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Friday, Jun 13, 2014
22 Jump Street makes its superfluousness clear. We laugh because we recognize ourselves in the viewership mocked by this movie.

Welcome to the A-list, Channing Tatum. If you weren’t already there (and we can debate this concept for as long as you like), you will certainly be among the biggies come the release of 22 Jump Street. In the nine years since you’ve been in the movie (yes, you’re a relative short-timer in the industry) you’ve gone from “that buff dancing dude” in films like Step Up and its sequel, to wannabe action hero in such efforts as G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, The Eagle, and White House Down.


Oddly enough, it won’t be your hoofing and huffing that get you in good with the studio suits. No, it will be your ability to mock your own machismo, be it as part of the excessively profitable Magic Mike movies (there’s a sequel to the male stripper epic in the works) or the equally enjoyable Jump Street films.


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Friday, Jun 6, 2014
The entire first half of this film feels frivolous and unimportant. That is, until Gene Jones shows up.

We all remember the shocking photos, bodies bloating in the hot African sun, lost lives staggered like rails in a forgotten lumber yard. Next to them lay Dixie Cups of death, a Kool-aid (or Flavor-Aid, actually) potion poisoned to prevent the real world from learning the truth about its cloistered cult beliefs. It was here in Northern Guyana were the Reverend Jim Jones, an expatriate preacher from San Francisco who decided to move his impressionable parish lock, stock, and secretive barrels halfway across the globe in order to find peace and tranquility.


But when Congressman Leo Ryan arrived in November of 1978 to gather information as part of a fact finding tour, he was initially met with open arms. Later, Jones’ guards would open fire, killing the House member along with four others. When outsiders finally stormed the compound, they found the corpses of 909 church members. Jones was dead as well, an allegedly self-inflicted bullet wound to the head.


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Friday, Jun 6, 2014
With its Groundhog Day like set-up and popcorn movie payoff, Edge of Tomorrow is a terrific entertainment. It's funny and inventive, energetic and exciting.

At one time, he was an unstoppable box office force. More than any other actor of his generation, he managed to combine powerful performance chops with equally intense good looks to become a star of several magnitudes. Better still, he often found a way to work in more serious, less spectacle oriented material to bolster his reputation. Still, he was the Michael Jackson of movies, with all the reverence and rumor mongering that came with such a status. There were suggests (and successful lawsuits) over his sexuality. His marriages made for even more toxic tabloid fodder. But it was the World Wide Web that finally took Tom Cruise down. His infamous Oprah interview, hacked and memed by a sour grape social media, became his PR tipping point. Where once he was a Teflon talent, his every move was now fuel for a freakshow diagnosis.


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Friday, Jun 6, 2014
One of the best things about Willow Creek is that it represents someone's unwavering vision, and in today's commodity oriented movie marketplace, that's unusual indeed.

Growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s, urban legends and regional folklore were a big deal, and none were bigger than the hairy man-ape known as Bigfoot. From the moment Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin supposedly captured an ambling Sasquatch on film during a 1967 excursion into the Northern California wilderness, we pre and post adolescents were obsessed. We poured over Chariots of the Gods like treatises, watched as many documentaries, TV specials, and docudramas as we could. We even lined up for such exploitation epics as Charles B. Pierce’s The Legend of Boggy Creek. Before the shark in Jaws, any kid who lived near a forest or heavily wooded area believed there was a foul-smelling ‘thing’ within, laying in wait, hoping to capture some stupid kid dumb enough to wander into its well protected territory.


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Friday, May 30, 2014
It's manufactured magic, the kind that Disney used to conjure up without breaking an aesthetic sweat.

It’s all there: the high cheekbones, the blood red lips, the dark flowing gown and the horned headdress. From the outside looking in, Disney has done very little with their design for the live action version of their character Maleficent. Sure, she’s no longer a pen and ink patchwork of previous villains. Instead, she’s now an international superstar, typecast for her own unique “beauty.” Where once pure evil dwelled, a more complicated heart exists. You see, the House of Mouse wants to Wicked their previous telling of Sleeping Beauty, switching mediums and making the baddie merely ‘misunderstood.’ While it sounds like a solid idea, the execution is inexcusable. The result is a movie with more cinematic personalities than an entire asylum full of patients.


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