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Friday, May 23, 2014
It all becomes a battle, not of wits so much as wishes. Indeed, one wishes Blended was better.

The problem with the new RomCom Blended is right there, up front, for everyone to see. It’s name is Adam Sandler, and oddly enough, the issue has little to do with his character or his performance. No, the former SNL star and Happy Billy Madison Gilmore frat fave is actually quite decent as a single father looking for love in all the wrong Hooters. You see, Sandler’s character Jim Friedman manages a local Dick’s Sporting Goods and has been set up on a blind date with a closet organizer named Lauren Reynolds (Drew Barrymore). Smooth operator that he is, he takes this otherwise perky gal to the famous chicken wing establishment, and wouldn’t you know it, everyone there knows his name.


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Wednesday, May 14, 2014
A lot of early reviews claim that "nothing happens" in the first hour of this film. Those opinions couldn't be more wrong.

Sometimes, my fellow film critics infuriate me. One of the most highly anticipated movies of 2014 has to be Gareth Edwards reboot of the beloved giant lizard Godzilla. Back in 1998, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, hot off their success with Independence Day, were hired by Tri-Star Pictures to fulfill their rights agreement with Japanese producer Toho Studios for a trilogy of American Godzilla movies with the only prerequisite being they stay “true” to the original films and warn against nuclear proliferation and runaway technology. Naturally, the duo ignore most of said prerequisites. While there was promise in their approach, the final result was a ridiculous combination of showboating set-pieces and lax character development. Audiences agreed.


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Friday, May 9, 2014
We may never know who killed those three boys in a rural Arkansas ravine. The Devil's Knot doesn't add to the discussion. Instead, it distracts from it.

There are four definitive movies about the West Memphis Three. The Devil’s Knot is not one of them. Not by a long shot. Between Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s brilliant trilogy - Paradise Lost: The Child Murders of Robin Hood Hills, Paradise Lost 2: Revelations, and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory - and the Peter Jackson produced West of Memphis, there is no need for further discussion of this incendiary criminal case. It’s safe to say that the miscarriage of justice that occurred in the State of Arkansas, a collaboration between police prejudice, prosecutorial malfeasance, and small town fear mongering resulted in three young men (Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley) serving more than 18 years in prison for crimes they did not commit, the killer of three innocent boys going un-captured, and the families of both the accused and the murdered left wondering what went wrong.


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Friday, May 9, 2014
Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return exists merely to grab some cash flowing through the seemingly endless revenue generated by animated family films.

“There’s no place like home…”


Those were the magic words uttered by lost little girl Dorothy Gale as she hoped to escape an unnatural world of wonder and return to her family’s rundown Kansas ranch. After spending time in the enchanted land of Oz, our heroine realized that her Aunt and Uncle, as well as the various farmhands that filled her lazy rural days, were far more fulfilling than a lifetime in a place overflowing with Munchkins, anthropomorphic beings, flying monkeys, and wicked/good witches. Sure, the populace of this appealing place had a certain draw, but this little girl wanted the familiarity of home, and eventually, she got it. Long after Frank L. Baum dragged out his dynasty over dozens of novels, Hollywood had provided the definitive word on the Emerald City and all that lay within. While never comprehensive of the author’s vision, The Wizard of Oz continues to stand the test of time.


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Friday, May 9, 2014
This combination of authentic emotions and farcical fantasy works, thanks to a group of actors who know how to mix truth with exaggeration.

There’s such a thing as growing old gracefully, though the characters in Nicolas Stoller’s hilarious comedy Neighbors wouldn’t know anything about this. For Mac and Kelly Radner, the one-two punch of parenthood and home ownership has turned their previous party animal lifestyle upside down. They’d love to dump their delightful little daughter and rave until the dawn, but their bodies are so tired from late night feedings and various Mommy/Daddy chores that they fall asleep before even making it out the door. Sex is also a struggle, especially with their infant demanding attention and/or sneaking in on a spontaneous “session” and the mundane aspects of such an existence seem to literally sap the life out of their still young sensibilities.


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