherwise aggressive arterial spray (isn’t that right, Sam Raimi and Lloyd Kaufman?). Septic Man falls into the former category, taking a surprisingly serious tone over something that should be salacious and scatological.


Indeed, the movie revolves around a sanitation worker who gets trapped in a toxic underground sewer and suddenly transforms into a hideous combination of feces and filth. There’s also a subtext of possible pandemic, maybe-imaginary creatures, good vs. evil, hero vs. villain, and perhaps the most idealized view of virulence ever put on film.


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Friday, Aug 15, 2014
What The Expendables 3 lacks is the kind of exuberant pizzazz which made these particular performers ripe for rediscovery in the first place.

By now it should be abundantly clear that Sylvester Stallone “gets” action. He understands the dynamic involved in a major league blowout stunt spectacle. He’s a wizard when it comes to staging, acts each carefully choreographed beat with the necessary amount of machismo and, when given the opportunity (and the MPAA rating) is not shy to showcase enough splatter to make a million gorehounds happy.


Granted, for this third installment in the exceedingly goofy Expendables franchise, Sly isn’t sitting behind the lens. His handpicked protégé, in this case, Red Hill director Patrick Hughes, is, however, and the results constantly remind the viewer of the iconic ‘80s b-pictures that made the cast nostalgia laced currency. While not fully invested in the direct to video past, there’s enough low rent ridiculousness here to make even the most cynical action fan smile.


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