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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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Friday, Aug 8, 2014
Not only is Into the Storm mindless and mediocre, it's disrespectful, as well.

There’s always something unsettling about a disaster film. It’s not the notion of nature (or man) creating chaos, and thus calamity, for all the members of our unsuspecting society. It’s not the death, though that’s a horrific given. It’s not even the idea that what we are seeing could be the extinction of the entire human race.


No, the really nasty bit is the concept of survival, the “what if?” after the planet freezes, the tidal wave hits, or the nuclear holocaust ends. As they often say, those who are killed will be the lucky ones. Those left behind face the nightmare of rebuilding and reconsideration, recognizing that, while they made it, many, many more did not.


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Friday, Aug 8, 2014
What happens when you substitute bombast for fun and bloat for finesse? This.

When you have an idea as inherently goofy as adolescent amphibians morphed into martial arts trained vigilantes, it doesn’t help to take said material too seriously. Gravitas adds nothing except questions, queries the innately oddball concepts can’t answer.


That’s one of the many problems with the laughable Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot. Instead of going cartoony, producer Michael Bay and director Jonathan Liebesman have decided to apply the Transformers technique to this material, substituting bombast for fun and bloat for finesse.


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Wednesday, Aug 6, 2014
What makes James Gunn's scruffier and un-spandex'd band of reluctant heroes so appealing is how they approximate the good-hearted rogues on the raggedy charm of space westerns like Whedon’s own "Firefly".

There’s a lot to appreciate—and maybe even love—about Guardians of the Galaxy. The oozing and eager-to-please sprawl of Gen-X references, from Mom’s ‘70s pop music mixtape to hero Peter Quill (Chris Pratt, surfer-dude sly) romancing the green-skinned assassin babe Gamora (Zoe Saldana) by referencing the “legend” of Footloose. Banter threaded slyly through the action instead of airdropped in by executive committee looking for humor beats. A talking raccoon skilled in jail-breaks and bomb-making. David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream”. A genocidal villain thwarted by a dance-off. The two-hour running time, practically unheard-of brevity for modern blockbusters. Howard the Duck.


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Friday, Aug 1, 2014
Unless you count a last act catfight between two babes that are basically disintegrating into pools of genetic stew right before our very eyes, there's not much to recommend Cabin Fever: Patient Zero.

There’s a good reason why the prequel is considered one of the worst movie moves, no matter the genre or franchise. Indeed, the original film is supposed to set things up, provide the necessary narrative foundation and origin impetus for us to become invested in any continuing saga. Going back to rewrite that is not only disingenuous, but antithetical to what you accomplished the first time around. However, in some very rare cases, going back to before the beginning is a necessity, especially when no one really successfully explained what was going on in the first place.


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